Women lawyers had written to the PMO saying chemical castration of child rapists in the rarest of rare cases is the need of the hour besides death penalty.
New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the Women and Child Development ministry to take a look at a representation from a group of women lawyers who want child rapists to be chemically castrated.
The representation dated 18 April has been made by the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association, a private group of women lawyers practicing in the top court, to the PMO which has forwarded it to the WCD ministry for “action as appropriate”.
“Apart from the death penalty, a specific legislation providing for additional punishments like chemical castration of the offenders in the rarest of rare cases is the need of hour in such cases,” the representation says.
Last month, the Modi government introduced the death penalty for child rapists through an ordinance following national outrage over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.
SCWLA President Mahalakshmi Pavani told ThePrint that chemical castration would go a long way in inducing fear in the minds of rapists. “By removing the libido, you are targeting the ego of a man,” she explained.
Chemical castration, she added, is fundamentally different from physical castration, which involves surgical cutting of a body part. The former, on the other hand, only involves injecting a medicine which dilutes sexual desire.
While Pavani has in the past petitioned Parliament and the Supreme Court for stricter laws against rapes of children, the association was again compelled to take up the matter in the present atmosphere of an alarming rise in cases of child rapes, she said.
In addition to this, the representation also calls for the redefining of the term “child”.
“Definition of child must include both small girls and boys between age group of 0 months-12 years. Because in the recent past there have been uncountable incidents wherein small boys have also been sexually exploited and raped and have suffered untold pain and agony,” it said.
The Ministry of WCD is already considering an amendment to the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 to allow male child survivors of sexual assault to be treated on par with girls under the ordinance for enhanced punishment for rape crimes.
The Madras High Court had in the past asked the Centre to consider castration as a punishment for sexual assault on minors. But the demand was rejected by the Justice Verma Committee in 2013, formed in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gang rape case.
The committee had observed that castration “fails to treat the social foundations of rape”, while Justice Verma had also added that the move would be unconstitutional and inhuman.