Girls during a candle light vigil against the brutal rape and murder of 8-year-old Kathua girl
Women protest against the inaction of police in rape cases. | PTI
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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.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I am curious to know in which countries punishment of chemical castration to a rapist is on their law books. I am afraid there won’t be many. Is death penality less deterrent, a punishment than chemical catration? I don’t think so. I don’t think a man would prefer a death than accepting chemical castration as punishment, to save his male ego. It is open to debate. Experts on human psychology and sociology can throw light on this matter. However, we cannot turn our eyes other way knowing well that our legal system is over burdened and leaky at times, and work ethnics of police, the less said about it the better it would be. Kathua rape case, Unnao rape case and rape in madrasa somewhere in UP has given new dimension to rapes in India. The gravity of rapes and who will speak for justice of victim will depend upon who is the victim and who is the accused. If they are of same religion, it is less grave but if they are from different religions, it is grave. Many people will speak, however, in different voices. Will chemical castration help here? When voices in the society get divided over the crime as heinous as rape , there is something gravely sickening within the society. The society has perhaps lost its human values. In such social situation the harsher the law becomes the easier will it become for the rapists to escape it.

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