Delhi court tells lawmakers while sentencing a man for raping minor stepdaughter; such law exists in many developed nations

Expressing concern over the spurt in rape and sexual abuse cases in Delhi, a court here on Saturday said lawmakers should explore the possibility of permitting imposition of alternative sentences like surgical or chemical castration in such cases.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, sentencing a man to ten years' imprisonment for raping his minor stepdaughter, said alternative punishment for rape was the “crying need of the hour”.

“This is a crime which requires to be addressed differently and a full public debate, with regard to imposition of castration [both surgical and chemical] as an alternative punishment for the offence of rape and molestation is the crying need of the hour,” the court said.

The court said the country's lawmakers should take this issue seriously as such a law existed in many developed countries like the US, Britain and Germany.

“Ironically, the Indian legislatures are yet to take notice of this alarming situation and address the issue with all seriousness by exploring the possibility of permitting the imposition of alternative sentences of surgical castration or chemical castration in cases involving rape of minors, serial offenders.....or as a condition for probation, or as an alternative sentence in case of plea bargaining,” the Judge said.

Chemical castration is the administration of medication designed to reduce libido and sexual activity, usually in the hope of preventing rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders from repeating their crimes. In surgical castration, the testes or ovaries are removed through an incision.

The Additional Sessions Judge said: “Although chemical castration is not the perfect solution to inhibit child molestation, it certainly discourages sexual assault better than incarceration.”

The court also imposed a fine of Rs.25,000 on Dinesh Yadav, 35, a labourer, who raped his 15-year-old stepdaughter.

The victim's mother married Dinesh after her first husband died. Initially the victim lived with her maternal grandmother but later started living with the couple.

The court noted that the convict had been raping the girl for over four years.

The victim complained to her mother, who in turn protested, only to be assaulted by Dinesh. Fed up, the victim's mother left the house. Dinesh too went away, leaving his five children and stepdaughter alone.

The prosecution said that on the night of June 12/13, 2009, Dinesh suddenly returned home. He tried to assault the victim when she was going to sleep. She raised an alarm and the neighbours came to her rescue, while Dinesh fled from the spot.

The victim reported the matter to the police, and specifically said that her stepfather had raped her three-four times.

The victim's mother too was made an accused in the case, but the girl stated before the court that her mother was beaten up and physically abused each time she protested.

“Rape is a growing menace which the administration is finding hard to tackle. Even stringent punishments so prescribed under the law do not appear to be having any deterrence,” the court said, adding that in many developed countries death penalty applies in cases of aggravated rape indicating the severity with which this crime has been viewed worldwide.

“The convict in the present case represents the depravity and abysmal depth to which a man can go. For here is a case where the convict does not spare his own daughter, and beats and batters his wife when she wants to come to her rescue. If this is not the case for which the highest punishment is called for then there can be no other case worse than this,” the Judge said.

The court directed that copies of the order be sent to the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice for information.

It said civil rights activists might raise arguments on this order. “I am not oblivious of the fact that arguments are bound to be raised against the above by some rights activists, but that, in my view, would be sheer hypocrisy given the damage the rapist and sexual predators do to their victims,” it added.— PTI

  • Chemical castration is administration of medication to reduce libido, sexual activity
  • Surgical castration involves removal of testes or ovaries through an incision