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Is Death Penalty really a violation of Reformative Theory of Punishment in case of Rape?

For understanding this concept, we should be aware about the Reformative Theory of Punishment. It is based on the humanistic principle that even if an offender commits a crime, he does not cease to be a human being. Individualism is central to the Reformative Theory. The goal of punishment is to transform the criminal into a human, so that he may once more become an ordinary, law abiding citizen of the society.

The National interest requires that habitual criminals who have a natural propensity to commit a crime be penalized according to the prohibitive theory rather than the reformative theory. The reformative theory of punishment tends to adopt an offender´┐Żcentric strategy that is occasionally unfair to the victim.

In their efforts to protect the rights of the prisoners, Courts may unintentionally violate the rights of the victims. In cases where an offender is a habitual criminal, then the reformative theory might not be effective to treat him.

In India, rape is undoubtedly a heinous crime and an issue of great concern. Punishment in Muslim-dominated countries is instant death. In India, Death penalty is a debatory issue in cases of rape. Nirbhaya Gang Rape Case, also known as Delhi Gang Rape case is the famous case for Death Penalty or Capital Punishment.

In this case, Supreme Court said that brutality with which the offence is committed can't be ignored and there is no chance of reformation, so the accused should be hanged to death. In Laxman Naik Case, 7 years old girl was sexually assaulted by her uncle, according to Court, the degrees of injuries of victim were enough to prove the brutality with which rape and murder were committed and death penalty was awarded to accused.

According to NCRB Data, between 2001 and 2017, 4,15,786 rape cases were reported in India. While penalizing the guilty, the gravity of the offence must be considered. Rape is a heinous crime that requires death penalty. Giving life imprisonment or imposing a fine, in my opinion, will not change the mindset of a rape.

In April 2018, Capital Punishment is allowed for anyone convicted of raping children under the age of 12. However, the question remains as to what happens to girls and women over the age of 12. Rape is rape if the victim is above the age of 12 or not. There is no difference between committing rape of a girl below 12 years or above 12 years.

There is no need for a huge difference in their punishment. Committing rape not only injures the victim physically but also spoils their whole life. It completely devastates a girl's life. A rapist is not safe for the society hence should be given Death Penalty. In rape cases, the age of the victim should be considered immaterial while granting punishment.

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