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�centric 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
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
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
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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