GD Monday – “Capital punishment for convicted rapists” – Week 3

We received some interesting arguments on whether the Government must regulate the internet. You can still post your views on the same. (All the comments/views in the discussion have been rated on a scale of 10 by our experts, along with an explanation)

The case in point this week is no surprise. The menace of sexual harassment has reached infuriating limits in India. December 16 to December 30th, 2012 – these two weeks have not only been saddening but have also highlighted our helplessness. They’ve also brought forth some shamelessness – with men molesting female protesters at anti-rape campaigns.. What have we come to? Will women & girls in the country ever feel safe? Moreover, will men ever learn to respect women? Will the fear of death force them to?

This is how it will work :

1) Users can post their arguments or views using their Twitter/Wordpress/OpenID accounts in the comments section below.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week.

3) The thread will be moderated by Prerna Lalwani a.k.a Peru to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM,XLRI,ISB only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.

You may also want to orient yourself with Interviews and Group Discussion. She is the best in the business and you must listen to her – Mrs. Deepali Naair

 

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Comments

37 comments

kayk

Yes, the delhi rape incident has tested every indian’s tolerance and infuriated us like never before. Yes, the politicians have shown their insensitivity to rapes around india with their senseless remarks. Yes, they talk in double tongue and want immediate action whenever the media highlights such issues. And yes, we need to act and act fast in protecting every women’s integrity. But no, it does not warrant a death penalty for 3 reasons. 1.The “rarest of rare” scenario: Supreme court dispenses death penalty only to the rarest of rae cases and though it may be insensitive to say, but rapes are not rare in India. Even in the specific case of delhi rape, the only rare thing in this incident is the uproar by indians and the media. Far worse rape cases have been witnessed in India, but none have come to scrunity in such a large scale 2.Deterrent or pacifier? I feel the death penalty is being seeked right now and even supported by several political parties just to score brownie points, not to serve as a deterrent, but to pacify the uproar happening right now. 3.As much as we have evolved as humanbeings and as a democracy, we have not overcome our nature for violence. As an evolved species, we need to understand the need for reformation of the convict but not the elimination of the convicted. Rape is definitely a deplorable and brutal act and our indian penal code does not have strong laws to punish the convicted and hence the solution is two-fold: 1.To prevent further rapes from happening and 2.By speeding up the process of justice for the already victimised. For these two to happen, GoI should strenghten the security in public places especially at nights, introduce exclusive police forces for patrolling, should setup fast track courts and increased convictions, and social support that allows a victim to come forward. The govt should implement laws like chemical castration, life imprisonment and our citizens should start getting educated in self-defense techniques, like martial arts, usage of mace/pepper spray, a whistle etc. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Can we hang a person every 20mins too? Besides the govt, even our society needs to be educated to respect women, the same women that we worship as goddesses and the same women who bring lives to this world.

kayk

Yes, the delhi rape incident has tested every indian’s tolerance and infuriated us like never before. Yes, the politicians have shown their insensitivity to rapes around india with their senseless remarks. Yes, they talk in double tongue and want immediate action whenever the media highlights such issues. And yes, we need to act and act fast in protecting every women’s integrity. But no, it does not warrant a death penalty for 3 reasons. 1.The “rarest of rare”: Supreme court dispenses death penalty only to the rarest of rae cases and though it may be insensitive to say, but rapes are not rare in India. Even in the specific case of delhi rape, the only rare thing in this incident is the uproar by indians and the media. Far worse rape cases have been witnessed in India, but none have come to scrunity in such a large scale 2.Deterrent or pacifier? I feel the death penalty is being seeked right now and even supported by several political parties just to score brownie points, not to serve as a deterrent, but to pacify the uproar happening right now. 3.As much as we have evolved as humanbeings and as a democracy, we have not overcome our nature for violence. As an evolved species, we need to understand the need for reformation of the convict but not the elimination of the convicted. Rape is definitely a deplorable and brutal act and our indian penal code does not have strong laws to punish the convicted and hence the solution is two-fold: 1.To prevent further rapes from happening and 2.By speeding up the process of justice for the already victimised. For these two to happen, GoI should strenghten the security in public places especially at nights, introduce exclusive police forces for patrolling, should setup fast track courts and increased convictions, and social support that allows a victim to come forward. The govt should implement laws like chemical castration, life imprisonment and our citizens should start getting educated in self-defense techniques, like martial arts, usage of mace/pepper spray, a whistle etc. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Can we hang a person every 20mins too? Besides the govt, even our society needs to be educated to respect women, the same women that we worship as goddesses and the same women who bring lives to this world.

@coachinterviewD

The Delhi incident has disturbed and troubled me mentally for days now but my feedback here is related to GDs and your thought process. I think point no 2 is a good question to raise; because the question on deterrent leads us to a much larger evolution of the topic which is why do we have a legal system in the society? what is the purpose of punishment?. I would urge you to ask such questions around your own pointers and thoughts in your mind. And the answers to these questions can lead to further participation.
Didnt understand where point no 3 was leading from violence.
3.1 is the focus of discussion – to prevent further rapes, focus on this aspect to think of more points for participation.
The statistics are good to illustrate a point..
In the end, fell short of mentioning some concrete solutions.
Admirable that you took the single episode to a societal issue and made the connect.

pala

speed to deter immediately….so as to prevent further heinous rapes….then the 2o mins will stop ….message received loud and clear…wht's wrong with tht?

Sid

Sexual harassment against women cannot be condoned in a civilsed society. But, is death for convicted rapists a strong deterrent for future offenders? Empirical evidence from countries that impose death penalty for rape does not point to reduction in violence against women. A strong deterrent against potential offenders could be rapid and time-bound justice-delivery mechanism which can be achieved through fast track courts. Another, solution could be the gender sensitisation of the constabulary. A rape victim should have confidence in the law enforcement agencies to make a complaint. Lastly, the definition of rape, in the IPC, needs to be broadened to include attempt to rape and molestation. Although, death penalty cannot be a blanket solution for all convicted rapists and it can only be used in the rarest of rare cases depending on the brutality of the crime as is the case with murder.

@coachinterviewD

The Delhi incident has disturbed and troubled me mentally for days now but my feedback here is related to GDs and your thought process.
i think every single sentence in your paragraph here has the potential to be discussed at length
1. other countries examples 2. strong deterrents 3 time bound justice 4 gender sensitization 5 IPC definition.
Suggestion: Delve in your mind for each of above further to have more participation in a real GD

Dwaipayan

It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty of it that deters the criminals from recurring a crime. Severely punishing the criminals in one incident and letting the criminals of other 14000+ cases go free is not an impressive illustration to disburse justice. A faster hearing of same and a faster action from the courts can ensure the fear of punishments among perpetrators. If we look as to why our esteemed lawmakers did not accord death penalty for rape victims , the answer is that with the fear of death penalty there are high chances that the victim is killed as well when she is raped thereby eliminating all evidences. Rape cases as they stand today do not require proof and a sentence from the victim's end and a subsequent medical test is sufficient to put the rapist behind the bars and the offense is non-bailable. If however the victim is killed it becomes very difficult to identify the perpetrators as well as to frame charges against them.
The response to the inhuman massacre that the nation witnessed leaves a lot to be expected from the political class. We did not see any of the MLAs or the seven Delhi MPs raise any voice and put pressure on the courts and government. Most of them were more concerned with utilizing their pending casual leaves at the end of the year. Death penalty is not the solution to a crime that is so common and frequent , the goal of a modern society is to move from revenge to reform and which should aptly start with the political class

@coachinterviewD

A healthy dose of disgust and cynicism with politicians. this is not ok for a real GD so I would just remove the second paragraph.
The first para if a detailed and good. But it is a response to what has been said earlier and also sounds a bit of repetition. If you would go through my responses to Sid and kayk, you would realise that Sid gave us a lot of points to ponder about and discuss further.

Livery

I certainly feel that death penalty would not be a deterrent to such heinous crimes. Just the way I think, hanging of Kasab is not gonna act as a deterrent for future terrorists. I think to solve a problem, we need to think how to stop that problem from occurring rather than contemplating upon what to do after the problem has occurred. In the case of rapes, it is painfully obvious that we need to sensitize the males about the other sex.

Another point I make against the use of capital punishment is that we can’t use same punishment for rape and murder. Because then what would happen is that any person who has raped some innocent girl, would also kill her after that. Because he would know that now that he has committed a crime, he is gonna get a death penalty if he gets caught. So it’s not gonna make any difference to his sentence, even if he kills that girl. Plus killing her would increase the chances of his safety. So I think death penalty is not gonna act as a deterrent but as incentive for a rapist to kill the victim.

Another controversial point i want to make is that we, humans, have this urge to mate and this urge reaches its zenith in the mid twenties. So I think there should be outlets to channelize this urge, so that it does not harm anyone. So i think first we should not treat sex as a taboo as it is a perfectly normal natural process. Second we should legalize the prostitution as it would act as that channel.

@coachinterviewD

hi, please read participants comments earlier and also my replies. if you are the 4th person in a GD, then your first para is a repetition. 2nd para is a reaction (debate and not a discussion). 3rd point is controversial by your own admission but only because it is irrelevant to current discussion . I would urge you to think of something fresh or think in depth about something mentioned before

@doublemoon17

As if rape was not a crime heinous enough to result in public outrage , the country experienced it in such a level of savagery which was almost unheard of since medieval period . Or wasn't it ? Unfortunately we all are aware of that answer . But lets face it .There is always that one single catalyst which triggers the entire fission. Talking of a country already pushed to a edge over by the apathy , incapability , failure and betrayal at the hands of our self elected government and their law enforcers , it needed that last single nudge to take the leap or rather a stand. In such a scenario it is but obvious that we want to see our culprit suffer . Make him wither in anguish for destroying our bubble of complacency in which we were happily residing since so long . But rather than just being a nation urging vengeance on those who wronged us , the call of the hour lies in rethinking our sensibilities. So we hang a rapist ? And then what ? We should not forget that even on the very next week after the media roared about the brutality victimizing our country , the news channels were overflowing with reports of rapes in multiple states. More horrifying was the fact that even the anti-rapist protesters were not spared. So can we decide upon a capital punishment on all such acts ? No. The real question to ask is where were law enforcers during such times ? Why still today we see the hesitation and sense of apathy persisting among police officials in scenarios of such prime urgency ? Why does more than half of rape trials get rejected in courts stating a shady investigation ? Even if the capital punishment is imposed , how many rapists will be successfully convicted in courts at the proper time and not something like 10 years later.? According to statistics , crime against women contribute around 10% to IPC crimes . but the conviction rate doesn't even reaches the bare minimal of 30%. Instilling a sense of fear of death sentence hardly comes as a question when the conviction of the rapist for the crime remains questionable. What do we really need is installing a system . Laws should be corrected at ground zero . The investigation procedures for such crimes needs to be revised , so that they deliver concrete evidence in the house of law .

@coachinterviewD

I completely empathise what you are felling now but this write-up is too emotional. If we want others to take us seriously we need to come across as rational, balanced and data led.
All the questions you have raised are very valid. And like Sid before, I would recommend that you use these questions to think, and instead participate with answers to every single question you have raised.
I like the versatility of the though process but do not know whether you are capable of thinking answers; so demonstrate that through your points.

Tushar Gupta

Rape is a heinous crime. It is not only a physical attack, it is a psychological attack on the victim by those who want to vent their anger and dominate the other gender. It leaves an indelible impression on the soul of the victim and the family. So, the question is whether our judicial system treats such offenders at par with the perpetrators of other heinous crimes. The law has to be amended such that the offenders get the punishment they deserve and yes, in the rarest of rare cases, like all other offences, capital punishment can be awarded but, only after the due process of law. Judgment on streets is not the feature of democratic country. Apart from judiciary, we need to change the way we look upon women and the society should support the rehabilitation of victims, instead of stigmatizing them.

@coachinterviewD

Tushar, it mostly sounds a like a repeat and summary of what others have said. Instead you could have spoken only about rehabilitation, given that you are entering so late. Please do read my comments to others, those may be useful pointers for you.

Shubh

Well you can’t simply standardize the capital punishments. i.e for this crime it is “yes” for that crime it is “no”. For sexual offenders also, it can’t be regulated in black and white.
Adopting a hasty solution for the problem would do no good.
Cognitive and sociological analysis is required. Why actually they offend?
Personally I feel in most of these cases, even though most heinous of them, the offenders are either not aware of the laws (coming from dark part of ignorant deep seated societies) or mentally sick (can’t fend off the heat of the moment).

@coachinterviewD

Hi Shubh, i agree with you that hasty is not good but why dont you spend time and explain why. That would be a good point rather than just getting off with one sentence.
And why dont you spend time doing the sociological analysis. that will fetch you lots of brownie points with the evaluators ina real GD.
There is no personally about this in an exam so please maintain poise in a real GD

Shubh

Now just imagine a capital punishment for an ignorant offender. Would it hinder the future ignorant?
Or a capital punishment for mentally handicapped ? It would certainly never fend off the future offenders.
Sexual offenders were living in the society and in every culture ever since the beginning of time.
Suddenly how a capital punishment will put a full stop on this menace?
It may deter some aware offenders living in modern cities, but again what fraction of total offenders constitutes the modern, aware lot?
I see capital punishment is just a pit hole where society can spit out the anger and rage for the moment to move on. But it would eradicate the cause, I have serious doubts.

@coachinterviewD

Shubh once again, some very valid questions raised but giving answers to all these would get you points ina group discussion.
i am also angry and upset at what happened but in a GD, imagine that you are a policy maker; at this point answers are required and data is required.

@Shazont2t

Yes rape is a heinous crime but is it worse than mass murder or genocide? Our judiciary sentences capital punishment on such rarest of rare cases, so does it make sense to sentence capital punishment to a rape convict. If it is so then it is more likely that the assailant will kill the victim and get away with a life imprisonment on murder charges. Besides, it is the conviction rate and not the severity of punishment that will bring the crime meter. Assailants don't fear our judiciary system because of the conviction rate and not because the punishment is not severe. Rape is already punishable under section 376 of IPC for minimum 10 yrs imprisonment for gang rape up to life imprisonment which is already a very severe punishment but that doesn't deter one from committing the crime.
What is really required is setting up of institutions like fast track courts, changing the psychology of men towards women, improving the shoddy investigation, poor forensics infrastructure, attitude of police towards women so as to expedite the process of bringing assailants to justice.

@coachinterviewD

Good thought process. What is really required is setting up of institutions like fast track courts, changing the psychology of men towards women, improving the shoddy investigation, poor forensics infrastructure, attitude of police towards women so as to expedite the process of bringing assailants to justice. – each one of these things are large participation points by themselves. In a real GD please elaborate each one of them

Rohit M

No..I don't believe that capital punishment should be considered as an option for punishing the rapists. Had the capital punishment been that deterrent as it is being perceived then we would not be having so large umber of murders in the country which has capital punishment on conviction.
The recent brutal gang rape of the 23 year student in Delhi has angered each one of us but that should not lead us to astray from the broader picture. If the capital punishment is made in all rape cases, then the rape victims in being raped will be killed by the violators because the punishment gonna be the same.
And also, given the constitution of our country, the capital punishment is awarded in the rarest of rare cases and therefore many legal experts believe that such an attempt may in fact bring down the rate of conviction which is already at a dismal rate of around 16%
Rapes are not just an act of ridiculous sexual desire but also of violent mindset of the rapists. Sensitization of the society in general and police in particular, higher rate of conviction and speedy disposal of cases are the things I believe necessary to check this growing menace in our country.

@coachinterviewD

Rohit, unfortunately your participation is too late and this point you every point of yours look like "repeat". effort should be to bring ina new element, or new data like Shazont2t did just before you in the last para.

Kanika

Past two three weeks in India have been really saddening because of the brutal crime against the innocent 23 year old girl. The marches, protests and anger in the Indians only indicate that we have come to a situation where we need a drastic change. A change in laws against women safety, a change in male mentality. we are no more afraid to fight against wrong in fear of shame. We have moved on to a time where we can raise our voices against sick people and not just keep sitting in our cocoon silently.
The women in India have never felt safe and with the ever increasing crime rates in India, there is less likelihood that they would ever feel safe. There is a need for a drastic change which has to come from the government. People in India raise question against as small an issue as to naming a law on some victim. But they always ignore the real problems. We need strict laws. We need less corruption. Only then can we feel safe.
Men can only learn to respect women if they see there dear ones suffering. Why cant these people respect women? Don't they have mothers and sisters? And if they are so hungry for a female's body, why don't they go the sex workers, who earn their living from this? It will not only help them get some financial help but will also end the craving and thirst of these cheap mentality people who rape girls and women for God knows what reasons.
Its time that we need to understand that every girl needs a sense of safety. And if men understand that a girl's respect is all that she has, if people are educated properly esp the males in small town, crime would decrease and women can take a sigh of relief.

@coachinterviewD

Kanika, a little emotional but is allowed. dont get personal by using words like "mothers/sisters" and also stop the questions and give the answers.
I like the point about "every girl needs a sense of safety". that's something new, not mentioned before in this discussion – can be elaborated further.

Dwaipayan

Although we must develop broad understanding and guidelines on what must be done to build a positive image of women , there is no reason to defer to God for the reasons of rape. Unlike paid sex , rape has an element of beastility and dominance associated with it. Gangrape in particular has an inbuilt voyeuristic arousal-perhaps due to lack of privacy. These criminals saw litle affection for the female members in their own household and they are used to seeing domestic sexual violence,(which is a far less reported crime) even if they continue to live with their mothers and sisters.Sex thus becomes not a private act but something to perform in public.They thus develop a bizarre attitude towards women. It is a daily indoctrination and no a sudden change of heart. Gang rape is akin to mob violence when blood-lust takes over and people are degraded to most bestial levels. Rapes will occur whether women wear bikinis or burquas , and both in a way reinforces their objectification and commoditization. Equal status to women and giving them the due affection can help in solving the woe. The steps needs to be implemented from the female foetus to the glass ceiling hurdles.

@dshubho

The world has evolved through the millenniums, but one thing has remained a constant, violence against women, be it in the form of domestic violence , female foeticide or rape.The recent case of Delhi gangrape was no different, except for the part that it evoked public outrage in a way the nation had never witnessed before. But imparting death penalty to the convicted rapists is in no way going to act as a deterrent. On the contrary, if rape and murder both call for capital punishment, then it is likely that, the rapist will also kill the victim to destroy evidence. What will act as a deterrent is proper procedure and access to justice in the form of fast track courts to handle cases for crimes against women and also laws to ensure stronger punishment in the form of chemical or biological castration. Everything said, we all know that prevention is better than cure. The government should ensure safety for women at public places.

@coachinterviewD

the thought of linking this to domestic violence and crimes against women is a good idea. Malcolm Gladwell in his book "the Tipping Point" refers to such an example where "cleaner neighbourhoods" led to reduction in crime rate. Similarly there is a merit in your thought process. Please spend more time and thoughts on finding solutions instead of just writing in one line, in the end.

@InsideIIM

The reason why we have not yet evaluated the comments is because we have a special guest doing it for you this week! Have some patience! Regards,
Team InsideIIM

@coachinterviewD

Dear InsideIIM team, thnks 4 inviting me to comment. I admire ur choice of topic & also the research done at ur end & the links u provided which students cn read.

Vijay

Fear of law: There is no fear of law left in criminals so there is need to make stricter laws in India which
will again establish the respect for law in heart and mind of citizens.

We need even more fearful laws then capital punishment so criminals think twice before such heinous
crimes.

Only decent people have any reason to be afraid of the law any more. If there is, in fact, no protection
for the law-abiding, then why should we pay taxes for something we do not get?

All rich people and politicians long ago began to hire private security men who do the job the police
once did, but only for them. Because there is no fear left in criminals for the law. How we can let live
such criminals in our society unpunished?

Imprisonment in India is not so tough punishment. Length of the imprisonment should be increased for
all such crimes. Just keeping criminals on 2 years or so in jail doesn't change much in them. Most of
them with political connections come out on bail or again join crime full time after coming out of jail.
We need drastic change in our law and order system to establish fear of law can be established between
criminals. Starting point of this can be capital punishment for these rapists. They deserve it government
should do whatever required to give them such punishment.
http://tartle.info/7280/56group-discussion-capita

Ank

Will women in this country ever feel safe while walking on the roads ? When will the men of this country start respecting women ? Are politicians waiting for their own daughters to be raped ? The recent rarest of rare Delhi rape incident was an eye opener for the nation. It is not that the number of rape cases has increased but after the Delhi case more and more rape cases are now being reported. A girl is raped every 22 minutes in Delhi.
Recently, a politician raped his servant. He stated that there was nothing to raise hue and cry upon as she was just a servant. In yet another rape incident, a three year old girl was raped. Is the desperation so strong that men have started raping three year olds.
If Richard Gear's kissing Shilpa Shetty is against our culture then why not rape ? Why is okay for the government if the rape happens to every other girl every other minute.

Ank

Firstly, there is dearth of strict laws. For example, in the case of marriage if a husband forcefully has a sexual intercourse with her wife, it will not be considered as a rape if the wife is beyond 16 years of age which is lame because even the legalised age for a girl's marriage is more than this.
Secondly, if laws exist then India is the best example of non implementation.
The people in this country are afraid of reporting cases. Moreover, the police is not supportive of registering FIRs. The people of India only believe in updating their facebook status'. Are their protests worthy when we think that nobody helped the Delhi rape victim for 20-25 minutes. Can their protests cover up for their not helping the victims when they needed it the most.
So, I feel fear can be spread in the society by chemical castraction, life imprisonment, torturing them in public places because hanging them is a very easy death for monsters like rapists.

Viky

The primary objective of a punishment is to minimize the crime in future. Although capital punishment sounds too much for a crime like rape, there is no other logical choice for the judicial system in order to create a sense of fear to those who could commit it in future. This would at least succeed in minimizing the crime.

On the other hand, it is also possible that capital punishment would lead a rapist to commit murder after raping. By doing so, if they are able to hide every evidence, then they may be out of any kind of punishment. But if you give a comparison on the impacts of both the argument, you may fore see the fact that capital punishment would be effective in reducing the rape crime to a large extent. because it is a matter of survival for the rapist.

Finally, one of the major concern for the women to fight for justice is the fear that they lose their social status if they file a complaint and hence, they go for a revenge to such an extent of murdering the rapist through underground activities. And in some case the victim do not have support and go un noticed without any justice. So, a better way to successfully get registered the complaints from women will be a secret case filing process that should be under the direct privilege of the courts. And medical examinations must happen immediately with the alleged rapist irrespective of his position in the society.. This could address the issue to a larger extent.

naresh

Attacks on women are perpetual.Instead of awarding capital punishment for the perpetrators, government should come up with an alternative to curb crimes against women at the grass level itself.Criminals don't have any supernatural ability which we don't possess.It is the environment in which they were brought up reflects their action.We people instead of turning a blind eye to their nefarious activities we can do our bit by helping the government in curbing the crime.If a common man witnesses any heinous act ,he should dissent against the perpetrator,then only crimes or inhuman acts against women would end to a certain extent.Announcement of capital punishment has not had any sort of impact in deterring the crime rate.So, retrospection from government's side is necessary now.Instead of capital punishment,it should enlighten the people by organising awareness camps related to deterring crimes against women which should include the rudimentary responsibility of aam admi when he or she witnesses a crime.I think if government concedes this ,it would be of great use.