Karnataka HC suggests law imposing death penalty for gang rape
Upholds trial court’s verdict of life term for offenders; appreciates law student’s fight against culprits
The High Court of Karnataka has suggested that a law be framed at the national level prescribing death penalty for the gang rape of women.
The court made the observation while upholding the life imprisonment imposed by the trial court on seven convicted persons, who had gang-raped a 21-year-old law student near Jnana Bharathi campus in the city on October 13, 2012.
“She [the victim] had boldly lodged a complaint at 1.30 a.m. in order to ‘protect Dharma’. Her ‘tolerance’ and ‘courage’ to proceed against the accused in accordance with the law … and for fighting the legal battle against the accused to get justice in an unfortunate incident in her life has to be appreciated,” the court observed.
“Between Nirbhaya’s case and the present case, the only difference is that in the case of Nirbhaya, the victim died after the brutal attack on her, but in the present case, the victim has discontinued her law course and returned to her native country — Nepal — with all curse,” a Division Bench, comprising Justice B. Veerappa and Justice K. Natarajan, observed and added that gang rape was more dangerous than murder.
The Bench upheld the fast-track court’s September 6, 2013 verdict of convicting Ramu, Shivanna, Maddura, Eleyaiah alias Eleya, Eeraiah alias Eera, Raja, all from Metaridoddi village in Ramanagaram district, and Dodda Eeraiah alias Doddeera of Hebbala village of Hunsur in Mysuru district. They had raped her one after the other after dragging her out of the car in which she was chatting with her friend around 9.30 p.m. in Jnana Bharathi police station limits.
“It is surprising to note that when victims of rape in modern India are admonished by society, the Vedic society was much more supportive of survivors of rape,” the Bench, said quoting from the Vedas and Manusmriti.
Observing that “we are not proud to say that India achieved empowerment of woman even after seven decades of Independence,” the Bench recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, which said, “The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence.”
To ensure that society respects women’s dignity at all levels, the Bench felt that a child should be taught to respect women in society and gender equality should be made a part of the school curriculum along with personality-building and skill-enhancing exercises apart from watching children on their behavioural pattern to sensitise them.
The Bench also said the government, educational institutions, the media, and employers must take steps to create awareness to respect women.