Death penalties for perpetrators of crime against women. Is it justified?


Group Discussion topics in top MBA colleges like IIMs, XLRI, MDI, FMS are more and more getting associated with social issues and current affairs. One of such GD topics that has recently been a favourite of B-school admission process, class-1 and class-2 services recruitment process, is ‘Whether the Death Penalty for Crimes against Women Justified’. The arguments forwarded for and against are many and the process of discussion brings new avenues of positive and negative impacts of the decision. We share below, based on the facts the solved GD topic. 

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In recent years, the rising crime rate, particularly violent crimes against women has made the criminal sentencing by the courts a subject of concern. According to the former Chief Justice of India, Justice Dattu“The sentencing policy adopted by the Courts, in such cases, ought to have a stricter yardstick so as to act as a deterrent. There are a shockingly large number of cases where the sentence of punishment awarded to the accused is not in proportion to the gravity and magnitude of the offence thereby encouraging the criminal and in the ultimate making justice suffer by weakening the system’s credibility.”


A group from National Commission for Women also requested capital punishment for those who indulge in severe crimes against women. A few ideological groups and media stations have also praised the decision of Capital punishment for perpetrators of crime against women.


The alteration to the prevention of Child Sex offenses (Pocso) Act was at the command of the erstwhile Women and Child Development Minister – Smt. Maneka Gandhi, who was of the view that the Act would deflect sexual wrong doings against youngsters


Rising Crime Rate Against Women

  • In 2016 assaults cases climbed by 60 % to around 40,000 the nation over
  • 19,765 were instances of assault
  • The conviction rate is dormant at around 25%
  • The real frequency of assault is significantly higher as many of the case go unreported
  • Authorities from NGOs working ladies share that each and every day, a young lady is being sold into substance exchange.
  • Authorities from stop Acid Attacks state that there are accounts of instances of corrosive assaults in the city a few times each week.
  • At regular intervals a lady is assaulted in India.

Death Penalty Justified in Sever Crimes Against Women

Deterrents in Award of Death penalty
India is a country which is not completely ready to carry out the death penalty. Presently it is given only for the "rarest of rare" cases. The interpretation of such cases is left to the court. The country's last execution was on 30 July 2015.

  • Many activists have questioned whether the death penalty is really an effective deterrent for crimes against women. In many cases police tend to negotiate the  compromises and threaten the victims to withdraw their complaint, so that the accused is set free on the basis of "low probability of conviction"
  • Many cases are not reported and even if reported, the accused walk free due to "insufficient evidence"
  • Death penalty in cases is felt like a burden as in many cases they are the known persons committing the crime.
  • In rural areas, people are obsessed with massive stigma about rape, due to which even stronger laws do not encourage victims to come forward
  • Mohammad Musa Mahmodi, Executive Director of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which also publishes data on rape, said the death penalty on its own would never be enough to deter rape or encourage women to seek help in the justice system
  • The delayed justice is also an issue. Long trials in India make the victims wait for years before they can get justice.
  • Victims and their families fear the attack again. A report by Human Rights Watch on Afghanistan says: "Rather than finding support from police, judicial institutions, and government officials, women who try to flee abusive situations often face apathy, derision, and criminal sanctions for committing moral crimes."

Efforts Made So far

  • India has amended its laws to increase accountability of police and other officials dealing with violence against women, which has had a positive impact
  • Although the change is slow and studies suggest that a large number of rapes in India still go unreported, gradually the reporting of such crimes has increased.
  • Strict laws would yield positive impact in reducing the crime only when they are accompanied with a change in the attitudes of the police, judiciary, government officers and society.

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