Death penalty is not a solution to everything, Centre tells SC in rape case
Death penalty is not an answer for everything, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday when a lawyer demanded hanging for those who sexually assault minor girls.
Additional solicitor-general PS Narasimha invited the court’s attention to the POCSO Act, meant to deal with offences against children.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed that the law classifies child abuse and provides for graded punishment for different degrees of brutality in sexual offences against children.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, who approached the court after an eight-month-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her 28-year-old cousin on January 28.
On his plea, the top court had, on Wednesday, asked AIIMS to form a panel of doctors to examine the child, who was admitted to Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital.
Narasimha informed the bench that the girl was moved to AIIMS on Wednesday night and handed over the panel’s report confirming that she was stable. He, however, opposed Srivastava when the latter asked for death penalty in cases where minor girls are victims of sexual violence.
The court then asked Srivastava to provide details of pendency of POCSO cases by March 12 and also told Narasimha to give suggestions on whether a time frame can be prescribed to complete the trial in cases of child assault. Although POCSO calls to fast track such cases, there is no fixed time limit.
The court was then informed that Rs 75,000 had been released to the victim’s family. AIIMS will provide free medical care as the same will be covered under a special scheme meant for girl child.
On Wednesday, both the government and the Supreme Court had expressed their concern over the girl’s well being. The court had referred to its old cases and noted that crimes against girl children are “rampant for unfathomable reasons and it is the obligation of the law and lawmakers to cultivate respect for children, specially girl children who are treated with such barbarity and savageness.”
“Once she becomes a victim of such a crime, there is disastrous effect on her mind. The mental agony lasts long. Sorrow and fear haunt forever. There is need to take steps for stopping this kind of child abuse,” the court said.