Castration of Culprits: Medicine Worse Than Disease

Parmanand Pandey

A judge of Delhi, Ms Kamini Lau has suggested that the punishment to the convicts of rape case should be made exemplary and extremely deterrent. Her main suggestion, however, is that instead of increasing the period of incarceration of a rape-culprit to life imprisonment or putting him gallows, he should be chemically castrated. Such a person would find that his life has become a virtual hell for him and he would be constantly subjected to derision and ridicule of the society. This mortification will always haunt him to make him realise of his beastly guilt every moment till the last breath of his life.

In fact, according to many theories of punishment, there are mainly its three objectives: Reformative, Retributive and Deterrent. The crimes have also been broadly divided into two categories: One is against individual and the other is against individual plus society. In the second type of crimes; although the sufferer or victim is individual yet, it is considered to be a challenge to the law and order of the state and therefore, it is treated a crime to have been committed against the society. The state prosecutes the accused persons only against the crimes falling into IInd category. Punishment depends on the gravity of the crime.

There is no gainsaying that the rape is the most heinous crime and the trauma of a rape victim is indescribable. No amount of punishment can assuage and ameliorate the pains and sufferings of the victim. The attitude of the society further aggravates her mental agony and torture wreaking havoc on her. Therefore, the foremost thing that is to be done to change the mental attitude of the society as she undergoes almost daily. She often falls prey to deep depression. The rape victim deserves the sympathy and sweet words of the people around her and the culprit needs to be condemned in the harshest possible manner.

Having said it all, we, as a civilised society, will not have to lose the hope of a criminal getting reformed. A criminal’s mental framework has also to be taken into account, particularly at the time of crime. It is also possible that he might have committed this dastardly crime under the influence of drinks and drugs. That is why, in criminal jurisprudence ‘Actus Reus’ is said to be based on ‘Mens Ria’.’Tooth for a tooth’ and ‘eye for eye’ is a form of retributive justice. Now it has become a thing of the past except in some hidebound Islamic countries. Genuine remorse and regret have worked wonders for the improvement of a criminal. Hence, the suggestion of the Delhi judge for castration of rape criminal however, well intentioned it may be, must be rejected at the very threshold.

Even the notion of this sort of punishment will push the society to the dark days of medieval period, which no well meaning person would like to return to. Be that as it may, the civil society, the judiciary and the legislature all will have to pool-their minds to see that the horrendous crime of rape is curbed. Punishment must be tinged with meaning intentions.

Medicine should never be worst than the disease. Its purpose is to cure the disease; not to further push the criminal into the vale of the barbaric crimes.