Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Supreme Court warns lower courts 'Don't be soft on rapists'

The Supreme Court today said that a compromise between a rapist and the survivor cannot be used to reduce the sentence for the convict.

"Rape is an offence against the society and there is no scope for comprise," the judges said at a time when the country is shaken and outraged by last week's gang-rape of a young photographer in Mumbai, often considered one of India's safest cities for women.

The judges today were hearing the case of a man who was sentenced to 10 years for a gang-rape in Haryana. The woman who was assaulted said that she is now married and has children and is leading a normal life and the convict should therefore be released early from jail.

The convict has so far completed three years in jail.

"The compromise can't be believed because there is every chance that the victim may have been pressured by the convict," the judges said.

The Supreme Court also had a clear message for lower courts. It warned that despite strict laws, judges often give light sentences to rapists. "Don't be soft," the Supreme Court said.

Yesterday, while hearing another rape case, Supreme Court judges said, "Things are going from bad to worse." They have ordered state governments to urgently frame a policy for the rehabilitation of rape survivors.

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