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Debate over penalty for women assaults

The Delhi gang rape has raised a debate in the state capital whether the accused should be awarded a death sentence or life imprisonment.

Experts gathered at an event based on, “Multi stakeholders and public consultation on violence against women, their safety in public places: Key issues and challenges in Bihar”, in Patna on Sunday.

The event was organised by Equity Foundation, an NGO, at AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies and was supported by ACTION AIDS, also an NGO. It was organised under the banner — 16 days of Activism. Apart from lawyers, police officers, academics, and scholars participated in the seminar.

High court judge Anjana Prakash said under Section 376(2)(G), gang rape is punishable with a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

She added that under the court of criminal procedure, the medical examination of both the victim and the accused should be done.

“The court’s verdict depends on the quality of evidence or material that has been collected by the investigating agencies. Therefore, it is imperative that the investigation is of the best quality,” she said.

Member of Legislative Council Kiran Ghai said there is a need for capital punishment for the accused.

“Something like capital punishment should be introduced so that rapes are not repeated. There should be fear and the law should be made effective,” she said.

The MLC added that the mindset of the society has to change too.

“Gender bias in the patriarchal society has to be checked. Women are considered a sex object. The administrative infrastructure should be changed and these things should be included in the political agenda. Implementing agencies have to take proper care of all these. Political will is a must,” Ghai said.

Equity Foundation executive director Nina Srivastava said: “The event was organised with the motive that all stakeholders (lawyers, politicians etc.) ensure that efforts are not only limited to discussions but implementation too. First, records of all such cases should be kept and proper follow-up should be done. It should be ensured that the victims get justice.”


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