Crime and Punishment: Is Castration a Deterrent for Rapists?

Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Jun 21: In April 2011 Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau stirred a hornet’s nest by suggesting ‘castration’ as an alternative punishment for rapists. ASJ Kamini Lau incidentally initiated this debate while pronouncing a sentence of 10 years imprisonment to a man for raping his minor step-daughter for over four years. While awarding life imprisonment for a man for raping his six year old niece in February last, Lau lamented the absence of ‘castration’ as a deterrent punishment for pedophiles and sexual offenders who commit barbaric crimes like rape. She also gave exhorted Indian legislators to explore castration as an alternative to conventional sentencing of life imprisonment for sexual offenders.

A week ago Kamini Lau while framing charges of rape and attempt to murder by a HIV+ father on his 15 year old daughter once again lamented lack of legislation to deter rapists from committing such heinous crimes especially on minor girls and asked Indian legislators to explore alternative punishment to conventional sentencing. "Castration is the most befitting sentence which can be imposed on any pedophile or serial offender but the hands of this court are tied as the statute does not provide for it...Indian legislators are yet to explore this as an alternative to conventional sentencing," Kamini Lau observed.

No doubt Kamini Lau needs to be appreciated for initiating such a debate and thinking in the line which any civilized person would support considering that rape of minor girls, who are often murdered, is on the rise. Regrettably, President Pratibha Patil, who is in the last days of her presidency, commuted 30 death sentences awarded by Supreme Court to 30 murders and rapists including that of a man convicted for rape and murder of a five year old girl. The 30 whose death sentence she commuted were found guilty by the Supreme Court for the barbaric murder of 60 people that includes women and children.

It may be recalled here that Kamini Lau has just reiterated what former Supreme Court judge Justice Krishna Iyer had said way back in 1979. While deciding the sentence of a man who had killed his wife and children after developing sexual relation with a fresh girl Justice Krishna Iyer had suggested voluntary castration as a better alternative as against an outright death sentence. The issue of ‘castration’ as a deterrent was in the backburners until Kamini Lau once again initiated the subject a year ago.

In India depending on the enormity of the crime, sentence for rape can go up to life imprisonment which means imprisonment till death unless released by the executive. Article 72 of the constitution gives power to the President to grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment to people convicted and President Prathibha Patil used her Presidential powers to commute the death sentence of the rogues who did not show even an iota of mercy on their victims.

Those commuted of their death sentence by the President include Dharmender Singh and Narendra Yadav who had killed 5 of a family including two brothers aged 12 years and their 15 year old daughter who was gang-raped and killed along with their parents. It also includes Piara Singh and his three sons who had killed 17 people in a wedding party including 4 children. There are many more murderers and rapists who have been benefitted by the largesse shown by the first citizen of this country. It also must be remembered here that most of the victims of these 30 men went through brutal and immeasurable inhuman torture before they were killed. It is no exaggeration to say no punishment even death sentence is in commensurate with the crime they committed.

It is travesty of justice in our country that on one hand we have an Additional Sessions Judge, a woman, who proposes sternest punishment to rapists and pedophiles and even calls for a legislation to curb the monstrous crime of rape. On the other we have the first citizen of this country, undoing everything, just by the stroke of her pen even ignoring the cry for justice by the victim’s families. Considering the dismal situation of our judicial system we know how complicated it is for anyone to find justice in our country. It is not just the question of justice delayed and denied but another blatant example of hard-fought justice from the judiciary negated by the stroke of a pen by one person.

A barbaric crime like rape affects not only the victims but also her near and dear ones. Naturally, the only solace they would have got is to see the perpetrators of the crime being sent to the gallows and provide peace to the victim’s soul. However, commuting their death sentence means ignoring the pain, the trauma, the stigma, the stress by the victim if she is alive and also the family members and relatives who also suffer along with the victim is in vain in addition to the loss of life suffered. May be in another year or two Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru may also be ‘pardoned’ of their crimes in the form of Presidential clemency.

There are many who argue that giving punishment to the perpetrators may not bring back to life those who are killed and hence the granting of clemency should not be made into an issue. However, one cannot deny the fact that it would send wrong signals to other perpetrators in particular and to the society in general. It will given impression that one can get away without much punishment from any kind of crime. Apart from encouraging criminals by removing the fear of law it would discourage everyone - from our courts to the common people to seek justice through our legal system.

The incidents of rapes especially those on minors have increased drastically in India. Just a week back we read about the rape and murder of a 7 year old girl by her father’s friend in Banglore. Just a month back there was a similar incident of another minor girl being raped and killed. Now the French diplomat’s case of trying to rape his 3½ year old daughter in Bangalore is equally shocking.

Close to the heels of this revelation comes another smack on our face which says that conviction for child rape is outrageously low in our state. Of the 309 cases registered between 2008 & 10 and 366 persons being arrested only 22 have been convicted for the crime so far. Here, it is pertinent to note that going through the rigmarole of trying to convict the perpetrator serves no purpose when those convicted by the highest judicial body of the country are pardoned by commuting their death sentence.

Coming to the core issue of castration as a deterrent punishment, there are many who favour it as they believe it would act as a deterrent and is commensurate with the gravity of what rape victims and their families go through. Castration involves surgical removal of the testes and chemical castration involves reduction in testosterone levels to render the sex offended impotent by administering drugs to the offender.

However, there is a sizeable section of the society which opposes it saying it is barbaric, violates basic human rights and takes us back to medieval times. While some women vociferously support it saying it alone can be an effective punishment for an inhuman crime like rape one section of the feminists and others condemn it as too dreadful. However they fail to see that the victims of these offenders had gone through hell and their basic human rights were violated and trampled by these very men and needless to say such deranged men don’t deserve clemency.

It is said that castration as a punishment is in vogue in many countries. Voluntary chemical castration is said to be prevalent or compulsory for child sex offenders in Germany, Poland, Germany, and Denmark and in some US States. If these highly progressive nations consider it alright to have such a punishment as a deterrent we need to give some thought to the issue and act on it at the earliest. Or else we will have more live sex bombs creating havoc in our society.


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Comment on this article

  • hari shnaker sharma, modinagar

    Wed, Feb 06 2013

    suggestion of castration of judge kamini lau is more barbaric and talibani. it does not suits to our democracy and constitution. hanging is more deterrent punishment for murder and rape which is already in law and accused dhanonjay chatterjee who raped and killed 13 years old girl in kolkata was hanged to death in 2004 and kamini lau also sentenced to death for rape and murder. i am an advocate and i do'nt agree with talibani punishments which is not in our laws. why only castration why not hand for hand and eye for eye if anybody wants to change law he should change as a whole and not for only rape. minimum 10 years term of jail or ife imprisonment for rape under 376 ipc is enough for rape. deterrence of punishment never controoled crime. castration if allowed will not be able to make an end of crime related to women . in turky where govt allowed castration for rape. same crime increased after castration. in sudan theft were not controlled where hands were chopped off for thefts. every crime is serious including rape and others related to women modesty. no law allowed to outrage the modesty of a woman and in india we should not forget that person at the highest rank in police was punished for only putting his hand on back of a woman officer in party in punjab. law does not spare anybody for crime. today media is strong and this is why damini case attracted the attention of nation, make the law tough more but not talibani or islamic. let it be democratic and secular. quantum of punishment should not be more then the quantum of crime in any case. this is our law, delay should be avoided in trial. rush up more judges for early trial. punishment should be uted without dealy.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • manoj sharma, u.p.

    Mon, Oct 15 2012

    i have seen the comments and Dr. Ksmini lua feeling.But I can say that views of ms kamini lau will not stand where police and prosecutor makes the case punishable and the judges knows that prosecutrix is consenting and deposing falsely for her u feel castration is justified.U go and see the proceeding of court of Kamini lau. u will realise is only to be in press and media,nothing else.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Divakar, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Sat, Jul 28 2012

    Just castration is not enough.Right hand and left leg should also be amputated so that a rapist can be easily identified in society

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan braganza, Udyavara / Mumbai

    Sun, Jun 24 2012

    Well , some feminists are posting with different names in disguise. Shammi , babli etc. Its a public forum and not a place for spitting venom. India is democratic country and such horrible laws will never be implimented . Yes some western countries implemented it but its optional not forced. Also they are facing stiff critics. If implimented it vl endorse legal terrorism , frame any male under false rape accusation , get his testicles removed , end of revenge . Sick!

    DisAgree [4] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sandeepkumar, Kochi

    Sat, Jun 23 2012

    I fully support Shammi. There should be full castration( Penis and testicles) since it is heard that, some men have erection after removal of testicle also. The society can utilize such people for hard labour and some other works rather than simply hanging them. They should contribute to the society without reward for the crimes they have committed. It is also a very good tool to control population and adultery. Since the testosterone level will be very less,the crime rate again women will be very less after castration. They will be very docile after the castration operation also.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shammi, Karnataka

    Sat, Jun 23 2012

    I fully support judge Kamini .Castration should be introduced as soon as possible ,it is need of an hour.Turkey has already introduced n its working positively.Y worry of removal testes.Waise India kaun si badi less population ki category main.This way can also ctrl population explosion n deadly disease AIDs.N y some ppl r against it ,i dont understand .Are u planning to commit such a sin in future or not confident of urself being pious with a woman..huh!Rapists (be it men or woman)should be tortured till his/herdeath.they should have dog's death.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sreela, Bangalore

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    It is not hornet's nest, but hornets' nest

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinod John, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    As N. Frank, India/Ksa said the rapist should be hanged.  I dont why people are still talking of being gentle with the rapists.. If that "good" attitude continues be sure that in future times all daughters, wive's,sisters and mothers will be raped and all of you will continue writting comments supporting gentle punishement.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


    Fri, Jun 22 2012


    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vishal, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    I fully agree with Lydia Lobo, Kadri.

    Unfortunately, the biggest disaster of India is our impotent and corrupt judiciary which encourages crimes instead of being a deterrent. Today, there is a strong feeling in every mind that going to the jail is not a big issue.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mangalore/Mapusa/Mumbai

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    Now we know Dr. Kamath's problem.....

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar., M

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    Judge opines poperly 'Handle'
    The erring 'Candle'
    Justifiably prick the 'Needle'
    And see crime rates 'Dwindle'
    Daiji-post this for it ain't 'Bundle'!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • N. Frank, India/Ksa

    Fri, Jun 22 2012

    The power to commute death sentance, or any sentance given by the Supreme court, to a guilty person in the hands of the president should be revoked. Rapist killers should be hanged in public by guitor string, without letting them to die. Even that is not a sufficient punishment

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan Braganza, Udyavara / Mumbai

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    @ suzanne raviraj , mangalore. , first of all , my comments has nothing do with personal life . I just want to voice up against injustice towards men. Law has to gender neutral right , so wot about section 491 a , women reservations . I was not talking about 4 or 5 old kids but grown up women who fight for their rights , and like to bulldoze men rights in due course. If majority of peaple agree with castration ( which i'm against) it should apply to women also , no gender partiality isn't it?. And lastly about age of consent , true the govt is not insane , so the very next week delhi high court passed the verdict about legalising 15 yr old girls marriage. Now who is insane?!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • suzanna raviraj, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    Looks like Roshan Braganza has something against women. What does he say about minor girls starting from 4 onwards being raped by sex-starved men? From when did 4 and 6 year old girls have become notorious women Roshan? Moreover why call Kamini Lau feminist. What about justice Krishna Iyer who had suggested first, as the write up says. Considering that the life of a rape victim is over the moment it becomes a public news she lives a hellish life. Imagine what life Renuka Shanbague, mentioned by Lydia is leading, considering that she was raped because she exposed the man's misdeeds. Istnt rape cruel and inhuman Dr Kamatha if you consider castration is inhuman and cruel? And Roshan governent is not as biased or inane as you are to pass such a bill , the one which you are talking about.
    Grow up man. Just because u have suffered it does not mean u blame all women.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan Braganza, Udyavar / Mumbai

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    The writer hints kamini lau as additional sessions judge. Is it specially court for rape convicts?. If yes , then its draconian in the name of ' women empowerment' . Judges are to be neutral and impartial , but if they have feminist dictat and follow the men hatred , it vl have serious consequences on men . Judgement vl passed , surpressing the defence of the convict . Lot of innocent men ...... Husbands , sons , fathers will be punished . Quantum of punishment vl b too harsh against commited crime . These cases should be tried general court with gender impartial judges . Also the person should be allowed to fight against punishment in regular courts like . High court etc. If the exact defination of rape according to latest 'age of consent ' bill , implimented , then half the youth of this should b castracted. Sick . Have leniency when u talk .............!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • prakaksh, mangalore

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    what about 53 years man marrying 6 year old ???

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • shahnawaz kukkikatte, dubai/udupi

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    I agree with Dr. Kamath this time as he has put very sensible comments. One time rapist must be punished with jail and given an opportunity to reform. Repeated rapist should be castrated and here i go one step further that his private parts to be chopped off so that he never think about sex..How to stop rape is a million dollar question.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    For a person with a spirit of killing other people, take the gun and knife from him or her. Likewise, for the rapist,
    castration is the only solution.
    Eye for an eye issue is not applicable in this demonic nature of destroying other innocent lives.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjeev Kamath, Udupi / Bahrain

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    I have repeatedly been suggesting castration of porn Swami Nityananda. Or better would be to bobbitt him on the lines of what John Wayne Bobbitt did on 23 June 1993 to her husband's organ after a drunken spousal rape.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • tauseef, mangalore

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    YES.Its high time such a rule is introduced in India.The evil doers are let go very easily here and thts the main cause of concern.Until and unless you dont make realise a person what he has done he would never stop doing it and if someone who doesnt realise it then make him scared in such a manner he will never even think of doing it.2 or 3 or 10 or years of punishment also is very small because the victim suffers for alifetime.In many a cases the victims are ruthless murdered fearing revealing of identity.There should be laws that can scare the crap out of a criminal.There was a certain Umesh Reddy who went on raping and killing many a innocent lives which could have stopped had this rule been brought long ago.Its high time we bring this rule and also start giving death sentences to the worst criminals.people who are against this kindly think and probably thank God almighty that women related to your lives are safe till today but nobody knows our tomorrow..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Arun D, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    good idea.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr S Kamath, Mumbai

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    Castration either Chemical or surgical is Harmful .Great Mahatma Gandh said if eye for an eye is practised then the whole nation will be blind .Punishment should have 2 ingredients 1.opportunity for the convicted criminal to repent about his guilt and then get transformed 2. work as a deterrant for other citizens and hence crime is prevented .Life imprisonment has both these ingredients .In reasearch it hasbeen proved that lack of testis will lead to Mental Problems in addition to impotency which is really Cruel and inhumane .It is the awareness that works .There should be wide publicity about how serious offense the Rape is amongst the general public .That will work better than anything else

    DisAgree [37] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan Braganza, Udyavara

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    'Rape' or 'abuse ' is a word often used in feminist dictionary. Of all the rape cases accounted for , a major chunk of it are false , often framed against men by notorious women . It can be wife , colleague or even the neighbour. Castration , even if its voluntary is inhuman , barbaric and midieval. Even development countries are reconsidering it , or making it a option for convict EG: say if its done convict can excused of jail punishment. And also it should be made gender neutral , wot about women who abuse children and even boy or men. It may not be termed as castration ( i dont find suitable word here )

    DisAgree [11] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dexter, Abu Dhabi

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    I partially agree with Fredrick, Bangalore.
    As in India, it is well known that loopholes are always found in any kind of Law. Every law has its own pros and cons. It is seen in the past as well that there are women who have misused the dowry law for their own benefits. A law as castration will also have its own drawback.
    There are every chances that a girl for her personal benefit also can frame a guy and an innocent person may have to bare the brunt of such a law and live with it for his entire life or force him to give up his life.
    On the other hand, I even agree with Lydia Lobo on Renuka Shanubhag. The penalty for a hedious crime as rape should be severe to deter anybody from doing it.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    Why the article does not mention of Renuka Shanubhag ? The man is out after serving sentence. She in a vegetable state.

    Straight away castration ! None less than that ! He should not be in a position to use his tool ever again !

    DisAgree [12] Agree [72] Reply Report Abuse

  • fredrick, bangalore

    Thu, Jun 21 2012

    the concerned judge is out of her mind. Keeping people locked for life is more than enough . The judge concerned is trying to take our country back to ancient time. I do not know where she got her law decree from. There are some cases where the allegations may be fictitious. Then having a law is an excuse enough for the judges who are trying to sell their soul for monetary gains to pass judgement on innocent need to debate on this type of punishment. Have harsher punishments.That will suffice.

    DisAgree [34] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

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