Each time a horrific(भयानक) sexual crime hits the headlines, there is a clamour(कोलाहल) for prescribing(हुक्म देना) the death penalty for such offences(अपराधों). Given this, it is perhaps(शायद) no surprise that the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir has evoked a similar response. Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has said her ministry will seek an amendment(संशोधन/सुधार) to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, to provide for death as the maximum punishment for the rape of those below 12. The anger(क्रोध) is understandable(समझ में आता है) but legislation(कानून ) ought to be a well-considered(अच्छी तरह से) exercise and not a response based on a sense of outrage(बलात्कार/ उल्लंघन)over particular(विशेष ) incidents(घटनाएं). The last time a ghastly(भयंकर/भयानक) crime led to legislative(वैधानिक ) change(परिवर्तन ) was in 2013, following a national outcry(हाहाकार/चिल्लाहट) over the gang rape and murder of a woman in Delhi in December 2012. That set of amendments to criminal law was a structured(संरचित) response, largely based on the recommendations(सिफारिशें) of a committee of eminent(प्रतिष्ठित/श्रेष्ठ ) jurists(न्यायविदों/कानूनविद). In its January 2013 report, the committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma, decided against recommending the death penalty for rape, despite(विरोध/के बावजूद) demands. It rightly took into account the possibility of awarding life sentences without remission(क्षमा/छूट) for aggravated(छेड़ना/भड़काना)sexual assault(हमला), as well as “the current thinking in favour of the abolition(समाप्ति/अन्त) of the death penalty”. However, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, set the death penalty for rape in the event of it causing the victim’s death or a persistent vegetative state, and for repeat offenders.

In recent months, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh have sought(प्रयास करना/मांगना) to amend the law to prescribe(आज्ञा देना/लिख) the death penalty for the rape of a minor below the age of 12. There is a clear dichotomy(विरोधाभास) of views on the desirability(इच्छा/वांछनीयता) of prescribing a death penalty. Enlightened(प्रबुद्ध/शिक्षा दिया हुआ) public opinion would not approve of a vengeful(प्रतिशोधी/बदला लेनेवाला) state response to individual brutality(क्रूरता/निर्दयता), even if outraged public opinion clamoured for it. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the death penalty has never been a deterrent(बचाव का/रक्षा का) against any sort of crime. There is little empirical(आनुभविक/अनुभवजन्य) evidence to show that those about to commit a capital offence would stop themselves merely out of the fear of being hanged. Further, there is a legitimate concern that the country’s judicial system has not been consistent in awarding the death penalty. The Law Commission, while recommending abolition of the death penalty, except in terrorism-related cases, observed that it is difficult to operate(संचालित/कार्य करना) the ‘rarest of rare cases’ principle without a hint of arbitrariness(मनमानी करना।). It will be especially wrong to force judges to compare the relative ‘merits(गुणदोष)’ of rape victims based on their age and choose between death sentence and life. Lengthy prison(कारागार/क़ैद करना) sentences, constituting both well-deserved consequences for grave crimes and a life-long opportunity for penitence(पश्चाताप), will adequately(पर्याप्त रूप से) meet the ends of justice.


Important Vocabulary

1.Prescribing(हुक्म देना)
Synonyms: define, determine, dictate, establish, impose

2.Outrage(बलात्कार/ उल्लंघन)
Synonyms: shock, violence, abuse, affront, barbarism
Antonyms: advantage, aid, benefit, blessing, compliment

3.Eminent(प्रतिष्ठित/श्रेष्ठ )
Synonyms: big-name, distinguished, esteemed, famed, high-ranking
Antonyms: common, inconspicuous, inferior, insignificant, obscure

Synonyms: absolution, amnesty, exemption, exoneration, forgiveness
Antonyms: hold, accusation, blame, increase, rise

Synonyms: bother, irritate, provoke, bug, bum
Antonyms: aid, delight, help, please, calm

6.Vengeful(प्रतिशोधी/बदला लेनेवाला)
Synonyms: antagonistic, hostile, vindictive, avenging, implacable
Antonyms: agreeable, friendly, kind, nice, condoning

Synonyms: benefit, content, import, importance, meaning
Antonyms: insignificance, loss, beginning, commencement, disadvantage

8.Deterrent(बचाव का/रक्षा का)
Synonyms: disincentive, hindrance, obstacle, bridle, check
Antonyms: assistance, help, encouragement, catalyst, incentive

Synonyms: experimental, factual, observational, empiric, experient
Antonyms: conjectural, hypothetical, impractical, theoretic, theoretica

10.Arbitrariness(मनमानी करना।).
Synonyms: absurdity, arbitrariness, caprice, illogicality, illogicalness

Synonyms: abolishment, abrogation, annulment, cancellation, destruction
Antonyms: approval, beginning, construction, enactment, restoration

Credits To The Hindu News Paper



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