Chennai: After witnessing case after case of sex offences against children that have been steadily rising, both in numbers and in brutality, the Madras High Court provided a one word solution for the problem- Castration.
Pointing out to the fact the rate of conviction in cases of sex offence against children is a mere 2.4% and that between 2008 and 2014, crimes against children had increased by 400 per cent, Justice N Kirubakaran said, “Traditional laws are not stringent enough to yield any desired positive result. Suggestion of castration looks barbaric, but barbaric crimes should definitely attract barbaric model of punishment. Many may not agree with this. Still, everyone needs to understand the stark reality in society and appreciate the punishment suggested”.
“This court is sure that additional punishment of castration of child rapists would fetch magical results in preventing and containing child abuses,” said the judge while pointing out that chemical castration had come into force in several countries including the US. The judge was passing orders on a plea from a foreigner facing pedophile charges in TN for quashing the case. Turning down the plea, the judge, however, stayed the red corner notice issued against him making it clear it was being done to facilitate his participation in a criminal trial.
The drastic suggestion from the Madras HC came after the series of brutal gangrapes of children that have been taking place in Delhi last week. Calling it a “blood-curdling” and “horrific” incident, Justice Kirubakaran said castration must be an additional punishment for child abusers, especially child rapists. Incidentally in 2013, at the height of the protests in the capital over the Nirbhaya case, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa had similarly called for death or chemical castration for rapists through amendments in Central laws.
Castration is done on child sex offenders in Poland, Russia, Estonia and nine US states including California, Florida, Oregon, Texas and Washington, he said, adding, “South Korea was the first Asian country to make castration a punishment.”
This suggestion of castration would be condemned, censured and criticized as “barbaric, retrograde, stone-aged, cannibalistic and inhuman,” Justice Kirubakaran said, adding that human rights activists who oppose castration are concerned mostly about offenders and perpetrators, unmindful of the physical, psychological and the emotional trauma undergone by victims. “Those activists should first exhibit sympathy and support to the victims of such crimes by visiting and consoling them at the hour of crisis instead of having misplaced sympathy on the perpetrators,” he said.
Apart from “native monsters,“ there are foreigners ”regularly landing” here to abuse our children, the judge said, adding that the case before him also concerned one such person who allegedly abused a 15-year-old boy. The British national had paid money to the boy’s mother and promised to offer quality education to the boy. He took him to Delhi where he stayed with the boy in a room and assaulted him, all in 2011. After a service organization moved court and got the boy rescued, a case was registered and a chargesheet too was filed.
In his present petition, the Briton wanted the case to be quashed on the ground that the boy’s mother herself had said it was not kidnap and abuse, but she had sent the Class IX boy voluntarily. The prosecution, however, pointed out that the mother’s retraction itself was proof of tampering of evidence by the foreigner, and that the boy himself had stated before the magistrate that he was trafficked and abused by the Briton.
“Inspite of many penal laws and the recent POCSO Act, 2012 prescribing severe punishment for crimes against children, the number of such cases has increased from 38,172 in 2012 to 58,224 in 2013 and to 89,423 in 2014. When law is ineffective and incapable of addressing the menace, this court cannot keep its hands folded and remain a silent spectator, unmoved and oblivious to the recent happenings of horrible blood-curdling gang rapes of children in various parts of India. It would not only be injustice done to the child abuse victims, but would also amount to violation of the oath taken by this court,” the judge said.
(Inputs from Agencies)