THE All India Democratic Women’s Association, in a statement issued on May 5, has welcomed the Supreme Court judgment in the brutal and horrific ‘Nirbhaya’ gang-rape and murder case giving the maximum punishment allowed by the law. However, AIDWA is against the death penalty for a number of reasons including the fact that it is often arbitrarily asked for and given. Just yesterday, on May 4, in the Bilkis Bano case, which was also a gang rape and murder case of several members of a Muslim family in a communal setting and was equally barbaric and brutal, the High Court judgment awarded life sentence to the 11 accused persons.
The CBI did not press for death sentences. AIDWA and other women’s organisations had already pressed for and got inserted mandatory minimum punishments of seven years and ten years upto life imprisonment in the IPC through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013. It is the certainty of conviction rather than the awarding of death sentence which is important. Several rape cases which have occurred, prior to and after the ‘Nirbhaya’ case, have not been investigated or prosecuted to obtain convictions and suitable punishments.
AIDWA demands that all crimes against women including rape cases be dealt with expeditiously to give justice to women.