SC favours harsher penalties for “atrocious, unconscionable” child rapes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday favoured tougher punishment for child rapes in the country and asked the parliament to enact separate law with harsher penalties.

Calling child rapes “atrocious, unconscionable an cruel crimes”, a bench of justices Dipak Misra and NV Ramana while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Supreme Court Women Lawyer’s Association said that, they could suggest harsher punishment in child rape cases but could not direct a particular punishment for the crime, adding that it was up to the Parliament to take a decision, the Times of India reported.

The court while distinguishing between the infants and children below age of 10 from the general description of ‘minors’ said that the Parliament had to define the word ‘child’ separately.

Petitioner’s counsel, senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani while citing example of developed countries like US, Russia and South Korea, where chemical castration has been enforced as punishment for sexual assault of children, said that the court cannot remain a ‘silent spectator’ to what’s going on in the society and had to intervene and fill in the void, it added.

Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi said that the Parliament was sensitive towards child rapes and providing punishment for the offences should be left to the legislature.

Accepting AG’s suggestion, SC said that it would not suggest any specific punishment for the crime. However, it asked the Parliament to consider stricter punishment if it deems right.

News24 Bureau