Think of harsher punishment for child rape accused: SC to parliament

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said parliament may think of statutory provisions providing for harsher punishment for those accused of rape and abuse of minor children.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice N.V.Ramana said this while hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association seeking castration of child rape convicts as it cited a spurt in such incidents involving even toddlers.

The SCWLA had sought distinction between minor as defined in the Juvenile Justice law and the few days, a few months or a few years old child being abused and raped.

The bench told the petitioner’s lawyer Mahalakshmi Pavani that emotions and sentiments could not be a basis for framing of laws for providing stringent punishment for convicts.

It noted Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s submission that law-making power was within the domain of parliament and the same could not be exercised by courts.

Telling Pavani that it (court) could not suggest a punishment that was not there under the law, the court said: “We must make it clear that courts do not create offences or introduce punishment.”

Leaving the entire issue to the “wisdom of the parliament”, the court said “punishment has to be definitive”.

Describing the punishment of castration as suggested by the SCWLA as “unacceptable”, the court said that “the court should not suggest a particular punishment that is in the domain of parliament”.

“The punishment suggested (by the SCWLA) is unacceptable,” the court observed.

As court recorded the submissions both by the petitioner and the government, Rohatgi told the court that he would bring its order to the notice of the government.

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