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20 Mar 2020

PUDR expresses anguish at the impending hangings of Pawan, Mukesh, Akshay and Vinay who were convicted for the brutal gang rape and murder committed on 16 December 2012 in Delhi. Their crime was heinous, and PUDR condemns it in no uncertain terms.

However, it needs to be reiterated that retributive sentencing does not advance the cause of justice. On the contrary, it encourages the state and society to avoid addressing the more pertinent issues of shoddily done investigations and poorly conducted trials, resulting in miserable conviction rates and most cases of rape and murder going unpunished.

Justification of the sentence of death as retribution to the victim family is also nothing but an excuse for brutal actions in the name of society. It inculcates a culture of violence, and becomes a figleaf for the difficult reality that sexual violence is woven into the social and political fabric of the society.

Even as the four named above go to the gallows, let us not forget, that the hangings are reflective not of the actions of the convicts, but those of a sovereign democratic republic and its ability to be humane and forgiving.

Radhika Chitkara, Vikas Kumar
Secretaries, PUDR

[PS: Based on the belief that death penalty has no place in a democratic society, around 250 lawyers, academics, scientists, filmmakers, students, activists and others had earlier appealed to the President of India to commute the death penalty awarded to the convicts.]