Castration may be punishment for rape, court tells lawmakers

In a ruling that is likely to spark a debate, a Rohini court has said the government should explore the possibility of awarding punishment in form of surgical or chemical castration in rape cases.

Sentencing a man to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment for raping her minor step-daughter over four years, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said an alternative punishment for rape should be put in place as it is the "crying need of the hour".

ASJ Lau also directed that a copy of the order be sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice, chairpersons of the National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women.

While many developed countries use chemical castration as an alternative to life-long imprisonment, the Indian government has neglected the issue, she added. "Ironically, the Indian legislatures are yet to take ... address the issue with all seriousness by exploring the possibility of permitting the imposition of alternative sentences of surgical castration or chemical castration in cases involving rape of minors, serial offenders ...or as a condition for probation, or as an alternative sentence in case of plea bargaining...jurists the world over are undivided in their view that chemical castration is required to be mandated for incestuous offenders, repeat sex offenders, paedophiles and molesters," the court said.

"Although chemical castration is not the perfect solution to inhibit child molestation, it certainly discourages sexual assault better than incarceration," the ASJ added.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Dinesh Yadav (35), a labourer. Yadav had been raping her step-daughter for over four years. When she complained to her mother, who confronted her husband, Yadav beat her up as well. The victim's mother then left home.

Yadav too left. On June 12, 2009, he suddenly returned and tried to assault her again. When she raised an alarm, the neighbours came to her rescue, and the victim then filed a police report.

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