Ujjwal Nikam opposes death penalty for rapists

Delhi gangrape

Amidst raging debate in the country over tough anti-rape laws, including capital punishment for the culprits, a top lawyer has said death penalty is not the ultimate solution to curb such cases and suggested longer jail term.

Even though there had been a nationwide outcry over the last month's gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi and subsequent vociferous demand for sending the accused to the gallows, death penalty is not the proper punishment in such cases, said Ujjwal Nikam, who has been Special Public Prosecutor in several high-profile cases, including 26/11.

Elaborating further, he said provision of death sentence may prompt the rapist to kill the victim. Hence, death penalty is not the ultimate solution in such crimes.

Increase in the jail term to 25 years or till death should serve the purpose, Nikam said.

Police should be sensitised about handling cases related to crime against women, he said.

Generally, there is no eyewitness in the cases of sexual assault. Hence, the police investigation and trial take place based on the version given by the victim. This bring limitations on legal provisions, Nikam maintained.

He suggested that evidence in rape cases should be recorded through video conferencing.

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