Two of the five men that are accused of the rape and murder of a New Delhi physiotherapy student are offering evidence that could lead to them receiving a lighter sentence if they give up information that leads to the prosecution of the others accused. The two accused, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta have asked to be what they call “approvers”, or informers against the other accused, a public prosecutor in the case, Rajiv Mohan, told Reuters.
The total number of accusers was six. Shockingly, one of the sixth accused is a teenager. Many senior leaders in Indian states believe that there should be a plan in place to lower the age to 16 so that minors can be tried as adults, which sounds like a very logical decision. This of course is in response to the international outrage of this heinous crime. Under the present law, the accused youth would only do three years of detention, whatever that entails.
The accused have been charged, along with the co-accused Mukesh Kumar, Ram Singh and Akshay Thakur, with murder, rape and abduction, with other offenses. Given the savage nature of the crime, the Prosecutor told Reuters he was seeking the death sentence “The five accused persons deserve not less than the death penalty,” he said. His thoughts are not very different than the thoughts of many others throughout India, not to mention throughout the world. If it were left to the father of the victim, they would all die by hangings.
Five of the accused remain without an attorney. A very scary thought is that their lack of representation could give them grounds for appeal if they are found guilty. There have been numerous cases in India that have resulted in acquittals years after convictions, much to the dismay of the victims and their families. The Bar Association in India has vowed not to represent these criminals in this particular rape case, which sounds so contrary to American jurisprudence. One attorney though, Manohar Lal Sharma offered his representation, but was jeered out of the courtroom. It is more than likely that this man would be condemned himself if he goes ahead with his plan to represent any of these criminals.
"The accused has a right to a lawyer from point of arrest - the investigations are going on, statements being taken, it is totally illegal," said Colin Gonsalves, a senior Supreme Court advocate and director of Delhi's Human Rights Law Network.
There is an ongoing panel within the government that is taking up considerations to make the death penalty mandatory for rape but not only that. They are also thinking of introducing forms of chemical castration for the guilty. Their weighty decision will be made by January, 23 of this year. Let us pray for a quick and speedy trial.
Six fast-track courts will be launched in this country of close to 1.5 billion people because trials there can last for many years. A five year trial is not unheard of either. Chief Justice Altamas Kabir has been the author of this deal, and it definitely is considered a smart move on his part.
Women in India need greater protection, and this is being offered them now, but it has been a long time coming. Echoes of “Too little, too late” reverberate throughout the masses. This country has long swept sexual abuse and violence under the rug for far too long. Many that were to be held accountable never were, and who suffer? The women are the ones that suffer, and who knows how many other of the population are affected by these crimes as well.