The death sentence awarded to four criminals for raping and murdering a young woman last year was perhaps the swiftest such verdict in India’s judicial history. The court must be lauded for its work.
It was heartening to read justice Yogesh Khanna’s words when he said, “These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant, and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes.”
This paper has argued that India has witnessed a dangerous de-linking between the deterrent effect of the law and the prevalence of crimes such as rape and murder. Hopefully, this judgement will prod the judicial leadership to devise ways to restore fear of the law among criminals. It must not be forgotten that the fast-tracking of this case took place after mass protests. There are many such cases that continue to languish under the weight of judicial procedure. That must change.