"The heinous incident of the Delhi gang-rape case last December sent shockwaves across the world, and now, the sentencing of the youngest attackers over the weekend, the case has re-ignited discussion again, he added."
Mumbai, July 14 - A top international lawyer of Indian origin feels it is time for the country to review its sentencing policies when dealing with the most heinous crimes and serious offenders.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner of the London-based Zaiwalla and Co Solicitors said that while India should not emulate the US, which has among the harshest sentences even for juvenile offenders in the world, at the same time, it needs to offer a proper deterrent to criminals, to avoid a situation such as the Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape arising again.
I think India needs to find a middle ground in this regard, he said in an emailed reaction to the recent verdict in the Delhi gang-rape case on the juvenile accused, and clamour from various quarters to treat as adults juveniles involved in heinous crimes.
Zaiwalla pointed out that from a purely practical level, India has upheld the letter of its law which states that juveniles who commit serious crimes, such as murder, get a maximum sentence of three years in a remand home.
However, he said that rape is a very emotive and complex issue and from that viewpoint, a three year sentence is far too lenient when the innocent victim succumbed to the injuries inflicted on her by the accused.
Argument states that the 'young man' in question did not behave like a juvenile when he committed his depraved crime, so why should he be tried as a juvenile? Zaiwalla opined.
The heinous incident of the Delhi gang-rape case last December sent shockwaves across the world, and now, the sentencing of the youngest attackers over the weekend, the case has re-ignited discussion again, he added.
Although India has tightened its anti-rape laws and society is more openly discussing cases of violence against women, it is said that women across India still live with the daily fear of sexual assault and victims still have to deal with police apathy, according to the Mumbai-born Parsi lawyer of global repute.