Castration as a form of punishment – used in some countries but can it reform?

This is not the first time such a suggestion has been mooted by a court in India.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: October 27, 2015 5:43 pm
Castration, minor rape punishment, castration as punishment, madras high court castration, madras high court judgement, madras HC, madras HC judgement, madras HC castration judgement, india news, indian express Madras HC recently asked the Center to consider castration as a punishment for those convicted for rapes of minors.

A Madras High Court judgement last week has asked the central government to consider castration as punishment for those convicted in rape cases where the victims are children.

This is not the first time such a suggestion has been mooted by a court in India. In 2011, a Delhi sessions judge had suggested chemical castration for child rapists as an alternative to a jail term. While acknowledging that it may not be the perfect solution to inhibit child molestation, the judge said that it would certainly discourage sexual assault better than incarceration.

Like the 2011 judgment, Madras HC judgment has also relied on the prevalent practice in some of the states in the US and other countries where castration has been incorporated as a statutory punishment to deal with the pedophiles. Nine states in the US, namely California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Lousiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin, prescribe chemical castration as an alternative to penalties such as imprisonment or death penalty.

In 2010, Argentina’s Mendoza province authorized voluntary chemical castration for rapists in lieu of reduced sentences. Some other countries like UK, Poland, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia and South Korea have also included chemical castration, primarily on a voluntary basis as an alternative punishment for sexual offenders.

However, as recent as in 2013, the proposition for slotting in castration as a form of punishment in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been shot down by Justice J S Verma Committee which was set up to revamp the criminal laws in the country after the outrage over Delhi’s December 16 fatal gangrape case. The committee had said that this punishment “fails to treat the social foundations of rape” and that it would be “unconstitutional and inconsistent with human rights treaties to expose citizens to the potentially dangerous medical side effects of castration without their consent.”

Further, castration being a retributive form of justice does not sit well with the criminal justice system of India where reformative practices have always assumed prime consideration. As strong and controversial as the HC’s suggestion may sound, it is not for the courts to dictate to Parliament the kind of law the lawmakers should frame. The courts must act within the boundaries of what the current laws stipulate.

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  1. D
    Dec 7, 2016 at 5:20 am
    Yes castration by injection should be the punishment and the victim should be the one to administer the needles as she would feel power over her rapist. The injections should continue for 5 to 8 years if he is remorseful, if not then for his entire life. Imagine getting injections every week for life without any option. It is very humiliating to have the woman whom you raped, be in total control of you. She wins you lose.
    1. R
      Oct 27, 2015 at 5:09 pm
      Why not? Why cant we try it and see ?
      1. B
        Oct 27, 2015 at 11:23 pm
        If it all castration becomes law for rape, there will be no more rapes in India. The punishment should be meted out when there is 100% proof against the perpetrator.
        1. J
          j s
          Oct 28, 2015 at 6:43 am
          Public opinion makes some sense. It must be taken into consideration.
          1. M
            Oct 28, 2015 at 1:02 am
            Criminal justice is based on many theories, one we all know is 'punishment'. The other we know less well is "protection of society". Whether or not the individual offender can be reformed, is worth asking. But no court and no legislature can fail to protect society, especially the weak and vulnerable. Children are the most vulnerable. What the LEFT-LIBS have done in most democracies is to make us focus mostly on the offender, his 'human rights', but in the process, these ideologues have made us forget the VICTIM and her FAMILY. For very serious offenders and repeat offenders, chemical castration may be the ONLY reliable manner of protecting society.
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