Govt told to consider capital punishment for crimes against elderly

Observing that crimes against senior citizens are similar to “epidemics” and require urgent and serious remedies,a Delhi Sessions court has called on the government to counter the steep rise in such crimes,by making them punishable with death.

Written by Jayant Sriram | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2012 2:14:21 am

Observing that crimes against senior citizens are similar to “epidemics” and require urgent and serious remedies,a Delhi Sessions court has called on the government to counter the steep rise in such crimes,by making them punishable with death.

Additional Sessions judge Narinder Kumar noted that while the lawmakers have recently taken steps to provide for harsher punishment in cases of sexual offences,a similar move can be considered for crimes committed on the elderly.

“Having regard to gravity of nature of sexual offences,the Legislature has taken steps to provide for stricter punishments for the criminals. This court feels that our wise representatives in Parliament should provide for capital punishment in such cases also,where senior citizens are the victims,so as to teach a lesson to the offenders and to deter others from indulging in crimes against senior citizens,” the judge said.

The observation came while the court was awarding a jail sentence to two men,Sunil Kumar and Arjun Sharma,convicted of conspiring to rob a 70-year-old woman. According to the prosecution,the woman used to run a shop near her home in Karol Bagh. On the day of the incident,Sharma and an accomplice allegedly followed her to her home and attacked her by tying her hands and feet. They then allegedly blindfolded the woman,and locked her inside the bathroom,where they removed her jewellery before stealing money and gold from her almirah.

Prosecution said Sharma and his accomplice were given information about the woman’s movements by Sunil Kumar,who worked as a domestic help in the neighbouring house. The woman was eventually rescued by her son,who had come to visit her.

“The manner in which the old helpless lady was blindfolded,confined to the bathroom and robbed,gives a jolt to the judicial conscious of the court,” ASJ Kumar said.

As the two convicts were charged only for robbery,the court said maximum punishment that could be awarded to them under the Indian Penal Code was imprisonment for a period of up to 10 years along with a fine. However,it said that in view of the increasing number of crimes being committed upon senior citizens,the law has to change if it is to maintain peace in the society.

“If present remedy to prevent or curb the crime is inadequate,concerned authorities have to ponder over a better remedy. Even a doctor would enhance the dose of the drug to provide relief to his patient. After all,epidemics require urgent and serious remedies. Day and night,senior citizens are being targeted by criminals… State is duty-bound to ensure them safety,” the judge said.

The court sentenced the convicts,Sunil Kumar and Arjun Sharma,to 10 years in prison along with a fine of Rs 50,000 each.

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