oppn parties What 'Settlement' Can There Ever Be In Rape Cases?

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What 'Settlement' Can There Ever Be In Rape Cases?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2022-05-29 08:17:40

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

How could the parents and families of rape survivors be so heartless as to even think of coming to a 'settlement' with the perpetrator and/or his family? And what 'settlement' can ever be done? That it leads to even graver consequences was proved when a 14-year-old rape victim in Bareilly hanged herself in another room after she heard that her family was negotiating a 'settlement' with the family of the perpetrator.

Can there ever be a 'settlement' in a criminal case, and that too of rape? Will families ever understand what a girl - a 14-year-old at that - has gone through when she was raped? Can they ever understand her agony, her fear, her scars and the mental trauma she is going through? If they did, they would never even talk to the perpetrator's family, let alone negotiate a 'settlement'.

Imagine the helplessness the girl must have felt when she heard what was going on in the other room. To listen to her parents and other members of her family talk to the perpetrator and his family and negotiate 'terms of settlement' through which they would withdraw the criminal case against him would have felt as if her family was abandoning her and cared nothing about her pain.

There can be no 'settlement' in such cases. If rape has taken place, the perpetrator needs to be punished as per law. That would deter others from committing the crime. The rich will always commit the offence and buy their way out of trouble if 'settlements' are allowed in such cases. That would defeat the purpose of the law and justice will not be done to the survivor. It will also amount to putting a price on the crime. The role of the police in acting as facilitators of such 'settlements' must also be probed.