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Lack of rule of law root cause of rampant rape cases in India

(People's Daily Online)

09:19, January 19, 2013

Key Words: India; rape; college student;

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Shortly after the black bus gang rape, another two rape cases occurred in India, and one of the rape victims is a six-year-old girl. At present, Indian police are sparing no effort hunting the suspects.

The frequent rape cases in India have attracted widespread attention at home and abroad. Foreign mainstream media have analyzed the rape incidences and police countermeasures in different Indian cities as well as the Indian tradition of discrimination against women in a relatively objective manner in their possibly cliché-ridden articles. By contrast, certain Chinese commentaries are highly targeted, saying that the gang rape tore the "scar" and "veil" of the Indian democracy.

These commentaries are all centered on the same theme - the rape cases show the fakeness and failure of the Indian democracy. They have further indicated that if India continues to take the old path, rape will remain rampant in the country.
Their conclusions are obviously wrong. In fact, the rape cases in India have nothing to do with democracy, and should be attributed to the lack of rule of law. Legal scholar Cai Dingjian said that uncoordinated levels of democracy and rule of law are the main cause of India's high incidence of rape.
According to judicial data and the media's survey results, it is indisputable that India has a high incidence of rape, and it is risky for women to travel alone in the country. Incidents such as "rape case pending for 16 years" and "sergeant jailed 20 years after raping young girl" are commonplace in the country because the old Indian Evidence Act and Indian Penal Code fail to provide fair proceedings for rape victims.

Ironically, when existing laws are shelved and current law enforcement is lax, the Indian government tends to abuse legislative means and make empty statements on severely punishing criminals due to pressure from public opinion. After the black bus gang rape, the Indian Congress has proposed such tough punishments as imprisonment of up to 30 years and chemical castration. As early as 2002, then Deputy Prime Minister of India L.K. Advani said that rapists should be sentenced to death. However, empty talk is useless.
It is worth noting that local Indian lawyers have refused to defend the bus gang rape suspects. Public opinion has forced the lawyers to abandon the basic elements of rule of law and their professional ethics. The rape cases have reflected the other side of India, and should be attributed to the lack of rule of law rather than constitutional democracy.

If rule of law cannot keep pace with development of democracy, it would be a disaster for democracy itself.

Read the Chinese version: 印度强奸案:无关民主,有关法治; Source: Beijing News

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