Sentencing in rape case doesn't fix Indian justice system

On September 18, 2013

Four men were sentenced to death in New Delhi, India on Sept. 10, after raping a 23-year-old woman on a bus, who later died from the horrific injuries she sustained from the attack.

But while this brutal case came to a close, this is one of the many typifying examples regarding India’s countless rape cases reported annually, cases that still do not see justice through the Indian judicial system.

In early 2011, 95,000 cases were awaiting trial in court, and according to The New York Times, only 16 percent of them were resolved by the end of that year.

The statistics speak for themselves. The rape case in New Delhi has left the public in fury as people demand more attention be put on this serious issue.

Hiring more judges would be an effective way to make sure that these cases aren’t pushed aside and treated as minute problems. A study conducted by the United Nations shows that in 2008, India held a ratio of 14 judges for 1 million people, ranking India as the fourth lowest from the 65 nations that were studied.

Many factors may lead to the lack of judges’ positions being filled, such as budget constraints and the lack of qualified contenders.

But besides needing a fully functional judiciary system, India’s police departments are a part of the blame for the rape crimes being committed.

According to indiatogether.org, an Indian news and human rights agency, groping and touching women in crowded public places is done daily with no repercussions to the point that women have learned to accept constantly being victims of sexual harassment. The website states the police have a reputation of shrugging off complaints of sexual harassment and rape, at times even humiliating the victims, causing them to refrain from going to the police.

But hope lies in uplifting the weight of the value of such crimes, which must first start in the government and be executed. As many more women are victimized in crimes of rape, protests and media coverage will continue to put pressure on the justice systems within India and abroad.

Lama Alqasemi is a freshman majoring in mass communications.

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