New Delhi, Jan 12: The Supreme Court of India indicated that there needs to be harsher punishment to those who indulge in child rape. One of the punishments that has been suggested is chemical castration.
Chemical castration does sound regressive but then the statistics relating to child rape do not look encouraging as well.
What is chemical castration?
Chemical castration was a punishment which was first used in California in 1996. The punishment was used for persons convicted for child molestation. The law however stated that an accused will be handed over this punishment after a deliberation, but it also added that for a second time offender, he cannot oppose of reject this form of punishment.
Chemical castration is the administration of an anti androgen drug or a birth control drug. The drugs that are most commonly used in other parts of the world are the cyproterone acetate or the depo provera. It does not castrate a person, but the administration of these drugs reduces the libido and also the sexual urge of the person.
However it must also be noted that this administration is not a one time solution and case studies have shown that the drugs need to be administered time to time. In most cases the effect wears out in three months and hence needs to be re-administered. In the case of a convict it becomes the responsibility of the state to ensure that the drug is administered every three months once the effect wears out.
Can it be introduced in India?
After the Nirbhaya incident there was a demand being made to introduce death penalty in rape cases. However caution had to be exercised since there are several false rape cases that are filed in India. It was decided to stick to the provision that a death sentence will be imposed if there is rape and murder. This meant the section 376 IPC (rape) would be read with Section 302 (murder) in case of rape and murder.
Legal experts point out that if at all there is a decision to introduce chemical castration then it ought to be added to the existing law that is Section 376. Here it has been proposed that chemical castration shall be used only in cases of child rape. For those who rape children, chemical castration would be a better option as it kills their urge and moreover such crimes are looked as a mental disease.
What does chemical castration do?
Chemical castrationdecreases the sex drive in a man. The side effects are not life threatening in nature. In some cases it has shown that chemical castration would increase the body fat and also men may experience effects such as gynecomastia which is a feminising effect.
This would mean that the man administered with the drug would have reduction of body hair, lose muscle mass and have a larger mammary glands. However the main intention would be reduce the sexual drive in a man and medical science has also proven it helps in stopping fantasising by a man.
The administration of this drug has proven to be effective and those who have undergone chemical castration have never shown any signs of committing the offence once again.
While it was first used as a punishment in California in the year 1996 for child molestation cases, it was quickly followed up by Florida, Georgia,Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. However in all these places it has been mandatory to chemically castrate a person in case of a second offence. The first time offenders are given a chance for rehabilitation.
In the United Kingdom the last case of chemical castration was reported in the year 2010. It was administered on a 60 year old man who was accused of raping his grand daughters. In this case however he voluntarily chose to undergo the treatment.
The other countries that have legalised chemical castration on sexual offenders are Isreael, Argentina, South Korea and Russia.