Sex Offender Registry in India is Ill-Conceived

So in the latest salvo against men, the central government in India is planning a sex offender registry.  Given the record of gender equality in law in India, it is no surprise at all that the list will only contain people involved in “crimes against women”.

But an even more appalling part of this development is that people will be included in this registry even when they haven’t been convicted.

The TOI has learnt that the home ministry’s preliminary discussions on the names to be placed in the sex offenders list had some legal experts objecting to “naming and shaming” of sex offenders at the chargesheet stage. There was a view that it would be a rather unfair arrangement were the cases against the charged offenders to end up in acquittal.

“The legal experts felt it would cause irreparable harm to the reputation, besides affecting livelihood of an accused who is ultimately found by the court to be innocent/wrongly implicated,” a home ministry officer said adding that the general outlook during the discussions had favoured uploading of names of only those convicted for sexual crimes.

However, it now seems that this opinion has been overruled and the home ministry does not feel it necessary to wait for the due legal process to be over to educate the public about sex offenders around them. “The name can be removed once the charged person is acquitted. But until then, the purpose of alerting people will be served,” said an officer.

Only when it comes to feminist laws, and especially in India, is an accused considered guilty until proven innocent.

Everybody knows that in India, a woman just has to lodge a complaint with the police for the man’s name to be splashed in the media, and he and his family intimidated and arrested by the police.  Everybody also know that the police only copies the original complaint as-is and calls it a “charge-sheet”.  The charge-sheet and the complaint are usually not worth the paper they are printed on.

But instead of fixing the justice delivery, the government of India wants to make the laws more and more draconian.  Criminals aren’t afraid of these laws because the system of criminal justice doesn’t work.  But precisely because it doesn’t work properly that it intimidates and coerces innocent men who have to then face decades of trial and humiliation in the Kafkaesque Indian court system.

Feminists in India, like their US counterparts, are only too happy to give extra-judicial punishment to convicted people who had served their sentences:

This will make sure the rapist is shamed. He won’t get a job, or somewhere to live and will be cut off from society. This is a powerful deterrent,” Kumari, who is also a member of the national commission for empowerment of women, told the Guardian.

Yes, and such a man, having nothing to lose, will do what to become a normal member of society again?

We believe that a list of convicted offenders should be available to the public regardless of crime.  All crimes are crimes, whether they be against men or against women.  And false accusations must be prosecuted with a default punishment equal to that of the original accusation.

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