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What is chemical castration? Will it STOP rape?

Last updated on: December 31, 2012 13:40 IST

What is chemical castration? Will it STOP rape?

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Vicky Nanjappa

Vicky Nanjappa reports on the effectiveness of chemical castration as a deterrent for sexual assault on women

The Congress plan to include chemical castration as a punishment for rapists and sexual offenders has found support with legal experts and the police who feel that this form of punishment would remind the accused person of his crime all through his life.

Unlike common belief, chemical castration is not a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed. It is basically a procedure in which an anti-androgen or a birth control drug is administered to a person.

The drugs most commonly used across the world are cyproterone acetate or depo provera.

Dr Sudheer Kulkarni from Bengaluru told rediff.com that this treatment 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 the administration of these drugs is not a one-time solution and case studies have shown that the effect wears out in three months and hence needs to be re-administered time to time.

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Photographs: Getty Images

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In the case of a rape convict, it becomes the responsibility of the State to ensure that the drug is administered every three months once the effect wears out.

The side effects of the drugs are not life-threatening in nature. In some cases, it has shown that chemical castration increases the body fat and mammary glands. Men may also experience gynecomastia, which is a feminising effect.

Legal experts say that the idea of chemical castration is to ensure that the convict lives the rest of his life with the thought of what he has done.

Medical science has shown that a person administered with this drug can grow very frustrated and in some cases it has proven to be more fatal than a life or death sentence.

It has been used in cases across the world where there has been a threat of a re-offence. Those who have undergone chemical castration have never shown any signs of committing the offence once again.

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Tags: STOP

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While it was first used as a punishment in California in the year 1996 for child molestation cases, it was quickly followed up by other American states like 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. First-time offenders are given a chance for rehabilitation.

In the United Kingdom, the last case of chemical castration was reported in 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.
In Poland, a legislation to make chemical castration mandatory was passed in 2009 for persons found to be guilty of committing a sexual offence on a girl below the age of 15.

Other countries that have legalised chemical castration on sexual offenders are Isreael, Argentina, South Korea and Russia.

In India, there has been an outcry to impose a death penalty for those committing rape. Lawmakers would find it impossible to amend Section 376, which gives a provision to sentence a person to life imprisonment and also include a death penalty clause.

There are numerous judgments which indicate that death penalty is not a commodity available in the market and there has to be caution while imposing such a sentence.

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C V Nagesh, senior advocate, says that this issue needs to be debated and if at all chemical castration is introduced as a punishment under Section 376, then it ought to be added to the existing punishment.

To hand over life sentence under rape the circumstance and the gravity of the offence would be taken into consideration.

In some cases there are sentences of five to seven years, which are handed over while in brutal cases the sentence is for life. The law makers have to add chemical castration to the existing punishments available under Section 376.

However, the issue needs a thorough debate and like the rest of the countries should be mandatory only to offenders who show no signs of reform, Nagesh adds.

 



Tags: Nagesh , STOP

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