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What is wrong with setting up a Sex Offenders’ Registry? Shweta Goswami

Guest Post by SHWETA GOSWAMI

The NDA government seems to have started pushing forward the regressive proposal of the previous UPA government to set up a sex offenders’ registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in some western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.

According to the proposal the details of sex offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).The government plans to publicize their photographs, addresses, PAN card details, Aadhaar card number, fingerprints and DNA samples through this registry.

The information on offenders to be collected for the Registry include those related to their jobs, professional licenses, information of schools, colleges, institutions with which they have been associated, vehicle information, date of birth and criminal history.

The details would be put up only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail. The details will not be included if the cases are under trial and are in appeal in a higher court.

Failed logic of deterrence

Considered to be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies, the offenders’ registry is being envisaged as a deterrence by the ministers in the government since it will instill fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would benefit from it. My concern is, whom does the government want to deter? Individual offenders or men in general? (I say men, because I understand sexual violence as male violence and women offenders as an anomaly). If it is the individual offender, only a couple of offenders would make it to the list given the low conviction rate and the snail-paced judicial processes. Given the inconsistency between the rate of crime committed and the rate of conviction, I doubt if the registry would be of any help for the public to stay vigilant against sex offenders. Continue reading What is wrong with setting up a Sex Offenders’ Registry? Shweta Goswami