This lawyer's PIL helped bring death penalty for child rapists
Yesterday, in a much-needed move, the government approved death penalty for rapists of minors below 12. The push by certain activists had a role to play. DCW Chief Swati Maliwal went on a hunger strike for nine days. Then there was Alakh Alok Srivastava, whose PIL brought the issue to discussion. His fight for rights of rape victims has been going on since long.
Srivastava left a high-paying job to fight for the marginalized
Srivastava topped his batch at the Indian Law Institute in 2012, he told HT. At his convocation, former CJI SH Kapadia handed out medals and certificates. When he met Srivastava, "he told me that young people like me should fight for marginalized sections of the society." And soon after, a motivated Srivastava left his well-paying law officer's job in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited.
He fought to terminate pregnancy of a 10-year-old rape survivor
In 2014, the advocate started his own practice. He filed his first PIL last July, in the case of a 10-year-old Chandigarh rape survivor who birthed her uncle's child. He had sought permission for termination of pregnancy, and even though a medical-board was constituted after much delay, it was too late. "But the attention the case generated ensured the girl was adopted," he said.
Demand for death penalty after rape of an 8-month-old
Srivastava's fight for death penalty for rapists began when an eight-month-old was raped by her 28-year-old cousin in Delhi. He visited her after reading about the case. "It was a heart-wrenching experience. Her parents are daily wagers and could not afford her treatment." He then approached the SC, which directed proper treatment of the survivor. Her family is thankful: she survived because of him.
The father of two daughters feels for parents of victims
Having two daughters keeps Srivastava determined and encourages him to take up cases of young victims of heinous crimes, he says. "As a father, I feel for the parents of these children. I won't be able to forgive myself, if I look the other way."