Former Prime Minister and JDS Chief H D Deve Gowda today refused to condemn the controversial statement of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav questioning the death penalty for rape.
"He (Mulayam) has got every right. Every political party has got their own views. Why should I condemn anybody? Ultimately, the Supreme Court and President of India are going to take a decision," Gowda told reporters on the margins of the release of JDS Lok Sabha Election Manifesto here.
Yadav has stoked a controversy, questioning the death penalty for rape, saying "mistakes" by boys happen sometimes, which has sparked outrage among rival parties and women's groups.
Questioning death sentence to three men convicted of two gangrapes in Mumbai last week, Yadav had asked "should rape cases be punished with hanging?"
"Ladke, ladke hain. Galti ho jati hai (Boys are boys. Mistakes happen sometimes)," he told an election rally in Moradabad.
Gowda said capital punishment was an issue pending before the Supreme Court and it cannot be decided by any one individual, but ultimately all views will be taken by the Supreme Court.
Talking about the rape, Gowda said such crime brings shame to the country. "What is going on for last two years, India's image has taken a hit," he said.
Gowda said the legislation passed by the Parliament also has not curtailed it or brought down the incidence of gangrapes and rapes in the country.
"It is time for all of us to discuss steps to prevent such heinous act and restore the image of India in the world," he said.