Death Penalty – Should It Be Abolished??

Death penalty, this word deters every individual. Human activist claims that death penalty is against humanity/human rights. Some individual claim it is a “killing an individual in legalised way”. The one question I want ask is, is it really against to human rights? Is it really posed as a mode of killing?
In India, we have been debating on this very long time. It’s very odd that, human rights activist raise their voice to keep one person alive costing lives of numerous potential & vulnerable victims in the society. We all know that India laws originated from customs and morality and laws are made to protect the vulnerable people or people who cannot raise their voice for themselves due to various reasons. The ultimate question here, is this morally right??
Capital Punishment Meaning & History:
Capital punishment in other words called as death penalty, meaning “An offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court for a crime committed”. It is the punishment which is granted for the most heinous, grievous and detestable crimes against humanity. Capital punishment is the ultimate or highest punishment which can be offered by our court of law.
The capital punishment is traced back to ancient history of the world. For ages and aged it is been practiced by every country in different way. In Saudi or Pakistan it is a tradition to publicly hang the offender who has committed heinous crime and the public will be asked to throw stones at the accused till his last breathe. This may sound outrageous but this is the law or custom followed which created a deterrent effect.
Death penalty was granted to everyone irrespective of their intensity of the offence. During old days, even people who steal things were given death penalty. Later due to civilisation and modernization the laws were amended and made liberal.
 Capital Punishment in India
There are 2 types of death penalty followed in India, they are Hanging and shooting. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, “hanging” is a method followed in the civilian court system”. The Army Act, 1950, enlists both hanging and shooting as official methods of execution in the military court-martial system. According to a research conducted by National Law University in Delhi, there were 755 (approx) people have been hanged to death in India after independence until now. The Government’s policies’ regarding capital punishment in British India stated by our home minister, Sir John Thorne, “The Government does not think it wise to abolish capital punishment for any offence for which that punishment is now followed/executed.
AFTER independence, India withheld many laws including Indian penal code. However there were many amendments made regarding death penalty later they came to a conclusion that capital punishment will be granted only for “rarest of rare” which means which is more grievious and heinous crime like a cold blood offence.
The death penalty prevents future crime:
Society has always used punishment to deter unlawful action from would-be perpetrators. As the local people have the best interest in avoiding murder, the ultimate punishment available to stop murder should be used, and that is the death penalty. If criminals are sentenced to death and hanged, future murderers, for fear of losing their own lives, will think twice before they strike. In addition, even though certain deterrent studies are inconclusive, it is because the death penalty is not actively used and takes years before an execution is done.
“Ernest van den Haag has closely studied the theory of deterrence and said, “While scientific findings are not definitive, it is still believed that capital punishment produces more terror than other punishments”. They fear most deaths actively inflicted by statute and arranged by the courts. Most of the people fear death; no one would like to commit anything which is likely to cost their own life, hence it is effective method to prevent them from committing crimes. Thus the death penalty threat can deter some criminals, who otherwise will not be deterred.
The death penalty has assisted them to reduce the rate of violent crimes in some states, including Alabama. To send a message to career criminals that they will not get away with these severe crimes, we need some form of capital punishment. Some criminals who have committed many violent crimes (robbery, rape and murder) walk the streets like ordinary people because they are too lenient to us. There would not be as many daring and violent crimes as there would be if the death penalty were instituted, as there are presently. Our present laws are much too “soft” on criminals.
In the case of Jagmohan Singh v. State of U.P which was the first case dealing with the question of constitutional validity of capital punishment in India, the SC upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty and held that deprivation of life is constitutionally permissible for being recognized as a permissible punishment by the drafters of our Constitution.
Let’s look into our contemporary society, there are lot of rape cases has been recorded in India especially child abuse cases. Women and kids are being raped irrespective of their age and are being brutally killed by these criminals. These human right activists they raise their voice for an accused and criticize the victim. Our law promised to offer justice, in this case what is justice? Sparing an accused life and costing many innocent women and child’s life? Law must be stringent. In olden days though the punishment seem to deter everyone, it has resulted in reduction of crime.
Capital punishment is the best way of punishing those offenders who engage in act of rape, murder, dacoit, treason etc… along with the civilization the laws become lenient and criminals were happily roaming in the street which resulted in increase in crime rate. People may thing no one has right to take away the life of one person in the form of punishment but, imagine those who lost their life because of these dangerous criminals.
According to me, capital punishment must not be abolished or reduced from its usage because I believe if the law is strict then that’s best way to reduce crime and save lives. When a person loses his loved ones, no matter what the law does, it won’t heal their wound. Indian law brought an alternative remedy termed life imprisonment. Initially life imprisonment is for 21 years later it became 14 years and now if the accused serves half of the punishment with good behaviour, then he can apply for early release. The courts have to step in the shoes of victim and victim’s family. Giving early release or saving the accused from death penalty will set a bad example to other criminals.
Capital punishment is constitutionally valid and does not violate the international human rights. Along with india, almost 58 countries hasn’t removed the capital punishment from the law. These countries are called retentionists. Article 6 (2) of international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says: “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime. Thus, capital punishment can be regulated to avoid violation of article 21 but it shouldn’t be abolished.
The famous and recent case, is Nirbhaya Delhi gang rape case, I agree Supreme Court granted death penalty to those accused but what’s the point? Justice delayed is justice denied. Capital punishment has to be granted for certain heinous crime and court should strictly turn down appeal and bail petitions for those crimes.
In Bacchan singh case, the court held that the judge must not be a spoke person of public opinion and should not act on biased. Further, it was held that the judges should decide a case using accused centric approach. I deny it, it doesn’t matter whether the accused can be reformed or not. Many accused engage in heinous crime with right mind. The ultimate question is why they have to be reformed or how can they be reformed when they do such things in right mind.
I strongly deny the judgement rendered in the Bacchan Singh case. Hereby I conclude by saying that the laws made to protect the people and it is not wrong to punish those who has done injustice to the society with death penalty. I believe, laws have to be stringent to prevent the any further crime and protect the society. Today India lack in deterrence hence, there is continuity of crimes and human rights are specifically for humans not for monsters.


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