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Capital Punishment

  • Date Submitted: 11/06/2013 04:57 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.9 
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Three of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins have been scheduled to hanged to death on Sept 9.
Last execution in India was in 2004: Dhananjoy Chatterjee
96 countries have already abolished CP.
34 are observing official or non-official moratorium on CP.
CP is a throwback to a medievalist bloodlust that has no place in the modern criminal justice system.

Some issues
  * Long pendency of clemency petitions

NHRC Chairperson K G Balakrishnan has favoured capital punishment arguing that it is awarded in the rarest of rare cases and has a deterrent effect.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic, One Hundred Years of Solitude, begins with a line that could be read as a powerful argument against capital punishment: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, General Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
The imminent extinction of a sentient life endowed with thought and memory, linked intimately to the lives of others, is a fearsome thing. So it is entirely understandable why that angst-ridden question — Should India remove capital punishment from its statute books? — refuses to go away. Here we are, with our much-feted legacy of non-violence, with our burnished democratic Constitution and Credentials, still attached by the feet to the ever-shrinking corner of the globe which continues to defend the death penalty.
Uneasy defence
It has been an uneasy defence for sure. The umbrella formulation that the death penalty should only be accorded in the “rarest of rare cases”, put forward in 1980 by the Supreme Court in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, has remained an uncertain talisman with Indian courts interpreting it in an astoundingly variegated manner, but it has remained a talisman nevertheless. Indian Presidents, too, have routinely dragged their feet over rejecting mercy pleas. The country has also, incidentally, seen attempts to institutionally “reform” the administration of the death penalty. The ‘Model Prison...


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