Capital Punishment: A Boon or Bane

(This blog opposes Capital Punishment.)

“Justice cannot be for one side alone but, must be for both.” Quoted by ELEANOR ROOSEVELT.

Capital punishment, death penalty for severe crimes is provided under sections 121, 132, 194, 302, 307, 396 and 364-A of the INDIAN PENAL CODE.

The main motive behind this type of punishment is to deter the public at large and stop crimes. But, can a society ever be crime free? If not then how can we validate capital punishment?

In that case capital punishment is a hastened justice, against natural justice and against fundamental rights as well. A momentary victory and a temporary justice.

I quote, violence can never bring permanent justice.

Honorable Supreme Court in the case Bachchan Singh v. State of Punjab held that a mandatory capital punishment is unconstitutional.

In Mithu v. State of Punjab, Supreme Court held that death penalty must be given only in rare of the rarest cases.

But, here several questions are unanswered. What is the extent of the term rare of the rarest? Is capital punishment an appropriate option? Are death penalties really successful in reducing crime from the society?

Our society is based on reformative theory of punishment. This theory believes that no person is criminal by birth. There are some circumstances or situations that make him criminal.

Isn’t it contradictory that on one hand, we talk about reformation and provides right to life as a fundamental life and grant capital punishments, abridging their fundamental right as well?

While drafting the Indian Constitution, the founding fathers made provisions for amendments under Article 368 for any scopes of reformation. Then, why shouldn’t a human being get chances of amendments in life?

I believe, if you want to end a problem you must destroy the roots. What is the root cause of being a criminal? Isn’t it our education system that teaches us how to get good grades and not to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong? That teaches us how to behave and not why to do so? Isn’t it a failure of our society that teaches us that being successful is the sole purpose of life instead of teaching how to fight evils and how to deal with failure?

The poverty, the society, the expensive education, the unskilled degree, the unemployment, the difficulties of life and the empty mind full of anger, impatience, depression, possessiveness, madness, lack of morality & confidence are those situations, our reformative theory talks about, the root causes that sprout the evils.

Robert Green Ingorell well said,

“Justice should remove the bandage from her eyes long enough to distinguish between the vicious and unfortunate.”

A couple of days ago, a news headline was published that read, “A 21 yrs. old, stabbed his girlfriend 80 times to death and hanged himself too.” They dated for four long years and wanted to get married but the parents denied. So the anger, the possession, the madness played its role. 80 stabs! Isn’t it heinous? Whose fault is this? Not of the society or its rigid norms? Or of the school that did not taught him the theory of natural justice?

A person with no criminal history. What if he remained alive? A death punishment. Is it that impossible to rehabilitate a person?

 I think we are human beings, not programs!! A life can’t be undervalued.

Again, our judiciary provides severe punishments like death penalty to portray the example that your actions might cost your life. But what if the offender have no fear to die? Like the boy who hanged himself after murder or like those suicide bombers. One other case I read in a corner of a newspaper a few days ago said, a doctor killed his 80 patients for organ trafficking. Had been charged in many such cases. Moreover, the problem lies behind the training, when a doctor is unaware of the clear-cut difference between curing the throat and cutting the throat. Do such serial killers fear their life? No. they continue committing crime until they are caught.

No, it do not opine that criminals must be freed. But death punishments must not be an option. In fact, these small constituents may lead to the whole criminal world, the terrorist organisations or the organ trafficking rackets.

We consider the criminals are of insolvent minds. They commit offences under its effect. But, we, and our judicial system, are in our superior senses and possess the ability to think. Then killing a person in return to his crime, doesn’t that sound like a revenge?

A belief is accepted by public at large that a capital punishment to the criminal would make the deceased victim’s soul rest in peace. Aren’t we killing the criminal in revenge doesn’t that portray the mentality as of that criminal?

“Violence as a way of achieving justice is both, immoral and impractical.”

That’s why, I say, capital punishment must not be an option.

Section 194 of Indian Penal Code provides death punishment for “giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence and if the innocent person be thereby convicted and executed.”

This section itself indirectly represents a loophole in our judicial system. Any judicial decision is based upon the evidences and witnesses presented in the court of law. What if only a part or altered or manipulated evidences or witnesses are presented due to which an innocent loses his life? Judgment is not a mirror of justice.

Section 149 depicts a possibility of such incidence. So we can conclude that there are chances of wrong judicial decision then how can we risk a life on the basis of a decision, even we are not sure of?

An American Novelist, James Baldwin quotes,

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

Since independence, 759 judicial killings have been executed. Article 72 and article 161 of Indian constitution confers the pardoning power in the president and the governor respectively.

Former president Pranab Mukherjee had rejected 24 mercy pleas, his predecessor, Pratibha Patil granted a record 30 pardons, some of which were cases of brutal crimes.

Present president Ram Nath Kovind, has rejected at least two mercy pleas yet.

The grounds for granting mercy pleas range from physical fitness, age, law was too harsh, or the convict is the sole breadwinner of the family.

These grounds of granting mercy appeals must be used by judicial authorities as well.

I requote, not always, “judgment is the mirror of justice.”

And, therefore, I oppose capital punishment.

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