Why Should We Oppose Death Penalty

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To

His Excellency,
The President of India,
Rashtrapathi Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110 001.

Sub:

Yours Excellency,

We appreciate your initiative for creating a debate on abolishing Death Penalty in India. The points in observation note that has forwarded to Home Ministry (Source : Frontline November 5) was extra ordinary, which shows that Death Penalty will die at the earliest.

WHY SHOULD WE OPPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY?

The thoughts of a Man on Death Row

The feelings of some one who knows that he will not be alive, say, a month from now, not because he is terminally ill, but because he will be killed by the state!.

It is legitimate to ask how a person behaves when he knows that he has a specified number of days to live a specific number of mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights to live and experience before he enters the realm of the unknown.

It is said that many such death row prisoners have probably after an initial period of terror and despair – become calm & collected, resigning themselves to their fate, possibly thinking that, after all, there is an afterlife, that existence in the ordinary sense of the word will not be impaired although it may take on a different form.

This is probably why many death-row-prisoners turn to religions books, especially to passages which try to throw light on life after death, strong & disciplined minds are more than likely to have resource to such simulated ‘peace’ particularly so if they have transgressed the law of the land when indulging in activity springing from deep ideological beliefs. Only poor Human beings hanged

Most of the study on Death Penalty has concluded that only the ‘poorest of poor’ are sentenced to Hanging. The installed question is. Do the better off get away with heinous crime?

Justice on Revenge

Apart from victim family, society also demands the killing, society wants to feel that it is safer without him, that it is a warning to other, but most of all because society wants to see him punished.

Yet if society’s call is for blood, for punishment, for revenge against the murderer, why are courts trying to find a more ‘humane method’ with which to kill? The killing / execution should be an “quick and simple as possible, free from anything that Sharpens the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension.

An Unjust Justice

It is often said that capital punishment is given to those without capital. Most often, those on the death row are those least able to defend themselves in court. The death penalty is applied arbitrarily, depending on such random factors on the competence of lawyers, the strength of evidence, the tampering of proof, the capacity of witnesses to sustain cross examination, the integrity of the witness, plea-bargain or pardons granted.

In this context, the denial of an automatic right of appeal to the supreme court in case the death sentence is confirmed by the High Court requires to be examined. We need to review the right of the High Court to reject death sentence appeals. To prevent the Miscarriage of Justice the death sentence awardees should have an automatic right to appeal to the highest court in the land.

The death penalty has an essential fault – it is irrevocable. Mistakes can be rectified, death cannot. Yet mistakes are inevitable in all systems of Justice, however scrupulous the process and however honest the participants.

World Wide abolition

By the end of 1998, 67 countries had abolished the Death Penalty for all offences and 14 for all but exceptional offences, such as war time crimes, at least 24 countries, which retained the death penalty, in law, were considered abolitionist in practice – they had not executed any one for atleast 10 years or had made as international commitment not to carryout creations.

Some countries reduced the scope of the Death Penalty. A few countries have taken the process of abolishing capital punishment India is today debating whether Death...
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