Friday, 8 September 2017


“I believe that more people would be alive today if there were a death penalty.” ― Nancy Reagan

Capital Punishment is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violation of criminal law of the land. Since time immemorial people have been put into death for various forms of wrong doing. Methods of execution have included such practises as crucifixion, stoning,drowning, burning at the stake, impaling and beheading. Today capital punishment is typically accomplished by hanging.
The Death penalty is a process, where the life of a person is taken by the State by following the due procedure of law. Capital punishment is, in all cases, given for the most heinous of crimes. During recent times, there has been a global trend to abolish the capital punishment. However, India has yet not abolished the capital punishment (though the Court awards the capital punishment in rarest of the rare case). What makes the capital punishment a unique form of punishment is the nature of irreversibility attached to it.
Capital punishment has been used over the years by almost every society in order to punish the guilty for some particular crimes such as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes such as rape, adultery and sodomy carry the death penalty, so does religious crimes such as apostasy (the formal renunciation of the State religion).
An accepted principle of the society is that every person has an equal right to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” Within that framework, an argument for capital punishment can be formulated along the following lines, some acts are so vile and destructive for the society that they in validate the right of the committer even to life. This punishment must be inflicted for the sake of maintaining law and order in society.
According to recent studies, life imprisonment costs 10 times lesser than when a person is executed after anelongated process or the bureaucratic procedure that has to be undergone for a person to be executed.
There is anassumption that death penalty is the worst way of violating human rights, because right to live is the most significant right. A few believe that judicial hanging is one of the forms of legal murder.
There would be total anarchism if death penalty would be abolished because everyone fears death, who would want to end their life? So death penalty may act as a deterrent for future crimes that are going to be committed. Abolitionists may contend that death penalty should be abolished because human life is precious and cannot be valued for anything.
There has been a huge debate around the world over the use of death penalty; whether it should exist or not. Every man has a right to live. Article 21 of the Indian constitution provides to its citizens ‘protection of life and personal liberty’ – no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. This exception to life has created a dilemma across the world.
Insofar as the Court has interpreted Article 21′s guarantee of the right to life to include treating all individuals with dignity, the judgment reaffirms the humanism that is the foundation the Constitution, and that whatever the crime might have been, human beings continue to have a legitimate claim to be treated with dignity under the Constitution.
The most compelling arguments against capital punishment can be made on the basis of its actual administration of the society.
At the international level, the most important treaty provision relating to the death penalty is Article 6 of the ICCPR. At the time the ICCPR was drafted (1947-1966), just ten countries had abolished the death penalty.
According to Amnesty International, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty. In 2012, only one country, Latvia, abolished the death penalty for all crimes. In 2013, 22 countries around the world were known to have carried out executions and at least 57 to have imposed death sentences.
Although Article 6 of the ICCPR permits the use of the death penalty in limited circumstances, it also provides that “nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant.”
SecondOptional Protocol to ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
In 1989, 33 years after the adoption of the Covenant itself, the UN General Assembly adopted the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPRthat gave abolition decisive new momentum. Member States which became parties to the Protocol agreed not to execute anyone within their jurisdictions. India has not signed the ICCPR Optional Protocol II.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is an Indian government agency, created in 1986, responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The NCRB has documented death penalties and executions in India since 1995, as part of its prison statistics. There are no collated figures available for executions before 1995.
Opposing the death penalty does not indicate a lack of sympathy for murder victims. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life. Because life is precious and death irrevocable, murder is abhorrent, and a policy of state-authorized killings is immoral. State can’t kill its public for establishing law. Therefore one should respect each and every human being.
The best thing is that country don’t have any law in which death penalty is mandatory. And there was no particular definition of rarest of rare cases is given under any legislation so the situation where the capital punishment is given is not fixed.
In conclusion, the present practice of capital punishment is regarded by many a moral disgrace. The irony is that the societies that have the least right to inflict it are precisely most likely to do so. The compounding irony is that the economic malfunction and cultural diseases in the society contribute to the violence that makes it necessary to unleash even more repression and brutality against its unruly citizens to preserve orders in the society. It is reasonable to believe that the demand for capital punishment will be reduced or eliminated.
Sayantani De Tarafder
Assisstant Professor
School of law

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