Essay-21 : Should Capital Punishment be abolished in India?

Capital punishment is the punishment of death which is generally awarded to those guilty of heinous crimes, particularly murder and child rape. In India, this punishment is known as “hanging by the neck” till the death of the criminal.

This is an essay candidates must understand the crux of the problem. When you are writing a test don’t get too emotional. Show your equanimity and be poised.

Since India has become a soft target for many terrorists, India has not abolished capital punishment. India has since long been maintaining its stance. But what are the pros and cons of awarding Capital Punishment? Our Indian judiciary system believes 100 criminals escape from the crime they had committed but one innocent who has not committed any crime should not be punished by the erroneous judgment of the judiciary system.. Now Read on…

Essay-21 : Should Capital Punishment be abolished in India?


Should Capital Punishment be abolished in India?

Capital punishment is the punishment of death which is generally awarded to those guilty of heinous crimes, particularly murder and child rape. In India, this punishment is known as “hanging by the neck” till the death of the criminal. In other countries, shooting, electric chair, etc., are the various devices used for the purpose. Currently 58 nations actively practice it, and 97 countries have abolished it. The 2012 figures on the use of the death penalty confirm that the overall trend globally is towards abolition: only one in 10 countries worldwide carried out death sentences. In many parts of the world, executions are becoming a thing of the past.

Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The judicial order that someone be punished in this manner is a death sentence, while the actual process of killing the person is an execution. Although the imposition of the death penalty is supposed to conform to the ‘rarest of the rare’ standard, it can be imposed in cases ranging from murder to narcotic offences to kidnapping for ransom. According to data released by the country’s National Crime Records Bureau, at the end of 2012, India had 477 convicts in its jails either waiting for execution or commutation of their death penalty into life imprisonment. In India, the power to grant pardon is conferred upon the President of India and the Governors of States under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution of India.

Though the awarding of capital punishment, especially for murder, according to age-old tradition was legitimate, in recent times there has been much hue and cry against it. It has been said that capital punishment is brutal, that it is according to the law of jungle – “an eye for an eye”, and “tooth for a tooth”. It is pointed out that there can be no more place for it in a civilized country. Moreover, judges are not infallible and there are instances where innocent people have been hanged to death due to some error of judgment. Sociologists and abolitionists call it is as “judicial murder”. Human rightists argue that there are several reasons why capital punishment must be abolished. Firstly, it encourages a “culture of violence”. Secondly, it has no deterrent value: its use has not been shown to have brought about a significant decrease in crime. It is the certainty of punishment that has the effect of deterring crime, not the quantum of punishment. Thirdly, it is irrevocable; once done, it cannot be undone. This is crucial when you consider that recent developments such as the use of DNA testing have shown previously convicted persons as having been innocent. It is argued that a person who has committed a heinous crime such as murder must be likewise deprived of life? Does this mean that a rapist should be raped, or that a torturer should be tortured?

The Supreme Court says that terrorism is the root reason why capital punishment still exists in India. The monster of terrorism has spread its bloody wings in most of the countries. Terrorism stands on an altogether different plane and cannot be compared with murders committed due to personal animosity or over property and personal disputes. The supporters of capital punishment argue that, it is an inevitable and an indispensable punishment to be awarded to those notorious criminals without any clemency. Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru are the two most recent terrorists worth mentioning.

Despite frequent demands from many human activist NGOs, India has not abolished capital punishment. But even in India there has been a decline in the frequency of such punishment. It is now awarded only in cases of hardened criminals and only when it is established that the murder was not the result of a momentary impulse, the result of serious provocation, but well-planned and cold-blooded. In such cases, it is felt that nothing less than capital punishment is just and proper that such criminals of society are eliminated. Those who indulge in anti-social and sternest possible measures should be taken against them, especially when they are habitual offenders.

The result of such views has brought about a change in increasing tendency in western countries to award life imprisonment instead of capital punishment. Despite the differences of opinions, it is commonly agreed by both the groups of supporters and abolitionists of capital punishment that it should be awarded to the offenders in the “rarest of the rarest” cases and unfortunately, since India has become the easiest target of many terrorist groups, the time has not yet come for India to abolish capital punishment.

See also, Difference between FDI and FII

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