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Should a progressive democracy have death penalty?

Friday, 23 November 2012 - 2:35pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Even as the entire nation welcomed the execution of Ajmal Kasab, who killed over 166 innocent people during the Mumbai terror attack, the practice of awarding death penalty has always been a ‘grey area’ for many. While some support the capital punishment, human rights activists have time and again condemned the practice in an established democracy like India. Speak Up brings you the views of Puneites...

Even as the entire nation welcomed the execution of Ajmal Kasab, who killed over 166 innocent people during the Mumbai terror attack, the practice of awarding death penalty has always been a ‘grey area’ for many. While some support the capital punishment, human rights activists have time and again condemned the practice in an established democracy like India. Speak Up brings you the views of Puneites...

Taking away someone’s life is not the ultimate solution to violence
Death penalty is the ultimate punishment that mankind has used since time immemorial. As society evolved, more balanced views came forth with many advocating a liberal approach to the issue and some opposing it.
Taking away someone’s life is not the ultimate solution to violence. But in order to take a rational view, one must consider the acts of violence. One thing that needs to be considered is whether the perpetrator of a violent act that has resulted in many deaths is ever going to change? If the answer is yes, then we have a case for doing away with death penalty, but if the answer is no, then the person concerned must die or else he will continue to be an obstacle to peaceful existence of man in society.
Therefore, death penalty must be enforced and enforced in time in case of those who have been indoctrinated to kill for any cause other than the defence of his country, but it should be done away in case of those who commit an act of violence under extreme provocation at personal level. Another thing that I would like to suggest is that death penalty should be carried out using a more humane method than hanging.
—Cdr (retd) Ravindra Pathak, Maharashtra Convenor, Indian ex-servicemen Movement

I would vote for a much more torturous death than just death by hanging
What does death penalty have to do with a progressive democracy? Does progressive democracy not have rapists or criminals or terrorists who go on murdering innocent people? Why should not they be punished for their inhuman acts?
Frankly, death penalty is a very soft dismissal to me. Imagine a boy or a girl is being tortured before being killed, then why should their murderer get such an easy death? I would vote for a much more torturous death than just death by hanging. If we want to discontinue death penalty, we should find out a way which will prevent every criminal from committing any crime and would compel him to think twice before breaking the law. This is what the nature of a punishment should be; if this cannot be done, then we should continue with death penalty.
—Sanjay Deshpande, director, Sanjeevani Developers

Capital punishment should be used, if the nature of the crime demands so
I think strong deterrents are needed, no matter what kind of political set-up or governance system one may have. I think even in a democracy, punishments like death penalty are essential. I know people would argue against it on the basis of human rights, and I respect their opinions as we live in a democracy.
But I do not think I can advocate to protect the rights of terrorists who have killed so many innocent people.
I think capital punishment should be continued in our country, if the nature of the crime demands that kind of a punishment. Besides, we should remember that it is used very selectively by the judiciary and we all are sensitive people. One should undertsand that there is a difference between what I am saying and demanding ‘eye for an eye’.
—Vijay Thombre, Communications Professional

Death penalty does not act as a deterrent, nor does it prevent people from committing crimes
Death penalty should not be continued anywhere in the world. The Supreme Court recently admitted to 13 wrong convictions that led people to the gallows. This proves that there may have been many cases of wrong convictions around the world that have led to deaths of innocent people.
There are chances of errors in investigation, etc. Another way of punishment would be to keep a convict in the jail for his entire life and use his skills and services for the country.
There are around 139 countries that are against death penalty. I too think that death penalty does not act as a deterrent; it does not scare people, nor does it prevent them from committing heinous crimes. Thus, instead of killing them, the judiciary should work on making use of their skills for the benefit of the country.
—BG Kolse Patil, Former Bombay High Court Justice

The time is not ripe for a country like ours to do away with death penalty

At this point of time, it will be unwise to remove the clause of death penalty completely. In cases of terrorists, murderers and serial killers, it is important that we have this clause in place. These cases cannot be dealt with otherwise, and therefore, the time is not ripe for a country like ours to do away with death penalty altogether. The Supreme Court has also said that this punishment should be used in the rarest of rare cases including the ones mentioned above.
—PB Sawant, former Supreme Court judge




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