Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Death penalty in all cases of murder

Judgments in cases of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Pratibha have raised questions about what is a rarest of rare case. Supreme Court in 1980 restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases. It usurped the function of legislature.

The government must act and bring a law that makes death penalty mandatory in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping and other such high crimes.

In Priyadarshini’s cases the criminal had committed house breaking, rape and murder. High Court had awarded death penalty. Supreme Court reduced it life imprisonment. As Adiya Nath Kaul said on CNN-IBN on 8/10/2010 life sentence in India is a joke. He gave the example of Manu Sharma.

In Pratibha’s case fast track court took five years. It awarded life sentence for rape and murder. Pratibha’s mother and family members wanted death penalty to the murderer.

There is no good reason not to have death penalty for murder. One bogus argument is life sentence is worse than death sentence. Criminals value their lives. When someone is hanged for murders that has a deterrent effect. Those who undergo life sentence can come out on parole. If they disappear it is difficult to find them. In Bombay 14,870 accused have jumped bail and 717 criminals have jumped parole.

Someone asked whether hanging Dhananjay Chatterjee stopped rapes and murders? If more rapists and murderers had been hanged there would have been less rapes and murders. Pratibha could have been alive. One swallow does not make a summer. After Dhananjay Chatterjee no one sentenced to death was hanged. Crimes are few in Saudi Arabia. In USA there were many kidnappings and abductions which came down after death penalty became punishment for kidnappings and abductions.

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