Month: December 2007

New Jersey and death penalty

The decision of New Jersey legislature to abolish death penalty is bad. The Senate voted 21-16 and the Assembly voted 44-36 for abolition.
A commission had given three reasons for abolition:
1) Death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison.
2) Death penalty hasn’t deterred murder.
3) Death penalty could kill innocent people.
It seems the commission had made up its mind beforehand and found excuses to abolish death penalty. The reasons given by the commission are wrong. Let us examine the reasons.
1) Death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison.
Death penalty is not a more expensive sentence than life in prison. What is the cost of putting a murderer to death? What is cost of keeping a murderer in prison for many years? Life sentence is many times more expensive than death penalty.
2) Death penalty hasn’t deterred murder.
Death penalty prevents murder is proved by an Associated Press report dt. 11 June 2007 that can be accessed on www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19160965. I had mentioned this in a previous blog article.
The report points to a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.
It quotes Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it. The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”
“The results are robust, they don’t really go away. I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”
Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that suggest capital punishment has deterrent effects.
In 1970s economist Isaac Ehrlich had also concluded that executions deterred future crimes. His 1975 report was cited in papers before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for a reversal of the court’s 1972 suspension of executions. The court, in 1976, reinstated the death penalty.
Nobody was executed in New Jersey since 1963. On what basis the commission came to this conclusion?
3) Death penalty could kill innocent people.
No innocent person shall be punished. But 100 criminals going scotree is not justice. The accused have the right to defend themselves and prove their innocence. The courts decide. Many times murderers escape due to lack of proof or witness.
Death by lethal injection is contested. Those who oppose death penalty will contest death by any method.
Governor Jon S. Corzine must return the bill.

Positive discrimination is wrong

The constitution of India declares equality of all people. Some women want special treatment for women claiming women are unequal. They say there has to be positive discrimination in favour of women. When women lawyers talk like that it sets a dangerous trend. This needs to be nipped in the bud.
The demand of women judges in all cases involving women is unjustified. Fast track courts for trial of rape cases are a good thing. However women judges need not be sensitive to rape victims. There are at least two examples.
Judge Laxmi Rao in Bombay let off rapists lightly. She punished one woman for rape. There was outrage and she was transferred.
One woman judge in Australia in December 2007 let off nine rapists who raped a 10 year old girl Aurukun settlement, in Queensland. In her ruling, Judge Sarah Bradley told the rapilsts that the victim probably agreed to have sex with all of you. She placed six of the offenders, who were minors at the time of the rape, on probation for 12 months, media said. The three other defendants were handed suspended six-month prison sentences. Boni Robertson, an Aboriginal activist in Queensland, said There is nothing culturally, there is nothing morally, there is nothing socially and there is definitely nothing legally that would ever allow this sort of decision to be made. Judge Sarah Bradley had also let off seven rapists in another case in October 2007.
Women judges will be sensitive to women is a false assumption.
Women in India have many unjustified privileges. Seats are reserved in city buses for women. Their Income Tax liability is less than the liability of men. Reservation of one third seats in panchayats and municipalities and other urban bodies has resulted in proxy rule. These reservations should go and Income Tax rate shall be equal for all.
In India women are free to become President, Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister and hold many other posts. Pratibha Patil became the President. Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi could have become the Prime Minister. She foolishly followed astrological advice and waited for an auspicious moment and opposition mounted during the period and she did not take up the challenge. Centuries ago Sangram Singh committed such a mistake. Baburs soldiers were frightered. Instead of attacking immediately Sangram Singh followed astrological advice and waited for an auspicious moment to attack. This gave time for Babur to make a speech and fill his soldiers with courage.
In India women have excelled in various fields. To call Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Kiran Bedi, Fatima Beevi and such women weak is a joke.
All women are not saints. All men are not sinners.
Women who are not capable whine and try to reach the positions they do not deserve.
Discrimination on the basis of sex will lead to anarchy and end of rule of law.

CBFC and film ban

CBFC is the authority to certify films for public exhibition. Once CBFC certifies a film nobody else should have the authority to ban the film. That includes state governments, Animal Welfare Board etc.

Somebody or the other gets offended due to something or the other. CBFC has guidelines. It certifies films according to them. It is the duty of the state governments to maintain law and order. Banning films due to violence or fear of violence or to avoid hurting sentiments is not right.
There was no need for Sharmila Tagore, chairperson of CBFC, to apologise for a line in a song in the film Aaja nach le.

If state governments can ban films there is no need for CBFC. It should be abolished. Let every state censor films.

Whether there should be film censorship is another matter. Some opine there should be no censorship, only grading or rating.