Tag: India

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.

Singhvi silenced

Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi has been silenced as Congress spokesperson.

There are many politicians who are lawyers. They make a distinction between personal life and professional life, between personal view and party view. Sometimes they represent companies or persons who are criticised by their parties.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi had taken up the case of Samuel Martin of Megha Distributors dealing in lotteries of Sikkim and Bhutan and Kerala. Congress leaders in Kerala had accused LDF government of corruption in lottery and Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s appearance on behalf of the lottery company undermined Congress efforts. Kerala has local body elections.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Arun Jaitley have appeared for Dow Chemicals, the company that took over Union Carbide. Mahesh Jethmalani appears for Malegaon blasts accused. BJP is not against Malegaon blasts accused. It is against Germany Bakery blasts accused and does not want any lawyer to take up their case.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, like many other politicians, was generous in giving his personal opinion on TV channels. Sometimes he would say “I can only give my personal opinion.” And the anchor would say “Yes. Yes. Give it.” P. Chidambaram would refuse to share his personal view saying “I am here as Home Minister.”

After Abhishek Manu Singhvi gave up representing the lottery company P. S. Raman, Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, took up the case. Kerala’s chief minister V. S. Achutanandan has protested to Tamil Nadu’s chief minister M. Karunanidhi. When Soli Sorabjee was Attorney General he had filed a petition in personal capacity to allow pooja in Ayodhya’s disputed place. Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had questioned that act saying Soli Sorabjee is a Parsi and he does not have to perform pooja. There has to be ban on Attorney General, Solicitor General, Additional Solicitors General and Advocates General appearing in personal capacity unless it is a personal case.

Corrupt Chief Justices of India

Shanti Bhushan, for law minister of India, has said eight of the 16 former Chief Justices of India were corrupt, six were honest and about two he is not sure. It means 50% of CJIs were corrupt. It means 50% of Supreme Court judges and High Court judges are corrupt. When S. P. Bharucha was CJI he had said 20% of the judiciary is corrupt. By Shanti Bhushan’s reckoning 50% of the judiciary is corrupt. It means 50% of judgments were wrong.

Shanti Bhushan must make public the names of CJIs who were corrupt. He must also reveal whatever he knows about their misdeeds. That will be a great service to the nation and help in cleaning the augean stables of corruption.

Some years ago chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission was under investigation for corruption. He, as per reports, took 75 lakh rupees each for appointment as DSP or judge. If someone pays 75 lakh rupees to become a judge what fairness can be expected of that judge?

Judges have used contempt of court provision to silence people from mentioning corruption in judiciary by holding that truth is not a defence in case of contempt of court. There was one magistrate who issued four arrest warrants for Rs.10,000/- each. The four to be arrested included the then President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and the then CJI Vishwanath N. Khare.

Removal of High Court and Supreme Court judges is a long process. It needs to be simplified. Removal of High Court judges should be by Legislative Assembly of the state. Removal of Supreme Court judges should be soon after sufficient number of MPs sign the petition.

It is not enough to remove corrupt judges. Suitable punishment should follow depending on the magnitude of corruption. Indian Penal Code needs to be amended for punishment according to magnitude of crime and consecutive sentences instead of concurrent sentences.