Misconceived compassion

Posted on February 20, 2014, No Comments admin

In the last few decades several countries moved in the direction of abolition of the death sentence. Many well meaning people in India joined in this demand. However, the emergence of terrorism in the last three decades has influenced my thinking against it. Can a country which has suffered so extensively on account of terrorism move towards being an abolitionist? It is precisely on account of the emergence of terror in India that India has not joined the abolitionist bandwagon. However, the Supreme Court, in a balancing act, while uploading the death penalty has restricted it to ‘rarest of rare’ cases.

While death penalty remains an extreme punishment to be granted in rarest of rare cases, the Supreme Court has recently held that undue and unexplained delay in the execution of death sentence can result in commutation of death sentence. The delays are caused in the disposal of mercy petition by the Ministry of Home Affairs, by the State government in giving their views on the issue and even by the Rashtrapati Bhawan. A large number of death convicts have recently got commutation of sentence on account of delay. Somebody has to be held accountable as to why and where these delays have been caused. The latest case of relief to the assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is unconscionable. After assassinating a former Prime Minister of the country there can be institutional compassion for such persons is difficult to comprehend. Those who commit such heinous crimes cannot be made symbol of identity politics. Nothing more can hurt national security. Terrorism is an offence against the Country. It must attract a deterrent punishment.
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