Should we abolish Capital Punishment ?

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Should capital punishment be abolished? This question raises a number of other questions. Should an assassin be given lifelong imprisonment? Will the abolition of the death penalty result in a sharp increase in the number of crimes? These are similar other questions have been agitating the minds of the thinkers all over the world since England took the initiative and abolished the death sentence.  Is capital punishment is in tune with the present civilization when all human beings enjoy equal rights and privileges, and every man is respected as a human being. Most of the people now feel that punishment for crimes like murders should not be death but some re formative or deterrent sentence. Death sentence cannot  reform a criminal since once dead he cannot be reformed. Does it act as a deterrent? Does it help stop such crimes in future ? If it were so, the age old practice of hanging the criminals would have booted out murders and other crimes by now. A crime like murder is committed by a murderer in the heat of the moment and he is completely oblivious of the consequences of his actions. The government's, which have abolish death sentence, find that there is no increase in the number of murders in the countries and after the abolition. Some social reformers still feel that life imprisonment is a more severe kind of punishment. While capital punishment puts an end to the criminal's life, life imprisonment forces him to spend his whole life within the confines of  a prison. Over 37 countries have already abolished the death sentence and the after-effects of it have not been harmful. India, which is the birthplace of great luminaries, should also abolish death sentence and replace it with some other kind of punishment, which aims to abolish crime, not merely kill criminals.

 

It is not only unjustified on moral or ethical grounds,But it is also an act of barbarism. There are lots of examples where the penalty has been used to treat one's political rivals. Even criminals poses some good traits in their personality and these traits should be fully exploited to ameliorate their conduct, so that they can be become good citizens. So, death penalty should be abolished and replaced by some other alternative punishment in order to bring about an order in the society.

 

But some may say that capital punishment in stills fear in an individual and deters him from committing Crimes like murder and rape, punishment to the crime should be so terrible that no one dares to commit again in future. Life for life and inhuman torture before the killer is finally hanged will put the fear of God into the hurt of all future killers. But it may be so cruel. There is no need for such a cruel punishment in the present situation. Chopping off the hands for theft etc will be cruel punishment. No need to establish such one in the present situation. The present day crimes are not so harsh to give such punishments. During the time of King's rule, such punishments were there. These deterrence has been quite effective in the past and even today,they are being practiced in Arab countries. Criminals are publicly flogged or even stoned to death for the torture or the torture is extremely excruciating to make a fear among people in doing such things.

Capital punishment means death penalty and it is awarded to those dreaded criminals who are convicted for premeditated murder or those involved in treason and betrayal of the nation. Such crimes definitely call for death punishment. Otherwise, fear may completely disappeared from criminals. Unless the law takes care of this aspect,there would be private feuds. In other words, people will take the law into their hands. This can give rise to march violence and mobs will try to lynch criminals. These are the reasons why capital punishment should stay.

 

All major and many minor crimes have to be considered from both the social and psychological angles. Social conditions and the environment are more responsible for these crimes. Psychology regards the criminal as a mentally sick person who should be cured of his ailment. Definitely, the death penalty cannot provide a cure. Previously, revolting against religion resulted in a death penalty. Today however it is not a crime. Once upon a time Sati was not regarded as murder; today, however, it is equated with a crime liable for capital punishment. Hence, we cannot go by old customs that are worn out. It is high time we re examine the validity of death penalty in terms of modern ideas and requirements. So, Capital punishment should be more of an exception rather than the rule.

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Normally death sentences are awarded for serious crimes. It is awarded to those who were convicted for murder , rape , treason and betrayal of the nation and so on. Abolition of capital punishment will remove the fear of consequences from the mind of criminals. So a new criminal will be born every day. Moreover, people who are directly affected by such crimes will demand death for the culprit. If the murderer is acquitted, he may even seek revenge. In such cases, people may take law in their own hands and try to punish the culprit. There will thus be a chain of crimes. If the victims think that justice has been denied to them they may also resort to mass violence and lynch the suspected criminals. All this will result in total chaos and disturbance. So for avoiding this, in some cases it is better to give death penalty. The death penalty should remain in the statute book and it must be the awarded  where crime is proved beyond doubt.

 

But it doesn't mean that death penalty should be given at all cases. It must be given with uttermost care. Only at essential situations. We cannot completely say that if the criminal is not hanged, then the victim or his well-wishers will take revenge on him. These arguments are not too badly  in modern times with relation to the present thinking,Ideas, concepts and values. Many crimes. Other than murders,result  from unsuitable environment and social conditions. The psychologist regard most of the criminals as mentally sick human beings who need corrective treatment rather than punishment. Awarding of death penalty is no cure for a criminal as after he  death nothing can be achieved. In olden times, courts where held by the rulers. They were assisted by their ministers. People were burned for crimes even if they opposed the established religion. Now, freedom of religion and worship has been guaranteed by the Constitution. Today, revolt against the religion is no crime. The present-day states are welfare states, which are duty-bound to provide food, clothing, shelter and employment to the people. If they are unable to do so, crime increases for which the society and state both are responsible and must accept the blame. Therefore, the argument for retention of death sentence does not hold well in present times. The whole matter needs consideration and rethinking at the highest level. So, even if death penalty is retained,It should not be a rule but an exception.

 

The problem is that we cannot say that our courts and police are free from corruption completely. The culprits are never caught in some cases and in some cases police arrest innocent people. They are trialled In criminal courts and sentenced to life imprisonment or death. The real culprits may sometimes move about freely and indulge in other crimes. So it is also considerable to go back to our golden days and constitute people's courts in villages and towns. It is a better way to check injustice. People's Court will try the culprit or the murderer summarily and pronounce the sentence immediately.

 

Considering the present situation with real-time example, an attempt was made by Pakistan and Bangladesh sometime back to follow some of the measures as are common in Saudi Arabia. However, they met with sharp criticism from the civilized countries of the world. We have adopted the English jurisprudence, which stands for fair trial for the culprits. In this system, there is no place for what is done in autocratic regimes. All social, economic and political factors are taken into consideration in such a system. And the information technology has advanced so much that we can utilize each to educate the masses to remind them of their responsibilities and legitimate interests. However the present  circumstances do not permit the altogether abolition of capital punishment. Terrorists are going scot-free after killing innocent people. All this is prevalent despite the fact that capital punishment still exists. What will happen in its absence can only be imagined. Even an advanced country like Britain has tried,though unsuccessfully,to reintroduce death sentence which has been abolished. Our Supreme Court Has rightly confirmed many death sentences. Capital punishment should should not be abolished in our country as it is executed only in rare cases and that also after several reviews and appeals. Our ultimate goal should be abolition but we should implement it  only after very careful considerations  and after implementing proper reforms.

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Capital punishment is prevalent in most of Muslim countries particularly Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but it should be admitted that these extreme measures have treated a revolution in the countries that are considered civilised. As for the West  Asian countries,Such stringent punishments are inflicted by fundamentalist juntas ruling in a dictatorial and arbitrary manner to put down political opposition. The hanging for Pakistan's Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali bhutto on trumped up charges after a mock trial raised many eyebrows in the world. Similarly, in Iran, political execution of dissidents after summary trials also left the world stunned. History has clearly demonstrated that in spite of harsh,punitive and deterrent punishment,crimes like rape and murder do occur. What is practiced in autocratic and dictatorial regimes has no relevance to democratic and civilized nations. In India, the Supreme Court is very careful in confirming death sentences. Death penalty, even if awarded, is carried on in extreme cases and have several reviews and appeals. The UK has already abolished capital punishment and we should strive to abolish death penalty by implementing social ,political and economic reforms.

 

Capital punishment is definitely barbarian and uncivilized when considered in the present society. Capital punishment should be given only in rare cases like betrayal to nation, cold-blooded murder and rape. No individual, however, big or eminent, is about the country and the law. Similarly, a preplanned murder is a murder carried out without any mercy and rape is like making an individual a living death or a paraplegic throughout the life. In fact, it is the worst offense that can be committed by an individual and if capital punishment is not a awarded for these crimes soon society will be full of Criminals and there will be complete breakdown of law and order. So, there is no need to completely ban capital punishment.

 

But we should also remember that punishment cannot reform criminals and capital punishment can definitely induce fear for a period, but remember, a crime is committed in the heat of the moment and nobody is born criminal. Our social system is also responsible for making criminals. The important thing is not whether capital punishment should be abolished but that people do not take the law into their own hands. For this, quick redressal through the judiciary is required, so discussing the complete banning of capital punishment is a sheer waste of time.

 

Actually, capital punishment means snatching away the basic right of an individual to live. Hence  it should be awarded with uttermost care.  A life imprisonment is also a very good punishment as the individual is not killed but punished to live his life between the four walls of prison. Moreover, in most cases of capital punishment, the president usually pardons the criminal; hence, the impact is lost. Capital punishment is also in against the basic principles of democracy. The main reasons why capital punishment should be abolished is based on the fact that sometimes judgements go wrong and consequently, innocent people are hanged. This is because of the legalistic juggling of clever lawyers. Even otherwise,instances are not rare when corrupt police officials are bought over through money and political power to file patently cooked up the charge sheet in the court and magistrate in turn passes doubtful judgements. The only way to preclude the possibility of error is to abolish capital punishment itself. “ Benefit of doubt” is an important point of law and rightly so because law holds that 99 guilty can go unpunished but even one innocent should not be punished. In the same spirit our Supreme Court has held that death penalty should be provided only in the rarest of the rare cases...!!

 


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