A disturbing phenomenon is emerging from many months now. Every time the Supreme Court gives a death sentence or confirms it or rejects a review petition there is a hue and cry in certain specified circles in the country. There are certain NGO's and certain human rights activists who start opposing the execution of the sentence on the pretext that death sentence does not act as a deterrent and thus should not be carried out.

Another group of persons who start opposing are a few influential but self appointed so called eminent persons, many of whom were or are associated with the legal profession.They start dissecting the judgement and have even gone to the extent of stating that certain aspects have not been taken into account or certain confessions are wrongly extracted. They seem to be wiser than the Supreme Court and go on questioning the manner of it arriving to its conclusions.

A new trend of late is the protection sought to be provided on regional basis. Thus Punjab will protect a Punjabi or Tamil Nadu will protect a convicted Tamilian or J&K will try to save a convicted Kashmiri from the gallows. Some State assemblies have even passed resolutions opposing the death sentence for its State subjects. The State leaders also are arguing that if death sentence is carried out then the peaceful situation prevailing in their State will get disturbed. This is a subtle form of blackmail.

It can thus be concluded that a convict when he gets a death sentence for the crimes committed by him/her can expect confidently that it will not be carried out and he can live for many more years. There are very high chances that it will be commuted to a life sentence.

The judgement of the Supreme Court should be final and one chance of mercy petition to the President should be given. Once it is rejected by the President, the death sentence should be automatically carried out thereafter in a few days time.The cycle of review petitions followed by further petitions should not be permitted. It is expected that the highest Court in the country has applied its mind and given the death sentence in the rarest of the rare case. The politicians should not have any say in the matter. It is simply not understandable as to why mercy petitions are not processed for decades thus weakening the whole impact of the punishment. Who is responsible for this?

In such situation the few whose sentence is carried out questions are bound to be raised regarding the State's intentions. It is the poor who are usually hanged. The rich and these days the terrorists manage to escape. Is this fair?. If the state is so weak and lacks the will to carry out death sentences then it is time to remove it as a form of punishment. It is indeed surprising that so much time and sympathy is shown for the convicts and not a word is spoken for the victims and their helpless dependents. Speaks a lot about our values. 

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New Year Resplutions

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