Capital Punishment

Archana Gupta
In the era of empowerment
We witness heinous crimes,
Justice surrenders to Power
Hence, they are forgotten as old tales of time.

In order to proceed with our understanding of Capital Punishment, it is essential to get ourselves accustomed to certain historical perceptions of Justice.
The term Justice has different significance to different individuals and is interpreted according to the advantages of the people in Indian society. Punishment and Justice are two sides of the same coin but a death sentence does not eradicate crime in the society. Death sentence also named as the capital punishment or death penalty is a state endorsed procedure of assassinating an individual for penalizing him for a crime. Since colonial times, beyond 14,000 individuals have been legitimately executed. More than 150 individuals have been executed each year since the 1930s. Due to public barbarism and constitutional objections, this proceeding has been abated. Therefore, countries like USA had effectually stalled death penalty in 1967.
The International impact of this punishment further strengthens our perspectives regarding the same.
Presently, there are many laws with regard to death sentences which are certified by the states. Countries like Midwest and Northeast have devastated capital punishment. It was never a preferred approach to kill crime or a criminal in Alaska and Hawaii. There is no conclusive indication that death sentences prevent crime. Life imprisonment should be given more weightage than death penalty. If we analyse the statistics of abatement of crime in these countries, death sentence does not show any significant variation in crime as well as in murder rates. Various acts related to death sentences maliciously persuade people that adequate actions has been taken by the government to reduce assassination but in actual these acts do not defend us from precarious criminals or gangsters.
Let’s discuss authenticity of Capital Punishment:
The humane society fails to exercise the same which the killers do to their victims, and if a rapist cannot be raped or an arsonist’s house cannot be burned for his wrongdoing then a slaughterer should not be punished with the death sentence. In rape cases, death penalty has been recommended since 2013 (376A) still rape happens everyday and in fact the barbarity of rape cases has increased to a larger number. This makes one think whether capital punishment is an efficient disincentive to crime. Incapacitation can be an alternative to death sentences. Convicted slaughterers can be deprived of all their powers by punishing them with life sentences. Various countries punish these murderers with life sentences contrary to death sentences. Presently, there are 37 states which grant their courtroom to edict the criminals with life sentence with no probability of parole. There was an universal halt against capital punishment still some countries like India consider that any other punishment than death penalty for the cold hearted killers will strip the law of its validity and result in distortion of justice. Therefore, an overture for demolition of the death sentence was denied by the Law Commission in the 34th report. Even death penalty as a punishment was questioned before the apex court, Supreme Court in Jagmohan Singh v. State of UP (AIR 1973 SC 947).
What is the Government’s take on condemning crime?
In Rajendra Prasad v. State of UP (AIR 1979 SC 916) case, the Supreme court stated that if a ferocious effort of a killer threatens civil security then his enjoyment of fundamental rights will be decimated. These analysis brings out the fact that in maximum cases death penalty was replaced by the life imprisonment. Capital punishment was theatrical for the criminals since 1860, the year when Indian Penal Code was drafted still the crime is persistent. The governments of countries which still practice capital punishment fails to provide justice as a vagrant who has no resources has more possibilities to be sentenced to death than a rich person who has resources like an expert criminal lawyer, private investigators. The term capital punishment seems be ironic as people with no capital generally get the punishment and the rich people are generally saved through their resources.
Is the measure of punishment equal for every Indian ?
This drives my attention to the Hathras rape case which took place on 14 September 2020 where a19 years old Dalit girl was raped and murdered by four upper caste men in Hathras district, Uttar Pradesh. Initially, there was no attempt made in the first 10 days to arrest the accused after this incident happened. There were flashy headlines which just served the purpose of gathering sympathy and prayers for the victim but on real grounds the wave of intensity died down. Punishment should be much more severe than the harm caused and capital punishment does not serve the purpose. The accused should also feel the same pain and trauma which they had induced on the victim. Various devices like castration or the anti rape device should be used or they should be beheaded until they die out of pain just like how it is practiced in Saudi Arabia. After accessing and analysing various cases and their court proceedings, I arrived at a conclusion that more than direct punishment, there is an ardent need of filling the hearts of criminals with the air of terror so that people view it as a lesson and think rigorously even before planning a crime. It would be like killing two birds with one stone.