By Shiralee Kinariwala
The death penalty is a word synonymous to capital punishment and it is one of the debatable topics in India as some are in favour of it and some are not in favour of it. It is a punishment in which the accused is put to death and this punishment is given by the state. It is the maximum punishment which the judiciary can give to the accused of the crime committed by them. Death penalty generally has the recourse to the serious offense like murder. In the beginning, the death penalty rested primarily upon the efforts to appease the god. But now this punishment mainly means of complete blotting of the person from the society who does an anti-social activity in the society which is harmful to the surrounding people. The death penalty is more harsh and powerful then the life imprisonment as men has a fear of death as compared to imprisonment. So it is a stronger impediment or a leash. It also serves as the unique leash to professional criminals.
I personally am against the death penalty which is provided to the accused in the society. As by giving death penalty the person to whom the accused has killed won't come back and by giving death penalty the accused will not be able to bear the pain which the family members are suffering. He should be given a rigorous punishment for such type of crime so that he should bear all the pain which the person who is dead had faced as well as the family of that person is facing. And the death penalty also violates our fundamental right of a right to live. The death penalty should be removed as there can be the loss of the innocent people as judiciary can also make mistakes sometimes. So this type of punishment should be provided when some heinous crimes are conducted in society.
In India, the death penalty is the legal penalty in India. The death penalty has been carried out in India since 1995. There was a landmark case of the Supreme Court named Bachan Singh v. the State of Punjab, in this case, the court sentenced that the death penalty will be given in the rarest of the rare case. This verdict mainly came from the case of the Jagmohan Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court also included that the death penalty is not only restricted to the citizens of our country but it can also be provided to the police officials who commit police brutality in the form of encounter killing.
In our country under the code of criminal procedure 1898, the death sentence was a rule and life imprisonment was an exception to it .later on the amendment in 1955 section 367(5) of CrPC was omitted and the court became free to award capital punishment or the life imprisonment whichever thinks fit as per the situations. In 1962 also there was also the plan to abolish the death penalty and was also referred to the law commission of our country and but later 35th report of law commission did not favour the abolition of the death penalty in India.
The death penalty will be awarded by two ways i.e., by hanging by the neck or by shooting. Any of the two methods can be adopted in giving such types of punishments to the accused. There are many sections of IPC 1860 which deal with capital punishment such as section 120B, 121, 132, 194 etc. There are many other punishments in several acts which deal with the death penalty. There are 114 countries all over the world (including Canada, Mexico, South American nations, etc.) that have abolished the death penalty as in practice or law. Out of these 80 countries have abolished the death penalty for all the crimes, 50 countries have also abolished but not for some exceptional crimes. The constitutional validity has also been challenged in the court of law for many a time in India.
One of the developments which took place in the punishment of the death penalty is by the 20th law commission of India 2015. This commission was headed by the A.P. shah who recommended the abolition of the death penalty except in case of the terror-related case so that they can safe national security of our country. There are many points which are considered before giving the death penalty to the person. Such as- the manner in which the murder is done, motive for the commission of the murder, how anti-social is the commission of the crime, magnitude of the crime, an also the personality of the victim of the murder.
So at last, after so many points mentioned above, it can be concluded that the viewpoint of India towards death penalty is ataxia. As all the provisions related to the death penalty are not clear to the judiciary as well as the citizens which need to be made clear. The death penalty is a very vast topic to be debatable but I have tried to mention almost all the important aspects of it are precise. There is one aspect that death penalty should not be granted as death penalty does not have the effective deterrence to the desired extent upon the criminals who commit murder as a result of psychopathic compulsion or in the fit of rage or those who are of defective personality or upon professional gunmen. Such a criminal realizes that his chance of being apprehended and punished are inevitably slight and even though convicted may be pardoned. It can also be concluded by saying that capital punishment does not offend article 14, 19 and 21 of our Indian constitution and is therefore not unconstitutional. But death may be awarded only in exceptional cases where the collective conscience of the community treats it abhorrent. At the same time, there should not be unreasonable delay in execution of death sentence. Keeping in view the condition prevailing in the Indian society and the increase in criminality the time is not yet ripe to justify the abolition of the death penalty. Thus the growing complexities of the criminal behaviour in Indian society, their effect on the economic structure and social life lead to the conclusion that the retention of capital punishment would serve the greater social good. However, the courts while deciding the question of the sentence must take into consideration not only the crime committed but the criminal as well, the motives behind the crime, the victim of the crime and the effect of crime on community conscience.