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    Capital Punishment “An Eye for an Eye”- Human Rights Perspective

    This content on “Capital Punishment “An Eye for an Eye”- Human Rights Perspective”; is by Nalini Singh. She is pursuing Law from IMS Law College, Noida and is Content Writer & Legal Researcher at Legal Thirst.

    Introduction: –

    Killing someone who has killed anyone is not less than any crime, it shows a cruel and inhumane act. The death penalty is degrading symptom of civilised society not a remedy to reduce crime; it is not proven anywhere that killing murders would stop other people to commit an upcoming crime. Moreover, it is violations of “human rights” and constitutional right (right to life); and the consequence with “criminal” families go during that time is horrendous and merciless. The waiting period after the sentence has been given in court is tearing someone apart every day; and rendering them with several mental trauma.

    What Exactly Is Capital Punishment?

    “Execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense.” This denotes this kind of punishment would be kept for most furious criminals.

    Capital punishment has been in our society since centuries. In earlier times people had mindset of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for tooth” by which they mean consequence of a crime would be treating you the same way.

    Capital Punishment : The Court Status

    Supreme Court on validating of capital punishment in India

    Article 21 of the Indian Constitution ensure the Fundamental Right to life and liberty for all person. It adds no persons shall be deprived of life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by laws. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of capital punishment in “rarest of rare” cases. The principle as to what would constitute the “rarest of rare” has been let down by the Apex Court in the landmark judgement in Bachan Singh Vs State of Punjab (1980).

    Mode Of Execution: –

    Death penalty is a punishment sentenced by the state, where the person is killed for committing the offence. The art of carrying out such a sentence is known as an execution. The form of execution differs from country to country.

    They can be categories as follow: –
    • The Guillotine: – This is one of the older methods it was introduced in France in 1792. This device fixes head between two logs and the heavily sharped knife was supposed to slaughter them. It was made so that the execution of process would be automatic.
    • Hanging: – Revolving in countries in Asia, North Africa and the middle east. Hanging is defined as suffocating someone to inhale air and a part of execution. ‘Death in this case occurs trough decapitation or strangulation. It also depends upon length/ quality of rope and prisoner.
    • Lethal injection: – This injection consisted of anaesthetic chemical used to paralyse the prisoner and stop the heart. This kind of punishment to be given in country like China and Vietnam, however United States also used the lethal injection form.
    • Electrocution :– This form of execution is done when a prisoner is sitting on electric chair with a mental skull cap shaped electrode attached to their scalp or head, the prisoner receives an electric shock upto 2000 volts for 30 seconds until he’s/she’s dead. This method is done and carried out in United States.

    Why Should Death Penalty Be Abolished?

    1.  The death penalty violates (Right to Life) which is foremost human right of an individual; and it also protects mental torture/violence among offender and their family.
    2.  It is an “interrogatable act”, as we also know that a person who has been dead cannot be alive anytime. Now looking into the graphical details sometimes a verdict has been given to lack of facts and favourable evidences, later on these are points which bring a turn into the case; however the person is no more present and negligently justice has been scrapped by killing an innocent.

    Target Poor People: –

    The punishment of Death, discriminately targets poor people as they do not have capital in wallet to hire private lawyers; and reach to the supreme authorities. In many of the cases, it has been witnessed that the destitute people often get unfair conclusion due to lack of legal aid; and not having adequate information about the case.

    Terminating death penalty will probably comfort, not enlarge the tax payer weight. By a recent research it was found that annual cost of a prisoner is about Rs. 30000; and the hangman which is called for is paid more than that; furthermore during the time of litigation to death whole lot of capital is invested.

    Possibility to Change: –

    In many of the cases and crime, we have seen and heard that the perpetrator after being detached from society and living inside jail for a long time; constructs many behavioural and psychological changes. Most of them among those even regret their opinion to commit a crime. These are some of the basic factors which need to considered.

    Mostly Death Penalty has been criticized on these factors-

    • Arbitrariness
    • Irreversibility
    • Violations of Human Rights
    • Cruelty
    • Tit for Tat Policy

    Government perceives that killing prisoner would send an intimidation that they are straight towards crime and maintaining “Law and Order”; however it is not true at all. Killing someone who is at your mercy is not an act of courageous or step to refrain upcoming crime rates

    Conclusion: –

    We believe that the state should not give itself the right to kill human being in the name of law. Capital punishment is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with fundamental values of our democratic system. The death penalty is uncivilized in theory and inequitable in practice. Through litigation, legislation and advocacy against this barbaric; and brutal institution seek the abolition of capital punishment. There’s is no credible evidence that shows the death penalty deters crime more effectively than a long prison term. In fact, evidence reveals the opposite. Since abolition the death penalty in 1976; Canada’s murder rate has steadily declined and as of 2016 was its lowest since 1966.

    In this modern era nobody will support and believe in “An Eye for an Eye” theory. It must be banned worldwide. As on April 2021, 108 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes; and 144 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice (source Amnesty International). The trend must continue.

    Disclaimer: The opinions and views in the articles and research papers published on this website; are personal and independent opinions of the author. The website is not responsible for them.

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