New Delhi: The Law Commission, which is scheduled to submit its report on death penalty to the Supreme Court and the law ministry on Monday, may recommend a gradual removal of the death sentences.
The panel, which is headed by Justice A P Shah is likely to propose a replacement of the death penalty with severe punishments like imprisonment ranging from 30 years up to 60 years for serious crimes, according to a report in Times of India.
After detailed consultation and analysis, the commission appears to have come to the conclusion that in the cases related to terrorism, the issue of death penalty is better left to the legislature, as it concerns the national security.
Further, the Law Commission may propose the government to adopt the United Kingdom’s approach in phasing out death penalty. UK had first cut down the number of crimes in which death penalty could be given, then in 1998 it removed death penalty for treason and piracy crimes, and finally abolished the capital punishment completely in 1999.
‘Dhananjoy’ is a Bengali film directed by Arindam Sil
The film premiered theatres on August 11, 2017
Talking about capital punishments and death penalty, the movie has sparked a new debate on the social issue
August 19, 2017: Arindam Sil’s new direction, titled ‘Dhananjoy’ hit the screens on 11th August. The Bengali film since its release has sparked a fresh debate on the social dilemma of capital punishment.
Capital punishment by no means is a simple debate topic. The United Nations Organization has passed various resolutions urging governments of various nations to abolish the legality of the death penalty, however, these resolutions have been non-binding.
There are 56 nations that hold death penalty legal. In fact, 60% of the global population resides in countries where the death penalty is held valid. Some of these nations are India, US, China, Indonesia among more.
Arindam Sil’s ‘Dhananjoy’ revolves around the capital punishment of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard. The film comes at the time of the 13th anniversary of his hanging.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee was executed by the state on 14th August 2004 for the rape and murder of a young girl, Hetal Parekh, in a residential complex. Aged 39, Dhananjoy was mercilessly punished leaving behind old parents, a wife and a brother.
The Bengali film has run along the lines of the 2016 published book, ‘Adalat-Media-Samaj Ebong Dhananjoyer Fansi’. The book portrays that Dhananjoy may have been wrongly committed the crimes he did not do. It was Hetal’s mother who was the culprit and got away. Dhananjoy was a scapegoat.
Sil shows in the movie that it was unfair for Dhananjoy if the judiciary or police in any way would have caused an unintentional error. Dhanonjoy spent 14 years in the prison, during which he kept claiming that he was innocent. He also kept saying that he was tired of being poor. Dhananjoy had little money, and his poverty was the reason behind him being put as the scapegoat. His lawyers with the little fees had lost interest in the case.
This theory by Sil clearly raised debates regarding the fairness of capital punishment and death penalty. The film Dhananjoy is sure to raise dinner table debates with family after watching the movie.
William Douglas, American Supreme Court Judge, once said: “Capital Punishment was for those without the capital.”
The United Nations conducted a survey in the year 1988. From the responses, they concluded that the fact “death penalty is more of a deterrent than life imprisonment” is absolutely baseless. Furthermore, the statistics extracted from countries who abolished the practice supports the conclusion of the survey.
If capital punishment is not abolished, the risk that an innocent could be hanged and killed lurks in the environment. Judiciary systems are not perfect systems.
In India, the judiciary is in worse conditions. With the lack of personnel, pending cases and archaic laws coupled with caste and communal hierarchic setup, capital punishment should be much researched in the country.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394
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India has just reformed its anti-hijacking legislation which introduces death penalty
The old law of 1982 has been substituted for the 2016 anti-hijacking law
The new law has now come into force which prescribes capital punishment under certain scenarios
July 07, 2017: India has taken a strict and firm step to substitute its old vintage law designed in 1982 to a more impactful and stringent 2016 anti-hijacking law. The new law introduces and validated capital punishment in the event of the death of any person.
Previously, according to the 1982 formulated law, capital punishment could only be raised in the event of the death of a hostage which included flight crew, passengers, and security personal.
The new law has widened its definition to a broad category of the death of any hostage, including security personnel on board and ground staff members as well. In other cases, the guilty can potentially be punished for life imprisonment and fined, combined with the confiscation of movable and immovable property held.
The law also includes numerous acts in the definition of hijacking, such as making a threat, attempts, and abetment to commit the offense.
The law which comes into force 5th July 2017 onwards also adds that organizing or invoking someone directly to carry out hijacking will also be included in the offense under the new law.
The central government is to have the power of investigation, arrests, and prosecution. The stricter and reformed bill comes after Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha to repeal the 1982 Anti-Hijacking Act in 2014. The new bill was passed on 4th May 2016 by the Upper House.
– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394
November 19, 2016: India has opposed a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, saying it goes against Indian law and the sovereign right of countries to determine their own laws and penalties.
“The resolution before us sought to promote a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty,” Mayank Joshi, a counsellor at India’s UN Mission said on Thursday. “My delegation, therefore, has voted against the resolution as a whole as it goes against Indian statutory law.”
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The resolution, however, was adopted by the General Assembly’s committee dealing with humanitarian affairs by 115 votes to 38 with 31 abstentions after an acrimonious debate and the adoption of an amendment to recognise the sovereign rights of nations to determine their own laws, which virtually nullified it.
India supported the amendment and Joshi told the committee: “Every State has the sovereign right to determine its own legal system and appropriate legal penalties.”
The amendment passed by a vote of 76 to 72 with 26 abstentions. However, it did not mollify India, which voted against the amended resolution.
Explaining New Delhi’s position on capital punishment, Joshi said, “In India, the death penalty is exercised in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, where the crime committed is so heinous as to shock the conscience of society.”
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In the last 12 years only three executions – all of them of terrorists – have been carried out in the nation of 1.2 billion.
Last year Yakub Memon, who financed the 1993 Mumbai bombings, was executed. Muhammad Afzal, convicted of plotting the 2001 attack on India’s Parliament, was hanged in 2013 and Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, one of the terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack was executed in 2012.
An independent judiciary hears the cases where death penalty can be imposed and appeals are permitted at several levels, Joshi said. Moreover, the Supreme Court has decreed that “poverty, socio-economic, psychic compulsions, undeserved adversities in life” should be considered as mitigating factors in imposing the death penalty, he added.
The amendment about the sovereign right of nations to have their own legal systems was introduced by Singapore. Its delegate said that the original resolution was one-sided and tried to impose the values of one group of countries upon others.