Monday December 11, 2017
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Law panel wants ‘gradual’ stop to death penalty except in terror cases

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New Delhi: The Law Commission, in a report released on Monday, recommended India abolish the death penalty, with the exception of terror-related offences, saying that sending a convict to the gallows has lost its relevance as a deterrent to curb heinous offences. While not recommending the abolition of death sentence in terror-related cases, the commission has however, said that “there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes”.

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Making an exception for terrorism, it noted that “a concern is often raised that abolition of death penalty for terrorism related offences and waging war (against India), will affect the national security”. “However, given the concern raised by the law makers, the commission does not see any reason to wait any longer to take the first step towards abolition of death penalty for all the offences other than the terrorism-related offences, said the report’s recommendations.

“It (capital punishment is deterrent) is a myth. It is no deterrence. It has lost its relevance as deterrent,” said Justice (retd.) A.P.Shah while releasing the report on his last day as the chairman of the Law Commission. The “strong recommendation” for the abolition of death sentence for all the offences other than terrorism-related offences and waging war against the country found favor with six members of the commission while three members – two government representatives and Justice Usha Mehra differed. Saying the abolition of death sentence had to be a “gradual” process as was done in England, Justice Shah said that “it has to be a gradual process and to begin with ordinary law”.

(IANS)

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Bengali Film ‘Dhananjoy’ Sparks a Fresh Debate on the Social Dilemma of Capital Punishment

Arindam Sil's 'Dhananjoy' revolves around the capital punishment of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard

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Arindam Sil's Bengali film 'Dhananjoy. Facebook
  • ‘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.

Also Read: Why the society needs capital punishment

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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Tough Anti-Hijacking Law comes into Force in India

The historic 1982 law has been replaced by a stricter 2016 anti-hijacking law which permits trial for death penalty

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Anti-Hijacking Law
The 2016 Anti-Hijacking Law has now been enforced in India. Wikimedia
  • 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.

Also Read: Fake Caste Certificates Invalid for Employment, says Supreme Court

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 

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Lawyers calls for Nationwide strike on March 31 against a Proposal by Law Commission

Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the proposed amendments by the Law Commission in the Advocates Act were draconian, anti-lawyer, unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-people

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Lawyers across India calls for a nationwide strike, image courtesy: Pixabay

New Delhi, March 27, 2017: Lawyers across India will refrain from work on March 31 to challenge a proposed bill that bars advocates from going on strike which was declared on Tuesday.

While talking to IANS, Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the proposed amendments by the Law Commission in the Advocates Act were “draconian, anti-lawyer, unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-people”.

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“The recommendations of the Law Commission are against the legal profession and legal education of the country is in danger because of this proposed bill,” Mishra said.

“The regulation and control of legal profession and legal education is proposed to be handed over to non-lawyers and the advocates will have to face disciplinary proceedings before people not connected with the legal profession,” he added.

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However, the Supreme Court lawyers will not participate in the strike but they will extend their support to other lawyers.

The website of Bar Council of India states that there were some 1.2 million lawyers in the country till 2013. The abstinent of more than a million lawyers will give a hard blow to the judiciary.

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“The strike will be observed by all the lawyers across high courts and district courts. However, Supreme Court lawyers will not participate in the strike, though will put a white ribbon on their coat as a mark of protest,” said Chairman of the Bar Council’s Executive Committee and senior advocate Apurba Kumar Sharma.

The Bar Council said that due to proposed enactment, there are the prospectives of overwhelming and dominating the council by chartered accountants, architects, politicians, doctors and others.

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The Council also urged the government to dismiss the suggestions of the Law Commission.

The Bar Council criticized the Commission by saying that it seemed to have acted hastily without considering the proposals of the BCI and rather considered the recommendations of just non-legal counselors.

“It (proposed bill) has defined the misconduct in such a provocative manner that any judge, judicial official or a client can easily say that the behavior of the lawyer was unlawful, disgraceful or dishonorable,” the Council said.

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“In a nutshell, the Council is of the unanimous opinion that the autonomy, democracy and the mandate of the Constitution of the country are proposed to be throttled by the said bill.”

Recently, the judiciary in the Delhi came to a halt on March 23 when some 6,000 lawyers went on strike to protest against suggestions that lawyers should be banned from going on strike and slapped with penalties if they do.

Now with the strike going national, the whole judicial system is determined to be paralyzed on March 31.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard