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Capital Punishment

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Does the state has the right to take the life of a person?

The most harsh kind of punishment is execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense. It is the penalty meted out for the most egregious and terrible crimes committed against people.

Capital punishment is an ancient sanction. There is practically no country in the World where the death penalty has never existed. History of human civilization reveals that During no period of time capital punishment has been discarded as a mode of punishment. Capital punishment for murder, treason, arson, and rape was widely employed in ancient Greece under the laws of Draco. However, Plato contended that it ought to be utilized distinctly for the hopeless. The Romans likewise utilized it for a wide scope of offences; however, residents were excluded for a brief timeframe during the Republic.

But India has the lowest rate of execution than most of other countries. This is likely due to the belief in Ahimsa, or non-violence, which became very apparent during Gandhi’s time and was supported by India’s ancient Buddhist emperor Ashoka, who is the only leader in the country’s history to openly oppose the death penalty.

At independence, India retained several laws put in place by the British colonial Government, which included the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (‘Cr.P.C. 1898’), and The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). The IPC prescribed six punishments that could be Imposed under the law, including death. For offences where the death penalty was an option, Section 367(5) of the CrPC 1898 required courts to record reasons where the court decided not to impose a sentence of death.

Death penalty: Arguments in favour

Some say that they support Capital Punishment ,in a word -Justice (to the victim and society),in three words -They Deserve It (those who feel thrill and exaggeration in killing someone.) So the supporters say that we have an Obligation to kill them.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides Protection of Life and Personal Liberty to every people. And the deprivation of life of anyone is unconstitutional under Article 21. It is also said that No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law; it means, if there is a procedure than state can deprived a person from his life.

Capital penalty is frequently supported on the grounds that the state has a moral duty to protect the welfare and safety of its citizens since the Preamble of the Indian Constitution also makes reference to social justice.

Supporters of the death penalty believe that those who commit murder, because they have taken the life of another, have forfeited their own right to life.

Utilitarian claim that it has a uniquely potent deterrent than the alternative sanction of life or long term imprisonment.

Those who support capital punishment believe that it is possible to fashion laws and procedures that ensure that only those who are really deserving of death are executed.

Death penalty: Arguments in against

Abolitionist claim that capital punishment violates the condemned person’s right to life and is fundamentally inhuman and degrading.

Some opponents of the death penalty contend that because human life is so precious, even the greatest murderers shouldn’t lose the worth of their lives. They think that even if an offender has killed someone, the worth of their life cannot be diminished by their bad behavior.

Opponents maintain that the historical application of capital punishment shows that any attempt to single out certain kinds of crime as deserving of death will inevitably be arbitrary and discriminatory.

They also point to other factors that they think preclude the possibility that capital punishment can be fairly applied, arguing that the poor and ethnic and religious minorities often do not have access to good legal assistance, and that, because errors are inevitable even in a well-run criminal justice system, some people will be executed for crimes they did not commit. (There is plenty of evidence to suggest that such errors are possible: in the USA, 130 persons who were on death row since 1973 have been freed after being proved innocent.)

They also argue that other crimes beyond murder are not punished in a manner that resembles the act; rapists are not punished by sexual assault, and assaulters are not ceremonially beaten.

Capital punishment in the early 21st century:

Despite the large number of capital offenses in some countries, in most years only about 30 countries carry out executions.

In the United States, where roughly 60 percent of the states and the federal government have retained the death penalty, about two-thirds of all executions since 1976 have occurred in just six states—Texas, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

China was believed to have executed about 1,000 people annually until the first decade of the 21st century, when estimates of the number of deaths dropped sharply.

Although the number of executions worldwide varies from year to year, some countries—including Belarus, Congo (Kinshasa), Iran, Jordan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Yemen—execute criminals regularly. Japan and India also have retained the death penalty and carry out executions from time to time.

In India: In the 1973 case of Jagmohan Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court determined that Article 21 of the Constitution permits the taking of life if done in accordance with the legal process. The Supreme Court ruled In Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab 1979 that the death penalty should only be applied in the most extreme circumstances. The Supreme Court specified a few criteria in Machhi Singh vs. State of Punjab 1983 to assess whether a case qualifies as one of the rarest of the rare.

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