Celebrating Execution is Uncivilized and Against Humanity: NCHRO
20 March 2020:
National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations(NCHRO) has condemned in no uncertain terms the celebration of the hanging of the four accused in the infamous Nirbhaya Case on Friday 20th March 2020.The crime committed by the accused was most heinous and they deserved no mercy. However death penalty itself has become problematic in India as only the poor and the marginalized are sent to death-row and the reason is mainly their inability to engage smart, but expensive criminal lawyers.
The Supreme Court itself has said that the death penalty given to them is confirmed to satisfy collective consciousness of the nation, a concept which itself is elastic.
History tells us that the death penalty has no effect on criminality. Even under the most sophisticated death-penalty statutes, the courts could commit mistakes and at times they are swayed by the so called public opinion. The resources of the defendant, the background of the victim etc. also matter.
Since our system of justice can never be mistake-free, it is possible that an error is made and innocent persons are executed. Statistics shows it is often used against the most vulnerable in society, including the poor, ethnic and religious minorities, and people with mental disabilities and people who rose in destitute environments. That is the reason why very few countries keep death penalty in their statute books. As a tolerant democracy it is time for India to remove the provision from IPC as demanded by many national and international human rights bodies.
The death penalty today is a system which vents society’s anger over the problem of crime on a select few. The majoritarian chorus should not dictate the trial and its outcome. We have cases of the perpetrators of Gujarat Genocide coming out scot-free.
Robust laws would in fact have a very limited impact in reducing the crime unless they are accompanied with a change in the attitudes of the police, judiciary, government officers and society itself.
Prof A Marx
Prof P Koya