Death Penalty: Effective Approach for Efficacy of Deterrence among Criminals By Harpal Parmar from RNPI School of Law
Capital punishment is defined as “the officially authorized execution of the death penalty on persons determined by appropriate legal procedures to have committed a criminal offence”[i]. The existence of capital punishment is since time immemorial. The practice of this stricter punishment was prevailing all over the world. There did not exist any form of court system in the ancient times till then, either exile was given or death sentence found acting against the norms of the particular group. During the colonial regime, it was usually inflicted so as to curb the revolt to have a deterrent effect on the lame subjects. But after the independence in the common law country, most of them opted for democracy, a form of government where right to life was also given.
Death sentence to the offender is the recognition made by the legislators in the statute for punishing them who act vehemently beyond legal framework and societal norms; who becomes potential threat to the society and sometimes integrity of the nation. The legislator represents the will of the people so they owe duty to them for safety and harmony and to punish the hardened or recidivist criminals an appropriate punishment for the crimes which are apparently unacceptable i.e. death sentence only and not any other lesser form of punishment. Not in actual sense of retribution but also evaluation of several other factors to be included the object is to deter the criminal from commission of crime and to set an example for others, thus to develop efficacy of the deterrence. Moreover, a measure which can bring justice to the victim and the people associated with him. Further, the faith of the common man remains intact in the law-makers as well in the judicial process where justice can be sought by the sufferers and to bring the perpetrator to its awful destiny through legal process. It is an extreme punishment which is inflicted for extraordinary crimes only. In the present day situation, time has not come yet to abolish the death sentence in India. No doubt almighty is the sole administrator to bestow justice. As a part of human practice to deliver justice the Judges are also served with the responsibility to act supremely wise who do their best before all the matters in giving justice, subject to the fallibility.
Death penalty is the most common form of sentence prevailing in countries for the most severe crimes. It can be given in different forms such as hanging, shooting, scientific experiment, electrocution, release before wild animals, lethal injection, stoning, beheading etc. Death sentence is a subject which has not remained untouched with the controversies. Death sentence is generally awarded to those criminals who are unscrupulous and are never complacent due to evil intent to cause irreparable damage to the victim or his family members. The members of the society have certain ethics to follow which the criminal fouls.
With the establishment of the judicial body as limb for the working of constitutional framework, the enactments are fair and just as it administers confidence of the people because of rational and objective working of the constitutional organ. It is true that death penalty is irrevocable, so for the same reason no err can be made. An accused gets multiple chances to disprove his guilt and to convince the honourable court that he does not deserve this extreme punishment. Once the death sentence has been awarded by session (or trial) court, Criminal Procedure Code requires that the sentence must be confirmed by the High court[ii]. Even after the High Court has convicted for death sentence he is still available with the option to make appeal in the Supreme Court, thus three-tier check is fulfilled. So every punishment is necessary for maintaining tranquillity among citizens and the society. The hardened criminals deserve only death and nothing less than that. Legal vengeance solidifies social solidarity against law-breakers and probably is the only alternative to the disruptive private revenge of those who feel harmed.
A person should think of the ramification of his act, and if the so called consequences are abandoned then people will have less value towards obeying the law. The infliction of the punishment must be severe which life imprisonment serves. All that can be said for today's time is that death penalty is legally justified and the retention will serve good purpose rather than some irrational mode for the punishment. Thus, morally suitable sentence for unforgivable or inexcusable crimes is necessary.
[i] Mr Mah weng Kwai, Should the death penalty be abolished, accessed on July 27 2017, available at http:/www.mahwengkwai.com/should-the-death-penalty-be-abolished/
[ii] Criminal procedure code 1973, (Act no. 2 of 1974) s. 366
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