Retain death penalty only in terror, sedition cases, says la

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Old 01-Sep-2015
Post Retain death penalty only in terror, sedition cases, says la

The Law Commission today recommended abolition of death penalty for all crimes, barring those involving terrorism and sedition.
The law panel said death penalty, which was the rule in colonial India, had lost its relevance over the years for several reasons. Among the reasons cited by the commission were: Life sentence was as deterrent as death penalty, it was mostly awarded to socially and economically marginalised persons due to the vagaries of the criminal justice system, and as many as 140 countries had abolished it.
The recommendation was made only by seven of the 10 commission members. The other three members—Justice Usha Mehra, PK Malhotra and Sanjay Singh—refused to sign the report, stating that they were against abolition of the penalty as the time was not ripe for the move and further debate was required on the issue.
The 20th Commission, headed by Justice AP Shah, made the recommendation on the last day of its three-year term. The suggestions are part of the 251-page report titled “The Death Penalty”.
“Although there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes, concern is often raised that abolition of death penalty for terrorism-related offences and waging war will affect national security,” the commission said explaining the reason for its recommendation in its 262nd report submitted to the government. Addressing a press conference, Justice Shah said death penalty “does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment”. Further, life imprisonment under the Indian law meant jail term for the entire life, subject to remissions that, in many states, were granted only after several years of imprisonment, ranging from 30 to 60 years in cases of serious crimes, he said.
“Retribution cannot be reduced to vengeance. The notion of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth has no place in our constitutionally mediated criminal justice system. Capital punishment fails to achieve any constitutionally valid penological goals,” he said.

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