Capital Punishment

Are there any new views to write, about the topic on which most erudite people have spoken/written in length? Yes, I do have something to write and it is my views on CP. No one could/would ever write about my views. I know it’s a bad joke.

I am all in for punishing (though, I wouldn’t call it that way) the offenders. Not because, doing so would deter the others, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the offender must face the consequences of his action. He, (for the ease of writing), who breaks the law of land must be taken care by the government. The government has a moral responsibility of taking care of its citizens, especially the most vulnerable ones.

Action or Passion
He must have been really vulnerable, so someone could manipulate him to do unlawful activities or himself driven by some vicious thought, ends up doing unacceptable activities. A sentence from Plato’s “Dialogues” sums this one up “Any state of action or passion implies a previous action or passion”.  We tend to look at just the action committed by the perpetrator and not the actual cause behind his action.

Why Capital Punishment is wrong
It’s oldest form of Retribution
When one looks for the Wikipedia page on Prison, the following passage is found under the title “History- Ancient time  “The penalties for violations of the laws in Hammurabi’s Code were almost exclusively centered on the concept of lex talionis (“the law of retaliation”) where people were punished as a form of vengeance, often by the victims themselves. This notion of punishment as vengeance or retaliation can also be found in many other legal codes from early civilizations, including the ancient Sumerian codes, the Indian Manama Dharma Astra, the Hermes Trismegistus of Egypt, and the Mosaic Code.[4]”

We are talking about BC period. We have come a long way from there in terms of civilization, science, technology and various other aspects, but we still cling on to this cruel retributive form of punishment. Retribution in any form or factor is not accepted by the state, unless the state, itself, indulges in that heinous act

Fallible Human Judgment

Any person who committed a crime must be reformed and not be sent to gallows. Below is an excerpt from a speech given by an Indian MP, who argued against Death Penalty during India’s post-Independence infancy. He clearly states that why Death Penalty is so wrong a punishment.

The first consideration is that human judgment is not infallible. Every judge, every tribunal is liable to err. But capital punishment is irrevocable. Once you decide to award the sentence, the result is that the man is gone. […] The second consideration is that human life is sacred and its sanctity is, I think, accepted by all. […] A man’s life is taken away if there is no other way to prevent the loss of other human lives. But the question is whether capital punishment is necessary for the sake of preventing crimes which result in such loss of human lives. I venture to submit that at least thirty countries have come to the conclusion that they can do without it and they have been going on in this way for at least ten years, or twenty years, without any ostensible or appreciable increase in crimes. […] The third consideration is that this is a punishment which is really shocking and brutal and does not correspond with the sentiments which prevail now in the present century.”

Inequality of Justice

Infallibility and the prejudices of the human beings (read Judges), can be very well seen from the number of incarcerated citizens from the minorities. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/rates.html When there is no ‘Just’ in Justice, then what’s the point.

Public Baying for blood

It’s a sign of a deteriorating society, when judgments are pronounced to satisfy public anger against a violent act, as in the case of Afzal Guru. The judgment stated ” The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender”
Also, the celebrations of Ajmal kasab’s hanging gave a grim picture on the state of our society. If we are celebrating the death of a human being (no matter how heinous his crimes were), then it says a lot about our society

Arguments in favor of Death Penalty

The proponents of the capital punishment might argue that,
• It act as a deterrent
• Expenses incurred, in guarding the criminals, could be used for some welfare purpose
• The possibility, of terrorist organization demanding the release of the criminal in exchange for some kidnapped flight, would be eliminated if the person is sent to the gallows.
These arguments do have some merits. But if we could explore the distant galaxies and stars, wouldn’t we find solution to these conundrums?

Capital Factor

The cost to safeguard criminals that we are talking would be a penny out of a paycheck of all the politicians, who stall the parliament from functioning. If one is so worried about the capital vis-à-vis guarding the criminal, the prisoners could be made use to implement any public welfare program, where human efforts are involved.   And if educated person turns out to be a criminal, his education could be used to get some jobs done for the government.

Exchange programs
As far as issue of exchange of criminals for kidnapped people is concerned, the government is responsible for the safety of its citizens. If citizens are captured, then the government must ensure safe return of its citizens.  And not provide this as an argument to justify capital punishment Government & Society

One might think the author is passing the entire responsibility to the government for all the wrong doings. Any government, elected by the people, must take care of its people. That doesn’t mean the people are given a free ride. They are integral part of the government. People have as much responsibility as the government, in taking care of the vulnerable citizens.

We have come a long way from the jungles to places, where we are right now. We should not act in a primitive manner and this capital punishment is a very primitive form of retribution, as stated earlier. Let’s all work together to create a nation free of Capital Punishment

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