On a day like today, when the whole nation is mourning the loss of a 23 year old girl who died after suffering unimaginable pain and torture like many other daughters of this glorious country, I really feel like talking to my grandfather. Renowned for his honesty and integrity as a Judge, my grandfather’s views on the Justice System and The Death Penalty were well known.
Throughout his long career, my grandfather handed out only two Death sentences. He seemingly tried his best to avert such a sentence in both instances. His reason for opposing the death penalty was simple- As a Judge, he had been witness to many cases wherein lawyers exploited any and every loophole in the book of law to help convict an innocent or free a guilty man. And as an individual who was constrained by the evidence or lack of it while delivering ‘Justice’, cases that merited the Death penalty were immensely difficult to scrutinize simply based on evidence which sometime might be blatantly concocted. After all, one of the primary arguments of Anti- Death Penalty activists is the fact that a falsely accused person will be wronged beyond reproach if put to death.
This is probably the only point that I strongly concur with the Anti- Death Lobby.
Having conceded the initial point, let me continue to elaborate on why otherwise, I completely support Capital Punishment.
Today I am convinced that the Death Penalty is indeed most important for a society. Before the Human rights activists laugh and the politician’s scoff at me for being immature, impulsive, aggressive etc. let me tell them that I have in the past also been an active supporter of the ‘anti death penalty’ drive. But I have changed my mind for good. I shall explain my reasons below by answering the common arguments put forth by Anti-Death Penalty activists:
‘Death is not a Deterrent’:
This is the one of their most common arguments I want to ask them- Can you be very confident that Life Imprisonment is a deterrent to would be rapists and murderers out there? How can you ever claim that the fear of ‘jail for life’ rather than a primordial ‘fear of death’ will deter people from committing a crime? Has that been proved? No. The fact is that ‘Death’ will be a great deterrent provided Capital Punishment is used effectively. Hanging one person every decade will not scare the bad elements. Hang 100 Child Rapists, Murderers and terrorists in one year and observe the crime rate the following year. If it doesn’t dip, then your argument will be valid. But claiming that The Death Penalty does not act as a deterrent without even enforcing an efficient drive to hang the worst criminals in the first place is an argument that is fundamentally flawed.
‘Life imprisonment is harsher than Death’:
Do you know why this point is a joke? In a country where justice is delayed for decades, bail is handed out easily, corrupt prison officials provide cell phones and TV’s to hardcore criminals, presidents pardon child rapists and murderers and convicts are forgiven due to ill health and old age, how can anyone guarantee that the murderers, terrorists and rapists of this country will live out their life entirely in bitterness and remorse? How can you be sure that they don’t form friendships, enjoy their carpentry, yoga sessions, free food (Non Vegetarian sometimes!) and in a sick moment of madness, think back at their crimes and smile? Can you guarantee that over a period of time, they wont be released due to any Political leaders Birthday?In short, can anyone promise to the nation that these convicts will have a life devoid of fun and meaning (which they denied their victims)? The truth is, you cant!
Closure and Exposure:
In the case of a Death Penalty, there is a definitive end to the process of delivering Justice. Effectively and periodical publicizing these Deaths to the citizens will definitely impact potential wrongdoers rather than in the case of a life convict whose crime and punishment is forgotten over a period of time and rendered pointless by the cruel tendency of the human mind to ‘Forget’.
‘Punishment is to Reform’:
Trust me. Sometimes in life, one needs to have the courage to draw a line for society as a whole that proclaims- ‘Beyond that line, only God can forgive you. Humans cant’. I possibly cant see any point in trying to reform a Child rapist who rapes and mutilates two year old children.
‘Cost of Death Vs Life Imprisonment’:
One of the points that Pro Death Penalty activists cry out is the needless expenditure of keeping Dangerous convicts, terrorists and rapists alive. ‘Why should the state spend tax payers money on needless element in society?’ they ask
The Human rights activists immediately rebut this by pointing out that money should not be a deciding factor to hang an individual. But what they don’t realize is the fact that the Cost of keeping them alive is not just monetary. We all saw the cost of keeping terrorists alive during the Hijack of IC 814. We also saw the crores spent on Kasab’s protection and most recently the protection for the six rapists in Tihar.
More importantly, keeping bad elements alive only increases the chances of them spreading the poison in their mind to fellow inmates who might come out of jail as hardened criminals.
Last but not the least, when no other reason seems logical, the anti death activists fall back on the philosophical and religious reason:
‘Human Beings do not have the right to take another Humans Life’:
I shall answer this in a spiritual manner:
I am sure all of you have heard the saying ‘God helps those who help themselves’.
What this means in Layman terms is that- Don’t expect God to come and wipe your running nose or save your world. Do your bit towards humanity while believing that God is inside your body and mind, guiding you all the way.
People must realize that at some point of time, a human being loses his or her right to live.
Do you know?
Because mankind’s greatest gift is not the Earth, water, air or the wind. A human beings greatest gift is their ‘Life‘ itself! Life is our greatest gift. And a person who commits a heinous crime should lose that gift.