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#India-WHIPLASH: Capital punishment as a joke #deathpenalty

By ABHISHEK BHALLA

PUBLISHED: 21:41 GMT, 25 October 2012 | , MailonlineIndia

    • The home ministry’s decision to recommend to the President that Mumbai attacker Kasab‘s mercy petition be rejected will fool a few into believing that the mass killer will be executed soon.

But, as our poor death row record shows, they are going to be disappointed. In fact, those who bat against the noose on moral grounds don’t need to take recourse to such principles. As far as is concerned, there is a much more convincing reason why it ought to be abolished: This is a provision of law that is almost always observed in the breach.

The death sentence may be handed out in the rarest of rare cases, but even then our law enforcers have regularly failed to go the final mile. You only need to look at statistics. The last death sentence was carried out in Alipore jail in Kolkata way back in 2004 when Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged to death for raping and killing a 14 year old girl.

Will Mohammed Qasab be the first person to receive the death penalty since 2004? Will Mohammed Qasab be the first person to receive the since 2004?

These delays are not difficult to explain. For, after the Supreme Court awards the death penalty, begins a complex procedure for seeking the President’s clemency. And this is the point where the provisions turn ambiguous – and open to crass politics.

What else can explain the Tamil Nadu assembly passing a unanimous resolution last year urging the President to review his stand after the mercy petition of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers was dismissed?

A similar attempt was made in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly to get the case of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru reconsidered. This makes it almost certain that ’s death sentence will also be put on hold.

Incidentally, the attacker has become the 309th convict to be placed on death row. This track record suggests that it would make sense to do away with the death penalty altogether, if only to spare the law a good deal of embarrassment.

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