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Press Release- Delhi Gang Rape Case: Futility of Capital Punishment #Vaw #deathpenalty



People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Press Statement

16th September 2013


The judgment on the16th December 2012 Delhi gang rape case awarding death penalty to all four accused seems to have brought finality to the cries for justice. While this judgment is found to be in consonance with the majority’s demand, PUDR yet again reaffirms its stand on the futility of capital punishment.

In opposing the punishment of death to the four accused, we do not defend the crime for which they have been penalized. PUDR believes that the act committed by the accused was a brutal, inhuman, gruesome act that called for serious punishment. However, we are convinced that death penalty cannot be the answer. It is important to consider the purpose of punishment in determining its nature. We reiterate that the purpose of any punishment is not vengeance but construction of conditions that enable transformation of the guilty, who must expiate the harm done by them. The idea of retributive justice embodied by death penalty is against the very idea of justice, which is reduced to an act of taking away a life to avenge the loss of another.

Our opposition to death penalty is a principled one that argues against its deployment even in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases as there can be no definitional understanding of the said clause. Anything and everything could be brought within its ambit. There has been no substantial empirical ground to prove any link between death penalty and deterrence, an argument often floated to justify death sentence. Death sentence is irreversible and leaves no scope for correctives in case of an error in judgment. It is also our understanding based on subjective evidence that the award of death penalty is predominantly reflective of the class and caste biases prevalent in our society. The dominant sections and power holders get away with the same crime for which those on the margins are awarded death sentence.

Because we are against death penalty as a legally sanctioned murder by the State of someone under its custody for the above-mentioned reasons, we oppose its deployment in the present case as well. Death sentence in this case has also completely absolved the state of misperformance of law and order functions. The fact that the gang rape was facilitated by lapses on the part of (also in compliance with) authorities, be it the traffic administration or police, has completely been eliminated. While the alacrity, speed and seriousness with which this case has been brought to a conclusion are noteworthy, the same should mark all similar cases where a women’s body is violated and her life is snuffed out only to assert false male-superiority.

Death penalty is the propagation of a culture of hate. It infuses a sense of vengeance in society and reinforces the cycle of violence. PUDR strongly believes that a democratic and just society cannot be envisioned on the idea of retributive justice and disdain for an individual’s right to life. The way forward is the reform of a society infested by a pervert patriarchal psyche, which is the root cause of brutality against women. The attack must be made on such a mentality and not on a life.

D. Manjit and Asish Gupta


[email protected], [email protected]

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#Delhigangrape – Why don’t people first control their daughters?: Defence lawyer #Vaw #WTFnews

Written by: 

Published: Friday, September 13, 2013,

'People should control their daughters'

New Delhi, Sept 13: After the death sentence of the four rape accused in the Nirbhaya gangrape case, the one who has topped the news charts is the defence lawyer AP Singh, but for all the wrong reasons. After his hysterical presentation of the Nirbhaya case, invoking the ideologies of Gandhi and Buddha, the defence counsel now blames political pressure. “It is regrettable that the judgement in the case of the December 16 gangrape has been completely dictated by the government. The judge – without giving it due thought and under political pressure, without considering evidence or witnesses – has handed all four convicts the death sentence,” he said. Contesting the reasoning of the trial court, he further said,”During the time I have to appeal – in the next 2-3 months – if there is no rape in this country I will not appeal in the High Court. But, if rapes take place then I will appeal in the HC.” But he does not stop at that. After the sentencing, the counsel said that he would move the High Court as the sentencing was made under the pressure of the home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. But what outraged the media and the people was his unsympathetic statement onNirbhaya and his sharp remarks on her personal life. A tweet by India today says,”Why don’t people first control their daughters? I’d burn my daughter alive if she was having pre-marital sex,roaming around with her boyfriend at night”. It is rather unfortunate that while the entire country is rejoicing justice, its very representative is making such statements.

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