Stating that the death penalty was “uncivilised”, National Commission for Minorities Chairperson, Wajahat Habibullah, has said that the law should not succumb to public opinion as such a situation would be fraught with danger.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Capital Punishment in Asia’, held by the OP Jindal Global University here, Habibullah said, “It (death penalty) is a direct contradiction of the Indian spiritual and philosophical tradition”. He also referred to the ‘ahimsa’ tradition as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi.
Talking about the apex court’s judgement in the Guru case, in which it had held that the collective conscience of society would only be satisfied if capital punishment were to be awarded to the offender, Habibullah averred that, “law should not succumb to public opinion, which is fraught with danger”.
Guru had been convicted for his role in the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.
A book, ‘Confronting Capital Punishment in Asia: Human Rights, Politics and Public Opinion’, was also released on the occasion.
Prof C Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, JGU, said that the aim of the seventh worldwide conference was to bridge the gap between theory and practice in law.
More than 300 delegates from over 50 countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, UK, Turkey, Uganda, Mexico, Peru, Ireland, Morocco, Nigeria, Germany, France, Italy, Jordan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Australia and the US took part in the conference.
Padmashree awardee Professor NR Madhava Menon, who, too, attended the meet, emphasised the need for a radical re-conceptualisation of legal education and pedagogy to include the rural, tribal and marginalised segments of the Indian population.
Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, NV Ramana, at a workshop as part of the conference, called for sustained efforts to strengthen legal education