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Updated: September 4, 2011 19:17 IST

Civil rights body urges Parliament to abolish capital punishment

PTI
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Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and MDMK general secretary Vaiko arrive to represent for three convicts on death row in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case at the Madras High Court on August 30, 2011.
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Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and MDMK general secretary Vaiko arrive to represent for three convicts on death row in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case at the Madras High Court on August 30, 2011.

Amid the raging debate over death sentence to Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, a civil rights body has urged Parliament to take appropriate steps to abolish the “barbarous act” of capital punishment.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said the Supreme Court itself has given due consideration to the fact that court judgements may not necessarily be always correct and to deprive a person of his life would be “nothing short of a barbarous act“.

“In the wake of the ongoing controversy on justification of death penalty, it is high time that Parliament takes appropriate steps to abolish such provision from our statute books,” PUCL president N D Pancholi said in a statement.

He cited the judgement of a five-member Supreme Court bench in Kehar Singh v/s Union of India case and quoted the order “the administration of justice by courts is not necessarily always wise or certainly considerate of circumstances which may properly mitigate guilt.”

Pointing out that the Indian government has appealed to Pakistan government to commute the death sentence of Sarabjit Singh on humanitarian grounds, he said, “Can we make such an appeal when we are blind to such appeals within our own country?”

The PUCL statement came against the backdrop of increasing clamour for clemency for three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

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