Opinion » Lead

Updated: February 19, 2013 00:52 IST

An execution most foul

T. R. Andhyarujina
Comment (55)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

In carrying out Afzal Guru’s death sentence, the government deliberately ignored the view of the Supreme Court and courts across the world that hanging a person after holding him in custody for years is inhuman

The execution of Afzal Guru on February 9, 2013 was an inhumane act by the Government of India. Afzal Guru was hanged seven years after the Supreme Court’s pronouncement of the death sentence on him on August 4, 2005 and over six years after his clemency petition to the President of India on November 8, 2006. During this period, he and his family remained in agonising suspense over his fate every day — a situation that is condemned by all civilised countries and our Supreme Court. The rejection of his petition by the President after over six years on February 3, 2013, was kept secret and deliberately not communicated to his family, lest it became the subject of judicial consideration as has been done in other cases of delayed execution. Within a few days of the rejection of his mercy petition, the execution was carried out in secrecy on February 9, 2013 without informing his family, and his body was buried in equal secrecy in a grave inside Tihar Jail, New Delhi.

Six years

A petition made to the President for pardon, reprieve or remission of punishment under Article 72 of the Constitution is a right of a convict and until the petition is rejected, the government cannot carry out the sentence. In disposing of the petition under Article 72, the President does not act at his discretion but on the aid and advice of the government. This was held by the Supreme Court in Kehar Singh’s case in 1989. The crucial question was whether the execution could be carried out after a prolonged delay of over six years from the day Afzal Guru made his petition to the President.

The disposal of Afzal Guru’s petition became a political matter, with the BJP’s unseemly demand for his execution and its making it an issue in the ensuing elections. For its own political consideration, the government did not decide the petition made to the President. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, the then Home Minister deliberately instructed the Government of Delhi to delay responding to the Afzal Guru file sent to it. In 2008, Afzal Guru made a statement that revealed his mental distress. He said in an interview, “I really wish L.K. Advani becomes India’s next PM as he is the only one who can take a decision and hang me. At least my pain and daily suffering will ease then.”

When terrorist Ajmal Kasab was executed on November 21, 2012, immediately following the Supreme Court’s verdict on him, the Opposition again renewed its demand for Afzal Guru’s execution. Steps were then taken by the government to prevent the opposition from exploiting the situation. Kasab’s execution carried out in secrecy became the model for the execution of Afzal Guru. On November 15, 2012, President Pranab Mukherjee sent Afzal Guru’s file back to the Home Ministry for a fresh consideration of the mercy petition. On January 23, 2013, the Home Ministry recommended its rejection and on February 3, 2013, the President formally rejected the petition. The President’s rejection was then implemented by the Home Minister on February 4, 2013 and five days later in the early morning on February 9, 2013, Afzal Guru was hanged.

In executing Afzal Guru after a prolonged period in which he and his family suffered the agony of suspense, the government flouted a well-settled law laid down by the Supreme Court in several cases. In Edigma Anama vs. State of A.P. in 1974, Justice Krishna Iyer spoke of the “brooding horror of haunting the prisoner in the condemned cell for years.” Justice Chinnappa Reddy in T.V. Vatheeswaran vs. State of Tamil Nadu in 1983 said that a prolonged delay in the execution of a sentence of death had a dehumanising effect and this had the constitutional implication of depriving a person of his life in an unjust, unfair and unreasonable way so as to offend the Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution. He quoted the Privy Council’s observation in a case of inordinate delay in execution: “The anguish of alternating hope and despair, the agony of uncertainty and the consequences of such suffering on the mental, emotional and physical integrity and health of the individual has to be seen.”

Trauma of convict and family

In 1983, in Sher Singh vs. State of Punjab, the Court repeated the same observations, and in the larger Constitutional Bench in Triveniben vs. State of Gujarat in 1989 to settle the law, the Supreme Court again reiterated that a prolonged delay in execution would be unjust, unfair and unreasonable. The Court held that in the disposal of mercy petitions it has been universally recognised that the condemned person suffers a degree of mental torture even though there is no physical mistreatment. The Court held that if there was an inordinate delay in execution, the condemned prisoner would be entitled to move the Court to examine whether it was just and fair to allow the sentence of death to be executed. The disclosure of the rejection of the mercy petition was, therefore, mandatory. In the case of Jagdish vs. State of Madhya Pradesh in 2012, the Supreme Court highlighted not only the agony of the convict by inordinate delay of execution but also the agony and trauma of his close relatives.

In 1994, the Privy Council adopted the observations of the Indian Supreme Court and stated in a moving part of the judgment that “there is an instinctive revulsion against the prospect of hanging a man after he has been held under sentence of death for many years. What gives rise to this instinctive revulsion? The answer can only be our humanity; we regard it as an inhuman act to keep a man facing the agony of execution over a long extended period of time … To execute these men now after holding them in custody for so many years would be inhuman punishment.” The European Court on Human Rights in 1989 and the Canadian Supreme Court has also has taken a similar view. In executing Afzal Guru, the government deliberately ignored the views of our Supreme Court and other Courts in other jurisdictions.

Apart from the torment and agony suffered by the death row convict, it has been universally recognised that the agony is suffered also by his near and dear ones in the same manner by the delay. A leading textbook on death penalty states that “the trauma for families is specially evident when the date of the execution draws near. In recognition of this, it appears to be the common practice in most retentionist countries to allow relatives to visit the condemned person prior to execution, to inform them of the date of the execution, and to deliver them the body for burial.”

In Afzal Guru’s case, his family members were not informed of his imminent execution and were unable to meet him one last time before his execution. The government’s claim that it informed them by a speed post letter dispatched on February 8, 2013 is meaningless. The letter was delivered to the family in Kashmir two days after his execution!

In March-April 2012, the Supreme Court heard petitions by two death convicts — Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and Narender Nath Das — on the validity of carrying out executions after mercy petitions were delayed for eight to 11 years. The Court considered the cases of other death row convicts also whose executions were prolonged and directed the Government of India to give details and files relating to the convicts. The government then gave the details of the death row convicts whose mercy petitions were pending with the President of India.

Legality of prolonged delay

One of the pending cases was that of Afzal Guru. The Court appointed me as amicus curiae to consider the larger question of the execution of convicts after inordinate delay. In the course of my submissions, I referred in particular to the facts of the Afzal Guru case. The hearing concluded on April 19, 2012, and judgment was reserved in the case. The government was fully aware that the legality of prolonged delay in the execution of convicts was pending consideration by the Supreme Court. It was incumbent upon the government to await the authoritative pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the pending petitions but the government carried out the execution of Afzal Guru on 9 February, 2013.

Overall, Afzal Guru’s execution will remain the most callous death sentence carried out by the government of India.

(The writer is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and former Solicitor General of India)

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Reading the comments that flood into The Hindu to the above article and other
articles on the Guru execution, I get the impression that when the person to be
executed is a Muslim, several commentators with Hindu sounding names seem to
be utterly devoid of compassion. Despite the fact that many know that Guru was
tortured into confession - with his family held hostage to make him confess -
many commentators simply want the man executed. As if that solves problems or
deters further crime.

Yet, it is so heartening to read the views of Ms Vinothini Kumar & Messrs Surendra
& Viswanathan who question the relevance of capital punishment in India.

The death penalty has never deterred crime, anywhere in the world. It is especially
dangerous when implemented by a state that has an incompetent, corrupt &
politicised police force and an inefficient judiciary.

And India’s innumerable fault lines between its various communities and ethnic
groups will further widen. Sad indeed.

from:  V.Suresh
Posted on: Feb 21, 2013 at 13:56 IST

Please let it not be forgotten that capital punishment in its legal
sense means a “punishment” of the severest degree and not some sort
of remedy to relieve the convict of his “mental distresses” or
reward for ‘easing’ his “pain and daily suffering”. The purpose of
this punishment is deterrence, prevention and to some extent
retribution; and courts in India have rightly restricted it to the
“rarest of the rare cases”. After all what makes Guru worthy of
such a chorus of compassion that even jurists of Sri Andhyarujina’s
proven caliber have begun censoring his execution? Shouldn’t such
things be left to the likes of Arundhati Roy? In fact, delay in
execution gave Guru six more years of life he did not deserve in
view of final pronouncement of capital punishment by the Supreme
Court. Could this period not be spent by him in remorse and
repentance? No, as his last letter to his family and co-religionists
revealed, Guru was not repentant for his gruesome misdeeds at all
but was proud of his ‘martyrdom’! The “agony of suspense” of Guru’s
family was definitely not harsher than the agony of loss of bread-
winners in those gardener’s and policemen’s bereaved patriotic
families who lost their lives in the Parliament-attack. It is for
the surviving countrymen to decide whose loss should we mourn,- the
news-maker extremists or the silent dutiful dead policemen/ gardener
whose names most of us don’t ever remember.

from:  D.K.Bhatt
Posted on: Feb 21, 2013 at 09:29 IST

It is amusing to learn that modern penology gives killing rights only to murderers and no hanging rights to the state. In the name of human rights all delay is done for proper justice and then argument is given because of the delay,hanging is not justified. This article gives a wonderful feeling of the ‘opposite view’ setting aside all the relevant question:
What Afzal Guru did, is that punishable to death?
Whatever he did, was it an innocent work ?
If the punishment was more than crime?
Once Supreme Court has given its decision why clemency appeal to President?

from:  Harihar Jha
Posted on: Feb 21, 2013 at 08:12 IST

The irony is that nowhere the time limit is elaborated. Jurists and lawyers may do well to come out and define a time line to avoid such lapses in future. Without a rule on time, every hanging henceforth will have volumes to contribute that will only lead to a situation where the criminal did not get the punishment commensurate to the degree of crime committed.

from:  S Raghavan
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 18:42 IST

Hanging some one just for soothing the collective conscience of
society is highly disgusting and this is not one should expect from
judges. The way this execution was performed is another shame for the
nation. What would have happened if this hanging was done fulfilling
all the formalities? Only if a statesman rules our country we can
expect such dignified administration and not when proxies rule. Now I
am eagerly waiting to see how govt is going to deal with the hanging
of Veerappan's aides! Since they are not from Kashmir there is no
demand for a speedy execution from any party.

from:  Rama Rao B
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 15:29 IST

Always fight for accused and never care about the Victim. Why there is huge cry while hanging rapists and terrorists. We are living in a disgusting society. We can ban death sentence and all when the crime rate is significantly low. First, suggest methods to speed up the trails and ensure conviction rate is 100%, bring/suggest change in these. Suggest plans to change the mindsets of the youth.Don't defend rapists and terrorists.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 13:04 IST

Well this execution is intransigent. However informing their family in Kashmir two days after his execution is pathetic.

from:  karthik
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 11:44 IST

All I can say is "WELL DONE"!

from:  lakshman veti
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 10:06 IST

Everyone talks here about supreme court judgement... corruption has entagled whole of India,why we are shying for flaws in the course of trial. Just for the sake of collective coinscience he was sent to gallows. Why you are thinking just on political and on Supreme court judgement line. Where is our collective coinscience about humantarian issues.

from:  Asrar Nazir
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 09:31 IST

I cant understand why the
President has been given the power to decide on mercy petitions despite
him having no legal expertise. Moreover the President is not a
nonpartisan person in our system as we see in case of Pranab Mukherjee.
Even the executions are being used to benefit the vote banks of parties.
This is inhuman and disgusting.

from:  Akramjeet Singh
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 09:08 IST

Civility & Humanity seems to be lost somewhere amidst the battles of political upmanship

from:  Noorul amin
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 03:48 IST

How do we give justice to the family of the convict’s victims? All
those, like author of this article, who are making arguments against
death penalty must find out the feelings and sentiments of those who’s
dear and near ones have been killed by the individual who has been
given the death sentence. How many of the victim’s families are ready
to forget the incident and forgive the convict?
. If death penalty is to be done away with, I believe that a jail term
for remaining part of life with hard labour, with no concessions or
parole, may be a better alternative. But still the question in some
readers’ mind would be “why should the society bear the cost of
keeping the murderer alive for so many years? “. This question has no
logical answer.
I also feel that if death penalty is to become an effective deterrent
for preventing similar crimes, the delay in execution of the convict
must be avoided. For this to happen, we must review our law of pardon
by the President of India.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 21:35 IST

I think this article is not just an opinion on this issue, but perhaps an expert insight held at the convergance of multiple contexts such as the legal framework, humanitarian aspects and social nobility. While it is normal human psychology to spontanesouly react to such issue in rather an emotional than a rational sense, this article brings the importance of the legal system (of course, when applied diligently) - that must have been built over ages of evolved wisdom - to exercise restraint from emotional decisions and to challenelise judgement and action through rationale and humanitarian grounds, potentially leading to a society of high-minded maturity and nobility. Isnt that consistent with our own preachings from Dharma?!

from:  Dharmesh
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 20:58 IST

Kudos, to writer and The Hindu for such an enlightening article,it shows how callously our leaders behave,they dont even follow the simple proceedure in sensitive cases like hanging,if in civil society we all want people to follow the rule of law and respect the rights of others and should also know ones responsibilities then,we should also respect the rights of even condemned prisoners,otherwise we have no right to call ourselves civilised.I am surprised,many educated readers have been talking about only hushing up the matter quietly,without raising the question,so, is it fair? are we up- holding the rule of law? can we call ourselves civilised ? Do,the people,like Hon. retired justice VR Krishna Aiyar,renownd writer Arundhati Roy and former Attorny general Fali Nariman,many eminant SC Lawyers and public figures,all those who are questioning the Govt.on this hanging are anti-Govt,undemocratic,insensitive to the plights of victims?

from:  Mirgazan
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 19:59 IST

I predict that many such inhuman acts will be committed because the
malaise runs much deeper.In the time of Lord Wavell Congress leaders
envisaged an independent India with maximum autonomy to the States as
in the European Union.For J & K State the accession agreement
specifically mentioned it in writing but what happened after Sheikh
Abdullah was unjustly removed with the Constituent Assembly in
session is too well known to bear repetition.
Political murders whether of Afzal Guru or Akbar Bugti or Sheikh Mujib
or Z.A.Bhutto have consequences. The only solution for an ethnically
liguisticaly and culturally heterogenous country like India is
greater decentralisation and greater empowerment of the States
replicating something similar to the European Union.
I feel sorry for Rahul Gandhi who now will have to comprise his
idealism and campaign for a party in whose guilt he as it's VP has
an equal share -unless he boldly protests this injustice- which I
seriously doubt will ever happen

from:  taffazull
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 19:43 IST

Apart from the delay, I do not see anything wrong with the hanging. And
calling the delay as a reason not to hang is like expecting two wrongs
to make a right.

So long as the establishment does not revoke the IPC provisions that
warrant death sentences, I believe they should keep getting awarded and

from:  Priyank
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 18:56 IST

The author says "I referred in particular to the facts of the Afzal Guru
case. The hearing concluded on April 19, 2012, and judgment was reserved
in the case." .. come on.. if judiciary and the author are so concerned
with the rights of cruel criminals and still take such a long time to
deliver judgement ( 1 year and still counting) then government has every
right to take its own time to decide on mercy petition because it has to
weigh so many important considerations including security of general
public and international situation etc, unlike the author and judiciary.

from:  ANIL P.
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 18:51 IST

Let's talk about the trauma of the 10 police staff that includes a woman police..

If someone plans to kill the indian political system with the help of pakistan terrorists by attacking parlimant.. we should worry about how that individual was treated ? ok.. we can do that.. but should we not care of the innocent police men and his family ?

Who will worry about 26/11 victim's family ?

If we inform Afzal's family.. then the advocate will go for a stay in apex court.. that's it.. Azal will live for another 25 years..

We need to blame the government for sitting on this mercy petitions for years to gether giving way for this kind of terrorists to escape from the punishment..

Look at Veerappan's gang which killed 22 police men.

What about those innocent people who died along with Rajiv Gandhi ?

Which human rights commission will come and defend them ?

Please don't write sensational stories just to get public attention..

from:  Lakshman
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 18:30 IST

People who are saying what about the trauma of the victims and their families should also think that what is the difference between them and Afzal Guru?
talk about justice not revenge!

from:  soumya
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 18:26 IST

Admitted that Afzal Guru was responsible for the attack on India's
sovereignty and he was responsible for the horrendous crime which took
lives of many brave hearts. But , some questions are to be answered .
1. Why did the government go for selective execution of him only?
2. Why does it falls on knees to the public opinions and decide
3.If he deserved the rarest of rare case verdict , then why was he let
to rot in the prison?should have been executed very soon and the
centre might have saved the wrath of human rights activists.
4.Why can't the PM of this country boldly address the nation the
questions which the nation wants from him ; Obama very well addressed
the world media after the execution of Osama and he well addressed the
reasons for burying him in the mid sea.Our PM can also do that.

from:  mohit kumar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 18:15 IST

Afzal Guru - Veerappan gang - hanging : Not less than a month same Judiciary, same type of mercy petition rejected but this time proper communication, no secrecy, time given for appeal??????

from:  HMS
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 17:19 IST

I believe all those views of inhumanity should go for a toss when the matter is of national security. We Indians have been way to tolerant of all the problems various extremists pose ,whether it be cross-border terrorists, Maoists or Naxalites. The very root of the uprisings as they may argue is dissatisfaction of the concerned classes. But I do question the steps government has taken earlier to ensure that this discontent does not disrupt the life of law abiding citizens of the nation. This time at least they have shown some guts and came out to show what fate awaits for such people.In the court a few irrefutable bit of information do come out. If those bits incriminate someone as traitor of nation, in all cases exemplary execution should be handed.

In this light I wish to ask the people who are condemning this hanging as foul just because it came late, do you really want to say that if you have escaped your consequence for too long you should be forgiven?

from:  Ankur
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 17:07 IST

Reading the comments that flood into The Hindu to the above article and other
articles on the Guru execution, I get the impression that when the person to be
executed is a Muslim, several commentators with Hindu sounding names seem to
be utterly devoid of compassion. Despite the fact that many know that Guru was
tortured into confession - with his family held hostage to make him confess -
many commentators simply want the man executed. As if that solves problems or
deters further crime.

Yet, it is so heartening to read the views of Ms Vinothini Kumar & Messrs Surendra
& Viswanathan who question the relevance of capital punishment in India.

The death penalty has never deterred crime, anywhere in the world. It is especially
dangerous when implemented by a state that has an incompetent, corrupt &
politicised police force and an inefficient judiciary.

And India’s innumerable fault lines between its various communities and ethnic
groups will further widen. Sad indeed.

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 16:49 IST

Certainly the manner in which the execution of guru was done by the
Govt. of India gives an impression that govt. has done great injustice
somewhere. But that is the superficiality of the case, and this is
what some people from legal fraternity, human rights and any other
people of that ilk are trying to blow this case out of proportion.
Although if someone looks the case in a holistic manner keeping
political situation at J&K in mind, I think, there was no best way
other than this to carry out that hanging. However, this UPA govt.
must be held responsible for inordinate delay in executing the death
sentence. If the execution of Guru had happened much earlier, at
least, we would not be hearing so many hue and cries on this
particular matter.

from:  Manu
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 15:47 IST

A well written article. This along with Krishna Iyer and Arundhati Roy's articles expose the callous attitude of those in power. Every issue is exploited by those in power to further their interests. That they should go down to this level, speaks volumes of the state we are in.
Let us hope for the best.

Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 15:46 IST

I am afraid I do not agree with the article. Once the mercy petition
is rejected, the fate is known. There is a crude Kannada saying- "A
convict's wife is anyday a widow".It is easy to preach ideals

and sermons as long as we are not the affected parties.Though there is
a growing opinion against the capital punishment worldwide, in India
the Supreme Court awards it in “the rarest of rare

cases”. After the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution seeking
clemency for the Rajiv Gandhi assassins, Omar Abdullah tweeted about
possible consequences if Jammu and Kashmir had done

something similar for Afzal Guru.Politicians/rightists often tend to
exploit misplaced public sympathy for killers.

from:  K.S.Jayathertha
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 15:36 IST

The veerrapan aides got to appeal in SC against the rejection of mercy
plea by the president while kasab and afzal guru were denied that right.
If we want to boast of following the right judicial procedure and give
fair trail to the criminals then how come the SC appeal was conveniently
left out and the the convicts hanged directly?
Having said that, they were terrorists and deserved due punishment. If
one expects some relief on humanitarian grounds, they should have
thought of the same before killing innocent people.

from:  Abhi
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:24 IST

The State that believes in the principle of non-violence cannot resort to politically motivated violence. But , in this case, the accused does not regret his actions.So,there is every possibility that he may resort to similar actions in the future.In order to protect its citizens,and to disprove the stand of the accused(and their associates), it has to carry out this highly humane action.

from:  Devaraj
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:18 IST

Albert Camus was of the view that capital punishment by the state is
actually murder by state and it is taking away the possible potential
of the human being. He also claims that by doing so the state is
actually working in a beastly manner where there is no civility
because the state doesn't tell about the way the condemned died, the
little details of his execution. While I agree with Camus up to a
certain extent. I do not see how this can be applied to people who are
at war with state. Should he had been set free? or should he had been
put in solitary confinement which is equally degrading? Or should we
have taken a written undertaking from the condemned that he will not
repeat the kind of offence he perpetuated? The state should behave in
a humane manner with citizens not with enemies who would likely repeat
the same kind of crime with impunity because he knows he would not be
given capital punishment. can a person motivated by jehadi tendency
reform himself for larger society?

from:  Atul Bhaskar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:15 IST

I always believe in doing something or making a decision that is in the
best interest of a greater good, and irrespective of the question
that whether Afsal was innocent or not, this decision to hang him served
no greater best it gave satisfaction to a feeling of vengeance
of a society;.. but on the other hand it further alienated the Kashmir

from:  Dinoop Ravindran Menon
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:14 IST

Definitely Govt. of India is guilty of hiding the fact that his clemency has been rejected in 2006, but that doesnt mean that his crimes have been undone because of the delay on the part of the government. Whatever life he got for 6 years was a bonus. Henceforth President should also be mandated to revert back within 2 months of applying for clemency, and convict should not be allowed to apply for multiple clemency petitions(say maximum 2) and last but not least, execution should be carried out within a month of rejection of clemency petition.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:14 IST

president of india will be having so many job but he/she should be given
more importance to death clemency decisions. in recent we are listening
criticism about delay in taking decision of capital punishment. this
decision should not politically inspired .

from:  vinay kumar yadav
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 13:00 IST

The judgement was passed a POTA court, upheld by Delhi High Court and appeal rejected by SUpreme Court. I take this as a measure of confidence that multiple judicial personnal have reviewed the case and upheld the judgement.

The delay, however is regrettable and govt. should put in measures to curb the same, but questioning the judgement again just because of the delay without new evidence is just a waste of taxpayers money and judges time.

It should also be there in every citizen's mind that the accused has been found guilty of conspiring with a hostile nation, consorting with terrorists and attacking a national site resulting in deaths of multiple policemen. The judgement should stand, notwithstanding the regrettable delay.

from:  Art
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 12:59 IST

Yes reject all mercy petitions now & hang all criminals publicly !

from:  Anish Khindri
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 12:55 IST

• The crux of the issue narrated is on prolonged delay in decision making by President. The irony is that nowhere the time limit is elaborated. Jurists and lawyers may do well to come out and define a time line to avoid such lapses in future. Without a rule on time, every hanging henceforth will have volumes to contribute that will only lead to a situation where the criminal did not get the punishment commensurate to the degree of crime committed.

from:  S Raghavan
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 12:44 IST

the legal luminaries, who write post facto, should have taken up
defense at the appropriate time.

from:  savita naik
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 12:32 IST

People will not stop criticizing Government even if it takes steps in
our favor. Mr. Writer did u ever took pain to write about the family of
those policemen who had lost their lives in the attack and did you ever
try to find out whether they had received government help. You just need
a current topic to write without thinking what impact it gives on the
reader's mind. You should be more responsible while expressing your
views. Our Government is corrupt, no second thought on it but we should
appreciate its right actions as well.

from:  Richa Agarwal
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 12:31 IST

It is important to note that the delays on this vexed issue are not only at the level of the executive, but also of the judiciary. Though the arguments in the Supreme Court on the matter of inordinate delay were closed on April 19, 2012, the judgement is yet to be pronounced. Perhaps even the highest court finds it difficult to come to a conclusion because of the complexity of the matter.

from:  P. Zachariah
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 11:42 IST

Definitely Govt. of India is guilty of hiding the fact that his clemency has been rejected in 2006, but that doesnt mean that his crimes have been undone because of the delay on the part of the goverment. Whatever life he got for 6 years was a bonus. Henceforth President should also be mandated to revert back within 2 months of applying for clemency, and convict should not be allowed to apply for multiple clemency petitions(say maximum 2) and last but not least, execution should be carried out within month of rejection of clemency petition.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 10:59 IST

Human rights of criminals of of humanity. Is not it an oxymoron? Next, advocates of human rights of criminals of humanity. Which phrase do we use for them. Selectively, we have become: Penny wise, Pound foolish. We should talk in totality and not selectively. When we talk about human rights we should first look at the masses. I do not know, what these people get by going selectively, carefully.

from:  Anil Karn
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 10:27 IST

When we talk about inhuman behaviour, I think it should be applicable to every person. A person who was involved in planning and execution of attack on Indian Parliament and killed around 10 policeman, should be we talk about humanity and human rights for that person only or we should think over the persons who were killed in saving out premier institution. Have we ever talk about humanity and other fundas for them and for their family. I think people like you should not talk like this way, which sends wrong message to society and people of one particular community starts thinking that only they are sufferer and every body in India whether govt or majority don't care about them.

from:  Sanjay Kumar Gautam
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 09:39 IST

Dear The Hindu and all writers of this kind(with the above view), you
can be very much against death penalty; you can call it inhumane.
That is your freedom for opinion. But you can only talk and propagate
only against death penalty in general. You try and educate people and
law makers in this regard. This is what all you can do. Now the
situation is that death penalty is there in IPC. Law is taking its
course and death sentences are being carried out. You taking
individual cases and accuse the government of being inhumane, is
TOTALLY irresponsible. And when some of the cases are very sensitive
in nature, you are simply doing harm to the society by publishing
articles like this. Why you always talk about the convict's and their
families' sufferings? Who can console the victims(and their families)
of these murderers? Please, The Hindu, be RESPONSIBLE.

from:  Mani
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 09:29 IST

Nicely expressed. There has been enough hue and cry on this execution. The day after Guru was hanged, Arundhati Roy's piece in The Hindu put forth some loopholes in the trial. There have been several letters that have been published in this daily both for and against the hanging. But what about the millions who starve to death, who live below poverty line, who dont have even the basic needs - we forget them at our convenience and debate on this hanging endlessly. There might even be a political motivation. Instead of debating on the delay why not assign a time frame within which the final decision needs to be taken - say one year after the final verdict? Why not make our president take a faster decision? Why should Pratibha Patil keep the file in for so long - if she were against the death penalty then she should have accepted the mercy plea. Instead of crying over what has happened, look at suitable modifications in the law. Lets first look at fighting poverty and cleaning the system

from:  Srikanth
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 09:13 IST

Apart from the delays, the execution is 100% justified as he is not remorseful of his inhuman acts against the country in supporting foreign terrorists to attack Indian parliament. He & his family were prepared for the punishment when SC gave it's final verdict. Presidential pardon is just chance.
It has become fashion to talk against such executions just to draw media attention for some pseudo intellectuals.

from:  sankar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 09:03 IST

Emotion and political considerations rather than the law and the right
legal procedures, seem to guide the approach of UPA government and the
main opposition parry,the BJP, in tackling the problem of terrorist
activities in the country. It is heartening to see legal luminaries in
the country taking the government up on its ugly handling of the
execution of Afzal Guru.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 08:24 IST

Excellent article explaining the perfidy of this govt. Will the supreme
cout take notice of this. This govt is the most corrupt, callous,
deceitful and people unfriendly. This dynast govt should be thrown out
in the ensuing election with a thumping majority.

from:  viswanathan
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 07:30 IST

only murderers and conspirators have many years they must have carried their
hatred for the country and their heinous plans to kill trauma then..families of
those 100s of innocents who died in those terror attacks are also humans who suffer agony
and torment by delayed justice..ask also those who personally felt that before terming it as
most callous...human rights are only for those who respect the rights other humans...

from:  Manu
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 06:40 IST

The only fault lies in the delay in deciding on the execution of Afzal Guru. Otherwise there is nothing inhumane in the execution of a death row convict who had conspired to attempt to destroy the symbol of Indian democracy and the elected representatives. The execution at least will serve as an exemplary deterrent to those who even think of such heinous acts in a country which is functioning secular democracy.
It is easy to find fault with the process but it is inappropriate to attach any political significance to the decision to sign the death warrant for a crime which would be on par with that of the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi the father of the nation.

from:  R.Vijaykumar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 06:09 IST

did the writer or his family or his near dear one ever suffer from any terror attacks? perhaps not, otherwise he would not have stooped so low to defend Afzl's hanging. did he dare to condemn the US that trespassed into Pakistan, killed Laden and disposed his body into the sea;technically or say legally speaking,are all human right and international conventions violations? but the whole word not only appreciated but also heaved a sigh of relief.

from:  balvinder singh
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 05:48 IST

I understand and agree with the former Solicitor General's opinion about the
inhumanity of the prolonged incarceration these death row inmates undergo before
their eventual execution. Governments, current and previous, certainly deserve their
share of the blame for the indecision. However, our legal framework is also to blame,
considering the inordinate amount of time it takes to work through the set of legal
options that the death row victim has. In fact, our legal system often requires many
years to decide even relatively straightforward civil cases, thus disrupting the lives of
all involved parties. Both the courts and the legal profession should reflect on how
they conduct their work improve this shoddy state of affairs.

from:  Ram Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 05:31 IST

You are damned if you do and you are damned if you don't. The Government cannot win this debate as it is always the villain in the peice. The agony of the family members is accepted while the agony of the accused need not be considered. Due to Afzal Guru's actions families lost their bread winner, children became father less and wives were turned into widows. He knew what was coming to him and his family when he embarked on a mass killing spree.

Let's stop shedding crocodile tears for a person who did not deserve to live just to show our liberalism.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 05:28 IST

This theory runs counter to the well settled notion that you can only be executed after all the appeals including the mercy petitions have been disposed of. So is the author suggesting that if the country has decided to execute a terrorist we should not follow due process because doing so might cause delays and might cause "mental anguish" to the criminal? So it is damned if you, and damned if you don't. Arguments like these make a mockery of ideologically bent jurists and brings great disrepute to the judicial system and process.

from:  Suresh R
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 05:02 IST

There is no room for capital punishment in today's World, no matter how
horrific the crime is. The justice system should always follow the
principles of rehabilitation and find reasoning and solutions of why
that crime happened.......During the history of mankind, capital
punishment never solved the problem and also could never become a
detterent. I rest my case........

from:  Surendra
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 04:34 IST

This guy is defending convicted terrorist/criminal by saying that the delay in thier execution causes dtrauma to the prisoner and his family. What about the victim and his family and his friends. What about the blatant arrogance to kill innocent civilian/police/guards etc in the name of Juhad or Terror and ignore them as colateral damage. I don't agree that the author has any bases to justify the delay etc. I hate violence of any type in the world but for a moment I think the author should suffer some horrendous loss of family members as innocent bystander then we will still argue about this delay etc. The law syetem is very technical and the crooks will use all excuses not to get punish and people like you help them by coming up with some new excuses such as delay in hanging them. Load of crap!

from:  ravi
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 03:48 IST

For poitical gains,the government has forgone the natural justice.
Executing a death sentence after a prolonged delay is like dying every
minute without knowing what will be his fate, the next day. Its highly
inhuman in peace loving country.

from:  vinothini kathish kumar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 02:04 IST
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