Although I have great respect for Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, I do not agree that the death sentence should be removed from the statute book. The Supreme Court delivers a verdict only after examining all available evidence and hearing both sides. Rights activists do not spare a thought for the families and kin of those killed by death row convicts in the most inhuman and gruesome manner.
That not many prisoners are reformed after serving jail terms is a harsh reality. Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination can never be forgotten. The court sentenced only the core conspirators to death. Veerappan and his associates were a menace to society. The death penalty for the aides who were responsible for killing 22 security personnel cannot be described as taking away their lives. Capital punishment may be horrifying, but even that has failed to stop high degree crimes.
Whether or not the death penalty should be retained is to be debated in a different context. In the present context, an attempt seems to be afoot by some to portray the criminals as martyrs in the name of abolishing the death sentence.
People must differentiate between those who plan murders and those who emotionally react to a situation. There is a huge risk involved in housing death row convicts, especially terrorists or those who help terrorists, for a prolonged period.
It takes years, sometimes decades, for judgments in murder cases to be delivered. When the death sentence is pronounced or a mercy petition rejected, rights activists start talking about clemency and humanity. It is important to take a balanced view on the death sentence. It needs to be awarded in the case of brutal killings.
M.C.S. Pavan Kumar,