Besides raising the hackles of victims’ families, the editorial “Rarest of rare opportunities” (Oct. 21) is bound to disturb the eternal sleep of the victims of the horrendous crimes perpetrated by the prisoners on death row awaiting the Supreme Court hearing on their pleas for commutation on the basis of the delay in dealing with their clemency petitions. Some of the condemned prisoners were involved in TADA related cases. Significantly, the Supreme Court ruled in the Bhullar case that a delay cannot be a ground for commuting the death sentence in the case of those convicted for terror acts. It would be double whammy for the kin of the victims if the prisoners are not hanged.

How can one possibly know that the convicts have “emerged the better?” Retribution, not reformation, is the need of the hour. To quote J. Budziszewski: “Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which is guided by a different motive.”

M. Jameel Ahmed,


The editorial was excellent. When all is said and done, in determining the rarest of rare case, there is an element of subjectivity involved. The death penalty should be removed from the statute book.

S.S. Mani,



Rarest of rare opportunitiesOctober 21, 2013

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