The article “Death is entirely discriminatory” (Sept. 17) by Anup Surendranath was an eye-opener for me, a staunch supporter of capital punishment. It is indeed unjust and arbitrary when two persons commit crimes which are equally heinous but one is sentenced to death and the other is not. It amounts to indirectly acknowledging that one crime has a lesser impact than the other.
Capital punishment is awarded in the rarest of rare cases in which the judge feels there is no scope for the guilty to reform. There is no public good in commuting the death sentence of a terrorist because he has no community and cannot feel grateful to any individual or system. But a member of society who could have been awarded the death penalty but has been given a chance to live may feel remorseful and make efforts to turn a new leaf.
Although Maya Kodnani — instrumental in instigating and arming a mob to kill innocent children and women — was not awarded the death sentence, the judge who sentenced her to 28 years in jail deserves to be praised since such harsh judgments against politicians, especially those backed by the powerful, are rare.
India, a prime target of terrorism, should not give the assurance of life to terrorists by abolishing the death penalty. The death sentence should be retained in the statute book to at least instil fear among criminals like Ajmal Kasab.
Although both 26/11 and Naroda-Patiya shocked the nation equally, the punishment awarded to the culprits cannot be compared. The judiciary is one department in which a standard format cannot be followed while giving verdicts.