This refers to the article “The power to pardon” (April 18). The Constitution has conferred the power only on the President, not the Prime Minister or Parliament. Due to changes in the political system and the emergence of coalition politics, the election of President is used by political parties to advance their agenda.

Again, the Supreme Court imposes the death penalty only in the “rarest of rare” crimes, and the onus of deciding what is the rarest of rare lies on judges. In the light of these two facts, India should abolish the death penalty, as even a minor error on the part of judges or the President can prove costly.

K. Narsingh Rao,

Ponda

With more than half of India unlettered after 60-plus years of independence, and an overwhelming majority of the population emotionally driven, what is required is demonstrable justice.

The bedrock aphorism “let the punishment fit the crime” simply means the punishment for a misdeed or wrongdoing should be reasonable and proportionate to the severity of the crime. When the cases referred to the President for pardon are the rarest of rare, it is patently unfair and inconsistent to argue for commutation. Aruna Shanbaug is in a permanent vegetative state whereas the person responsible for her condition served just seven years in jail before leading a life he wished. Was justice delivered?

K.S. Ramakrishnan,

Chennai

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