Prisoner rights


What is imperative is that the tenets of the law should be followed in letter and spirit and all convicts including those on death row should be permitted to exhaust all the legal remedies available to them. This is even more relevant in cases of capital punishment as it is a matter of life and death. There have been instances in the past of Presidents of India taking time to make decisions on mercy petitions despite receiving clearances from the Home Ministry and where in all such cases the onus rests on them and not on the convicts. Hundreds of nations have abolished capital punishment but India is not one of them so it is essential that haste of any kind is avoided in execution of death warrants and that the right to a free and fair trial is not abrogated at any point (Editorial, “Needless impatience”, January 24).

C.V. Aravind,


It is axiomatic that prisoners in the death row should be provided with opportunities to seek the state’s mercy and a judicial review of the sentence that is irreversible once it is carried out. The law, besides being a philosophy and a moral force, is an institution that has preserved social order. It is rule-based and is driven by processes. The remedies available to prisoners awaiting execution should be precise and time-bound. Anomalies and grey zones of ambiguity facilitate dilatory litigation that is initiated as a desperate yet mischievous intent of postponing the execution. The tension between individual rights of prisoners and the demands of the collective conscience of the society tilts in the latter’s favour in respect of heinous crimes like the Nirbhaya case once the Supreme Court has examined the evidence and ruled out the possibility of reversing the death sentence. The barbarity and depravity of the crime perpetrated in the Nirbhaya case have shocked the nation so much that it is difficult to either plead for mercy for the convicts or initiate a debate whether or not we should abolish capital punishment.

V.N. Mukundarajan,


This daily’s pursuit of a single point agenda, of decrying all that is being done or attempted to be done by the Narendra Modi government, quite often breaches the endurance capabilities of many readers. The Editorial is an instance of this. By decrying the government’s action in seeking Supreme Court guidelines in curbing the practice of dilatory tactics by condemned prisoners, there has been scant concern for public mood.

P.R.R. Nayar,


Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 12, 2021 10:02:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/prisoner-rights/article30646524.ece

Next Story