• Law Dexter

Is Death Penalty against Humanity

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

This article is written by Amrita Mohanty, She is a legal intern at Law Dexter

The death penalty has been in practice for a long time. Although it has been awarded in one of the rarest of rare cases; it is still continuing and has been a hot topic for quite a while. It is as such because of the claims that the death penalty is a violation of human rights and thereby also a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Still, the claims of violation of Article 21 are countered on the fact that the freedoms provided by the Constitution are not absolute as well.

According to Britannica Dictionary, Capital Punishment, also called the death penalty is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense.

Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial execution as it is carried out without due process of law. The term death penalty is sometimes used interchangeably with capital punishment, though the imposition of penalty is not always followed by execution (even when it is upheld on appeal) because of the possibility of commutation of life imprisonment. Apart from all the theoretical assertions, I would like to state something which is the truth and is a pressing issue as well. For instance, if, God forbid, one of my family members has been wrongfully murdered by someone, then would the death penalty bring my family member back? The offender requires punishment, is a sure thing and there is no denial in that.; but severing him or her from society will not teach that person any lesson. The society isn't any more afraid of such punishments as it was ages ago. As once said by Honourable Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph in a webinar on the death penalty that - Once the punishment is given, then that person is no more among the people. Neither he is suffering in the prison nor are people seeing him/her suffer any more after his/her execution. The person who is executed is sooner or later forgotten and society gets barely affected because of the same. So, according to Sir, if such an offender is imprisoned for life, then such shall be an example for the present as well as coming generations. The suffering of the offender will keep society far from committing any such offense. The people would be discouraged to repeat the actions of the offender who gets life imprisonment where the whole world is an audience.

Nowadays, people have become so violent and negative that they portray the offender in a manner as if he/she isn't even a person and define his whole life as per that offense. All the life of the person who has committed the offense is overshadowed by that one act and nothing else matters. So, when the public is not even ready to accept the offender as a normal individual, there is very little chance that they would ever be scared of landing in any such situation. As we glance at the topic of humanity in case of the death penalty, it is for sure against humanity. However evil, a living being might be, if he/she is being dealt with by human beings and also is a human, then he/she deserves to be treated as humanly as possible.

If a person is an offender/convict, then such things might sever some of his rights; but it should not be the reason to be treated in a manner i.e. devoid of humanity.

Now, after all, this, if you still ask about the fact that how the death penalty is against humanity; I would just tell you that even if somebody is beyond help still they can be kept imprisoned for life. We have no right upon anyone's right. If the freedoms are not absolute then the right of the state should also possess limitations that specify that taking away an individual's life isn't actually justice or equality.

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