Abolish death penalty at earliest: rights body

August 27th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Aug 27 (IANS) The organisation of death penalty in India is strikingly defective and the only remedy to this is to abolish it completely from the country at the earliest, Amnesty International India (AII) has said. Mukul Sharma, director of AII, made the demand at the release of the rights body’s report on death penalty, titled, “Lethal Lottery: The Death Penalty in India”, in Chandigarh Wednesday.

Mukul said this was the first regional release of the report after its national release May 2, 2008. “It is a comprehensive study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases during 1950-2006,” he added.

“Ironically, a peaceful country like India preferred to remain with the minority countries during the United Nations voting on moratorium on the death penalty in December 2007. 150 countries supported this issue but India was not sure on its stand,” Gowhar Fazili, coordinator of AII, told IANS in Chandigarh Wednesday.

“Mahatma Gandhi was also in favour of abolishing the provision of death penalty,” he added.

AII and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry) have issued this report. They have said in their report that the fate of these death row prisoners is ultimately a lottery that is not based on any rational thinking.

“There is a detailed analysis of around 700 Supreme Court judgments on death penalty cases in the report. The authors of this report have exposed a judicial system that has failed to meet international laws and standards relating to the death penalty,” Fazili said.

“Indian penal code (IPC) needs an immediate overhauling as it itself acknowledges the fact that there can be a discrepancy in a court’s order. So we cannot take it granted and need to amend it. Death can never be a solution for any ailment,” said Usha Ramanathan, an independent law researcher from New Delhi.

“Just like European Union countries India should abolish death penalty. Many times the decisions are also not balanced, even in the case of martyr Bhagat Singh, the decision of death penalty was based on judiciary’s vested interests. They did not even listen to the accounts of eye witnesses,” stated Jagmohan Singh nephew of Bhagat Singh.

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