Death sentence: where is justice?

Apropos Chief Justice R.L. Anand’s write-up, “Retain death penalty” (Nov 8), the question is not so much about the death sentence but about who is to be hanged. If the accused has the backing of some powerful lobby, his punishment, though confirmed by the Supreme Court, remains in abeyance indefinitely. There are scores of such cases, especially when we go back to the days of terrorism.

On the other hand, if the accused is an ordinary person with no powerful pull, then the government means business. This is an inherent contradiction in the judicial system. Firstly, the conviction rate is pathetically poor in India, and then powerful lobbies come to the defence of the convicted person. Where is justice?

Life imprisonment is a better alternative, but it should be for life, and not just 14 years.





Courts are already awarding the death penalty only in the rarest of rarest cases, but the final decisions are still based on available evidence, and such evidence does not always tell the truth.

Mistakes can happen, and so an alternative must be found. We can ask the legal heirs of the person killed to decide the final fate of the accused. Life imprisonment is another alternative. A civilised society should not take the life of a human being. It is also to be noted that people who take several lives during riots and terrorism do not get the death sentence because the State is not in a position to collect evidence against them.

DALIP SINGH WASAN, Advocate, Patiala


I fully approve of Justice Anand’s views on retaining the death penalty, though on so-called humanitarian grounds many people are raising a hue and cry and demanding abolition of capital punishment. Doesn’t a killer break the law of nature, the law of God?

Many an evil design remains undone only because of fear — fear of social ostracism and fear of punishment. I fully endorse the death punishment given to Dhananjay, who was presented as a hero by the electronic media. Instead, they could have shown the skeleton figures of his old parents and the mutilated, raped and murdered body of the girl victim.


Narayanan’s example

The life of the late President of India, K.R. Narayanan, makes an extraordinary story of struggle and courage. He belonged to an extremely deprived Dalit family. The idea that liberation could be achieved only through education was instilled in him at a very early stage. He passed B.A. and M.A. with distinction and went to the London School of Economics for a B.Sc. (H.S) degree in economics.

He donned many hats in his long career. He turned Rastrapati Bhavan from a rubber stamp into a vibrant office. The observation in the editorial (Nov. 10) that he measured up to Plato’s concept of philosopher-king was very pertinent.

Mohan Singh Thakur, Chandigarh

Quota benefits

The quota for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes was supposed to be for about 10 to 15 years. After nearly 50 years it is still in force as its purpose has indeed not been fulfilled. But OBC politicians are adding more communities to the list simply to create vote banks. The constitutional desire for a common code for all Indians to form a cohesive nation indeed will never be achieved till the demand for quotas ends.

The main stumbling block is the creamy layer. Younger persons from disadvantaged classes should form a party to ensure that the creamy layer does not corner all the benefits.


Tax-payers’ money

Our Political leaders may or may not remember Lal Bahadur Shastri, former Prime Minister of India. I am sure every citizen of India respects the late leader. When a rail accident took place during his tenure as Railway Minister, he preferred to take the moral responsibility and tendered his resignation rather than going to the then Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru, for consultations.

Things would have been better if good sense had prevailed upon Mr Natwar Singh. By retaining him as a minister without portfolio the tax-payer’s money shall be spent on his salary and perks every month.

OM DATT SHARMA, Chandigarh


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