End the death penalty: Its basis has collapsed

Source– The post is based on the article “End the death penalty: Its basis has collapsed” published in the “mint” on 21st August 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Indian Polity and Governance – Criminal Justice System

News– The article deals with the issue of the death penalty.

What are arguments against the death penalty?

The potency of the death penalty has diminished as human rights became codified both legally and socially. Fear has yielded ground to civil considerations.

Today, the efficacy of this punishment as a deterrent is uncertain. Research has revealed only tenuous connections between crime rates and executions.

The associated costs remain substantial. Taking a life is irreversible, and there is risk of a wrongful conviction. No justice system can ensure complete accuracy in assigning guilt, regardless of intention. Imperfections are inevitable.

Under the norms established by the Supreme Court, this penalty is reserved for “rarest of rare” cases. Although this provision holds value in its intent to decrease executions, It does not succeed in lessening the significant moral burden on our conscience.

Some argue that abolition of the death penalty can lead to unintended consequences.

If executions were abolished, there might be a rise in police encounters due to pressure to maintain law and order.

Lenient laws might result in more aggressive policing on the ground. Severe penalties could help curb vigilante actions.

This argument is flawed. It assumes that it’s acceptable for the rule of law to be influenced by societal conditions. It is disregarding its supremacy in principle. It overlooks the potential for police reforms.

Research indicates that isolating convicts in prison achieves the intended objective of our judicial system. Eliminating the death penalty from our legal framework is unlikely to lead to a surge in severe violations.

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