SC On Death Penalty:
The Supreme Court (SC) commuted the death sentence of a man, convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, to life imprisonment.
- The judgment may become a significant precedent to the anti-death penalty cause.
- SC commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment, with the rider that he shall not be entitled to “premature release or remission before undergoing actual imprisonment” for a period of 30 years.
- SC advised the trial judges that they should not be swayed in favour of death penalty merely because of the dreadful nature of the crime and its harmful impact on the society. They should equally consider the mitigating factors in favour of life imprisonment.
- SC referred to the evolution of the principles of penology and said that penology had grown to accommodate the philosophy of “preservation of human life”.
- Penology is a sub-component of criminology that deals with the philosophy and practice of various societies in their attempts to repress criminal activities, and satisfy public opinion via an appropriate treatment regime for persons convicted of criminal offences.
- SC noted that that though capital punishment serves as a deterrent and a “response to the society’s call for appropriate punishment in appropriate cases”,
- The principles of penology have “evolved to balance the other obligations of the society, i.e., of preserving the human life, be it of accused, unless termination thereof is inevitable and is to serve the other societal causes and collective conscience of society”.
- 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 offence. It is the highest penalty awardable to an accused. Generally, it is awarded in extremely severe cases of murder, rapes, treason etc.
- The death penalty is seen as the most suitable punishment and effective deterrent for the worst crimes.
- Those who oppose it, however, see it as inhumane.
- Thus, the morality of the death penalty is debatable and many criminologists and socialists all across the globe, have been long demanding abolition of the death penalty.