This statement still today is a dilemma not only for our country, but many other countries also. There is a controversy between the groups, one in favor of the death punishment and the other against the death punishment. But there are many questions which have to be answered. These are: Should a criminal or culprit be sentenced to death? Or should he be given a prison sentence for life? Will the abolition of death penalty result in a sharp increase in the number of murders? These and similar questions keep agitating the minds of right thinking persons all over the world. England took the initiative and abolished the death sentence.
In olden days the prevalent idea was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If a man took the life of another man, society took the life of the murderer. But such blood thirsty punishments are no more in tune with the present civilized time when all human beings enjoy equal rights and privileges and every man is respected as a human being.
Fear of death is the greatest fear. It puts a man on the right track and it is this fear that prevents him from causing death of another person. So they had to revert to death penalty. Causing another’s death is a savage instinct and it must be kept under check, otherwise there will be complete anarchy and no life would be safe. Those who commit murder, deserve nobody’s sympathy. They are the worst enemies of society. It is also a known fact of history that the crime rate is less in such of the countries where the punishments are terrifying. So such punishments can create a terror in the hearts of would-be-offenders. So retention of death punishment is the only method of abolishing and reducing murders and other heinous crimes.
Some people argue that one who cannot give back life has no right to take away other’s life. The punishment should aim at reforming the criminal and not putting an end to his life. It is also said that a criminal is mentally sick person and he must be cured of his ailment rather than he be destroyed completely. Simultaneously there is another very important question—Should there be no bar on killings? Where would it end up? But the answer is “no”. It is so because no peaceful life is possible without putting a curve on the savage instinct of murder. Hence is the need for death punishment.
Most of the persons are of the view that punishment should be either reformative or deterrent, but death sentence is neither. It cannot reform that criminal since he is dead and is beyond good or bad. For centuries there is the practice of hanging the criminals, but murders and other crimes of violence have not come to an end. Countries which have abolished death sentence find that there is no increase in the numbers. Some people are of the view that spending one’s life in prison is more severe a punishment than hanging.
There is a well known stipulate of the jurisprudence which says : “Let nine criminals escape than hang or punish an innocent person.” It shows that one should be proved guilty beyond any reasonable doubt before he is convicted. The law courts go by witnesses and proofs which sometimes are not correct and the innocent persons are deprived of their life.
In view of the vital importance of the subject the UN General Assembly after having discussed the issues involved passed a resolution for abolition of capital punishment. The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights also envisaged abolition of death penalty.
Another factor also merits careful examination. In recent times societies have become sympathetically generous towards the physically handicapped. It is conceivable that someone who goes to the extent of killing a fellow human being is emotionally handicapped. Does he not deserve some consideration for this handicap? Again this does not mean that he should be indulged in or pampered. In this light imprisonment, along with opportunities and help for the murderer to reform himself, is more appropriate way to handle him.
Therefore an effort should be made by the Govt. to improve the social behavior of the individuals. Even the criminal possess some good traits in their personality and these traits should be fully exploited to ameliorate their behavior, so that they can become good citizens. Therefore, the death penalty is no way to reform the criminals and bring about harmony in the society.