Capital Punishment: Pros and con. When and why it can be justified.

Author: Rima surana pursuing BA LLB from Amity law school Amity University chhattisgarh.

Is that penalty a necessary evil to meet demand of justice or a violation of one’s human right ?

Capital punishment is an integral part of Indian criminal justice system. Capital punishment is one of the most severe kinds of punishment, which is to be awarded for the most heinous offences. The supreme court of India have decided in case of bachan Singh vs state of Punjab that death penalty can be awarded for the “rarest of the rare crime”also called death penalty, execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law for a criminal offense. Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial executions carried out without due process of law. Capital punishment is also known as judicial murder and the pros and cons of the same are endless discussion, human rights activist consider it as barbaric and inhuman in nature whereas the constitution of India consider it as a necessary evil to prevent crimes. Some subscribe to the "eye for an eye" or "life for life" philosophy, while others believe that sanctioned death is wrong.Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial executions carried out without due process of law.


· Article 21 of the Indian constitution provides for right to life and personal liberty and that no person can be deprived of his life and liberty except by a procedure established by law. A procedure which is just and fair the state can impose death penalty on rarest of rare crime and courts should mention special reason for the same while awarding punishment. The penaltyshould be retained for offences like rape and murder which are heinous and inhuman in nature and the criminals. Life is the most precious treasure one has and a system that takes away your life will be an effective deterrent. The penalty will set an example and crime rates will be reduced. Such laws aren’t formulated to take one’s life but to create a sense of danger on mind of the people so they don’t break the law. If an inhuman act is committed by someone then why it’s argued they needed to be treated like a human? And ignorance of law is no excuse for the culprits. As it is awarded for the rarest crime not every criminal go through it. Allowing the murders or rapist to move freely after few years is no justice to the victim.

· To prevent further crimes and to have a deterrent effect on society death penalty is essential as it acts as a deserved punishment for heinous offences.

· Some criminals can never be rehabilitated andto prevent overpopulation in prison and to create space for potential rehabilitation death penalty is necessary.


· Death penalty may not act as a deterrent to the society as it is quite clear that crime rates graph is always increasing and it can never be zero. It is violation of one’s human rights and it is inhuman and cruel form of punishment. Even the international law have abolished death penalty for crimes like genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes etc. Even several countries have abolished death penalty considering it is inhuman treatment. Retributive justice is important but is should not lead to another inhuman activity. The justice system should be reformative and retributive rather than being revengeful. And the “doctrine of rarest of rare “is constitutionally unsustainable. It causes a feeling of revenge to youngsters and family of the convicts. Even for terrorists awarding death penalty is inhuman and rather than awarding death penalty they can be used for obtaining information about their plans and activities. Enhancing the legal system will be more effective than enhancing punishment.

· Capital punishment is considered as Revengeful and against God wishes because life is given by God and no one have right to take it as humans are the most wonderful creation of God.

· No type of execution is painless and spontaneous and for upholding human rights capital punishment should come to end.

· Indians ideology is based on nonviolence and our justice system is not based on the rule of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth “. The murders or rapists should be given a chance to change and reform themselves.

· Everyone can make mistakes and it applies to judiciary also, capital punishment is irrevocable. If a person who isn’t guilty is executed the greatest injustice will be the results ad death admits no compensation but being in prison does.

· The family of the offender gets shattered and suffers the most and death penalty being delayed is violation of Article 21 as the person is always in fear of death.

· Some people who may not have enough sources to defend themselves this law is unjust to them and violation of Article 14.

· It is an old aged tradition which should come to an end as it is not fit for a modern society.

· Capital punishment is not punishment but judicial murder which may not necessarily have a deterrent effect.


The pros and cons of capital punishment are often based on information that is faulty, misleading, or an outright lie. Although some societies may see the temporary benefits of capital punishment, the use of death as a deterrent against crime says more about the people who want it than the people who commit crime in the first place. It may encourage more violent crimes in society. Most people strongly believe that the death penalty will deter murders more effectively than long-term imprisonment.


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