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  1. #1
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    Justice administration


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    Nalini is back in the daily news. Many leading newspapers and some electronic media channels also highlight her plight. All these enlightened souls are for total abolition of capital punishment. Even the life imprisonment shall have remissions and life imprisonment does not mean imprisonment for one's lifetime. These are the arguments put forth by these personnel.

    My questions to them:

    1. I agree, as an individual, I am not for capital punishment. But can the government/administration adopt the same line?

    2. If a person is awarded the death penalty, that is subsequently confirmed even by the Supreme Court, is he/she to be released after 14 years or so?

    3. What is the guarantee that the accused will not commit a heinous crime again? If that happens, will all of those who supported the ca(u)se of the accused be prepared to die with him/her at the gallows?

    4. What will be the reaction of the members of the family affected by the action/s of the accused, if the accused is released or handed out a less stringent punishment?

    5. If the society is considered weak or fragile, will not such heinous crimes spiral further? How to stop or control them?

    Justice administration does not lie in an accommodative mindset or granting pardon even to the worst enemy. That too pardoning a person who does not even repent for his/her actions will be a sign of weakness. Then, pardoning a person who openly expresses his/her wish to repeat what he/she had done once released, will make mockery of the entire judiciary.

    What is going to be our choice?
    Last edited by pannvalan; 26-09-2009 at 10:20 PM.
  2. #2
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    I fully support your view. A person who has been awarded capital punishment by the highest court of the land has no right to demand that she should be released.

    Recently people who were convicted for Coimbatore serial blasts were released on CNA's birth day. Is it not an insult to the innocent people who died because of the criminal actions of these people.

    Those who have been awarded capital punishment should be put behind bars for atleast 100 years if their punishment is reduced to life imprisonment.
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    Another interesting point here.

    Sonia Gandhi herself had mercy on Nalini and arranged for commuting her death penalty into a life imprisonment. If this is acceptable, the accused can start negotiating a deal with the victim's family directly, byepassing the courts and the laws of this country. My question is:

    Who was killed? Was it an ex-Prime Minister? Or leader of a particular political party?
    Or a member of an average Indian family? Who is to decide the case in all the different situations?
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    Excellent question. The person killed was not just Ms.Sonia Gandhi's husband but an ex-prime minister of India. Government of India should not have accepted the mercy petition simply because Sonia Gandhi has requested. Why they took a hasty decision where as other accused are still not yet hanged.
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    The release of dreaded prisoners , by the Govt itself is mockery on the judicial system. The Govt has not respected judiciary. How can Govt ignore Court's ruling and realease the prisoners who are all put behind bars for heinous and confirmed crimes. Is Govt superior or judiciary when come to this sort of aspect? Govt itself can be judiciary also why separart Courts and Judges??
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    capital punishment is a very enigmatic concept which most people do not give much thought.

    incidentally, on a per capita basis, singapore has the highest number of state sponsored killings.

    numberswise china comes first. with usa second, i would imagine.

    japan, apart from usa, is the only rich country which sanctions hanging.

    in india, it is taken for granted by a large section of the population, i think, that hanging is a just punishment for certain crimes.

    ... more later.. .due to interruption
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    In the justice administration system, there must be clear separation of powers and responsibilities.

    1. The person/agency that investigates the crime. (Police/CBI/Enquiry Commission)

    2. The person/agency that argues its case before the court. (Plaintiff/Lawyer/Public
    Prosecutor/Amicus Curiae)

    3. The judiciary that pronounces its judgement - punishing or acquitting the
    accused. (Courts at different levels)

    4. The agency or the executive that implements the court orders (The Executive/the
    Government)

    If any of the 4 organs encroaches upon the powers/jurisdiction of another, justice will be killed and gross injustice will be the result.

    Justice delayed is justice denied; Justice hurried is justice buried. So, time is the essence in all cases. The optimum time for delivery of justice is in the hands of all the 4 organs as described above.

    Above all, awareness amongst the general public, responsibility and restraint of the media in covering and reporting crimes and the moral and ethical standards set by the society as a whole are the sine qua non and finally consistency and uniformity of standards for trial and punishment for various kinds of misdemeanour/crimes are a must for proper administration of justice.
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  14. #8
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    Interesting topic and some great views recorded.

    Those who argue for abolition of capital punishment often fail to recognize the fact that it is quite pointless to apply any morals to a cannibal.

    We should also remember that the judiciary has always adopted the principle of awarding death penalty in "rarest of rare cases".

    Actually i disagree with the entire concept of 'Mercy petitions'. In my view, whether the convict deserves mercy is a question that has already debated and gone into the design of the judgement.

    To superimpose a new founded definition of mercy according me is a mockery of the justice system.

    Having dealt with The Lost Symbol, my next in line is 'The Idea of Justice' by Amartya Sen who in the introductory part i read claims to explore the interlink between Neeti (institution of justice) and Nyaya (justice).

    India is known to have a good institution of justice but if we go by the adage that "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied", India has a long way to go in the disposition of justice.

    The idea of permanent incarceration doesnt appeal to me much because it tantamounts to keeping the cannibal as a State Guest.

    On the "actual execution", perhaps as a nation, we can be more civil and have the death convict face a firing squad instead of hanging by the noose.

    Hard core convict has no place in a civil society - if we agree to this, death is just a natural extension of it.

    We shouldnt be lily-livered in arguing that we dont have the right to snuff out the 'god given life' because on a equal note, the convict didnt have any right to exterminate other lives.

    Death penalty is not retribution but a system of taking "civilian ownership" of arranging the meeting of the convict with Him as soon as possible.

    Death penalty should not be abolished.

    As to Sonia pardoning Nalini, it is obviously a political stunt and too much shouldnt be read into it.
    நன்றி,
    ஹரி

    அன்பே சிவம்.
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  16. #9
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    Thanks Hariharan, for your value addition.

    I have always argued in my friends circles that a person, who has scant regard for the laws of the land, morals and values of the society and lives of the innocent he takes/intends to take, loses his moral and legal right to take umbrage under state laws and legal procedures, once caught. He loses his right to ask for a legal counsel to defend his case in a court of law or before any statutory body.

    As you have rightly remarked, a person staying alive as government's guest with the taxpayer's money to support him is less acceptable.

    Just as death penalty is awarded in rarest of rare cases, mercy is also to be shown only in rarest of rare cases. But accepting or rejecting mercy petition must be a time-bound process.

    I recall one anecdote here.

    A soldier was given exemplary punishment by Napoleon. On hearing this, the soldier's mother came running to the Excellency and pleaded for mercy. To this, Napoleon said, "he doesn't deserve any mercy". The soldier's mother didn't relent. She replied: "If he deserves mercy, why I should come to you?"

    The force in her question and the undercurrent of logic and truth made Napoleon think and within a few minutes, he ordered the release of the soldier and granted him pardon.

    Why I am bringing this story here is, the problem and its solution must exist within the same system. A person or a movement opposed to a system per se, fighting for its end, cannot enter the very same system for his/her/its survival. Then it will be paradoxical, self-negating and a deceptive exercise.
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  18. #10
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    Government should not interfere with the order of the highest court of the land. Mercy petitions are considered as a political tool to score points. As said earlier, Sonia Gandhi has made a political stunt in requesting to pardon Nalini. Priyanka meeting Nalini is also another political mileage point.

    Now Nalini feels all her sins are washed off. She demands early release which is ridiculous. Subramanyan Swamy has already challenged her release and will try to stop through judicial system.
    Last edited by RVR; 27-09-2009 at 06:18 PM.
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