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14 Jul 2004

Live and let die

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 3:06am

A few days ago, a Panchayat (village court) in Madhya Pradesh ordered a weird form of punishment which was also carried out to perfection - that three women of a given family be raped. Their offence? Being the kith and kin of a rape accused. Tit for tat! If this sounds like law of the jungle, then what do we make of the High Courts and the Supreme Court that pass death sentances to accused criminals?

There's a raging debate going on, on whether Dananjoy Chaterjee should be hanged or not. For the latecomers, he happens to be awaiting his execution for raping and murdering a school girl, some 13 years ago. His mercy petition is now before the president. "Beasts like him should be put to death, and shown no mercy" and other such typical middle class sentiments have been echoing across the media. Joining the bandwagon are the women's lib types (just coz the crime-list included 'rape') stepping up the general decibel levels, thereby obfuscating the fundamental question of whether death sentance is a dark justice or not.

Do the courts have the power to take one's life? Unfortunately, they do, in this country. But should they have that power? Who gave them that? Who legalized their murders? If the courts are justified in passing death sentances, then isn't the above-mentioned panchayat too justified in passing the verdict it thought fit? Dont both examples involve a tit for tat? A revenge? If a society is justified in taking a collective revenge against its offenders (the rapists, murderers, assassins, terrorists and the likes), then in what way is the collective psyche of that society any better than that of the offenders themselves (who are labeled 'beasts' and so forth, by the glitterati that appear on television debates)? Is an 'eye for an eye' the only solution that we could think of, after thousands of years of progress?

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6 Comments | "Live and let die" »

  1. By Jaszalcatraz

    14 Jul 2004, 4:06am [ Reply ]

    Nicely put JLU

  2. By Mayavi

    14 Jul 2004, 9:13am [ Reply ]

    1. The three women who were raped did not commit any offence, how can that be compared to Danaonjay who actually raped and killed a 14 yr girl.

    2. What do you suggest should be done to the paedophile and murderer? set him free or jail him and feed him as long as he lives, with the tax money of the very people whose daughter he raped and killed?

    If death sentence is 'dark justice' then so is jail. If a society cannot take the life of a person who comitted a henious crime such as raping an innocent 14 yr girl, then it should have no right to confine him to the 4 walls of a jail denying his freedom. Extending the same logic, there should be no courts at all to punish criminals and believe in god to punish the criminals. That way we will be back to jungle law. No sir. That cannot happen. Punishment should commensurate the crime. Eye for an eye is not the solution but in certain cases, it is the only solution. Death sentence in case of Rajiv gandhi's killers and Indira gandhi killers may not be justified - misguided people driven by idealogy, but dhanonjay surely knew what he was doing and he has no right to live in a society.

  3. By JLU

    14 Jul 2004, 5:13pm [ Reply ]

    Jasz, glad to know that we think alike :)

    Mayavi, thx for your elaborate response. The panchayat verdict and the death penalty compare very well, if you consider that 'revenge' is the underlying purpose served in both instances. I guess the talk about no need for jails / courts etc. is trivializing the debate a bit. A majority of nations have in fact abolished death penalty, despite retaining courts and jails :) Reg. what should be done to the paedophile / murderer, it is open for debate. Make him work hard in prison, get productive output from him, and the fruits of his labour could probably be sent to his dependent kith and kin, instead of benefitting him directly etc etc. Just thinking aloud here.....

    By abolishing death penalty, we as a society would be telling ourselves and the world at large, that we belong to a different plane / league / maturity-level, as compared to our criminal offenders. With that message communicated, more and more individuals would aspire to be a part of the mainstream society, than be its outcasts.

  4. By HanktheYank

    14 Jul 2004, 5:54pm [ Reply ]

    Satistically capital punishment has been known to prove as a deterrant to heinous crimes.criminals who commit senseless and brutal crimes will not be influenced by any maturity level,crime is a way of life for them and to keep doin it is the only thing they aspire for.Btw what i have heard on NDTV is that those three women were raped not in revenge for anotehr rape victim but rather because of a member of a certain community eloping with a girl of community whihc raped those three women.

  5. By JLU

    14 Jul 2004, 10:14pm [ Reply ]

    Hank, on that panchayat story, prolly you are right about the crime(?) committed, but I wanted to highlight the vengeful punishment that was meted out to the accused (i.e. rape his women-folk).

    Statistics can be tweaked either way, and the sources I have been following (like Amnesty etc.) cite that statistics prove otherwise - i.e. capital punishment is NOT a deterrant to heinous crimes.

    When I said maturity-levels, I didnt claim that all potential murderers would turn into saints. But it will help members of the society to take pride in being a part of a highly mature community that doesn't believe in revenge as a form of justice and which respects an individual's right to live. When more individuals repose faith in the law and justice system, the less could be the numbers who would tend break it.

  6. By Devils Advocate

    22 Sep 2004, 12:36pm [ Reply ]

    JLU, consider this : What would you feel like doing, if your mother / sister / daughter / wife were raped and killed. Give this serious thought and then respond. Not just for public viewing, but for genuine exchange of ideas.

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