Home Crime Should 'scope of reformation' of a rapist be considered before awarding him the death penalty?

Should ‘scope of reformation’ of a rapist be considered before awarding him the death penalty?

The convict could very well put up a pretence of extreme regret to give judges the impression that he has reformed in order to avoid the death penalty. In such a scenario, it will be a gross injustice to the victim of his crimes.

As per reports, the Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of a criminal convicted of rape and murder and reduced it to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court reportedly observed that the death sentence should be awarded only when there’s no scope for reformation.

There are several problems with such a reasoning. There is no objective criterion to determine the chances of reformation of a particular convict. More importantly, it isn’t clear why it should even be a concern. The purpose of conviction is not to guide the convict to a better path, its purpose is solely to impose punishment consistent with the severity of the crime committed. If the crime is severe enough to attract the death penalty, then it isn’t exactly clear why the scope for reformation should be taken into consideration.

There are certain ambiguities regarding the laws involving capital punishment in India. According to precedent, it is reserved for the rarest of rare cases. But an objective criterion for ‘rarest of rare’ is not defined. Under such circumstances, it often falls on the subjective interpretation of the case by the concerned judges.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

The objective of punishment is not merely reformation, it is also deterrence for the convict and also those who may be inclined to commit the same crimes. We should not consider the scope of reformation for a rapist and a murderer since none exist for his victim. It isn’t clear why his right to life should be respected after he has violated the right to life of another human being.

The gist of the matter is, if the Indian Penal Code (IPC) states exactly which crimes deserve the death penalty, then our courts should only determine whether a person has committed those crimes and if he has, then the death penalty should be awarded as prescribed.

The Judiciary needs to base their judgments on solid grounds of fact. It needs to provide the evidence is considered to reach the conclusion that there was a scope of reformation for the convict. It then needs to answer if such a reformation would negate the crimes that he has committed in the past. These are matters of deep philosophical debates. It cannot be ruled aside by stating it as established fact.

The ‘scope of reformation’ argument only takes more power away from the legislature and accumulates in the hands of the Judiciary. Judicial activism has been a heated debate in recent times. Although high profile cases such as the Sabarimala verdict has attracted much attention, such little moves via which the Judiciary grabs power are often ignored although they pose a far bigger threat.

It is true that every crime needs to be dealt on a case by case basis. But it’s very difficult to imagine that a rapist and a murderer could ever reform himself. Indian Criminal Jurisprudence is believed to be based on a combination of deterrent and reformative theories of punishment. While it is understandable that a reformative approach is taken to petty crimes, it appears extreme naivete to apply the same to violent crimes.

One argument that is put forth in this regard is that every human life is valuable and efforts should be made to save every soul from corruption. It’s a very religious argument. But it can also be argued that human souls are not for us to save. From the Hindu perspective, every person needs to atone for his sins. The concept of reformation does not feature anywhere in this regard. In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas had to atone for their sins as well even though they were committed to upholding Dharma.

The convict could very well put up a pretence of extreme regret to give judges the impression that he has reformed in order to avoid the death penalty. In such a scenario, it will be a gross injustice to the victim of his crimes. Punishments are about justice as well and sometimes justice requires us to perform actions which are not entirely pleasant.

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.

Don't Miss it: Exit Polls At A Glance

#MakePoliticsFunAgain Catch all the Latest on exit polls results with our summary

Most read articles recently

Here is what may have triggered Rajdeep Sardesai’s own colleague slamming him for being a pliant journalist

Anjana Om Kashyap, one of the Editors of Aaj Tak who conducted that interview interestingly took to Twitter today to castigate what appears to be her colleague, Rajdeep Sardesai.

After Anjana Om Kashyap, now Shweta Singh calls out Rajdeep Sardesai’s bias among others

Sweta Singh has called out the blatant bias in the Left media and even Rajdeep Sardesai among others.

Sensing a possible Modi victory, Rajdeep Sardesai proceeds to discredit his own channel’s Exit Poll even before it is aired

Sensing that PM Modi might just come back to power for a second term, he has proceeded to discredit his own channel's Exit Poll which is yet to be aired.

Live updates: Exit polls predict a BJP victory in Lok Sabha polls, now all eyes on May 23

Latest updates and reactions: Who will win? What do the exit polls say? How is media reacting to exit polls?

A dystopian future where Hindu nationalists take over: Social media reacts to Netflix’s latest Hinduphobic show ‘Leila’

After Ghoul and Sacred Games, Leila is the third show on Netflix that demonizes Hindus.

That time in 2007 when BJP nearly got banned

Can you imagine the kind of outpouring of rhetoric that would happen if the BJP were doing this to the Congress today?

After 2019 Exit Polls, Congress official handle also says ‘Aayega To Modi Hi’

Looks like after the 2019 Exit Polls predicted a thumping majority for BJP and PM Modi, Congress too is saying #AayegaToModiHi. 

The side of Rabindranath Tagore that ‘Liberal Intellectuals’ don’t want you to see: Here is what he thought of Islam

Rabindranath Tagore was an extremely complicated man born into an extremely complicated era. Unfortunately enough, he became a victim of the newly minted artificially secular regime's revisionist project

Actor-cum-cocktail politician Swara Bhasker gains 20 sarees and loses 4 brand endorsement deals this election season

Swara Bhasker had extended support to various politicians across political parties with a cocktail of political ideologies
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories

Latest articles

Connect with us


Don't miss these

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans: