An ordinance providing the death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age and other stringent penal provisions for rape has been promulgated on 21.04.2018. The ordinance viz. ‘The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018’, amends Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind on 22.04.2018 signed an ordinance to pave way for death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. The Union Cabinet approved the ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping girls under 12 years.

The non- committal and contravening attitude toward the human rights doctrine is reflected in stand of the State regarding the capital punishment; the Indian government is committed to the retention of the death penalty. In December 2007 India was among the minority of countries who voted at the United Nations General Assembly against a moratorium on executions. India retains the death penalty as punishment for a number of crimes including murder, kidnapping, terrorism, desertion, inducement to suicide of a minor or a mentally-retarded person and has more recently in 2013 come to include the offence of rape in certain circumstances. It is mandatory for second convictions for drug trafficking offences. Death sentences are carried out by hanging. In 1983 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of this method, stating that it: “involves no barbarity, torture or degradation.” But all these mentioned crime or offences has not minimized, rather increased day by day.

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) strongly opposes the hanging or execution by any form to any individual by the State, because it is inhumane and barbaric. Further it has shown that neither it is effective in deterring the crime rate nor any justice can be done to anyone by this practice; instead through this practice, progressive civilization returns back to medieval barbarism.

 We repose our faith in abolition of death penalty. Our past gave us impetus that hanging of Dhanajoy Chatterjee did not minimize the number of rape or murder in West Bengal, and India.

 In investigating the offence and the trial of an accused and conviction of a person, human error obviously involved in the process; which cannot be ruled out in any case, and after the execution, it becomes irreversible if any error is found later on. In our country mostly, the poor and the under-privileged bear the brunt of the capital punishment as they are financially incapable to defend themselves within a faulty legal system, which has become a commodity for the riches to enjoy with. A crime has its root in the socio-economic- cultural system of this country. Without ending the very discrimination in the society and legislating stringent and impartial penal laws for criminal activities; the purpose would not be served.

 The abolition of Capital punishment is call of the civilized society. As many as 124 countries have either abandoned the practice or abolished the death penalty. The retributive theory of punishment is not acceptable to the modern world and international forum. During the 3rd Cycle of Universal Periodic Review of India in 2017, as well 13 Countries suggested Government of India for immediate abolition of Capital Punishment.

Indian government is intentionally shying away from ratifying United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) & Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of death penalty to achieve its limited and parochial political goal.

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) demands the complete abolition of death penalty in our country.

 Biplab Mukherjee

Secretary- MASUM