Friday, September 9, 2011

Watchout for the civil society - Part 5

It is pardon time in India. There is a huge debate on death penalty, what is cruel and unusual punishment etc. There is a set of civil society, especially the Catholic Church inspired kind that abhors death penalty and wants it abolished. They have only one option, which is to work with the government of the day to get it abolished. As long as death penalty is there in the statuette books, we have no option but to enforce the judgment.

The biggest culprit in the death sentence debate is the government and to some extent culpability exists with the Supreme Court. The government of the day wants to pardon Afzal Guru, the attacker of the parliament, just because it feels that it will help win elections in key states where in the Muslim population is the swing vote. Nobody can insult the Muslim patriots more than this line of thought and action is my opinion on this.

Due to political reasons the government kept the pardon applications of convicts pending for decades. Some intellectual in SC decided that to keep someone’s application pending is cruel and unusual punishment. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and a larger bench overturned the verdict. But lot of intellectuals (== ignoramus folks) are quoting the earlier judgment and are asking for pardons of all kinds.

We all have our genuine grievances to bomb our parliament, kill the present lot of MPs etc. but that doesn’t mean it should be legal or it should be pardoned ? Already, the SC has struck down a lot of death sentences ruling that only rarest of rare cases should get it. Even in those lot of sentences have been commuted (e.g. for Nalini, RG’s assassin etc.)

What is shocking is that folks like Nalini are now demanding release saying that I have spent x years in prison etc. totally forgetting that their conviction was for a death penalty deserving crime and they were sentenced as such and upheld all the way till SC.

Now every chauvinist is asking for pardon and commuting of sentences etc. Our SC is also unwittingly playing into their hands expressing reservations about cruel and unusual punishment angle etc. As usual, our government is totally silent, perhaps with glee hoping that this will a precedent for them to pardon their trophy criminal Afzal Guru.

God is our only hope, from this civil society… Let us pray.