NEW DELHI: The Law Commission has recommended by a majority “swift” abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases, noting that it does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment.
“After many lengthy and detailed deliberations, it is the view of the Law Commission that the administration of death penalty even within the restrictive environment of ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine is constitutionally unsustainable,” the report said.
Referring to victims of crimes, the panel said in focusing on death penalty “as the ultimate measure of justice to victims”, the restorative and rehabilitative aspects of justice are lost sight of. It said reliance on the death penalty diverts attention from other problems ailing the criminal justice system such as poor investigation, crime prevention and rights of victims.
One of the three full-time members Justice (retd) Usha Mehra and both ex-officio members Law Secretary P K Malhotra and Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh gave their dissenting notes. Justice Mehra said, “Recommending blanket abolition of death sentence or moratorium on death penalty in heinous crimes is not an appropriate course.”
“The need of the hour is to retain it... We should have faith in the wisdom of our judges that they will exercise this power only in deserving cases..,” said Malhotra.