Friday, October 5, 2007

Can man decide the fate of another man?

A few years back I heard a debate on whether a death sentence was a fair way to punish a criminal. "If its happening everywhere, and happening since ages, it must be right" I thought to myself and dismissed the thought. It was only 2 days back when the same question creeped into my head again. I am reading a book named Shantaram, a Gregory David Roberts masterpiece. The man was a drug addict who was sentenced for 20 years in Australia for robbing a bank. He escaped from prison and came to India. He lived in the slums of Bombay, joined the Mafia and got onto drugs again. Honestly, I would be one of the several people who'd say "He can never improve now". The fact is that one day life smiled at him and he did improve!! I would have been ruthlessly wrong! He severd his imprisonment, is a free man now and has spread his life out in words to prove me wrong!! I am glad I was wrong.

Who decides that someone does not have any traits to improve? A measly judge? A judge, who is just another human? A human who might have a bias, maybe greedy enough to let the bribe make the final decision, may judge based on color, creed, maybe sentiments? A human who is as susceptible to wrong decisions as the criminal was when he commited the crime? How can a judge or a jury decide whether the criminal will never improve. How can the judge or the jury decide whether to let a man live or die!

The fact remains that we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Nobody is born a criminal. If a murderer is hanged to death, even the system is echoing the same crime but from behind the doors that read "good people"! No human holds the capability to decide whether another human should live or die! Life imprisonment is acceptable but a death sentence is a terribly wrong and ruthlessly unfair punishment!!

In hope that someday the system & the society will see criminals with more pity and sympathy rather than anger! After all the death of a murderer does not in any way bring back the murdered. Maybe someday the need for revenge would subdue!! In hopeful prayer I close this post!!


Meghna said...

Read this later in the day:
John J. Curtin, Jr.: "A system that will take life must first give justice."!!

jc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jc said...

well, you could show this to the victim's family and lets see what they have got to say about it, okay?

Meghna said...

Jc, it wouldn't be wrong if the victim's family is thirsty for revenge, but look at it as a third person, did the death sentence do any repair work in any way?

Gandalf said...

(Seemingly) smart people dressed in black coats (with scores of smart looking books in their racks) will tell you that the purpose of law and that of a punishment is to "prevent further such acts in the community" and not to "seek revenge for the crime that he committed". So capital punishments are given (apparently) to instill fear in the society against committing such horrendous crimes in the future. But my sociology professor told me that capital punishment given for rape cases (in India) actually decreased the percentage of cases that were reported and hence did not help in preventing the crime. I was even made to logically explain the same during my endsem exam (for 10 marks). So, choose your pick :)

Meghna said...

"Justice is a judgement that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done till everyone is satisfied. Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong, it is also the way we try to save them"

Ashwita said...

Very interesting point of view, Meghna :) (just happened to jump into your blog) Mine, incidentally, happens to by just the opposite view.

Maybe if we did a survey that told us the numbers of people who improved after being hard core criminals, we would be able to tell for sure that people should be punished with more consideration. I think that the number is probably pretty small.

Do you think that for one improved criminal, it is worth letting 5 others go easy?

As a society, we must first ensure that we do not foster criminals, by being kind to the poor and downtrodden and ensuring any untoward behaviour is promptly counselled.

Meghna said...

i dont say dont punish..but no one has the right to kill! No one can see what mite be coming up. Life imprisonment would be a fair punishment!

Storm said...

hey guess wat for sum wierd reason im reading ur blog n for another wierd reason commenting on n article if u cud cal it that.
neways ther have been many arguments whether life imprisonment is better than a death sentence and mayb if u did ask a criminal quite a few wud say death senetnce is better. neways i do feel they shud b punished n if any form of public vote wants to b considered they shud probably let the victims family dcide.