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Black Warrant: Sinful or Not?

  • Before going through the character of Black warrant, first try and take cognizance of what is a Black warrant?
  • The Warrant of execution of a sentence of death' in the form no.42 of Code of Criminal Procedure is particularly known as the Black Warrant
  • So, the purpose of this article is to raise a question in the minds of a reader that, Is it allowed to take one's life for any of his misdeeds? Isn't it sinful? Can there be a better way of remorse?
  • The country is at surge of development, where on one hand the technology is extensively growing throughout the global level, at the other hand the quality of personal life in getting better.
  • The Legislation is also growing with the country and the laws too are changing continuously according to the need and requirement of time and society.
  • Therefore, under this article there are many points to discuss.
So, let's get started!

Purpose of Punishment

There have been many outlooks regarding the purpose served by the punishment and this section will cover the first part of article about the constitutional validity.

So, some of the points regarding the same are as follows:
  • If the perspective of a person who commits a crime is set aside, then the purpose of punishment should be to punish the crime and not the criminal.
    Gandhi believed in crimes and not in criminals. He supported the theory Eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. By this it can be concluded that he believed in the reformative theory of punishment.
  • Kurian Joseph J. said, To me, the purpose of punishment is the reformation of the person who committed the crime and the evils of society which has been the reasons of the crime committed by the person.
    He further added that a state is under an obligation that it must in all circumstances protect the life of an individual.
  • The purpose of punishment should be to deter people from committing the crime. It is the responsibility of state to deter people from committing the crime so that the fundamental duty of the state to prevent internal disturbance is fulfilled.
  • Deterrence is very important because the basic purpose is that we should have a crime free state and if that be so, the people have to be intimidated.
    There is an impression that the law and the state have not been able to do what was expected from them.
  • The only Idea that would justify the punishment of Death penalty can be the deterrence. It's not the severity of the punishment that is plaintive; it is the immediateness of the punishment and the certainty of it.
  • In any refine system, there must be an inevitable distance between the crime (event) and its punishment (consequence).
Is it a State Failure?
  • A question rises that, if a crime is committed on anybody, is it a state failure?
  • The state somewhere falls short to examine the social context of the person who committed the crime. The state has a duty to maintain law and order in the society. All the laws are made to protect the disorder in the society.
A report was published 2-3 years back, which concluded that most of the prisoners who either were sentenced to death or on the road of being expected to be sentenced were found under a serious mental depression. By this it means not because of drunkenness or drugs, but otherwise on account of the circumstances under which the accused is left. To do the psychotic evaluation of the accused is very important before pronouncing any verdict.
  • There should be the lessening of crime. The court is not there to do what people think is right; it is there to do what is constitutionally right.
  • When the Verma committee was established after the Dec. 16 2012(Nirbhaya case). The Women council went against the Verma committee and it specifically said,
    We do not want the death penalty; we want it to be stopped. It is something else that you need to be able to protect us; the death penalty does not protect us. In fact, the death penalty will exacerbate our problem.
  • Death to the accused is not going to change the nature of the state. The moment one say death penalty, he is even perpetuating state violence.
  • The state should be different form the person who is causing violence. How can a person make difference if both the state and the accused think that the violence is legitimate for them?
  • Though, it can be agreed that deterrence is one of the aspect. But, for the purpose of deterrence a law which abridges a person from his life cannot be legitimate.

Doctrine given in the Bachan Singh case

  • A line was quoted by the Hon'ble judges while pronouncing the judgement in the Bachan Singh v/s State of Punjab that the death penalty shall be given in the rarest of rare cases.
  • The doctrine does not embrace that one has to identify the rarest of rare case but it just gives a label to the cases.
  • The main text which supports the punishment of death penalty is given in the next line of the same judgement and that was Where the alternative option is unquestionably foreclosed.
    It means the death penalty shall always be given in only and only those cases where it can be clearly seen that there is no alternative option of which can justify the heinousness of the offence.
  • S.B. Sinha J. in a case said that 'We have failed to identify the crime while following the dictum given in the Bachan Singh case.

Researches till now
  • A Research done in NLU Delhi tells us that outcry have become such a major reason not just for the death penalty but also for the conviction that now the judges in many of the serious case has to produce conviction because of public pressure that if the conviction the was not given it may turn out in a public violence.
  • An interview was conducted by an acclaimed Legal firm with the death row prisoners about the torture they are subjected to, the legal remedies they received.
    One of the prisoners responded ironically that:
    Indian criminal justice system is like a spider's web, the big insect bursts through, the small insects are the only one that gets trapped, but the spider never gets trapped in his own web.
  • Alleged Hyderabad encounter:
    In Hyderabad rape and murder case, all the four accused were suspiciously found dead. Now, here many stories got heated up, some said it was an encounter carried out by the police, some said it was a planned murder and some that it was a custodial death.

    But, the point here to note was the public reaction which came after the alleged encounter. It was so shocking to see that plethora of the people was happy after the encounter and they all were supporting it. It shows that our legal justice system has failed to perform its duty because it can be clearly drawn from the incident that the society is completely unsatisfied with the decisions of the courts and the situation is that much worsened that it is ready to bear anything, that would justify or anything that would compensate the loss, whether it be an encounter or a custodial death.
  • Vikas Dubey Encounter
    A news came with the dawn of the 10 Jul. 20, that the Wanted Gangster Vikas Dubey has been killed in the Encounter on the Highroads. Mostly everyone supported it, but here none had even a thought in his mind that how these types of situation are just hollowing out the Indian legal system.

  • So, it can be laid down that, with the evolving situation and time, the penal provisions are needed to be amended very categorically. Because, at the end it's all about the life of a person and one has all the rights to protect itself. Also the state is under an obligation to protect under every possible circumstances, the life and liberty of an individual.
  • Sec. 53 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, itself says that it is not exhaustive in nature, which means it can be amended.
  • If on one hand, the sec. 53 says that the code lays down the maximum punishment possible for any offence.

    Then, on the other hand it also says that the court, if it seems fit, can reduce the quantum of the punishment.
  • This is enough proof that society can control criminal activity even without the commutation of Black warrant.
There are some duties we owe, even to those who have wronged us. There is, after all, a limit to retribution and punishment. -Marcus Tullius Cicero.

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