#India -SC slams cops for assault on women, says police have gone berserk #Vaw


, TNN | Apr 25, 2013, 12.57 PM

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SC slams cops for assault on women, says police have gone berserk
A file photo of cops manhandling protesters, including women, during an anti-rape demonstration in Aligarh.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognizance of police assault on unarmed women in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and has sought action taken report against the errant cops in both the cases.Slamming the action of cops, the apex court said the police in India have gone berserk and asked UP chief secretary and Delhi Police to explain how they think women should be treated by the police force.

The way a 65-year-old lady was pushed to the ground with brute force by a DSP in UP and the way another cop slapped a young girl in Delhi making her bleed from ears shows their mindset towards women, the court said.

The apex court has asked the UP chief secretary and Delhi Police commissioner to file the action taken report against the erring cops in both the cases.

A woman protester was slapped by a policeman during protests outside a hospital in northeast Delhi against the brutal rape of a 5-year-old girl.

The cop involved in the incident was suspened after the ‘slap’ footage was aired by the TV channels.

In another case, women protesting against cops refusal to file an FIR on a missing six-year-old girl were beaten up mercilessly by policemen in Aligarh on Thursday, with TV cameras recording visuals of several activists being brutalized by men in uniform.

 

#Deathpenalty- resurfacing in #India – 16mercy petitions rejected in 9 months #WTFnews


Pranab Mukherjee Rejected 16 Mercy Petitions in 9 Months

NEW DELHI | APR 12, 2013, outlook
There was a long delay in deciding mercy pleas by the Presidents, which was also highlighted by the Supreme Court today, but the situation changed when Pranab Mukherjee took charge on July 25 last year, disposing of petitions of 16 condemned prisoners within nine months.The petitions for clemency filed by sandalwood smuggler Veerappan‘s elder brother Gnanaprakash and his aides Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were rejected by Mukherjee on February 13. The four had then obtained a stay on their execution from the apex court on February 18.

Besides the four, the others whose mercy pleas have been rejected by the President since taking charge are — Suresh, Ramji, Gurmeet Singh, Praveen Kumar, Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, Sundar Singh, Jafar Ali, Dharampal and Saibanna Ningappa Natikar.

Except Dharampal and Natikar, the others had moved the apex court on April 6 and obtained a stay on their execution for four weeks.

Mukherjee also commuted the death sentence of two death row inmates, including Atbir, to life imprisonment.

Atbir was convicted for murder of his step-mother, step-sister and step-brother over property.

Dharampal was convicted for murdering five members of the family of a girl he had raped. He had committed the murders while out on parole in the rape case.

Sonia and Sanjeev were awarded death penalty for killing eight members of her family, including her parents and three children of her brother in 2001.

Gurmeet Singh was convicted of killing 13 of his family members in 1986. Jafar Ali had murdered his wife and five daughters. Suresh and Ramji killed five of their relatives.

Natikar was awarded death penalty for killing his wife and daughter, Praveen was convicted for killing four members of a family in February 1994 and Sundar Singh was convicted for murder of five members of his brother’s family in June 1989.

A recent study by Amnesty International reveals that death penalty resurfaced in India, during 2012, after a long lull in execution at the gallows, while several other nations are opting for penal system free of capital punishment.

Full Story:

In its recent report based on extensive study, Amnesty International has revealed that the death penalty has resurfaced in India in 2012.

Amnesty International claimed in London that the resumption of the death penalty was facilitated by public pressures and political motives in India.

[Jan Erik Wetzel, Death Penalty Advisor at Amnesty International]:
“The resumption of the executions in India is most likely based on a variety of reasons. One of which is public pressure and another one would be political considerations by the government in place.”

[Ravi Prakash, Senior Advocate]:
“Death sentence acts as a deterrent and therefore, death sentence has been retained in the Indian Penal Code and by our legal system. But the court has said that it should be given only in a very rare of the rarest circumstances and not keeping in view that way of the retribution, you are conferring the death sentence on anybody.”

In November, India carried out its first execution since 2004 when the country hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the militant squad that killed 166 people in the 2008 attacks on the financial capital Mumbai.

Kasab’s execution sparked off celebrations across India.

People burst firecrackers and exchanged sweets among themselves to hail this execution as a justice for the victims of Mumbai attacks.

India had also recently approved a tougher new law to punish sex crimes, including death for repeat rape offenders, after the fatal gang rape of a student in December.

That event sparked unprecedented protests over the treatment of women in the country.

[Abhas Kumar, Student of New Delhi]:
Death punishment in India is necessary to warn and evoke fear in the minds of people. Criminal activities are increasing. Criminals here are not afraid to commit crimes because they feel that they will be released from jail in two or three days and above all, the trial against them takes a long time.”

The Amnesty International study said that besides India, executions resumed in other countries of the Asia-Pacific region including Japan and Pakistan, after it seemed that they had done away with the punishment.

 

#India- Abolish the #deathpenalty- #Humanrights


Rajeev Dhavan – India Today 

TAGS: Afzal Guru | Death penalty | Congress |Sushilkumar Shinde | BJP |Veerappan
Afzal Guru
Afzal Guru

When people kill it is homicide. When the State hangs, it is legicide. When terrorists kill, it is collective murder.When terrorists are killed, it is justified as counter-terrorism. When innocents are massacred, it is genocide. When the great empires of the day kill thousands of innocents it is called collateral damage for the greater glory of the world.

Afzal Guru’s hanging was celebrated as national pride to symbolise that India and the Congress party had not gone ‘soft’. This was to offset the BJP’s electoral campaign against the UPA’s soft state. To the cynic and the thoughtful, Afzal’s hanging became a political farce about collective revenge, national honour and electioneering for 2014. If his hanging was a deterrent for terrorists in the Valley or otherwise, the facts belie the truth. If a chain of hangings are to follow, why talk of mercy?

Discourse

Is India clear about the death penalty, state killings by hanging, mercy petitions and legicide? Years ago mandatory death sentences were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. From 1980-83, the new formula was death in the ‘rarest of rare cases’. Given shrill polities and social clamour for death, are we returning to de facto mandatory death sentences while retaining the de jure ‘rarest of rare’ clausula? Recently on 2nd March 2012 Justices Alam and Desai opined that mandatory death sentences for all under the Narcotics Act were contrary to the Constitution’s due process and civil liberties. The BJP wants mandatory death sentence for all terrorists. Unable to contain the political implications of this clamour, the Congress has joined the ‘mandatory’ bandwagon.

Omar Abdullah took a pragmatic, not a principled, view that death for Afzal would shake up Kashmir. Instead it shook up Hyderabad! Parliament dare not make death sentence for terrorists or rapists mandatory. It would be struck down. Instead this is achieved through politics, inciting people and numbing the conscience of the President.

The Parliament attack occurred on 13 December 2001, and Afzal was arrested on 15 December 2001. The High Court acquitted two accused, Geelani and Afsan, and on 4 August 2005 the Supreme Court convicted Afzal to death and awarded 10 years for Shaukat. President Pranab denied mercy on 3 February 2013. After six hurried days, he was executed. The quality of mercy was not just strained but ignored. Both Kasab and Afzal were hanged within days of the Presidential rejection of their mercy petition – ignoring the right to approach the courts to challenge the rejection.

Indeed, in 2013 the Karnataka High Court stayed the execution of Saibanna while it examined the legality of the presidential rejection. Recently, the Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Veerappan’s aides until it heard arguments on the rejection of mercy.

Afzal

Afzal had no such chance. Afzal’s wife was informed of the death two days later – by speed post, sent a day before the execution! Home Secretary R.K. Singh said his family was informed. Indira’s killer’s family met the condemned before execution. Mr. Singh deserves suspension and Minister Shinde removal for his outrageous defence of secrecy.

But the body? Surely the family have a right to the body rather than a State burial. They had, and have, a right to a namaaz-e-janaza. Or is Afzal to be damned in the life hereafter? Don’t quote Prison Rules. The government’s alleged fear is that his tomb will symbolise martyrdom. Who can prevent that? Or a memory stone in his honour at Sopore? Would the army crush it to pieces? Why punish Tabassum, Afzal’s wife? Unmarked graves and unceremonious cremations was British policy that ill becomes a post colonial republic. Give Tabassum the body.

Punishment

Innumerable convicts await death row – a death in itself. Unwise Law Minister Ashwin Kumar, who knows little law, seemed more concerned with speed than justice. In Bachan’s case (1980) the court factorised both the aggravated crime (public interest) and individuating of concern for the criminal (mitigating justice) as separate live elements in sentencing. The former could not drown out the latter. Recently on 20 November 2012, Justices Lokur and Radhakrishnan exposed the sentencing error in looking at the crime and ignoring the criminal totally. This is the flaw in the Machi decision’s (1983) ‘rarest of rare’ test which seems to be on everyone’s lips as they look at the crime and ignore the criminal. The Supreme Court has now exposed a dozen of its own errors in this regard. What we have done is shocking: restored the mandatory death penalty by the back door.

The presidential mercy has become a farce. Mercy petitions are not a will-of the-wisp. They have developed a culture of killing. Imagine the Justices Radhakrishnan and Misra’s distress on reading a trial judge’s advocacy of slashing, beheading, lynching and death sentence as the only way to eliminate crime. That too, in a judicial verdict. This is the state we have reached. A UN report states that over 150 countries have abolished or do not use the death penalty. Building on earlier resolutions, in 2012, the General Assembly resolved for no more death penalties – supported by the African Republics Tunisia, Niger and South Sudan. Even Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia abstained rather than vote against.

One last comment: Judges should straighten out the law. Parliament should abolish the death penalty. Tihar should deliver Afzal’s body to his wife Tabassum.

– The writer is a Supreme Court lawyer. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the opinion of the newspaper.

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/abolish-the-death-penalty-afzal-guru-upa-veerappan-aides/1/251575.html

 

Constitutionally incorrect to hang the three, says judge who confirmed death for Rajiv killers #deathpenalty


By, TNN | Feb 24, 2013

Constitutionally incorrect to hang the three, says judge who confirmed death for Rajiv killers
Justice Thomas said the judgment itself had ‘errors’ as the death sentences had not considered the antecedents, nature and character of the accused.
CHENNAI: It would be ‘constitutionally incorrect’ now to hang the three people sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, said Justice K T Thomas, who headed the Supreme Court bench that confirmed the death sentences. “It was my misfortune to have presided over that bench,” he told TOI.

More than 13 years ago, it was a three-judge bench headed by Justice Thomas that confirmed death sentence for Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. Nalini’s death penalty was commuted to imprisonment for life by Tamil Nadu governor in April 2000 on the basis of a recommendation of the state cabinet and a public appeal by Sonia Gandhi. The TADA had originally awarded death sentence to all the 26 accused persons. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, which was the only appellate forum under theRajiv Gan as a referred trial, capital punishment was confirmed only for four.

In an interview, Justice Thomas said the judgment itself had ‘errors’ as the death sentences had not considered the antecedents, nature and character of the accused. Hence any decision to hang the three could now be termed as ‘constitutionally incorrect’ and a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, he told TOI. Going a step further, the judge said case deserved a review, considering the antecedents and character of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan.

“At a time when the Supreme Court bench headed by me pronounced judgments in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, apparently, we did not consider the nature and character of the accused who were sentenced to death penalty by us. It was only many years thereafter a bench headed by Justice S B Sinha pointed out that without considering the nature and character of accused, a death sentence should never be awarded. His judgments mentioned errors in previous SC judgments and that applies to Rajiv Gandhi assassination case,” he said.

Also, he pointed out the three have been in prison for 22 years. “For any life imprisonment, every prisoner is entitled to have a right to get his case reviewed by the jail authorities (to determine) whether remission can be announced or not. Since the accused in Rajiv Gandhi case were death convicts, they underwent a long period of imprisonment without even having the benefit of life imprisonment,” he said. “This appears to be a third type of sentence, something which is unheard and constitutionally incorrect. If they are hanged today or tomorrow, they will be subjected to two penalties for one offense.”

In 1999, Justice Thomas had agreed with two others on the bench in respect of death penalty for only Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. As for Murugan’s wife Nalini, he gave a dissenting, but minority, verdict preferring imprisonment for life.

When TOI contacted Justice V R Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court, he said death penalty could not be considered as a punishment. “It is just another act of murder, a judicial murder, by the state. It is high time for India to abolish death penalty and India has not gained anything from death penalties in the past,” he said.

The three death convicts have completed almost 22 years of imprisonment. Their execution, which was scheduled to be held on September 9, 2011, was stayed by the Madras high court for six weeks in August that year. The case has since been transferred to the Supreme Court, to be decided after the Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar case verdict is delivered.

 

President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy pleas of four Veerappan associates #deathpenalty #WTFnews


By, TNN | Feb 13, 2013, 0

President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy pleas of four Veerappan associates
The mercy petitions of four Veerappan associates, sentenced to death in a landmine blast case, were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, an advocate S Balamurugan, appearing for the accused, said.
CHENNAI: The mercy petitions of fourVeerappan associates, sentenced to death in alandmine blast case, were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, an advocate S Balamurugan, appearing for the accused, said.”We have received information from reliable sources that the message has been sent to Belgaum jail authorities and apparently it has also been conveyed to the prisoners,” Balalmurugan, who is also the Tamil NaduPUCL state secretary, said.The dreaded sandalwood bandit Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu police of the special task force in October 2004.

The four accused, Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran, were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in January 2004 in connection with the killing of 21 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka near the inter-state border in 1993. They were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment by the Mysore court. But the government moved the Supreme Court, which awarded them the death sentence. Their mercy pleas have been pending since 2004.

A division bench of Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice BN Agrawal had converted the life imprisonment of convicts to death sentence and dismissed the convicts’ appeals against the order of conviction passed by a Special TADA court in Karnataka.

 

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