Abolishing death penalty: Par panel members for broader debate

Majority of the members of a Parliamentary panel today supported capital punishment for rapists in cases where the victim either dies or is left in a persistent vegetative state.

At the meeting of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, three members-- D Raja (CPI), Kanimozhi (DMK) and E T Mohammed Bashir-- said they were opposed to the overall concept of capital punishment in the country.

The committee is examining the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012.

It is learnt that they, however, supported the concept of life imprisonment in which a convict has to spend the entire natural life in jail.

Sources said most of the members of the committee agreed that a broader debate was required on the issue of abolishing capital punishment from the country.

They also pointed that the committee is not mandated to review present laws but only to recommend changes in laws relating to crime against women.

During today's meeting, almost all members agreed with the provision in the recently promulgated ordinance which provides for handing down death sentence to the convict if the rape victim either dies or is left in a "persistent vegetative state".

The government went beyond the Verma Committee's recommendation by providing for capital punishment in the cases where rape leads to death of the victim or leaves her in "persistent vegetative state".

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