Law students deliberate on death penalty

Topic that has witnessed mixed reactions, set the tone for the debate
Last Updated 28 March 2013, 19:16 IST

When death penalty has triggered a nation-wide debate eliciting mixed opinions, how can a law college think of an academic debate bereft of the topic?

Students drawn from different colleges on Thursday tabled their opinions, rather vociferously at a State-level debate competition on ‘Death penalty’ organised by SBRR Mahajana Law College in the city.

Ranjitha a student favoured death penalty as capital punishment is a continuation of the system that was in existence during the erstwhile princely rule. She highlighted the often forgotten section of society during such debates -- the innocent dependents of the victims. While the people speak for or voice their opinions against the convicts of heinous crimes facing death penalty, the plight of sufferers is least remembered.
Dhanalakshmi, another student began with a Kannada adage; ‘Dayave dharmada moolavaiah’ (Mercy is the root of religion). However, it doesn’t mean a man or a woman who commits a homicide in the rarest of a rare case could walk out scot-free.

Giving an account of cases where capital punishment is awarded, Dhanalakshmi said barring convictions in the cases of section 302 (murder) of IPC, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and Drugs and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), death penalty was not awarded in other cases. Till now, only 53 capital punishments are executed.

Referring to the recent hanging of Mumbai attack convict Abdul Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Dhanalakshmi questioned whether they should have been spared?

She mooted a similar question on the ongoing debate on executing death penalty for four aides of forest brigand Veerappan currently lodged in Hindalga jail in Belgaum. Some of the students denounced death penalty basing their views on emotions.

Psychologist M S Umapathy stressed on conducting extensive research on the implications of death penalty. He said that it was time to study whether capital punishment had checked increasing crime rate or not.

Later participating in the valedictory of the competition, vice-chancellor of National Law School of India University Prof R Venkata Rao said “Indian Talent (IT)” was in much demand across the globe. He advised the students to develop passion and compassion. The students should take a leaf out of their own experiences, rather than trying to find a role model in others.

Director of the college Prof C K N Raja, principal R B Rajashekar, chairman of Mahajana Education Society (MES) R Vasudevamurthy and others were present.

(Published 28 March 2013, 19:16 IST)

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