The controversial issue of capital punishment is once again hitting the headlines only because of involvement of high profile killers in Rajiv Gandhi case and following comments by Omar Abdullah. There is a section who strongly believes that capital punishment should have no place in a civilized society because if we do so then we too are only behaving like criminals who murder others and following 'tit for tat' and 'a tooth for a tooth' policy and only serves in sending a wrong message across the entire society that to control crime, criminals must be killed.
This also explains why many people very strongly feel that killing a criminal is the only way to curb the increasing crime in our society which is totally absurd because rather than curbing crime, it only serves to multiply crime as the relatives of the deceased criminal take up arms to take revenge and this story keeps on repeating itself as we can see really in our towns and villages which is most concerning and we can ill afford to dismiss it lightly.
Is it inevitable that to punish a hardened criminal, he has to be hanged only? Certainly not. He can be punished severely even without awarding him capital punishment. It does not mean that the criminals should be left scot free, they should undergo rigorous life imprisonment especially if they are guilty of most heinous crimes but also simultaneously being made to toil very hard to do all such types of works from which our nation gains by channelling their services in right.
Rather it sends a very wrong message that to punish a criminal, he has to be killed as he is beyond reform which is certainly a preposterous assumption which must be eliminated immediately from our mindset because let's not forget that what Justice Krishna Iyer had once said that, "I believe in Operation Valmiki because every saint had a past, every sinner has a future."
We should also not overlook a very pertinent fact that there are so many countries in the world especially in Europe where there is no capital punishment and still the crime graph is much lower as compared to countries like India where capital punishment is in existence for the last 6 decades and even earlier during British rule.
If we still continue to follow the barbaric practice of awarding capital punishment then certainly we are still not entitled to call ourselves as civilized because our mindset has still not changed and we continue treating a criminal as a person beyond reform which from any angle cannot be justified because there are so many other options to punish him without executing him.
Why do most of us fail to appreciate the basic fact that rigorous life imprisonment is much more painful than capital punishment where a criminal is killed in just one stroke? We all must realize that capital punishment is the easiest way to embrace death and be liberated not only from rotting and labouring very hard aimlessly for decades in prison but also from facing all types of other very rigorous hardships of prison life which certainly is no less than a boon for hardened criminals.
When a criminal undergoes rigorous life imprisonment, he has just no option but to repent each and every second of his remaining life as to why the hell did he indulged in heinous crimes and ruined not only other's life but even their own life as they have to spend their entire life in prison and face all types of difficulties, the most prominent being not to be able to meet even dear ones and being restricted to four walls of a room in the prison.
Capital punishment is not the only possible way to punish hardened criminals; there are so many other possible ways which only need to be implemented strictly and uniformly without discriminating against any particular person. Criminals can be punished adequately in a civilized society even without resorting to capital punishment and law and order can still be maintained properly which we all must understand.
Supreme Court of India has time and again reiterated that capital punishment should be imposed only in rarest of rare cases and unofficially many retired Chief Justices of the Apex Court have expressed their uttermost dismay and anger over retaining capital punishment even in 21st century leaving just no room for a criminal to reform himself.
They very strongly argue that a criminal is a patient who deserves treatment by reforming and rehabilitating him instead of just awarding him capital punishment which contrary to popular belief does not serve as any deterrent because if it were so, crime graph in India and other countries where capital punishment exists would not have been rising so high just opposite to such countries where capital punishment does not exist at all but still crime graph is very low.
No civilized person will ever justify awarding capital punishment because it fully vindicates revenge theory which, which can never be justified under any circumstances in today's civilized and modern world by any sane person.