Friday, May 07, 2010

On Kasab's sentence

One of our regular readers, Vinod George Joseph, has written a persuasive piece on his blog on why Kasab should be kept alive. I agree with him fully.

I have not read the trial court's judgment yet. But from the newspaper reports, the reasons for the award of death sentence to Kasab are hardly convincing. To cite a few:

1. Keeping him alive will invite Kandahar-type incidents: Apart from the fact that it is speculative and hypothetical, and death penalty cannot be awarded for such reasons, it also exposes our own vulnerabilities and lack of confidence that we could ensure fool-proof security to those who travel by air.

2. Kasab can't be reformed: Absolutely true. That is why Supreme Court has repeatedly said for such offenders life sentence must mean life sentence, and he need not be released till he dies of natural causes. The question of reform of a convict is relevant only if he is likely to be released at some point of time in future.

3. Kasab did not show any remorse:: The question of remorse is a subjective feeling, and can be considered only when he seeks pardon or commutation of his sentence. If he suffers a life sentence, the question of considering his remorse or lack of remorse does not arise.

4. It will be a deterrent: This cliche has no meaning as far as Kasab is concerned. Criminals like Kasab are not afraid of death, and therefore, is unlikely to deter future Kasabs. On the contrary, killing him will invite future Kasabs seek retribution, which will mean putting ourselves to risk all over again.

The public celebration of the sentence in Mumbai, and the public display of glee by the Public Prosecutor over the sentence reveal what would have been the response had the Judge given Kasab life sentence rather than Death penalty.
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