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'India among last nations practicing death penalty'

'India among a dying breed of nations practicing death penalty'

india Updated: Mar 24, 2004 00:51 IST

Death penalty is rarely out of news headlines, and there is a continual move to expand its scope. The Government has recently mooted a law prescribing death penalty for manufacturers of spurious drugs, while the Supreme Court has advocated it for those who offer human sacrifices. Amnesty International India's legal officer Bikram Jeet Batra tells Saif Shahin why it isn't plain justice to punish a murderer with death.

Q: Indian courts grant death sentences quite regularly, even though it is supposed to be issued in the "rarest of rare" cases. What is Amnesty's position on it?

BJB: Amnesty International (AI) India's position on the death penalty is unambiguous - the death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and it violates the right to life.

The death penalty for distributors of spurious drugs is an attempted red herring. The answer to the issue of spurious drugs does not lie in killing the offender but in addressing systemic defects that give people the confidence that they can get away by manufacturing or selling spurious drugs.

Effective inspection, control mechanisms and public education coupled with sound investigative and prosecution machinery and rehabilitation of victims would be a better solution.

First Published: Mar 24, 2004 00:51 IST