Death Penalty
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Death penalty

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See interview of Ashok  Kothare

Law commission has requested people to give their opinion on the policy of death penalty. Here is my opinion based on certain argument as per my convictions. As it is in India death penalty is not frequented and if any body is given death penalty he/she goes on appealing to higher and higher courts and in the end (after several years) President of the Government decides about it. And we see that only in very rarest of rear cases gets this penalty. 

There always is an argument put up by oppostion to death penalty; that, death penalty is due to desire for revenge for what brutal act is done by the accused. They use a term, "eye to eye reaction". I do not agree to this argument. Death penalty is not any vengeance as this argument suggests. In none of the rulings given by Courts it is so shown that the Court is giving that verdict as a reaction of vengeance. It is a cleansing operation. I explain what I mean by cleansing operation. Suppose a person has appendicitis problem and to get out of that trouble he gets operated on to remove the part. That makes his living better or normal. This removal of appendicitis is called a cleansing operation. We do it to keep things in normal condition. If that useless part is not removed from the body the person may die if it bursts. Therefore, to save the person we take the decision to remove that part and throw it away. It is not a case of any vengeance against appendicitis. Similarly when we find that a certain person has become menace to society we have to get rid of him/her and by that cleanse the society. If such person is allowed to stay as a free man/woman in the society our society will be in great peril. By death penalty exactly that is achieved. If we do not give death punishment we have to keep him or her in lock up to save society from that menace. Who will pay for that up keep? And why? We keep prisoners so that we may give them a second chance to improve their habits of indulging in criminal activity. The cost of keeping them is borne by the tax payers. Nobody bothers for that as the tax payers do not ask why his money is being spent on such wrong doing people. In none of the budgets FM never explains where the money they extract from pockets of tax payers are spent. Particularly how the expenses of prisons are arranged. We generally expect that prisoners will pay for their expenses by working but it is not the practice so far. We tax payers bear the cost of prisoner's lodging, boarding and medicine. Now the question comes is why should tax payers bear the cost of these unwanted people who are nothing but menace to the society? 

Tax payers are taken for granted and their money is used to keep this unwanted people alive for life. How just it is? This is similar to any arrangement by which a painful appendicitis is kept in body by taking pain killer and other artificial treatment just to show that we the society as a whole do not have any vengeance to this risk. 

Any argument to justify refusing death penalty, which is proposed to protect law bearing citizens is not acceptable because it is based on falsehood. Let me show the falsehood in the arguments to avoid death penalty. Typical argument I give here for example. 

"Such acts are generally committed under the extreme emotions of rage, fear, or hatred; which leaves no room for reason to weigh the after consequences of what has been done under that rage". 

This is a typical argument put up by the defenders of opposition to death penalty. Falsehood in this argument is very clear, in as much as the fact that all persons pass through such situations in his/her life; but not all indulge in crime as heinous as brutal killing. Why this difference? Most persons have to pass through such situations in their life not once but on many occasions nevertheless, they successfully control their passion for reaction and avoid doing any wrong thing. What is the difference in these two people? People are either normal or abnormal. Abnormal people cannot become normal, and so society must get rid of them to protect society's safety.

 I may put some of our Yogic examples to explain why majority people can control while a few cannot control. As per our Hindu belief person is having five types of behavioral moods. They are Criminal, Tamas, Rajas, Satwa and Saintly. Some are in criminal behavioral mood and they are responsible for most crimes in the society. Yoga science suggests that when a person decides to become a Sadhaka (practitioner of yoga) he decides to practice Yoga. He/she has to first correct his/her spiritual address. If he/she is in Tamas mood he/she has to improve from that to first Rajas and then to Satwa and finally to Saintly. His real practice for spiritual improvement begins only when the practitioner reaches the level of Saintly behavior. This I write here because a person who is in Criminal mood he/she cannot improve. Society cannot allow such person freedom of activity in society as he/she is in criminal mood creating problems for the society. People in criminal mood are not possibly improvable and so such persons are not supposed to practice Yoga. That means our Yoga Shastra has ruled out any possibility that a person in criminal mood can be a serious Yogi. Such persons are condemned as abnormal people and so not recommended to practice Yoga. Modern psychology endeavors to improve abnormal people to normal but so far these experiments have utterly failed. Even so, they continue to claim that such improvement is possible. Therefore, it is wiser to remove them from the society. In earlier times these people were banished from kingdoms. On doing that such criminals would move to other places and create menace there. Killing them is best course. The process is to protect society these elements must be removed from the society. Keeping them in prisons is not suitable for the tax payers. Why should tax payers pay for lodging, boarding and medicine of these people? This amounts to punishing innocent tax payers! These people are Satan's people and to protect them Satan's argument is often used by sweet form of Satan, they are the defenders of these criminals trying to give them more chances so that crime can perpetuate in society. In Bhagwatgita what we see as Arjuna's argument is Satan's sweet argument to what Lord Krishna condemned. It is called sweet argument because it appears to be very convincing philosophy. All arguments to justify removal of death penalty are Satan's sweet argument and so one should be careful with that. 

Our Hindu faith accepts that we are not dead permanently. There always is rebirth, second chance. Therefore, by giving these unwanted people death penalty we give them that chance early. If they are not removed by death penalty lesser quality people in the society I mean Tamas people inadvertently begins to believe that being criminal is not so bad. This gradually encourage them to demote them to criminal mood from Tamas mood. This development is not suitable for that society. When such person is declared death penalty that gives signal to these Tamas people that they should control them and that saves the society from turning more criminal. There is no reason to feel that it is a vengeance.

 I compare death penalty with mercy killing request. Both are having similarity. Death penalty is decided by the society to cleanse the society of some irreparable element in the society. Mercy killing is also cleansing of people who cannot be repaired out of their grievances. Both are cleansing operations and equally important for the upkeep of that society's health. We see reluctance on the part of law makers to accept mercy killing and we also see similar resistance for continuing of death penalty. They give examples of other so called civilized societies, showing that death penalty is amounting to savagery. According to me death penalty has nothing to do with concept of civilized society. Tomorrow if we accept mercy killing the same so-called civilized societies will condemn it as an act of uncivilizedness! Those critics I call Satan's sweet form and we must be careful of them. 

In this I see a certain type of psychological problem with these people. These are people who are afraid of death. And whenever any thought or suggestion comes up that can suggest death of any type these people come out with stereotype arguments to oppose that. I notice that protector of these criminals under various excuses have a certain style to justify their resistance to death penalty. One psychologist suggests that some potential criminal want protection to these criminals so that in case they are found in similar crime, they be saved. 

There are other questions Law commission should answer to people. What is justice? Does Law commission equate a law abiding person and a law breaking person on the same level? Justice to whom? To offer mercy to a person who has no mercy for fellow people on what grounds? Trying to justify a heinous act on the grounds that it was done out of emotional burst, how correct it is? 

Finally again, I want to refer to Bhagwatgita, In Bhagwatgita in first two chapters Arjun puts up his argument to show sympathy to cruel Dhuryodhan and all arguments given are similar to those put up by defenders of opposition to death penalty. After his argument Lord Krishna tells him that he is talking nonsense and condemned all his arguments. Then he tells how killing these cruel people is good for society. I suggest let us follow teachings of Gita and continue to have death penalty. Present practice of "rarest of rear" is good policy and so I request that Law Commission keep present status of this law as it is. 

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