EU joins call for halt to killings in drug war
The European Union has joined the global call on the Philippine government to
"put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings" of
Alarmed at the rising death toll in President Duterte's brutal crackdown on
drug syndicates, the EU Parliament directed its delegation in the Philippines
and the embassies of 28 European countries in Manila to monitor rights abuses
following his declaration on Sept. 3 of a "state of national emergency on
account of lawlessness."
Mr. Duterte placed the entire country under a state of national emergency after
a bomb exploded at a night market in his hometown, Davao City, on Sept 2,
killing 15 people and injuring 69 others.
In an extraordinary intervention, the EU lawmakers passed a 5-page resolution
expressing concern over the appalling number of drug suspects killed by police
and vigilantes since Mr. Duterte launched a crackdown on illegal drugs upon
taking office on June 30. More than 3,000 people have been killed in just over
2 months. Mr. Duterte has pledged to eradicate the drugs scourge in 3 to 6
months of his presidency.
The EU members represent the largest bloc of Western democracies, including
Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal
The EU intervention aligned with a number of states (including the United
States), the United Nations and international human rights watchdog
organizations that have called on the Philippines to end the extrajudicial
This growing concerted global demand to end the extrajudicial executions has
put the Philippine government at risk of inviting international sanctions,
including either diplomatic or economic, and isolation if it continued to defy
or ignore the calls.
Without directly blaming the government, the EU lawmakers said they believed
Mr. Duterte's incendiary public statements had encouraged mass murders
involving drug traffickers and users.
"President Duterte repeatedly urged law enforcement agencies and the public to
kill suspected drug traffickers who did not surrender as well as drug users,"
the EU resolution said.
"President Duterte publicly stated he would not pursue law enforcement officers
and citizens who killed drug dealers and who resisted arrest," it added.
No to death penalty
According to wire services reports, the EU Parliament adopted the resolution
dealing with extrajudicial killings in the Philippines based on the Partnership
Cooperation Agreement signed by the European Union and the Philippines in 2014,
to advance engagement on political, trade, security, environment and human
The agreement commits the Philippines to uphold the rule of law, social
democracy, as well as international human rights conventions.
The EU Parliament also emphasized that ending the extrajudicial killings of
drug suspects was vital to the Philippines' holding the chairmanship of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017.
The lawmakers pointed out that "President Duterte has announced that during the
Philippines' chairmanship, we (the government) will highlight Asean as a model
of regionalism and global player, with the interest of the people at its core."
They also called on the Philippine Congress "to abstain from reintroducing the
death penalty (which Mr. Duterte has endorsed) and from lowering the minimum
age of criminal liability."
The EU Parliament said that based on "all empirical evidence, the death penalty
does not reduce the drug delinquency and would destroy a great achievement of
the Philippine justice system."
It directed its delegation in the Philippines to provide wide assistance to the
Philippine government to implement measures in line with its commitment to
international human rights obligations.
Lack of understanding
On another front, Mr. Duterte came under fire from the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights for speaking against and opposing human rights institutions and
Speaking at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday,
High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, "The President of the
Philippines" statements of scorn for international human rights display a
striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and principles
which keep societies safe."
Al Hussein pointed out that "fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation
of public confidence and security" and "empowering police forces to shoot to
kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without
evidence, undermines justice."
He emphasized, "The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial
institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and
they have a right to a police that serves justice. I strongly recommend the
Philippines to extend an invitation to the special rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions."
Al Hussein said that governments had accused human rights institutions of
interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations.
"Are human rights exclusively a national issue? Governments have the
responsibility to uphold their human rights obligations and to respect the
standards. But the human rights of all people, in all countries, also require -
unquestionably - our collective attention," he said.
"Human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent. If states pick and
choose which rights they will uphold, the entire structure is undermined," he
Pros And Cons Of The Death Penalty
The much anticipated judgement on Bharath Lakshman Premachandra murder case was
delivered recently. Accordingly, 5 people including former MP Duminda
Silva were given the capital punishment. The issue of Death Penalty and life
imprisonment has become a much discussed topic in the society at present. With
the issue of child molestation and murder there was a outcry from the society
to impose the capital punishment. However the death penalty is not implemented
and the convicts are automatically given a life imprisonment.
Therefore there is a common belief in the society that these convicts are
pardoned and released All this is centered around the imbalances and
inequalities of our legal system.
The following are some of the comments made by intellectuals and civil society
activisits regarding the pros and cons of imposing the death penalty in Sri
Brito Fernando - Chairman, Organisation of the Family Members of the
Some aruge that the criminals have lost their fear to commit crimes as death
penalty is imposed When considering the long time it takes for our judicial
system to arrive at a decision and the cost, the society expects a quicker
Some people may thus claim that cutting the arm of a thief is an appropriate
The reason for this is the long delay in convicting the criminals But we must
understand that many countries now think that it is pointless to kill the
criminals. One may argue in both ways in this regard.
For an example when the crime rates are increasing the people want increased
punishments to minimise crimes. In this regard until steps are taken to speed
up the justice system the rule of law cannot be upheld.
So until then the demand for the death penalty will not stop. So we must
dispense justice faster then public will not demand a short term solution.
Saman Rathnapriya - Social Activist
Death Penalty is not imposed or implemented carried out in civilized countries.
But when we look at the wave of murders rapes and other crimes that were
reported in the country no wonder the people demand death penalty as a
solution. it was even discussed in parliament.When the public trust on the law
and its agencies are shattered people tend to demand more grusome solutions'.
People tend to think that killing the criminals is the best way to prevent them
from being released back in to the society. But unfortunately there are no
country in the world that has disciplined the people by imposing death panelty
or inhumane punishemtns.
The main reason for this problem as I see is the inefficiency of the rulers of
the the country so far. As informed citizens we cannot agree with the idea of
preventing crimes by killing off criminals. Just because a man kills another
human we cannot attain justice by killing the criminal So it is important to
rehabilitate criminals. We must give them an opportunity to change themselves.
So we must change the society in order to prevent crime.
Sagara Kariyawasam - Attorney At Law
The way I see itdeath penalty is a form of inhuman punishment. The concept of
"an eye to an eye" is not suitable for a civilszed society. We have no right to
end the life of another human being. So even our laws must evolve from such
primitive states and move towards civilization. By killing a person the state
could only send a threatening message to the public. Other than that it does
not prevent any person from doing the crime again. If we take the countries
that impose the most gruesome punishments in the world for an example, in
countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia there are weekly executions of criminals
by beheading and stoning. But still those societies have not been devoid of
If anyone is in the view that the society can be disciplines by punishing those
who commit crimes then it is not a practical solution. Crimes can only be
prevented by developing the morals of the people. Education and spiritual
upliftment is the key in this. If anyone believes that criminals can be
discouraged by hanging, then that is a false belief. If we could reform our
laws and remove the death penalty from our legal system then in my view that is
the most appropriate thing to do.
We must remove those who commit crimes from the society and rehabilitate them.
If there are those who cannot be rehabilitated then there is no problem
imposing life sentences on them. But still when it comes to the right of taking
a life, I still belive that no one has a right to do so.
If by killing the criminal we intend to punish him, it is an unsuccessful
attempt as the criminal is being freed from the bonds of his life. What is the
punishment there? Some try to justify this by saying that others learn a lesson
by seeing the executions. But in reality the crime rates of the countries that
do carry out the death penalty has not been reduced. Therefore in my opinion
removing the gallows is the least we could do as a civilied society.
Rev. Shantha Sagara - Editor, Gnanarathna Pradeepaya
In our legal system the parties are being tortured in a lengthy legal
procedure. But when the life time imprisonment is imposed, we still cannot see
any strict application of justice. Therefore there is a common belief in our
society that the law in Sri Lanka ia not strict and that it is not enforced. It
has been confirmed by the way the trials are being conducted and the final
outcomes of those trials.
The convict who receives a life time imprisonment goes out smiling. He shows
his handcuffs to the public as he thinks that this is only for a short time.
The death penalty has become a joke at present no wonder the people are
laughing at the law.
In the past those court decisions were respected. But today it is not so. The
convicts are either being freed under the frame work of human rights or on
moral grounds based on the disgrace it creates in the international community.
So we have to look for an alternative method. We must take the right decision
on this regard. If we do impose capital punishment then we must carry it out or
we must not impose the capital punishment at all.
Here we must look into the religious point of view when imposing capital
punishment. Even though Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country the law and
dministration must not take that into consideration when enforcing the law.
Giving fair punishment for a crime is not something that is gainst the culture.
Especially when it comes to the fight against narcotics we see a deterioration
of entunsiasm among our leaders. No matter how much we talk about it still
there are kilos of narcotics being confiscated often. We even see foreigners
moving freely inside the country with narcotics. The number of pardons
available to criminals has removed all sense of repentance for the crime.
Even if we could not bring back the gallows we must do something to strengthen
the seriousness of the law. The jail has now become a place that offers people
free food and lodging. Some are even willing to stay in jail than be free.
Words such as death penalty and gallows have lost there meaning. So we must
find out a solution for this. Otherwise it's the law that is being disgraced.
Dr. Tudor Weerasinghe - Senior Lecturer, J'Pura University It is normal for
humans to make mistakes.But unlike those who are compelled to break the law due
to poverty or physical and mental deformities, there are group of people who
commit organised crimes in order to enhance their power or wealth in the
society. This latter group of individuals must be punished for their actions.
Under existing laws if anyone is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt then
there is no problem in imposing the maximum punishment that is available, be it
the death penalty, for he has committed the offense intentionally.
That is something that should not have happened in a civilised society. But we
must also keep in mind that the society cannot be rectified by imposing the
death penalty alone. The society can only be changed by making structural
Even though there is a legal frame work in our country that permits the death
penalty it is not being executed on moral grounds.
Instead the convicts are given a life imprisonment. But here the jail tem can
vary on the government changes and other factors. So this has a serious effect
on the society. This might allow people to think that they could evade justice
by doing any kind of crime. This is only going to encourage criminals to do
In a less developped society like ours the gap between social classes, wealth
and power could have impact on law The capital punishment is the bench mark of
the discipline of a country. So it has an effect on the society than we think.
so we may argue that death penalty could do an injustice to those who have been
wrongfully convicted. In our judicial system innocent people as well as
criminals are being convicted and acquitted all the time.
That is is problem with the system. Our judicial system is tied to finances and
how it floats. So on practical grounds it is not easy to expect justice. It may
vary on money, power, social status, political influence etc
So there are many things that affects the dispensing of justice. In this regard
it may be questionable for the people how the death penalty is carried out.
Therefore it has become an important part in driving the society to a
Koroma government of Sierra Leone resumes the death penalty
I listened to Palo Conteh, the Minister of Internal Affairs shooting from the
hips in an interview in which he was literally telling the world, with all the
glee of a grim reaper, to go to hell, because his government will soon hasten
the dispatch of anyone sentenced to death for drawing blood from another
Fair enough, on the face of it, he has a good point that the law is still very
much in our statutes. But I'm not sure that state killing is the answer.
I am not sure that the increasing wave of dastardly acts is a reason for the
government to go down that barbaric road with all pomp and pageantry, when the
nation - its people and its resources, are being systematically dismembered to
the distrustful swagger and mocking actions and words of national undertakers
who don the garb of statesmen and leaders.
How lovely it would be, if the gradually oppressive 'monarchical' order,
applies the same blood-thirsty rule to the numerous kleptomaniacs in its
circle, that together form the bedrock of its existence, and serve as the face
of all that is bad in our governance.
It is just infuriating to hear how the supposed custodians of national morals
engage in ethically wrong behaviour and go unpunished; yet minnows are killed
by the state with a sledge hammer.
Palor ContehI also wish the administration of which Palo is an integral part,
will simply use the same brainwave and determination to nail people to the
cross, so as to solve the current deplorable state of our socio-economic and
political problems - a creation of their making.
In great societies, laws are reworked and new ones created to engage the
changing dialectics for the greater good.
No one is against corporal punishment if deemed absolutely necessary. But
correcting the ills of the society is a better option for the development of a
nation which, is continually plagued by fiscal indiscipline and financial
irregularities of complex and unprecedented dimensions.
It is the government and political henchmen like Palo who, through corrupt
tendencies, have created the state of economic and socio-political insecurity
that are keeping away companies that would have provided employment for our
teaming unemployed youths.
The roaming young men and women determined to utilise any available means for
survival and social leverage, including fraudulent activities, intimidation and
violence, are only taking a cue from the signals emanating from those in the
corridors of power - no more no less.
8 years on since coming power, the government's much-trumpeted solution to the
dilemma of our youths, is still in realm of the imagination of our leaders who
swore heaven and earth to deal with the problem.
Yet, I did warn that post-war histories indicate that insecurity is a terminal
outcome of a society which fails to tackle this problem of idle and frustrated
young minds, that see their leaders living a life of luxury without sweat.
The very idea that 'Change' starts with the led and not the leadership, can
best be described as an abdication of responsibility by the leadership. It is
the likes of Palo that encourage the same level of indiscipline that prevails
in the society today.
It is the greedy politicians seeking leverage in national politics, that
empowered and encouraged the emergence of criminal groups who serve them well.
For example, the battle for control of the APC national Youth League now
playing out, is an off-shoot of the power tussle within the ruling party, which
is already having a spill over effect.
Those in power, such as Palo who should nip this in the bud are turning a blind
eye and running after the gold when the gilt is right under their nose.
With activities which are indicators of economic buoyancy of the citizenry not
thriving, why aren't those in power thinking about leveraging our blessed and
resourceful land to innovate, instead of focusing on how to decimate an already
emaciated populace? Or don't they know that a hungry person does not sing
Rather than ministers behaving like talking dolls who spout inane phrases when
the strings are pulled, those in power should realise that they have a moral
duty to tame and civilise trendy savages.
But this can only happen if those in power have ensured that the general
welfare of those whom they psychologically manipulate into voting for them, are
Defence minister - Palo Conteh
Since joining the government, Palo, the preening peacock lusting after glory,
has always seen himself as the 'untouchable' and a dragon who prides himself on
some weird self-absorbed, self-adulatory knowledge, steel and expertise. But he
He might pride himself as having wrestled with the Ebola pigs, wriggled with
the opposition snakes, able to live with thieves and having lunch with a mix
breed of homo sapiens amidst the government's track record of celebrated
looting, emptiness and mediocrity.
However, the crude cloak he adorns, tells a different story of whom and what he
is. He is one mortal man who seems to have the eerie ability to screw up the
simplest things with unbridled hubris, and who in his delusional mind, makes
most decent folk want to reach for the 'vomit bucket' for crying out loud. Sad
I have a message for him and indeed those in the corridors of power who think
the world is simply their oyster: At the cemetery - you will realize that life
is worth nothing; the ground we walk today will be our roof tomorrow. Your only
epitaph will be the legacy that leaves the majority better off than when you
met them, rather than the mansions and fat bank accounts you leave behind.
Meanwhile, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. All of the pain is
felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid.
We are where we are because of our age long laziness on all fronts. Like I've
said, we have become shock less...We are unprogressive in thought and actions.
We revolve around the same circle all the time. Our voice is louder than our
actions. We must change our ways and our thinking.
Sierra Leone as a nation appears cursed. This is one of the major reasons why
the country is in the current very sorry state. We are collectively guilty as
we have, by our complicit silence, contributed in no small way to the creation
of the conscience-less nation that we have today and a leadership that promised
much and delivered less, except personal aggrandisement.
Because we started worshiping the measurement and not the thing being measured,
we are now celebrating IMF migraine, foreign-cash constipation, governance
sciatica and socio-political diarrhoea.
The car-crash economic and socio-political dummy bleating in the wind is an
indication of how deep the country is truly in shit. It's a deep governance rut
indeed. And we still don't realise it. We are a revolving people on a journey
Today, our nation is having a downturn in her economic fortunes. Why are we in
this state in the first instance? Rather than answers, all we keep on hearing
are propaganda and rhetoric, as well as annoying and unguarded utterances from
those in leadership positions, such as Palo.
Having signed away our future for a morsel of bread, the lie that we have been
living appears to have eventually caught up with us.
President koroma and victor foh at APC conference 30 april 2015Still our
leaders have failed to learn that our dreams are being destroyed by those they
have given so much power and access to our wealth. It is these 'Samaritans' who
have ensured that we remain perpetual parasites and impoverished dependents of
an equally struggling taskmaster.
In their blind panic, our leaders are desperately looking for quick fixes and
are even ready to sign away our future to those with bigger talons to suck us
Without a hoot for future ramifications, they ignore the common sense dictum
that says once you are funded by other people's money, either investors or
international bankers, what they think is what matters, as they dictate what
you can and cannot do; or what they want in exchange.
In a discussion with one of those who are latching on to the ever increasing
number of aspirants for 2018, I realised that part of our problem is the
peacock approach that most of those who should know better, take to the
realities of our current situation.
I realised that the current hardship facing the nation is simply as a result of
the fact that almost every one of us benefited from the cycle of corruption
unleashed by our leaders and their cohorts, but tacitly welcomed by the
generality of us. This shows how morally bankrupt we are.
Ours is a peculiar mess in need of perpetual emphasis until change comes. We
may be close to the snag, but we are being held back by nonentities who live
big and grow fat on what should otherwise be the commonwealth of all citizens.
The looters now own the capital, and risking it is the last thing on their
minds. This is why not one of our so-called rich men has an industry or a
business that can be termed a long term national asset that is of beneficial to
the utmost growth of Sierra Leone.
I am not dumb not to know when slight change happens, and propagandists latch
on it to massage the government's ego. However, all this propaganda about
self-worth must stop. We need to see genuine change and improvement in people's
People are suffering; no money; no job; no nothing; and you are massaging the
egos of those whose principal job is to ensure that this does not happen.
It is this same set of oppressors, who see the downtrodden of the society as
mere landscape features that must be exterminated.
There is a wide disconnect between the ruling elites and the masses, so much
that even the media hasn't grasped the depth of poverty and hunger in the land
and the effect of the social degradation now apparent.
Someone was complaining a few days ago about being stuck in traffic for over an
hour, just because the President was going home. The trouble is, the 'Pa' had
not even left his office when the roads were closed.
As a result, the 'god' of our land, who is failing to lift the bruised and
battered populace, made several poor struggling people dashing around the land
for survival, to miss opportunities that would have given them succour.
Well, the political class is aware that nothing guarantees bondage better than
poverty. It is why the cornerstone of their governance is to ensure that the
majority remain poor, hungry and battered to submission by the realities of
their existence. This in turn saps them of any ability to rise up and challenge
the audacity of the impunity of their leaders.
For us to move forward, we have to invest in our ability to create the future
we want to see. That literally means we need to imbibe the culture of building
solutions. It is because there is no political will to lead, that our leaders
feed us with a diet of dust.
We need to start changing our mindset. We are in crisis because we squandered
our boom at the inception of this administration.
Please let's not blame this mess on any past administration. It all started and
ended with this government.
Fair enough, beyond the cacophony of blame and socio-economic and political
shenanigans, it is our 'collective' stupidity that has continued to ensure that
we've been engaging so much in motion without locomotion. It is our combined
actions and in-actions that have brought us to this state of economic comatose
that we are going through.
Rather than keep quiet and enjoy their loot, our leaders are running their
mouths and misleading us with distorted stories of progress, change and
buoyancy, while indulging in financial recklessness.
What temerity on our collective intelligence?
They are telling us how rosy the future is, amidst the painful economic
strangulation, yet we can barely feed ourselves.
All our vital institutions have been crippled by corruption, so much that their
ineffectual dexterity is a signpost of the extreme rut pervading our stunted
Until we create a conducive atmosphere for investments to thrive, our youths
will continue to be jobless and become agents of social and economic
Politically, the further decimation of the opposition, whose death wish is
legendary, has created a void which is being filled by impunity.
Aided by a poodle legislature and a horrendously corrupt judiciary, those in
power bare their fangs on the very heart of our nation; draining the blood like
Dracula and oblivious (or is it uncaring) of the importance of the damage they
do and the death knell they sound for our tomorrow.
Following their wanton display of greed, there are civil servants and private
sector managers that have assets worth 100 times their entire career earnings.
They don't know any better and their children, having seen their parent's and
leaders' model don't know any better. This is why we have the cyclical samba
dance of greed and stunted growth.
Sierra Leone moving forward is dependent on the reconstruction of our national
political and economic architecture; and the removal of the current system that
subjugates economic development to sentiments and petty ethno-political and
religious considerations, as the Kabala imbroglio has shown.
We currently practice a system that empowers corruption and guarantees bad
governance, and we need to change that.
We cannot continue to trust the goodwill, good intention and integrity of the
men and women we elect into political office. We must evolve and develop a
system that motivates hard work, merit, good governance; and sanctions a system
of political patronage and nepotism as we have now.
Our leaders promote a system that ensures that those who refuse to work, not
only eat, but eat MORE than those who work.
This injustice has been our bane and the major, if not the sole reason we have
been burdened with poor, nay, despicable leadership.
Sadly, we have been forced to distort our perception of reality, so much so
that we, and especially those in the Diaspora, substitute our own experiences
as the reality of all other compatriots.
Unfortunately, it takes a deliberate and often painful effort, to pierce the
bubble wrap and actually see the bleak landscape inhabited by the masses that
service our comforts and execute our needs.
But, bubble or not, we cannot hide from reality.
This is why things must change. This indeed is where our CHANGE must begin.
Change will come to our nation only when we start to point out the
irresponsible guys, whether past or present in our system, and fight for the
entrenchment of true democratic ideals, good governance and accountability
Sierra Leoneans - stand up and save your country, God has been more than kind
to us. Let us fight for a system that will promote both equality and equity.
Nothing will change until we are ready to address our fundamental flaws. We
need to overhaul our laws where things can be done differently. Until then....
(source: Commentary; Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon, The Sierra Leone Telegraph)
Crime & commensurate punishment
Going by the factual matrix of the case reproduced by the apex court itself in
a recent judgment dated September 15 in criminal appeal Nos. 1584-1585 of 2014
in Govindaswamy Vs. State of Kerala, one is constrained to conclude that the
honourable court has been too lenient towards the accused/appellant in altering
the death penalty to rigorous imprisonment of seven years though technical
scholastic interpretation of the relevant sections of law cannot be faulted.
Briefly, the facts of the case are: the deceased/victim girl, aged about 23
years, was working in Ernakulam and was engaged to one Anoop who also happened
to be employed in Ernakulam. Their betrothal ceremony was to be held in the
house of the girl at Shomur on February 2, 2011. Anoop along with his family
members was scheduled to visit the house of the girl on that day.
Accordingly, on February 1, 2011 the girl boarded the Ernakulam-Shumur
Passenger Train at about 5.30 pm from Ernakulam Town North Railway Station to
go to her home at Shomur. She had boarded the ladies division of the last
compartment. There were other passengers also in the said compartment. When the
train reached Mulloorkara, all other lady passengers in the said compartment
had alighted and, therefore, the girl also got down along with them and
hurriedly entered the ladies coach attached just in front of the last
The train reached Vallathol Nagar Railway Station, where it halted for some
time. The accused/appellant, who is a habitual offender, noticed that the girl
was alone in the ladies compartment. As soon as the train left Vallathol Nagar
Railway Station and moved towards Shomur, the accused entered the compartment.
The accused then assaulted the girl and, in fact, repeatedly hit her head on
the walls of the compartment.
The deceased was crying and screaming. Then, the victim was dropped/pushed by
the accused from the running train on to the track and the side of her face hit
on the other side of the running train. The accused also jumped down from the
other side of the running train and after lifting the victim to another place
by the side of the track he sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, he ransacked
her belongings and went away from the place with her mobile phone.
What is still more pathetic is the fact that the passengers travelling in the
adjacent general compartment were dissuaded from pulling the chain saying that
"the girl had jumped out from the train and escaped and that in these
circumstances he (the fellow passenger) should not take the matter any further
as the same may drag all of them to Court."
Eventually, the girl was found and admitted to the Medical College Hospital,
Thrissur where she died on February 6, 2011. After a trial, the accused was
convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced to
death. He was additionally convicted under Section 376 of IPC and sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for life. Besides he was found guilty of the
offences punishable under Section 447 of the IPC for which rigorous
imprisonment of 7 years and 3 months was awarded.
The conviction of the accused and the sentences imposed were confirmed by the
High Court. The apex court after considering the relevant facts of the case and
hearing the arguments of the lawyers of both sides, thought fit in its wisdom
to substitute the charge under Section 302 IPC with that of Section 325 of the
IPC and set aside the death sentence.
The gruesome rape and murder of the lonely girl travelling without an
accomplice and letting the accused with a lesser punishment by the apex court
would certainly raise concerns about the safety of the women in general and
those travelling alone.
(source: The Hans India)
'Judicial innovation' helps SC avoid awarding death penalty
Death penalty is substituted with a "special category" of prolonged life
Tattu Lodhi, child rapist and murderer, cheated the noose on Friday because the
Supreme Court decided to opt for a "judicial innovation" instead of the death
This judicial innovation, formalised by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme
Court in the Rajiv Gandhi killers' case in December 2015, helps "get rid of
death penalty" and addresses the genuine concerns of the society to see justice
done, a 3-judge Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar observed in its recent
The innovation involves substituting death penalty with a "special category" of
life imprisonment without the benefit of release on remission for prolonged
periods ranging from 25 to 30 years, if not more.
This innovative approach veering away from capital punishment was formalised
after the Supreme Court gave itself the authority to tweak the sentencing laws
and evolve a special category of sentence in its judgment in Union of India
versus Sriharan alias Murugan last year. The special category is to be limited
to a "very few cases". This special category finds its first mention in the
Swami Shraddananda versus State of Karnataka judgment of the Supreme Court in
The innovation, according to Justice S.K. Singh, who authored the Lodhi
judgment for Justice Chelameswar's Bench, is an endeavour by the apex court to
make "no party (convict or the society) a loser".
So having saved Lodhi from the hangman's rope, Justice Singh stripped him of
his right to apply for release from prison on remission for the next 25 years.
Thus, any hope Lodhi might have had for his release after serving the first 14
years was effectively extinguished.
The prolonged period of incarceration with no hope, Justice Singh observed, was
justice enough for the rape and murder of a "defenceless child" whose body was
found in a gunny bag at Lodhi's residence in 2011.
"The judicial innovation bridges the gap between death sentence on the one
extreme and only 14 years of actual imprisonment in the name of life
imprisonment on the other... it serves a laudable purpose," the Supreme Court
Law Commission of India Chairperson, Justice B.S. Chauhan, seconds the
judgment's optimism, saying the Supreme Court may have indeed found an
"alternative" to capital punishment .
Quoting both the Sriharan and Shraddananda verdicts, Justice Singh, in his
judgment in the Tattu Lodhi case, observed that "the innovative approach, on
the one hand, helps the convict get rid of death penalty in appropriate cases.
On the other, it takes care of genuine concerns of the victim, including the
(source: The Hindu)
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