Capital Punishment | Definition & Debate | What is Capital Punishment ? |


Is Capital Punishment/Death Penalty Effective?

India is a well developing country at the same time lots of crime rates were increasing nowadays. It consist of large number of crimes and criminals. The motive of punishments is that the wrongdoer should suffer and to discourage others from doing wrong. Capital punishment is imposed for the most grievous crimes against humanity.

Capital Punishment
A death sentence is the harshest of punishments. It involves the activity of killing or taking the life of the criminal as a form of punishment. It is ruled that death sentence ought to be imposed only in the ‘rarest of rate cases’. Capital punishment is given for the following cases (a) murder (b) waging war against the government of India (c) dacoit with murder (d) to attempt murder by a life convict (e) fabricating a false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death. Death penalty is awarded only in two categories of offences, treason and murder. Court has the supreme power to decide that death penalty is the appropriate sentence to be imposed, keeping in mind the gravity of matter and consequences of the offence committed and the absence of some factors.

It is one of the oldest forms of justice. It is a severe punishment that is given to a criminal who indulges in a heinous crime. This gives death, either by hanging or by electric shock as done in advanced countries. Taking the life of a criminal is inhuman and cruel. However, there is no other way to dissuade such people from committing crimes. There is always a urgent need to get rid of these unwanted people from the society to make it a better place for living.
As crime has increased immensely, controlling them has become a challenge in modern times.

Films and televisions cast an evil spell on the younger generation as it shows glorifying of violence. The newspapers are crammed up with horrendous crimes, these are getting worse by the day. This is further accentuated by the spurt in cases of terrorism which has claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people. There is therefore need for a deterrent, to restraint such elements engaged in atrocious activities. The most effective way to punish these rogue elements, is to make capital punishment fool proof and effective, rather than abolish it.

capital punishment map

Many people consider it as the hindrance to ‘human dignity’ and ‘right to life’. It offends the right to dignity of a person. The process is cruel, degrading, gruesome, debasing and particularly brutalizing.
Both the right to life and right to protection of one’s life come in danger. Some people find the death penalty to be unconstitutional. But, the legitimate object of this punishment is to protect society from killings with malice. This punishment should be decided by the relatives, rather than the government. It is a issue between the murderer and the relatives of the victim and not between the murderer and the government.



Everyone has different beliefs about the death penalty. Some people believe it is barbaric and inhumane to put someone to death who has been convicted, while others feel that the death penalty gives resolution to the victim’s family and friends. It is argued that justice is fallible and innocent lives could be lost in the form of punishment. It may sometimes cause miscarriage of justice. The other argument against capital punishment is that it is irrevocable. Valuable lives could be lost if proper justice is not meted out.

Death penalty can be sex discriminating and socio economic discriminating and people may think that it is a racial situation capital punishment does not deter people from committing crimes. There is always the possibility of some misconception which leads to the death of innocent people. Killers should be put behind bars as our society has no prerogative of committing homicide because human life is valuable and it must not destroyed by offenders bad conduct. Taking the life of a murderer is not an appropriate punishment which our society has never endorsed.
Invoking a system of capital punishment is not a satisfied justification as it accompanies many problems and risks. There should be a complete respect for life, even the life of a murderer.

Killing a murderer is not effective, it only extends the chain of violence. Death penalty causes more pain and many victims’ families denounce the use of it. It also puts an end to all the personal rights. It invokes waiting in uncertainty for the sentence to be set aside or carried out, add to the cruelty. This treats the offender as an object to be eliminated by the state. After the sentence is given, criminal waits on death row under sentence to death. This kind of punishment should have no place in a civilised society. The authorization of killing someone is immoral. Capital punishment deprives an individual of providing new evidence that may bring the reversal of a punishment. Death penalty is never the answer to stop crimes. In many cases death penalty is not equitable, it is used as taking revenge and is an unfair practice.

Death penalty blocks the benefit of rehabilitation. It does not allow individuals to make amendments in their behaviour, it assumes that nothing can be done about that person. There are other options other than the death penalty i e lifetime imprisonment is the best alternative. Being a disgraceful method of punishment, it does not provide the sense of contentment to the families of a victim. It is not always a best solution. Life would be wasted if the crime was committed to defend oneself/or in the heat of moment. The criminal will not be able to brought back if they are found innocent later.

Death penalty cannot stop the crimes as some criminals do not care about the future consequences, they act as if they are thrilled and passionate. There is no correlation between the death penalty and reduction in murder rates. The cost of implementing it is an expensive method. Lot of time and money is consumed during the process. The laws related to death penalty are different in each country. Some countries may follow rather strict and stringent form.

The person in one country may get punishment for an offence, but in some other country they get freedom. The rich people are easily rescued by thus gruesome act as the have money and power, this law punishment should be abandoned and government should opt a more scientific and fool proof process. It should be more transparent, dynamic and morally acceptable. It is better to let a hundred criminals go scot free than hang an innocent person.


However, capital punishment is necessary in few cases. It should be awarded in rarest of the rare case. The legal system has devised multiple stages to trail and the final judgement. Criminals are known to circumvent the lenient and complex laws, which often make them go scot free. Abolishing capital punishment would remove the fear from the mind of criminals, and they would take to criminal acts. There is no conceivable reason to abolish it. Death sentence is necessary for a person who is dangerous to the society and there are least chances of him to improve. The society will not be safe if they are allowed to roam freely. This method is useful to get rid of criminals in countries with high poverty rate. The cost in prisons is lot more than hanging a criminal.

No death penalty sign

It serves a proper revenge and is a deserved punishment given to the offenders. It is used as a tool for preserving law and order and also provides the significant meaning to the proverb, “what goes around, comes around “. At some places and in some cases, death penalty has been successfully used to reduce crimes. Through this punishment, law earns respect and value from the society as it offers an appropriate result for gruesome behaviour.

It is one of the most fastest ways to stop a murderer from continuing to kill people. This blocks the way of a criminal and does not allow to escape. Some families feel their importance in the society and gain satisfaction that their revenge has been taken. All punishments might be cruel, but is the degree of cruelty that matters. For this degree, death penalty is apt. It makes an adequate safeguard for the society and provides effective control against the crime.

Crimes covered under the death penalty are murder, rape, kidnapping, treason committed, etc. Death penalty must be permissible if it is reasonable and is justifiable in an open and democratic society. It is a genuine way as it is open only for limited crimes. Death provides the solution to an acceptably high rate of crime. It is the balancing process against the alternative punishment available.


At last, death penalty is an effective way but not an impacting one. It only fulfills the desire of revenge and retribution. While a long prison sentence gives an opportunity to a prisoner to learn a lesson. Execution would be just helping the offender to run away from his problems. This must be abolished and there is however need for a thorough review of our present judicial system.

There is always a heated debate on this issue as it involves taking a life of a person – a right nobody has. It is prohibited to torture an individual in such a way. Death penalty is not a good form of deterrence. Capital punishment as well as life imprisonment have the same effect. It is a topic of high importance and one needs to ponder over it. This is a highly controversial law. It is necessary for the constitution to know its functioning and dig further on this issue. Capital punishment is based upon errors, misdemeanours, negligence. It should be abolished as it can seen as failing these days. Legal system should be checked again as it counteracts the immoral actions with a punishment that matches a horrific crime.

It does not only remove a criminals’ physical freedom by imprisoning them, it removes their psychological freedom by withdrawing their choice to live. With or without death penalty, people still are going to commit crimes. It is a final judgment given by the court and nothing can be done to take it back. More than half countries have abolished it and are craving for the right path of justice. It is not always necessary that capital punishment is what the families of victims always seek. People must strongly stand against the death penalty and what it stands for as it has never been justified appropriately. It takes focus away from the victims and focuses the attention on the criminal.

Many people have been wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit. The system is being changed. Before jumping into a desirable conclusion, it is necessary to know its pros and cons. Law needs to weigh both sides of the arguments and make its decision based on the action that will serve the best humanitarian purpose of the criminal law. Though it has played a major role in some countries, it needs to be abolished for overall benefit.

Credit : Drishti Matlani

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