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Revisit Capital Punishment

Mains- GS-2- Constitution

a) The Supreme Court reversed the death sentence it had upheld in 2009 and acquitted six persons in a high-profile murder and rape case.

b) The case concerns the murder of 5 people and rape of one that occurred in Maharashtra.

c) A sessions court in Nashik convicted six individuals from a nomadic community and sentenced them to death in 2006.

d) The Court ruled that the investigation in the 2003 case was not fair and honest.

e) It also criticized the conduct of the investigating agency and the prosecution.

f) It ordered compensation to the acquitted persons and asked the state government to fix responsibility on the officers responsible for lapses in the prosecution.

g) This rare reversal of the death sentence revives fundamental questions about the death penalty.

Bias in Criminal Justice System

a) Studies have pointed out that the criminal justice system has a class and caste bias.

b) Data shows that the poor, Dalits, tribal receive the maximum number of death sentences in India.

c) In high-profile cases, the prosecution is under pressure to secure maximum punishment and lower courts tend to weigh in with death sentences.

d) Many of these death sentences are overturned by higher courts on grounds of poor quality of evidence or improper investigation.

e) The systemic biases and prejudices, the lack of resources on the part of the accused to fight extended court battles often ensures that the miscarriage of justice.

f) Capital punishment is retributive justice and its effectiveness in curbing crime is contested.

g) In the Indian context, there is a high possibility of its misuse given the social biases that influence police investigation and prosecution.

h) The judgment in the Nashik case should serve as a wake-up call.

Source: The Indian Express