After the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the 13/11 Parliament attacks, most of the major political parties have welcomed the decision saying that the law has taken its own course. The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, has however been a notable exception, who said that it has affected peace in the valley and questioned the manner in which it was done.
Though most political parties are united over this issue, can it be said that politics should not interfere in cases where there are decisions to be taken like the death penalty?
“There is something called statecraft and that should sometimes take precedence over the judicial decisions, ” said Mehboob Beg, J&K National Conference MP. Speaking to Barkha Dutt on a panel discussion We The People aired on NDTV, he echoed the sentiments of Omar Abdullah – that the hard earned peace in the valley might be disturbed in this way.
“Do they want only two fellows to be hanged. I haven’t heard a word about them – how about others?, ” he said, referring to several other criminals and convicts who are in the death row. According to him, the implications of the death sentence might not be very good for the valley given the frictions and fissures that already exist in the polity.
“Do you want a peaceful Kashmir or do you want a burning Kashmir?, ” Beg questioned.
However, Dushyant Dave, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court said that this kind of soft pedaling should never be encouraged and there should be no political interference on the decisions of the Supreme Court.
“There are several cases where the courts can issue suo moto notice to the government for not carrying out the court’s orders, ” he said, also referring to the delay in case of the hanging of Afzal Guru. Sonia Gandhi should have never been allowed to grant mercy to the three assassins of Rajiv Gandhi, who are also on death row.
“The real crime is against society and not an individual.” Accordingly, he said that the courts should come up with a time frame to implement judicial orders and keep politics out of it.
But that might be difficult given the fact that several mercy petitions go to the President for clemency, and the President though institutionally free from political interference, is also indirectly chosen by the members of both the state and central legislative assembly.
To watch the entire discussion on NDTV click here.