Death penalty deters criminals: Ujjwal Nikam strongly opposes abolishing capital punishment

While the Law Commission’s draft report recommends abolishing the death penalty and keeping it only for terror cases, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, said that the death penalty must be retained.

Vishwas Waghmode August 31, 2015 12:27:13 IST
Death penalty deters criminals: Ujjwal Nikam strongly opposes abolishing capital punishment

Mumbai: While the Law Commission’s draft report recommends abolishing the death penalty and keeping it only for terror cases, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, said that the death penalty must be retained as that is the only deterrent to send out a strong message to criminals. Nikam is known for having secured 38 death penalties for convicts in various cases.

The draft report calls for the speedy abolition of the death penalty, with an exception for cases where the accused is convicted for terrorism. In its report, the commission said that application of death penalty is arbitrary, judge centric and prone to error stating that there is no method to remove such arbitrariness. The Law panel is likely to submit its report to the Supreme Court in next week on whether India should continue with death penalty or abolish it.

Death penalty deters criminals Ujjwal Nikam strongly opposes abolishing capital punishment

Ujjwal Nikam. Reuters.

“If the application of death penalty is arbitrary, judge centric and prone to error, the same rule can be applied in terror cases also. I am of the opinion that death penalty must be retained. It is not to punish the criminal but that is the only deterrent to send out a strong message to the like-minded people,” Nikam told Firstpost.

Nikam has appeared in several high profile cases in his three decade-long career. The cases include from the 26/11 terror attack trial in which Ajmal Kasab was handed the death sentence to earlier cases including the 1993 serial blasts, the murder of BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and 2013 Mumbai gang rape with others. In all, apart from 38 death penalties, he has also secured over 630 life imprisonments as well.

He further added that the death penalty is given only in ‘rarest of rare cases’ as per the Supreme Court guidelines and considering the accused’s criminal background, the way he committed crime and the brutality involved in it.

“The implementation of death penalty must be expedited after the president rejects the mercy petition. Otherwise, its impact goes away. Such unscrupulous criminals, who are a blot on society, have no right to live in this world. After the rejection of mercy petition, the accused must not lie in jail and should be sent out of the world at the earliest,” he said.

The report assumes significance as it comes days after a debate was generated over the hanging of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon.

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