The social contract was never a consensus for the state’s excessive power to take away the life of any person whether guilty or innocent, to add to it, the authority given to state was to create reformation of the society and death penalty is exhaustive of jurisprudence of punishment.
Furthermore, Article 21 clearly states about the Protection of life and personal liberty that clearly means that no person shall be deprived of his or her life and personal liberty. However, even though this right is limited to some restrictions by the state but such restrictions does not extend to taking away a person’s life. Therefore, the state cannot take anyone’s life under any circumstances, as the state will violate the article 21 of the constitution.
Also in some cases, new facts are discovered which gives the right to a re trial but the use of death penalty is exhaustive of such rights. The concept of criminal jurisprudence which states that it is better to free criminals than to punish an innocent. Capital punishment brings out a feeling of revenge and a trend of death in the society that is against the law, as the law itself aims at the peaceful and nonviolent working of the society.
The whole idea of the social contract is to prevent commission of acts as gruesome as taking away life and if the state is involves in such acts, even though it might not be termed as murder, is still of the same kind and leads us back to the state of anarchy. Also by giving death penalty as the punishment, the law is creating a satisfaction in the minds of the family of the victim and such reliefs is not furthering the institution of peace and non-violence. The justification of punishment such as death penalty is deterrence, and then there are a number of studies that prove that deterrence is ineffective.
There is an argument for death penalty that if the convicts are only imprisoned then it is a waste of taxpayer’s money. But I would like to argue that the law instead of punishing them with death penalty, they should be forced into labor to earn sufficient to their survival. This not only saves the taxpayers money but also increases the man force and hence more productivity for the society.
It has been understood from a number of cases of attempt to suicide, that most convicts would rather suffer pain of death which lasts for anywhere between few minutes and few hours than to be imprisoned for their life by law. And death penalty as a punishment is providing them with what they need. It will be an easy way out for them from their inhuman actions, which they have done. Other punishments such as solitary housing units should be implemented for crueler punishment.
To conclude, death penalty as a punishment does not do justice as it obviously is not reformative or retributive and neither deterrent. Therefore, I believe that death penalty should cease to exist in a society whose point is to further peace and nonviolence, hence away from a state of anarchy.
By Rishabh Gupta