Amid the recent debate over death penalty or capital punishment, Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde on Thursday observed that possibility of sparing death row convicts will "open floodgates." The controversy was stoked after senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising urged Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi to forgive the death penalty of Nirbhaya's rapists. While reserving the verdict on a petition seeking the conversion of a death sentence awarded to a woman and her lover on charges of killing seven of her family members to life imprisonment, the CJI made these remarks.
The convicts -- Shabnam and Saleem -- were found guilty of murdering the seven, including a 10-month-old baby, in Uttar Pradesh's Almorah over 10 years ago. A sessions court sentenced the two to death in 2010, and the decision was upheld by the Allahabad High Court three years later. The Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence in 2015.
Making his observation in the case, CJI Bobde said that finality of the death sentence is necessary. "We do not want to emphasise only on the life and death penalty of the accused especially when the lives of seven people including a 10-month-old baby have been snuffed out."
Earlier on January 19, Asha Devi, the mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim had slammed Jaising for her suggestion that she should forgive her daughter's rapists. Jaising had said she fully identifies with the pain of Asha Devi but was against the death penalty. "While I fully identify with the pain of Asha Devi I urge her to follow the example of Sonia Gandhi who forgave Nalini and said she did not want the death penalty for her. We are with you but against the death penalty," she had said in the tweet.
image from ANI)