The Relevancy of the Death Sentence - Daily Current Affair Article


Recently, Takahiro Sirohiasi, accused of killing 9 men in Japan, has been sentenced to death.


Recently Takahiro Sirohiasi, popularly known as the Twitter killer in Japan, has been sentenced to death. This person had killed 9 people so far. With this decision, the relevance of the death penalty has become necessary.

What is the Death Sentence?

The death penalty is known as Capital Punishment. It ends a criminal's life as a punishment. This punishment is given to a person for a serious crime. The provision of capital punishment is decided for crimes like murder, rape, attempt to murder, an armed rebellion against the state, etc.

Arguments in favor of capital punishment

  • The basis of justice of any country should be the concept of natural justice. When a criminal commits a crime like murder, rape, etc. against a person, which violates the victim's right to life, the concept of justice demands the death penalty for the offender.
  • The provision of punishment serves as an appropriate deterrent to prevent crime. Sometimes the fear of death reduces the tendency to commit the crime.
  • It is true that the life of the offender should also get constitutional protection in the same democratic countries, but the criminal derides his duty by violating the right to life in the dignity of another person. In the event of the criminal being ridiculed by duties, it is not socially and ethically appropriate to preserve his rights.
  • It is reintroduced by many countries after its abolition.

Arguments against the capital punishment

  • The guarantee of the right to life of all in a democratic country remains enshrined in the Constitution. The death sentence to any person violates his constitutional right.
  • According to Mahatma Gandhi, the right to end life has to the one who gave life, and hence the death penalty is against non-violence.
  • The family of the person receiving the death penalty does not get a respectable place in society. Thus by giving the death penalty to a person, the right to life is violated in the dignity of that entire family.
  • Death penalty is a symbol of autocratic rule. The present-day progressive democratic governance system is different from the dimensions of capital punishment. Therefore, the presence of the death penalty is not necessary for a democracy where there is the objective of establishing ideals like freedom of equality. The ideal of democracy aims to end crime and not to criminal's death.
  • The concept of death will lead society to vandalism and rudeness.

Challenges arising in abolishing capital punishment

  • It is true that after the abolition of the death penalty, there may be an increase in the number of heinous crimes.
  • Although the abolition of the death penalty will protect the human rights of the offender, the human rights protection of the victim will also be affected. Human rights protection of the victim is more important than the culprit, so the death penalty cannot be abolished.
  • Due to the spreading roots of corruption, a person belonging to the influential class who has been awarded life imprisonment can get the facility in the prison. Thus the principle of punishment instead of crime would be dishonored.

Amnesty International report on the death penalty

In a report to be published in April 2020, Amnesty International stated the following facts referred to the death sentence all over the world.

  • Amnesty International reported that 657 executions of the death penalty in 20 countries in 2019 showed a 5% reduction (at least 690) compared to 2018. This is the lowest level of death penalty execution in the past decade.
  • China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt have the highest execution of capital punishment.
  • China has concealed the death penalty data.
  • Except for China, 86% of all reported executions occurred in just four countries - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt.
  • The death penalty was not implemented in Bangladesh and Bahrain in 2018 but was reintroduced in 2019. While Afghanistan, Taiwan, and Thailand implemented the death penalty in 2018 but did not implement these countries in 2019.
  • Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Zimbabwe took initiatives to abolish the death penalty in 2019.
  • Barbados also removed the mandatory death penalty from its constitution. New Hampshire became the 21st US state in the United States to abolish capital punishment for all crimes.
  • The Gambia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, and Tajikistan continue to follow official restrictions on the execution of the death penalty.
  • At the end of 2019, 106 countries (most states in the world) abolished the death penalty in law for all offenses, and 142 countries (more than two-thirds) abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
  • Amnesty International stated that pardon has been granted in death sentence among 24 countries including India.
  • At the end of 2019, at least 26,604 people have been given the death penalty globally.

The global situation of capital punishment

  • Death penalty has been completely abolished in countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, and England.
  • Death penalty was once abolished in Australia, Romania, and Germany but has been reintroduced after problems arise.
  • Death penalty has not been legally abolished in Belgium but capital punishment has not been given for many years.
  • In countries like India, China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Japan, and Indonesia the death penalty is still in circulation. Recently, the accused of the famous Nirbhaya case in India has been sentenced to death.

The conclusion

Although death instead of death leads society to barbarism, but it is also true that there should be a provision of appropriate punishment for the offender for violating the right to life and the increasing heinousness of crimes at present suggests that the abolition of capital punishment at present can cause problems. But in a progressive democratic society where socioeconomic justice has been established, the chances of heinous crimes will be very less. Thus, to eliminate crime in place of capital punishment, efforts should be made towards establishing social and economic justice.

General Studies Paper 2 and 4
  • Polity and Ethics

Mains Question:-

  • What do you understand by capital punishment? Do you agree that in the present progressive world there should be punishment like the death penalty? Give an argument in favor of your answer?