Death Penalty to Life Imprisonment for Killers of Rajiv Gandhi

What is this Controversy about the “Killers of Rajiv Gandhi”?

The latest controversy about the killer of Rajiv Gandhi emanated when on Tuesday, the Highest Court of India, the Supreme Court of India changed the punishment of 4 killers of Rajiv Gandhi from death penalty to life imprisonment.

Congress, the party to which the assassinated PM belonged, welcomed the verdict initially; only to retract from the stand later.

The day before yesterday Rahul Gandhi, in a speech at his Amethi constituency, indirectly criticised the SC verdict saying that if the killers of Indian PM, don’t get punishment then how can a poor man in this country hope to get the justice!

Why a U-turn?

The day Congress welcomed the SC verdict; the political atmosphere in Tamil Heartland (especially Tamil Nadu) got rattled.

Key political parties of Tamil Nadu, DMK and AIDMK, perceived the SC verdict swinging the vote in the favour of Congress. Since DMK is not in power; hence it can’t do much to assuage this advantage. AIDMK in contrast, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, is not that helpless.That’s why without wasting any time, the AIDMK Supremo and the present CM of Tamil Nadu, offered to the killers of Rajiv Gandhi,  more than Life. She promised them : Freedom.

How she managed that? Yesterday, she gave the Congress led Union Government a three day ultimatum to free the killers of Rajiv Gandhi; else after the expiry of three day period, she herself will use her powers as State CM and will order the release of the three out of four killers.

What does this all mean?

The Supreme Court ordered the conversion of Death Penalty to Life imprisonment, as it followed the law which says too much delay in executing the death penalty can be ground for changing the Death penalty to Life imprisonment. The logic here is simple: You can’t make a convict die every day for decades anticipating his/her execution; only to decide him/her to be executed all of a sudden day. If a person is kept waiting for his/her execution for decades, then the law sees it as a double punishment. And there’s no place for double punishment in Indian Law.

Thus SC has real reasons to order the quashing of Death penalty.

The Congress party initially welcomed the verdict as the immediate family of Rajiv Gandhi, his wife Sonia Gandhi and his children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have a wish to let go any hard feelings for the killers. Now, the Gandhis may belong to a political party, but if they, or for that matter anyone else, feels that a person must not be hanged to death; then on the basic tenet of human empathy, that feeling can’t be criticised. After all Life is given by God, and a human has no right to snatch it. It’s not philosophical, many people feel this way about Life and Death.

Now lets come to the point of contention of the entire controversy.

Who stands where?

Congress didn’t oppose the SC verdict. It made heard its disappointment on Jayalalithaa’s ultimatum. That’s why Rahul Gandhi raised his displeasure. Being OK with the order quashing of death sentence can’t be seen as politics (Although, no one is saying there’s no politics); as being thirsty for the blood of even a convict is not as per higher tenets of morality and spirituality.

Hence, there’s nothing wrong in Congress welcoming the Life sentence to the killers of Rajiv Gandhi.

Supreme Court on its part is reasonable as well. As you can’t give two punishments for one crime.

Jayalalitha looks a bit unreasonable in demanding the release of the killer of the Rajiv Gandhi. A killer can be excused from execution. But can he/she has the right to be released? Ask yourself.

UPDATE: On February 28, 2014, the SC has stayed the release of 4 convicts, and issued Notice to Tamil Nadu government. Right Move by the SC.


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