Can the Death Penalty Be Justified?

Of the 198 countries for which data is available, 98 have abolished the death penalty by law; seven have abolished it for “ordinary crimes” and 35 in “practice,” that is, where no executions have taken place in the last 10 years, and there is an established policy and international commitment to not use the death penalty.


The spate of death penalty judgments by the Indian state in recent times calls for a re-examining of the ethics of capital punishment.


In his article “On the Question of Capital Punishment" published in Vol 30, No 52 of the Economic and Political Weekly, Nishad Patnaik examines the two basic types of ethical justification usually advanced in favour of capital punishment.


Usually, two kinds of arguments are made for the death penalty.




For an in depth discussion of why both these arguments are not tenable, read the article here.

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