“An eye for an eye, a life for a life.” this is the principle of retaliation that has been used since the beginning of time and is the basic ideology from where the concept of capital punishment began. Capital punishment or death penalty refers is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime, but there have always been arguments relating to specifying the crimes for which capital punishments are to be given.
The people that believe that capital punishment should be abolished say that it is against the very basic human rights of a person which is the right to live and thus there should be no capital punishments. Capital punishments began as until the nineteenth century there were no developed prison system thus such punishments were the only way by which the criminals could be treated with. At present 56 countries retain capital punishments, 106 countries have completely abolished it, 8 countries have abolished for ordinary crimes and 28 countries have abolished capital punishment in practice.
Death was introduced as a punishment in the Indian Penal Court in the year 1860. With changing times, the number of capital punishments awarded have reduced drastically. For the first five years after the constitution of India was made, capital punishment was the normal punishment for a murder whereas in 1955 it was at the discretion of the session’s court judge whether he wants to give a death sentence or life imprisonment. In the year 1973 the criminal procedure court amended this and now the session’s judge had to specify why he was giving life imprisonment or death sentence. The biggest drawback of capital punishment is that it is irreversible. There are certain cases where the wrong person might be punished but if death penalty is give then the person has already been killed thus it is irreversible. This is the reason why death penalty is given only in the rarest of the rarest cases. For instance Sati has been banned in India and anybody who is directly or indirectly involved with the performance of this ritual can be punished. The year 1995 holds the record for maximum executions taking place in a single year under rule of the Indian National Congress. One of the most recent example of death penalty in India is of Yakub Memon, convicted of 1993 Bombay bombings. He was executed by hanging on 30 July, 2015 in Nagpur central jail.
The public opinion about capital punishments also varies from country to country and with the crime in question. 60% of the Americans are in favor of capital punishment whereas 80% of the population of japan is in favor, on the other hand 76% of the people in South Africa support re-introduction of capital punishment.
The next and the most important question that arises is that how to decide for which crime is capital punishment justified? In most of the country’s capital punishments have been reserved for crimes like mass murder, rape, child murder and terrorist activities, so should there be no capital punishment for white collar crimes? White collar crimes or corporate crimes refer to financially motivated nonviolent crime committed by business and government professionals. These can also be explained as a crime committed by a respectable and high social status in the course of their occupation. The longest sentence of capital punishment awarded is for 845 years to Sholam Weiss of national heritage life insurance Company in 2000 for Racketeering, Wire fraud, Money Laundering.
Most of the punishments for white collar crimes include fines, small tenure imprisonments and community service. No strict punishments is one of the reasons that there are a large number of such crimes taking place in our society. I believe that for the financial crimes the punishment given should outweigh the crime thus making it worthless to do fraud. Most of the financial criminals either find some loopholes in the jurisdiction or use their political or social circle to somehow show present their illegal activities as legal. This is the reason that it is usually small financial criminals that are caught whereas the real frauds still roam in their comforts. There needs to be proper system of punishments so that the risk of getting caught prevents most of the potential frauds. Another key aspect that cannot be ignored is that the stakeholders of any crime are not just the two parties involved but the economy too gets affected and the nation too. The most common financial crime is tax evasion, all the money that should have gone to the government and be used for the welfare of needy stays hidden in the deep pockets of the rich. Preventing such crimes would not just help the government but also help create employment in the economy. Thus when studied in detail, the white collar crimes have more impact that what meets the eye at first.
I believe that capital punishment are needed in every country as explained above, it shows that the benefits outweigh the damages. One such way to deal with this problem can be giving capital punishments for major crimes where death penalty might be reserved only for the worst of the cases but the extent of imprisonment can surely be extended. Thus only when the risk will exceed the profits, the financial criminals will begin to fear thus decreasing the number of crimes in every part of the world.