[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----INDIA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jul 24 23:03:34 CDT 2007
Need to treat terror as federal crime, let death penalty stay: reform
As part of its new national policy on criminal justice, the Centre is
planning sweeping changes in the way criminal cases are viewed and dealt
with, a key change being the long-awaited introduction of a "federal
crime" so that terror attacks where the accused and accomplices network
across several states can be handled by a Central agency and not left to
the respective states alone. From getting a law on DNA typing to making
audio-video statements to police admissible evidence, the policy calls for
major reforms in the criminal justice system.
On July 10, the draft policy, drawn up by a committee on the Criminal
Justice System headed by legal scholar Prof N R Madhava Menon, was
deliberated upon by the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Home
Affairs. While the draft is yet to be approved by all political parties
represented on the committee, the UPA is considering some key amendments
Death penalty to be retained "in rarest of the rare" cases. Criminal
offences to be categorised and dealt with, by dividing them into 4 main
codes depending upon the severity of the crime: Social Welfare Offences,
Correctional Offences, Penal and Economic Offences.
Introduction of the concept of "federal crime." Despite "constitutional
difficulties," (law and order being a state subject), the draft says it is
"necessary for the Union to be more actively involved in the fight against
terrorism, communal violence, organized crime, particularly those
involving serious financial frauds."
In what may spark off debate, the draft policy says that "without
diluting the constitutional rights of every person accused of crime, the
law should put positive obligations on accused persons to assist the court
in the discovery of the truth." This implies stronger perjury laws and
The clause, "proof beyond reasonable doubt" has got "blunted by the
passage of time" and must be redefined by the legislature.
Audio/video recordings to be made of statements to police, which should
be admissible evidence provided the accused had the "benefit of a
Appropriate legislation on DNA typing.
Suggests legal aid to "suit the requirements of SC/ST persons."
(source: Indian Express)
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