NEW DELHI, December 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) recently hosted an international conference concentrated on discussing and analysing the challenges towards the abolition of death penalty in the Asia Pacific region. Hon'ble Mr. Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, Judge, Supreme Court of India was the Chief Guest at the conference amongst many other leading experts and academicians, and the international forum was jointly coordinated by Centre for Human Rights Studies, Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University, Australia and the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the conference, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, JGU, said, "The arguments in favour of keeping death penalty in the books of law have been proven futile empirically. Empirical research has clearly demonstrated that not only in developed countries but also in developing economies death penalty has just not fulfilled the purpose for which it remains in the books of law. So while we are moving towards democratisation and developing more progressive norms, we really need to ask ourselves a question as a society, which is to what extent should we or can we retain death penalty?"
In his presidential address, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, Judge, Supreme Court of India, focussed on discussing and assessing the various challenges associated with the abolition of death penalty in Asia Pacific. He said, "This is a debate which has been going on for last 250 years or more and I don't think this is a debate that will ever die. Some debates don't die, or at least it will not die till the time death penalty is given death sentence and death penalty itself goes to the gallows."
Delivering the keynote address Professor Sarah Joseph, Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University, remarked, "There is no real evidence that the death penalty deters and therefore, there is no evidence that it saves other lives. I would say the burden of proof is on those who want to justify the death penalty sentence and I don't think they can satisfy the burden of proof."
The day-long event was divided into three sessions - 'Challenges in the Way of Abolition of Death Penalty'; Death Row Convict and His/Her Family as a victim'; 'Relevance of Impartial, Transparent and Comprehensive Judicial Adjudication and Processes'.
Addressing the first session, Mr. Colin Gonsalves, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India & Founder, Human Rights Law Network, said, "The onus of abolishing death sentence is on the judiciary today, it has to work and make it a reality. Investigation agencies in India are unreliable and the legal organisations are aware of it. In such a situation, continuing with death sentence can be disastrous."
Delving into the complexities of the family members and their rights, Mr. Anand Grover, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, said, "Death penalty can only be imposed for an offence of a very serious nature. A very important thing that we need to consider while imposing death penalty are the rights of the family members, does the family have the right to petition against the death penalty for their family member because it impacts them and hence it is their right. Death sentence has a very negative impact on the family members and hence they have rights."
"Once the death petition is ratified by the Supreme Court, the only way for the person to live is through mercy petition. The Constitution under Article 72 grants the right to the President of India at the centre and the Governor of the State at state level to grant mercy. It is important that they should be made aware of the entire case, given fulsome advice and should be presented with complete details related to the case for them to take an informed decision. It is being seen that they are being misled by not being presented the case in its entirety and should be avoided," remarked Mr. Venkatesh Nayak, Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
The conference concluded with discussions on highlighting the role of youth in addressing the debate and the changes that the future generation of lawyers can bring by deliberating on the various trepidations associated with the topic of death penalty abolition.
About O.P. Jindal Global University
JGU is a non-profit global university established by the Haryana Private Universities (Second Amendment) Act, 2009. JGU is established in memory of Mr. O.P. Jindal as a philanthropic initiative of Mr. Naveen Jindal, the Founding Chancellor. The University Grants Commission has accorded its recognition to O.P. Jindal Global University. The vision of JGU is to promote global courses, global programmes, global curriculum, global research, global collaborations, and global interaction through a global faculty. JGU is situated on a 80-acre state-of-the art residential campus in the National Capital Region of Delhi. JGU is one of the few universities in Asia that maintains a 1:15 faculty-student ratio and appoints faculty members from different parts of the world with outstanding academic qualifications and experience.
JGU has established six schools: Jindal Global Law School, Jindal Global Business School, Jindal School of International Affairs, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities and Jindal School of Journalism and Communication.
For more information please refer to - https://www.jgu.edu.in/
Ms Kakul Rizvi
Communication and Public Affairs
O.P. Jindal Global University
SOURCE O.P. Jindal Global University