Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and lawyer Abbas Kazmi defending Pakistani gunman accused in November 26 terror attack case are not only in opposite camps but also hold divergent views on capital punishment. While Nikam said capital punishment should be awarded to convicts in serious crimes like terror cases and should be expedited, Kazmi opined that punishment should be reformative. Nikam said death penalty is awarded where there is no scope for reversal and a convict is unlikely to be reformed in society. But if appeals against death penalty are kept pending in courts for a long time, then capital punishment would lose its significance. Kazmi, however, maintained, "I am against capital punishment because if we as human beings cannot give life to anyone then we do not have the right to take life also." "Look at Valmiki who reformed himself from a dacoit to a saint...punishment should be reformative and every convict should be givena chance to reform himself," Kazmi opined. The prison conditions are such that life imprisonment would be the harshest for any convict. In death penalty, a convict does not suffer after he is hanged but in case of lifer, he dies every day in jail because of hardship, he said. The perpetrators of terror attacks should be given stringent punishment,Kasab's lawyer said.
(Source: The Times of India, 18 May 2009)
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