Judges are not infallible, but death penalty is final and fatal: Sushil Kumar

Published: November 21, 2011

New Delhi, India (November 21, 2011): As the Supreme Court of India has been hearing the plea of Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar against death punishment awarded to him, a debate is started regarding various aspect of criminology and penology that retains capital punishment or death sentence as a form of punishment.

Senior Opposing the death sentence, senior criminal lawyer Sushil Kumar said that he was against death sentence because it can’t by reversed after being executed.

Sushil Kumar who successfully argued before the apex court against the award of death sentence to Santosh Singh in the Mattoo case by the high court said that the same evidence was read differently by different judges and they came to divergent conclusions, IANS report added.

The lawyer who appeared in Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s case before the trial court said that on the same evidence Bhullar was convicted and sentenced but his co-accused was let-off.

On the same evidence before the three-judge apex court bench, two judges upheld his conviction but Justice M.B. Shah acquitted him, Sushil Kumar said.

The question of conclusive evidence was a “matter of perception”. “It is purely a matter of understanding,” he added.

He is further said that “you have no right to take life legally. There is always a chance of mistake. Judges have a very limited vision. They are not infallible. We all know how confessions are extracted and fabricated (by police)”.

In the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, after five years of incarceration, seven accused have been let off on bail. Perhaps some court could have awarded them death sentence on that very evidence. “It is a very fallible criminal justice delivery system,” said Sushil Kumar.

In this context, he referred to the case of Cornelius Dupree Jr. who was declared innocent Jan 4 by a Texas court in the US. He was convicted in 1980 for alleged robbery and rape case in 1979. He was sentenced in 1980.

It was not before he had already undergone 30 years of the 75-year prison sentence that he was held innocent early this year. He was declared innocent because his DNA did not match with the DNA collected from the spot of the crime.

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