The CPI(ML) welcomes the Supreme Court decision to commute the death sentences of the 3 convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The Supreme Court recently upheld the principle that delay in carrying out death sentences is ground for commutation. This ruling has brought relief in the Bhullar case as well as in the case of the 3 convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case. But the question arises why Afzal Guru was denied the benefit of this principle, and why Guru’s death sentence was not commuted on similar grounds by the Supreme Court. The manner in which the hanging of Afzal Guru was carried out smacks of double standards.
The subjective standards for judging what is ‘rarest of rare’ and the rampant double standards of justice that exist, make it all the more urgent for the draconian death penalty to be abolished in India. More than 2/3rds of the countries of the world have got rid of the death penalty, either in law or in practice. India should declare a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, as a step towards its speedy abolition.