America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

India: Punjab adopts death penalty for rape of below-12 girls

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Besides death penalty for rape of a girl under 12 years of age, the criminal law ordinance amended the Indian Penal Code to enhance minimum punishment for rape from the existing 7 to 10 years

The Punjab cabinet on Wednesday decided to extend to the state 2 ordinances relating to cases involving rapes and fugitive economic offenders, as recently promulgated by the Union government.

The meeting approved republication of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 of the centre, to make the law on rape more stringent, in the Punjab gazette. Further, in consonance with the finance ministry's proposal of promulgating the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018, the state cabinet gave its nod to republish the aforesaid ordinance in the official gazette of the state.

Besides death penalty for rape of a girl under 12 years of age, the criminal law ordinance amended the Indian Penal Code to provide for enhancement of minimum punishment for rape from the existing 7 to 10 years. The minimum punishment for the offence of rape of a girl child under 16 years of age has been fixed at life imprisonment, as against the earlier provision of 20 years.

The Code of Criminal Procedure has also been amended under the ordinance to ensure mandatory completion of investigation in rape cases within 2 months. Trial of rape cases is also required to be completed in 2 months, with a total limit of 6 months fixed for disposal of appeals in all rape cases. The provision of anticipatory bail to the person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl under 12 years or 16 years of age has also been done away. Further the high court or the court of sessions, before deciding the regular bail applications, will give notice of 15 days to the public prosecutor to appear for hearing of the application, where presence of a person authorised by victim shall be mandatory.

As far as the fugitive economic offenders are concerned, the ordinance empowers the authorities to attach and confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders, such as loan defaulters, who flee the country. The ordinance was promulgated by the Centre in the wake of the recent financial frauds, especially the Rs 13,000-crore loan scam wherein Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled the country.

Source: Hindustan Times, June 27, 2018

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