Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time to Talk of Abolition

The high drama over the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajaona, co-assassin in the murder of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh brings back to focus the need to abolish the death sentence from the books in India. In the present case, we have the amazing situation of a court ordering his execution and the jailer refusing to do so on various grounds, while the SAD went right to the Union Government to stop his execution. And if that's not enough, Rajaona has not asked for clemency and in fact says that he does not want the SAD to represent him in anyway!

This is not the first time politics has come in the way of a death sentence. The Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution calling for mercy for two convicts, while the J&K Assembly tried to do the same but failed. Clearly, death sentences have become untenable because of its irreversible nature.

And coming to the irreversible nature, it is a fact that criminal justice is not perfect and there can be some errors in judgments. Jurisprudence believes that law may allow a hundred criminals free but not convict one innocent man. The problem with a death sentence is that it permanently ends the right to appeal. It is possible - it happens many-a-times - that a sentence is wrongly given and then overturned in the light of new evidence presented later. No matter how careful the judge in question may be, there remains a probability that the sentence was an error. A death sentence prevents that error from ever being rectified and therefore, goes against the philosophy of justice.

The Supreme Court has already stated that it is bound to award death as long as it remains in the books. The time has come for Parliament to seriously consider ending the death sentence, in line with Indian traditions of reform and peace.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IIT Roorkee MUN 2012: The Making

 In December, 2011, an idea struck me. An idea that would prove to make a huge impact on my life and perhaps career. With memories of IITR MUN 2011 afresh in my mind, I knew it had to be done. A few failed e-mails first, some reluctant response. And then the most important event - a message on last year's co-coordinator's wall. And we knew we had just set ourselves on one big journey. 

This summer, OTFS takes you through the process of getting one of Cognizance 2012's largest events ready. From the initial hiccups to the misunderstanding with UNIC to the final day - we take you through the moments that led up to IIT Roorkee Model United Nations 2012. 

The Making of IITR MUN 2012
This summer