first_imgLiving on a death row with uncertainty is worsened withLiving on a death row with uncertainty is worsened with the harsh conditions which includes solitary confinement as the the apex court itself in 1978 had ruled that the prisoner sentenced to death could be kept in a cell away from other prisoners, the Death Penalty India Report has said.The report throws light into the life of death row convicts and is a critical analysis of the criminal justice system, which according to Justice Lokur, requires a major procedural and substantive reformation.”While it is not possible to make any arguments regarding direct discrimination, the report certainly highlights the disparate impact of the death penalty in India on groups marginalised along the axis of caste, religion, economic vulnerability and educational status,” said Anup Surendranath, director of the Centre on the Death Penalty.During the panel discussion, Justice Lokur also referred to shortcomings of the legal aid system in the country, saying that people have lost faith in legal aid lawyers.The study supports this view as it states that 70.6 per cent of the death row prisoners represented by private lawyers were economically vulnerable and it shows that “their deep-seated fear of legal aid lawyers drove the families to hire private lawyers”.The panel discussion also pointed out the fact that around three-fourth of the prisoners have not got a chance to interact with their lawyers outside court. This becomes worse when the matter comes to high court where most them have never interacted with or even met their high court lawyers.advertisementAdding to the misery, families of convicts face a major challenge to visit the prison owing to the extremely vulnerable economic status.”Its like caught between two blades of scissors, with no means to escape,” the report quoted Harikrishnan, a convict who had already spent nearly 12 years in prison for rape and murder.He, with extreme anguish at his inability to prove his innocence, had slashed his genitals with a piece of floor tile after a television channel portrayed him as a monster and his entire village being terrified of him. His clemency plea was rejected by the President. (More) PTI RRT HMP RKS ZMN RCJlast_img

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