Not in favour of death penalty for rape accused: Justice Verma

Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has said that he does not favour death penalty, including that for rape accused.

Addressing 'Conference of Peace', organised by Rotary International District 3080 at Indradhanush auditorium here on Sunday, Justice Verma said that majority of women welfare groups have suggested that death penalty will not be an effective deterrent against incidents of rape.

Talking about his report on amendments to criminal law, he explained that giving death penalty requires high standards of evidence which may not be available in certain cases. "In 26 years of service as a judge, I have awarded death penalty to only two accused and that was only when the convict was a repeat offender. But we have made new additions of offences of trafficking and stalking in the report," he said.

Stating that one of the important fundamental duties as mentioned in Article 51(A) is to abide by the Constitution, he emphasised, "Individual liberty is the need of the hour. Freedom of press is also important. Today, it is because of media exposure that the number of public interest litigations have gone up."

Rotarians from 76 clubs of the entire Rotary International District 3080 attended the conference.

On the occasion, Justice Verma presented the Rotary Shreyas Awards to former Chief Election Commissioner Dr Quraishi, Vice-President of FICCI Dr Jyotsna Suri and Editor-in-chief of The Indian Express Shekhar Gupta for their contribution in their respective fields.

S Y Quraishi drew the attention of the people towards problems in electoral process. He said, "Corruption is the biggest problem. Money reaches the village much before election dates are announced. Money power, criminals in politics and people's apathy for the voting system are the other challenges. People do not realise that every vote counts."

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