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Unformatted text preview: COMMENTARY July 24, 2010 vol xlv no 30 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 20 circumstances were elaborated in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s Gregg decision of 1976, which reinstated capital punishment after the Court had declared it unconstitutional four years before. The original source of that framework was the American Law Institute’s (ali) Model Penal Code of 1963, which offers guidance to the juries that make life or death decisions in American capital trials. But in the spring of 2009 the ALI – the leading independent organisation in the US producing scholarly work aimed at im- proving the law – withdrew its support for the death penalty standards that it had created half a century before. This policy reversal reflects the ALI ’s recognition that America’s experiment with capital punish- ment has failed. No nation has tried longer or harder than the US to construct a system of capi- tal justice that reaches only the rare, right cases without also condemning the innocent or the undeserving. As the ALI ’s reverse course reveals no nation has failed more conspicuously. India’s Supreme Court has expressed reservations about capital punishment on many occasions, and it has even called for the central government to empower or- gans such as the Law Commission of India and the National Human Rights Commis- sion to do research about capital punish- ment that would facilitate informed discussion and debate. As a student of law and society, I usually welcome calls for more research. But in this case I am not sure it is needed. The evidence that capital punishment in the US has failed is clear and abundant. Less research has been done about capital punishment in India, but what has been done points unambiguously in the same direction. India’s death penalty policymakers need political will more than they need new research. Like the US , India long ago stopped relying on capital punishment for crime control. The question leaders in both democracies must confront is why they want a punishment that they no longer need, especially when it is so in consistent with their own best values. T N Narasimhan ( [email protected]) is with the University of California, Berkeley, United States. V K Gaur ( [email protected] ) is with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation, Bangalore. A Framework for India’s Water Policy T N Narasimhan, V K Gaur India’s annually renewable water resources are finite, subject to uncertain climatic variability. These resources have to be systematically monitored and managed to meet the legitimate needs of a diverse society. Ideally, a unifying national water policy to enable rational water management will give consideration to scientific knowledge of the nature of the resource within the set of human values to which India’s democracy is committed....
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2010 for the course FIN 201 taught by Professor Hcverma during the Summer '10 term at IIT Kanpur.
- Summer '10