New Delhi, Aug 21 (PTI) Nobody has ever been deterred from committing a murder because there is a possibility of death sentence, former Union Law minister Salman Khurshid today said while discarding the deterrence theory of punishment as a misplaced aspiration.
Khurshid was speaking at the release of a study 'From Addict to Convict: The Working of the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act (1985) in Punjab', conducted by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, an independent think tank, here.
The former union minister also said that there was a need to reexamine the overall perspective regarding crime as at present, deterrence is the "only magic formula" to deal with it.
"Deterrence is a misplaced aspiration. The problem is the entire perspective regarding crime. The only magic formula that we see to address crime is deterrence. There is need to reassess and reexamine the overall concept. It has not yet happened that anybody has been deterred from committing a murder because there is a possibility of death sentence," Khurshid said.
He further said that the system was facing a shortage of manpower and pointed out that various law enforcement agencies were overworked.
"The ministry, the judiciary and the police all are overworked. This may hamper the law making process and the approach to law making has to change. We don't take as much feedback and whatever we take is not circulated enough and we should be receptive and open towards feedback," he said.
Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Mukul Mudgal said that there was a total ignorance of Section 39 (Power of court to release certain offenders on probation) of the NDPS Act which requires a revisit.
He also said that peddlers were hardly convicted under the Act whereas the addicts who were usually at bottom of "the supply chain are the ones largely convicted".
"The disparity that has emerged in the report is distressing. What is more distressing is the ignorance the judges show by sending the addicts to prisons instead of de-addiction centres. Long spells in prisons lead to interaction with hardened criminals and makes addicts hardened criminals as well. Commercial drug dealers are hardly convicted and this is something that needs to be reversed. Deterrence as a theory does not work," Justice Mudgal said.
The report sheds light on how the NDPS Act has failed to meet its twin objectives of deterrence and rehabilitation in Punjab where drug offences continue unabated.
It also highlights the effectiveness of deterrent punishments, criminalising drug consumption, the need to adopt a public health approach towards addiction, coordination between relevant Ministries, and the need for requisite legislative and policy change. PTI URD LLP RRT RRT RCJ RCJ
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI