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Of mercy petition and mercy killing

I have always been against death penalty because I believe that in that case there is no distinction between the State and the accused.  I agree that there are impressive arguments for capital punishment, including the right to defence; but there are equally impressive arguments against it, including the one that man has no right to play God. The final nail in the death penalty saga is the president’s right to grant mercy.

I am no legal brain but if the President is going to be the final arbiter, then what role did the courts play?  And if the President’s decision can be subject to judicial review, then why in the first place could the courts have not decided it? The short point: capital punishment, a.k.a death penalty, is anachronistic in modern civilisation.  Imagine a situation where after a death verdict is given and executed, it comes to light that the accused was innocent. There are enough stories of false charges and wrongful judgments.

Those who think that capital punishment is a deterrent against crime are sadly mistaken. It can at best stop that person from committing the crime (joke intended). Its presence in the statute, analysis has shown, has actually increased crime. Unbelievable, but true.


Mercy killing

Yet, it may sound odd that I should abhor death penalty but favour mercy killing, a.k.a euthanasia. After all, is it not the same as man playing God? Well, it is not. There are some practical reasons. Take the case of people with advanced malignancy. Or people who have no chance of survival. Or those who have been turned into a vegetative state.  True, modern medicine can work miracles but are we to wait for the one in a million chance to click? It’s all very fine to say we must allow the comatose to live. But what about the medical bill? Would the government support that? Or will they, beyond a point, provide things free of cost.  Well, it’s not just the medical cost, though that by itself could kill the living. My point is, “What about the patient’s pain?” Surely, the dead don’t feel the pain.

Somewhere down the line one has to be practical. How do we want to remember our near and dear ones? Do we want to see and remember them in the vegetative state that they were in? Or do we want to remember them in the cheerful, hale and hearty way they lived? Do we, by not allowing euthanasia, allow that to happen?  I think one must have a right to a say in it. I do understand that this is controversial. But a team of medical professionals and the immediate family should be allowed to take a decision.

Also where a person wishes to die, because he can’t bear the pain of living, his wish must be respected. One may ask what is the guarantee that his wish was not forced. Well, there are no guarantees in life.

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