In my opinion, there is no doubt that guilty persons and criminals must be punished and that their punishment should be proportional to the severity of their crime. These punishments are required to maintain rule of law in society, in which law abiding citizens are protected from law breakers. In the absence of punishment, society’s dishonest and criminal elements would render it unliveable for the common man.

Individuals who argue against the death sentence do not disagree about the need for imposing some other form of punishment. While they agree that a severe punishment is in order, they oppose the death sentence as an improper and unethical method of punishment. I do not agree with this line of reasoning, as I believe that punishments should be proportional to the severity of the crime. A criminal is only assigned a death sentence in extreme cases and after a long deliberation by the jury.

Another argument against this type of punishment is that it would fail to deter wrongdoers from committing a similar crime. I think that this argument could be applied to any form of punishment, including simple imprisonment.

Critics of the death penalty also argue that judges might make a mistake in their judgement. This argument is weak, as the judges may err in the case of any punishment imposed, and not only in the case of death penalty. The differences between crimes like burglary and terrorism must be observed when the court decides on an appropriate punishment. A death sentence implies that the criminal has committed a heinous crime that necessitates such form of punishment.

In countries like India, there are safeguards to ensure that a person is not given a death sentence without justification. There are procedures for appeal and even if the highest judiciary approves of a death sentence, the President of India has the discretion to waive this punishment. There are a number of individuals in India who have been awarded the death penalty without it being executed because their appeals remain pending. This indicates the enormous care that the country takes before awarding the death penalty.

— The reader is based in Chennai, India.