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Jurist Fali Nariman against death penalty, says laws for life imprisonment must be amended


Karan Thapar,CNN-IBN
Feb 17, 2013 at 09:22am IST

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New Delhi: Senior Supreme Court Advocate Fali Nariman has said that in a country like India, death penalty should be abolished but also empahasised that life imprisonment must mean imprisonment for entire life.

The eminent jurist while speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate said the law needs to be amended by Parliament to ensure that in the rarest of rare cases life imprisonment means imprisonment for actual life.

Below is a transcript of excerpt of the show:

Fali Nariman: If by statuette you can say that imprisonment for life notwithstanding the powers of the local and the Central government to commute etc, can be and should be set aside then perhaps you are right. Keeping them for the lifetime is maybe there, but you must remember sovereign function of every republic or every state, the mercy jurisdiction is always open to be exercised. And courts are very reluctant to control it.

Karan Thapar: So you are saying, if you don't have life imprisonment which means imprisonment for life..

Fali Nariman: But by law, because today although thereby a judge made law, you do have.. There is a bench decision by three judges, which says so.. That life means life. But in my view that's not quite in accordance with the Indian Penal Code. It will have to be amended.

Karan Thapar: Let me interpret what you are saying. You are saying, that if the death penalty is to be abolished, in your eyes, that would be only acceptable if the law is first amended to say that life imprisonment means life imprisonment for life.

Fali Nariman: Absolutely. And that the prerogative of mercy, which is a also a Constitutional prerogative, but it can only be done in those circumstances.

Karan Thapar: And not otherwise?

Fali Nariman: And not otherwise.

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