Another small step

Indian Court overturns mandatory death penalty for drug offences

16 June 2011, Mumbai: In an unprecedented decision, the Bombay High Court struck down the mandatory death penalty for drug offences, becoming the first Court in the world to do so. Announcing the order via video conferencing, a division bench of Justices A.M Khanwilkar and A.P Bhangale declared Section 31A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) that imposes a mandatory death sentence for a subsequent conviction for drug trafficking ‘unconstitutional’. […]

The High Court’s verdict came in response to a petition filed by the Indian Harm Reduction Network (IHRN), a consortium of NGOs working for humane drug policies, who assailed mandatory capital punishment as arbitrary, excessive and disproportionate to the crime of dealing in drugs. […]

Across the world, 32 countries impose capital punishment for offences involving narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Of these, 13 countries (including India until today) prescribe mandatory death sentences for drug crimes.

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16 Responses to Another small step

  1. divadab says:

    Such a shame that a country whose culture has been informed by cannabis for thousands of years would slavishly adopt prohibition to curry favor with the illegitimate US federal government and its policies of unjust dominion.

    Om Shiva shankara! Hari hari Ganja! Boom Somanth!

  2. Duncan20903 says:

    Well it’s news to me that India has (had) a death penalty for drugs distribution. Evidently cannabis isn’t included in the category because IIRC there are 3 Indian States which have legal cannabis, most often taken in a big glass of bhang. I’d think people in India would require getting high to deal with the constant cake of cow shit on their shoes.

    • Servetus says:

      Actually, people in India use cow shit as a fuel to cook their food. When dried and burned, the shit produces a low, even heat. Not good for eating or smoking of course, as there is better shit to be had for that.

  3. Hope says:

    This is wonderful. Someone’s life has been saved. Maybe many “Someones” lives.

  4. DJ PsiPhi says:

    I made this. I hope more people find this educational.

  5. pfroehlich2004 says:

    Hey everyone, big steaming pile of contrarian nonsense at the NY Times today (Mexican cartels have other sources of income in addition to marijuana trafficking; therefore, they will be unaffected by legalization. Ooh, such original and fresh thinking!)

    Take a few minutes and fire off an LTE. Bombard them with facts and logic 😉

    • Duncan20903 says:

      That use of the utopian fallacy is simply standardized hysterical rhetoric from the defective brains of the Know Nothing prohibitionists. If we can’t totally eliminate organized criminal syndicates we may as well just stick with the organizations which regard a satchel of disarticulated human heads as a valid method of communication.

      The problem we encounter when faced with this nonsense train of thought falls squarely at the feet of the belief that it’s the object of prohibition which is causing the problem rather than the prohibition itself.

      We don’t have to rid the world of all criminal organizations to make the world a better place to live. We didn’t rid the world of all megalomaniac dictators when we dispatched Adolph Hitler to his due reward in 1945, but getting rid of him certainly improved the overall quality of life on this planet.

      I’m still of the opinion that it’s a good idea to emphasize the current reality of organized criminal syndicates which deal in drinking alcohol production and distribution in places where the stupidity of drinking alcohol prohibition is still in place because these organizations act just like the Mexican cartels. There are still a lot of people who think that drinking alcohol isn’t rightfully classified as an MAD.

      Prevention of Crime Branch (PCB) police inspector Ajay Gakkhar said Khanani was named in two extortion cases along with Harjani. “He was lodged in the prison till he was granted a 15-day parole. He was later granted an extension in the parole,” he said.

      The city police had recently conducted a raid after receiving a tip-off that a car had brought liquor in a large quantity and was supplying it to smaller bootleggers. “Investigations into the haul revealed that Khanani had financed the procurement of liquor,” Gakkhar said. He said Khanani was named as a co-accused with Harjani in two extortion cases.

      One huge difference between our system and theirs is that someone can buy their way out of the death penalty. Not the way OJ Simpson bought his way out of his criminal charges in the 1990s, directly by paying “blood money” to the families of the victims. Apparently the families don’t have to accept but if they do the murderer goes his merry way with the blessing of the criminal code.

      Jaswant Singh, a resident of village Begowal near Doraha, and Harbhajan Singh, a resident of village Mayhani Wat near Hoshiarpur, were both sentenced to death for bootlegging and the murder of Kerala resident Ratheesh Vijayan. They will be let off by next month. Vijayan was killed in November 2007. Similarly, Talvinder Singh, a resident of Kapurthala, and Paramjit Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur — convicted for the murder of Chhina Ganganna Chepuri of Andhara Pradesh — may also be heading back home by next month.

      The lives of these four men has been saved by UAE based hotelier and philanthropist S P Singh Oberoi.

      “I have informed the court that my people have established contact with the family of the deceased who in turn have accepted the apologies tendered by the accused and also accepted the blood money. We will present all the details in the court by next hearing which comes up on July 20 and I am sure these men will released,” said Oberoi.

      Simply fascinating IMO.

      • pfroehlich2004 says:

        It is rather useful to have a present-day example of alcohol prohibition to contrast with our own legal, regulated market.

        Do you happen to know any details about the laws on alcohol in Mumbai? I was there a few years ago and there seemed to be plenty of drinking spots. I’m curious as to the exact scope of the prohibition.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        If I’m following along correctly Mumbai is where a large percentage of bootleg booze is manufactured, like Canada was to the US during the days of 18th Amendment. It’s the UAE which still has the stupidity of drinking alcohol prohibition. Shit, it must be coming in by boat, there’s a lot of water between the two places. Quite a few of the bootlegging stories mention IMFL as being the product bootlegged. IMFL = Indian Made Foreign Liquor. Also it does seem that Indian States have significantly different laws regarding availability and taxes which does result in some smuggling to avoid paying the tax in the States with higher taxes. The Times of India seems to particularly inclined to publish bootlegging stories, and I do think it loses something in the translation to English. It’s hard enough to follow the American system of jurisprudence, and it really is just this weekend that I’ve realized just how significantly different Indian law is to the US system.

        OK, so at least the State of Gujarat is “dry”.

        “Once we got a tip-off that he was on his way to Ajmer with a big cache of IMFL. A team from our police station chased him. Since he was not carrying any arms he started throwing liquor bottles at police. Anyhow he managed to reach Naya Gaon village in Ajmer where villagers came to his rescue and we had to retreat,” said a constable posted at Bandar Sindari police station on Thursday.

        …According to sources, Balwa affords three to four lawyers who bail him out just some days after he is arrested in some case. “He was never convicted in any of the Excise Act case and assault cases since with the power of money he always bailed himself out by tampering police records,” the officer added.

  6. we have always been at war with Emmanuel Goldstein says:

    Man I hope the drug war profiteer criminals in this country don’t see this and get any ideas. I mean the part about death penalty for drug users.

    • allan says:

      oh, they were saying that decades ago… the late former LAPD chief Daryl Gates (created the DARE program and was instrumental in the creation and rise in use of SWAT) suggested that casual drug users be shot.

      Judge Judy – an opponent of needle exchange – while speaking in Australia said of needle using addicts, “give them all dirty needles and let ’em die.”

      I know there are other examples, those 2 just off the top of my head.

      • DdC says:

        DAREyl SWAT Gates LAPDog Perversions

        Signs of Sickness and D.E.Ath

        Ganjawar Monger “DEAth” Cunningham Busted 4 Fraud

        In Boston,Todd Cunningham, 29, the son of U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA), was sentenced on November 17 to 2-1/2 years in federal prison for marijuana smuggling. Rep. Cunningham, who has supported the death penalty for drug traffickers, made a tearful plea to U.S.Judge Reginald C. Lindsay for leniency for his son.

        * On the Larry King Show in late 1989, then drug czar William Bennett, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2000, said he had no moral problems with beheading drug dealers -only legal ones.

        Jimmy Montgomery, a paraplegic sentenced to 10 years in Oklahoma prisons for less than 2 ounces of marijuana. NR noted that former deputy drug czar John P. Walters criticized ABC News for reporting on the Montgomery case. Walters showed no concern for Montgomery but rather complained, “Apparently ABC couldn’t find a grandmother on death row for carrying a roach clip…”

        An indiscreet American college student returning from a vacation in Mexico is caught with two ounces of marijuana in his pocket. A judge is forced to sentence him to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. If this is his second offense, he will be executed. Could this really happen in America? Yes, if U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and his cronies have their way.

        Hypocrisy & Double Standards
        Ashcroft Nephew Got Probation After Major Pot Bust
        Limbaugh Won’t Be Prosecuted
        Fair Deal for Noelle Bush
        The Devil Inside Jenna and George
        Cunningham’s Vote to Support the Death Penalty for Drugs
        Cunningham son held on marijuana charge (thread)
        CINDY McCAIN – Wife of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
        DAN BURTON II – Son of U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)
        Richard Riley, Jr., son of Education Secretary Richard Riley
        Gayle Rosten, daughter of then-U.S. House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL)
        John Murtha, son of U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
        Susan Gallo, daughter of U.S. Rep. Dean Gallo (R-NJ
        Warren Bachus, son of U.S. Rep Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
        Josef Hinchey, son of Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
        John C. Baker, the son of future Secretary of State James Baker III
        Bill Bendit’s Virtues
        Pot Grower, 75, Given Year in Jail
        US Prosecutes Cancer Patient Over Marijuana
        Tommy Chong Gets Nine Months
        Rainbow Farm Massacre
        The Murder of Peter McWilliams

        “Dear Agent …, please prepare all cases in your jurisdiction involving musicians in violation of the marijuana laws. We will have a great national round-up arrest of all such persons on a single day. I will let you know what day.”
        Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1947

  7. DdC says:

    Legalize Cannabis In India
    Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.
    John Lame Deer, Native American holy man

    Indian Scientists Foil UK Firm’s Plan to Patent Bhang
    Those who enjoyed a glass or two of bhang in Holi may not have been aware that their favourite drink has just brought Indian scientists some cheer. They have successfully foiled bids to patent medicinal properties of this ancient intoxicant.

    A GREAT-great granny reveals how she has lived to be 120
    … by smoking CANNABIS every day. Fulla Nayak, believed to be the world’s oldest woman ? puffs “ganja” cigars and drinks strong palm wine in her cow-dung hut in India. She lives with her 92-year-old daughter and grandson, 72, by the Indian Ocean. Fulla said: “I don’t know how I’ve survived so long. Many relatives much younger than me have died.”

    Legality of cannabis by country
    India: Illegal/Legal (Regulated by Government)
    Used during observance of certain Hindu rituals. Government-owned shops in holy cities like Varanasi sell cannabis in the form of bhang. Despite the high prevalent usage, the law makes it illegal to possess any form of the psychoactive. However, this law is rarely enforced and treated as a low priority across India. Further, large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild in many parts of northern India.
    Uruguay Legal/Illegal
    “Possession for personal use not penalized; law does not specify quantity for “personal amount.

  8. strayan says:

    Shame about the people executed yesterday.

    Pricks gotta pay – never forgot.

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    It just struck me that it’s almost time for China’s annual celebration of international anti-drugs day. I Googled for an update on when that was this year and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read the article linked below, published 5/25/2011. It’s not quite as across the board as the headline makes it seem but it looks like China is seriously reforming it’s attitude toward capital punishment. Unfortunately it may not cancel the annual barbaric bloodbath of international anti-civilization day.
    “China suspends executions for two years”

  10. Shaleen says:

    For those who showed interest, the following link has a very good article “Alcohol Prohibition in India A Success or a Failure” on the history of prohibition in India:

    Another short but good one that appears to be in response to a recent call for prohibition from the Times of India is:

    By the way, Gandhi was a staunch prohibitionist. Fascinating huh?

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