• The Supreme Court’s recent order on mob lynching believes “it is the fear of the law that prevents crimes”.
• However, ineffective policing may not be the only cause of failure to prevent mob lynching.
• When one’s idea of justice is combined with a lack of accountability, it leads to dehumanization and violence.
• This dehumanization explains how India’s death penalty has formed people’s perception of justice.
• India has shown increasing interest in the death penalty for drug users, illicit liquor trade, cow slaughter, and rape of girls under 12 years of age.
• This has created a ‘perception of justice’ that replaces respect for victims with revenge in the form of the death penalty.
• The 2013 Justice Verma Committee had not recommended the death penalty for rape. The Law Commission has recommended restricting the death penalty only to crimes against the state.
• When the court relies on ‘collective conscience’ to justify the death penalty, Dehumanization is the outcome.
• As the court increase dependence on retribution, standards of society and definitions of justice change.
• Eliminating the evil provides comfort to the mob and the state.
• However, the court must not act as an avenger for society and instead create a culture where justice and revenge are not the same.
• Steven Pinker, a psychologist, proposed ‘the escalator of reason’ which has helped reduce violence in societies.
• It’s time India climbs the escalator by creating a humanizing environment.