Nikam, Kazmi Differ on Capital Punishment

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defense lawyer Abbas Kazmi, who are defending the Mumbai Terror suspect Amir Ajmal Kasab, are not on opposite sides merely in the case but has divergent views on capital punishement, too.

Nikam said that capital punishment should be awarded to convicts in serious crimes like terror cases and should be expedited; on the other hand, Kazmi is of the opinion that punishment should be reformative.

According to Nikam’s view, death penalty is awarded in cases in which there is no scope for reversal and the convict is unlikely to be reformed. He added that if appeals against death penalty are kept pending in courts for a long time, then capital punishment would lose its significance.

However, Kazmi differed, saying, “I am against capital punishment because if we as human beings cannot give life to anyone then we do not have the right to take life also.”

“Look at Valmiki who reformed himself from a dacoit to a saint…punishment should be reformative and every convict should be given a chance to reform himself,” Kazmi argued.

He said that the prison conditions are such that life imprisonment would be the harshest for any convict. In death penalty, a convict does not suffer after he is hanged but in case of lifer, he dies every day in jail because of hardship.

Kasab’s lawyer said that the perpetrators of terror attacks should be given stringent punishment.

While in the trial, another witness identified Kasab in court, saying an identity card bearing the photograph of the accused was recovered by police in his presence.

The witness Shivaji Shivekar, who had drawn up the list of recoveries made from the accused, said that the identity card was issued by a college in Bangalore in the name of Samir Choudhary.

The case of the prosecution is that Kasab and his accomplices had procured fake I-cards to conceal their Pakistani identity.

The witness also said that a map of target locations in Mumbai was recovered from the trousers of slain terrorist Abu Ismael in his presence.

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