By requiring that an execution be relatively painless, we necessarily protect the inmate from enduring any punishment that is comparable to the suffering inflicted on his victim. This trend, while appropriate and required by the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, actually undermines the very premise on which public approval of the retribution rationale is based.
I think that the court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how 'official religion' is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of the nation.
While unconstitutional exercise of power by the executive and legislative branches of the government is subject to judicial restraint, the only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint. For the removal of unwise laws from the statute books appeal lies not to the courts but to the ballot and to the processes of democratic government.
The mere summoning of a witness and compelling him to testify against his will, about his beliefs, expressions or associations, is a measure of governmental interference. And when those forced revelations concern maters that are unorthodox, unpopular, or even hateful to the general public, the reactions in the life of the witness may be disastrous.
I strongly condemn this crime, and am of the opinion that those who are found guilty by a court of law should be given harsh punishment. At the same time, I would like to know whether the same hue and cry which has been raised about it in the media and in Parliament would have been raised had this incident happened in some other part of India, particularly in rural India. I am sure it would not. But surely Delhi is not the whole of India.
The State is at the centre and the society surrounds it. Disturbances of society go in a broad spectrum from more disturbance of the serenity of life to jeopardy of the State. The acts become graver (and graver) as we journey from the peripheral of the largest circle towards the centre. In this journey we travel first through public tranquility, then through public order and lastly to the security of the State.
Judges must follow their oaths and do their duty, heedless of editorials, letters, telegrams, threats, petitions, panellists and talk shows.In this country, we do not administer justice by plebiscite. A judge…is a public servant who must follow his conscience, whether or not he counters the manifest wishes of those he serves; whether or not his decision seems a surrender to prevalent demands.