India should abolish the death penalty. It would mark a substantive break from the Raj legacy, a bigger one than the laws laid down after the British Crown took charge from East India Company in the wake of 1857’s horrors. People had been blown to bits by cannon balls and left hanging from trees for their alleged roles in the Uprising. Now it took a trial in court and determination of guilt, at least on paper, but those charged with grave offences could still be put to death by the state apparatus. What freedom in 1947 brought was a substantial measure of justice in general, but self-rule has not yet translated into a ban on this particular practice. The advocacy of such a ban has long stumbled on the shock of actual crimes in evidence, some of them so shocking that any ‘leniency’ is misread as sympathy for perpetrators. The case against capital punishment, however, is based not on emotion, but reason. As the country redrafts its penal code, it’s about time this reform found the legislative backing it deserves.