Kathmandu, April 16 Lawyers are divided on whether the state should confiscate the property of murder convicts. The new penal code bill, under consideration in Parliament, does not propose confiscation of property of murder convicts as in the existing laws. Advocate Nirmala Bhandari said the state need not sympathise with criminals. “There are some who think confiscation of murder convicts’ property will deprive their family of property, but that’s a wrong argument,” she said. According to Bhandari, if lawmakers did not see reason for the state to confiscate a murder convict’s property, then the state should confiscate such property to provide it to the victim’s family. Human rights lawyer Dinesh Tripathi, however, said the new penal code bill’s proposal to drop confiscation of property provision was in line with the modern concept of criminal justice. “Criminal punishment should not be excessive. Hence, the new penal code bill’s proposal is appropriate,” he said, adding that confiscation of such property could unnecessarily deprive their family of property, particularly their dependents. “Confiscating felons’ property could make their life difficult after they serve life imprisonment, which is not a prison sentence till their life is over,” he argued. Senior advocate Lav Kumar Mainali said he favoured corrective measures, not stringent punishment for offenders. “Nobody is born a criminal. It’s the milieu of society that drives people to crime. The state should look into crime causing factors,” he said and added that the penal bill’s proposal to hike life imprisonment from 24 to 30 years was also wrong. He said socio-economic factors were more responsible for the hike in the crime rate and the state needed to look into them and not propose stringent punishment for criminals. “We increased punishment for drug related crimes, yet drug related crimes are on the rise,” he said. Advocate Raman Shrestha also said life imprisonment itself was enough punishment for people convicted of homicide. He said the state should aim to prevent and reduce crime by adopting multiple strategies, besides promoting a law abiding culture in society.