Yakub Memon is dead and buried. The debate over the circumstances of his arrest and quantum of guilt in the Mumbai bombings of 1993 is infructuous now, at least for him and his family.

Indeed, after the Supreme Court decided on the finality of his conviction, and heard out repeated mercy petitions, arguments on this ground are pointless. There has to be a closure to the legal case against Yakub Memon. 

Even so, the larger debate on the Memon's death penalty - energised in the days leading up to Memon's hanging - is an important one and should be continued and delinked from just Yakub Memon's story. Indeed, a sober and calmer discussion on the death penalty, without the context and emotions of an imminent execution, would be entirely recommended. This would be small comfort for those who wanted Memon to live, but could form an important guide for the future.

The case for abolishing the death penalty is a compelling one. Many genuinely believe that hanging a person amounts to an atavistic bloodlust and an outmoded notion of collective vengeance, that it is not part of the concourse of human civilisation. That apart, the death penalty, though rarely implemented in India, has a chequered and wholly inconsistent history.