India is the land where people like Gautam Budha, Mahavir Jain, Mahatma Gandhi are born, Mother Teresa lived. Its a place from where peace and non-violence was spread to the world. in such country provision for death penalty appears to be harsh and unacceptable. But at the same time people are involved in rape cases, murdering human being for their business profits and loss, taking revenge in trivial issues, dacoity, robbery, and for lust involved in wagering war against the Nation so in these circumstances it is the demand of time that such type of culprits must be awarded capital punishment.
capital punishment is a factor which prevents humans from committing heinous crimes by fear of law and punishment. As a result, it arouses a sense of fear of death among the other people who are even contemplating the crime. Death penalty is a strong deterrent, as it discourages criminals for committing crimes.
Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?
No. In Mithu v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court ruled that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional.While subsequent legislation for drug and atrocity offenses prescribes the mandatory death penalty, and the Supreme Court has not expressly struck down the penalty as unconstitutional, Indian courts have not applied the mandatory death penalty for these crimes. Additionally, a line of cases since the 1980 case of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, in which the Court held that the death penalty should only be applied for the most heinous offenses (“the rarest of the rare”), illustrate that application of the death penalty is, while not always predictable, still highly restricted.
Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:
Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime cannot be executed.
According to a 2009 amendment, a pregnant woman sentenced to death must be granted clemency.
According to the Indian Penal Code, individuals who were mentally ill at the time of the crime and who did not understand the nature of the act or know that the act was wrong or against the law cannot be held criminally liable. This could be interpreted to exclude mentally retarded persons from the death penalty.
According to the Indian Penal Code, individuals who were mentally ill at the time of the crime and who did not understand the nature of the act or know that the act was wrong or against the law cannot be held criminally liable.
In addition to the Indian Penal Code, a series of legislation enacted by the Parliament of India have provisions for the death penalty.
Sati is an inhumane practice involving the burning or burying alive of any widow or woman along with the body of her deceased husband or any other relative or with any article, object or thing associated with the husband or such relative. Under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 Part. II, Section 4(1), if any person commits sati, whoever abets the commission of such sati, either directly or indirectly, shall be punishable with death.
|Section under IPC or other law||Nature of crime|
|120B of IPC||Being a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit a capital offense|
|121 of IPC||Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India|
|132 of IPC||Abetting a mutiny in the armed forces (if a mutiny occurs as a result), engaging in mutiny|
|194 of IPC||Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure a conviction of a capital offense|
|302, 303 of IPC||Murder|
|305 of IPC||Abetting the suicide of a minor, mentally ill person, or intoxicated person|
|Part II Section 4 of Prevention of Sati Act||Aiding or abetting an act of Sati|
|364A of IPC||Kidnapping, in the course of which the victim was held for ransom or other coercive purposes.|
|31A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act||Drug trafficking in cases of repeat offenses|
|396 of IPC||Banditry with murder - in cases where a group of five or more individuals commit banditry and one of them commits murder in the course of that crime, all members of the group are liable for the death penalty.|
|376A of IPC and Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013||Rape if the perpetrator inflicts injuries that result in the victim's death or incapacitation in a persistent vegetative state, or is a repeat offender.|
|Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009||In Gujarat only - Manufacture and sale of poisoned alcohol which results in death(s)|
Clemency in the Indian Constitution
After the award of the death sentence by a sessions court,the sentence must be confirmed by a High Court to make it final. Once confirmed, the condemned convict has the option of appealing to the Supreme Court. If this is not possible, or if the Supreme Court turns down the appeal or refuses to hear the petition, the condemned person can submit a ‘mercy petition’ to the President of India and the Governor of the State
Power of the President
The present day constitutional clemency powers of the President and Governors originate from the Government of India Act 1935 but, unlike the Governor-General, the President and Governors in independent India do not have any prerogative clemency powers.
Article 72(1) of the Constitution of India states:
The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence
(a) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial;
(b) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
(c) in all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.
Execution of death sentence
The execution of death sentence in India is carried out by two modes, namely hanging by the neck till death and being executed by firing squad.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (1898) called for the method of execution to be hanging. The same method was adopted in the Code of Criminal Procedure (1973). Section 354(5) of the above procedure reads as "When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that the person be hanged by the neck till the person is dead."
The Army Act and Air Force Act also provide for the execution of the death sentence. Section 34 of the Air Force Act, 1950 empowers the court martial to impose the death sentence for the offences mentioned in section 34(a) to (o) of The Air Force Act, 1950. Section 163 of the Act provides for the form of the sentence of death as:-
This provides for the discretion of the Court Martial to either provide for the execution of the death sentence by hanging or by being shot to death. The Army Act, 1950, and the Navy Act, 1957 also provide for the similar provisions as in The Air Force Act, 1950.
About 26 mercy petitions are pending before the president, some of them from 1992. These include those of Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Davinder Singh Bhullar, the cases of slain forest brigand Veerappan's four associates—Simon, Gnanprakasham, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilvendran—for killing 21 policemen in 1993; and one Praveen Kumar for killing four members of his family in Mangalore in 1994. On 27 April 1995, Auto Shankar was hanged in Salem, Tamil Nadu.
At least 100 people in 2007, 40 in 2006, 77 in 2005, 23 in 2002, and 33 in 2001 were sentenced to death (but not executed), according to Amnesty International figures. No official statistics of those sentenced to death have been released.
Afzal Guru was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 2001 Indian Parliament attack and was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of India upheld the sentence, ruling that the attack "shocked the conscience of the society at large." Afzal was scheduled to be executed on 20 October 2006, but the sentence was stayed. Guru was hanged on 9 February 2013 at Delhi's Tihar Jail
On 3 May 2010, a Mumbai Special Court convicted Ajmal Kasab of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges. On 6 May 2010, the same trial court sentenced him to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five other counts. Kasab was sentenced to death for attacking Mumbai and killing 166 people on 26 November 2008 along with nine Pakistani terrorists. He was found guilty of 80 offences, including waging war against the nation, which is punishable by the death penalty.Kasab's death sentence was upheld by the Bombay High Court on 21 February 2011 and by the Supreme Court on 29 August 2012. His mercy plea was rejected by the president on 5 November and the same was communicated to him on 12 November. On 21 November 2012, Kasab was hanged in the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is an Indian government agency, created in 1986, responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The NCRB has documented death penalties and executions in India since 1995, as part of its prison statistics. There are no collated figures available for executions before 1995.
According to the NCRB, 21 people have been executed in India since 1995. In the decade between 2001 and 2011, 1,455 convicts or an average of 132.27 convicts per year were given the death penalty. During the same period, sentences for 4,060 convicts were commuted from death penalty to life imprisonment. The NCRB does not clarify whether these figures refer to sentences passed by a trial court or those whose sentences have been upheld by a High Court or the Supreme Court, or those whose mercy petitions are pending or have been rejected.
|Year||Sentences given||Sentences commuted to life||Executed||President||Ruling Party/Alliance|
|1995||13||Shankar Dayal Sharma||Indian National Congress|
|1998||3||K. R. Narayanan||National Democratic Alliance|
|2002||126||301||0||A. P. J. Abdul Kalam|
|2004||125||179||1||United Progressive Alliance|
|2014||0||Bharatiya Janata Party|