Death Penalty

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ANALYSIS OF RELEVANCE OF DEATH PENALTY
AS A PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

BACKGROUND
Death Penalty is the execution of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Crimes that can result in the death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offenses. Also known as capital punishment, it has been used in societies throughout history as a way to punish crime and suppress political dissent. In many countries that still retain the use of death penalty, drug trafficking, sexual crimes such as rape, adultery, sodomy and religious crimes such as apostasy are also capital offenses. In some places, death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. DEATH PENALTY AROUND THE WORLD

In the past, capital punishment has been practiced in almost every society. Currently, only 58 nations actively practice it, with 97 countries having abolished it. Countries that Retain the Death Penalty 58 as of 2011, as per Amnesty International, represent about one-third of all countries worldwide and include: Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Chad, China, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad And Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States Of America, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe. The United States is the only westernized democracy, and one of the few democracies worldwide, to not have abolished the death penalty. As of 2011 per Amnesty International, 141 countries (representing two-thirds of all countries worldwide) have abolished the death penalty on moral grounds, including: Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome And Principe, Senegal, Serbia (including Kosovo), Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

INDIAN CONTEXT
Historical background
At independence in 1947, India retained the 1861 Penal Code which provided for the death penalty for murder. During the drafting of the Indian Constitution between 1947 and 1949, several members of the Constituent Assembly expressed the ideal of abolishing the death penalty, but no such provision was incorporated in the Constitution. Private members' bills to abolish the death penalty were introduced in both houses of parliament over the next two decades, but none of them was adopted. It has been estimated that 3000 to 4000 executions occurred between 1950 & 1980. Information on the numbers of persons sentenced to death & executed from 1980 to the mid-1990s is harder to measure: it’s estimated that 2 or 3 persons were hanged per year.

Ahead of demitting office, PresidentPratibha Patil has scored a new record. She has commuted the death sentence of as many as 35 convicts to life...
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