Should India Abolish the Death Penalty?

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SHOULD INDIA ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY?

A Debate on Abetment/ Retention of The Death Penalty

Legal Methods

Table Of Cases

1. Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (AIR 1982 SC 1325)
2. Furman v. State of Georgia, (1972) 408 US 239
3. Gregg v. Georgia, (1976) 428 US 153
4. Jagmohan Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1973 SC 947 5. Jurek v. Texas, (1976) 428 US 262
6. Kehar Singh v. Delhi Administration, AIR 1988 SC 1883
7. Laxman Naik v. State of Orissa, AIR 1995 SC 1387
8. Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1983 SC 957; 1983 Cri LJ 1587. 9. Proffit v. Florida, (1976) 428 US 242
10. Rajendra Prasad v. State of UP, AIR 1979 SC 916
11. State of Maharashtra v. Sukhdeo Singh, AIR 1992 SC 2100

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………4

Constitutional Validity of Death Penalty……………………………………………...6

Rarest of rare Doctrine………………………………………………………………..11

Evolving Parameters of Death Penalty……………………………………………….12

Sec.303 of IPC as Unconstitutional…………………………………………………..14

Cases In Favour Of Death Penalty……………………………………………………16

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………18

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………….19

Introduction

"Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."

~ Supreme Court of the United States of America

Death sentence is the harshest punishment provided in the IPC, which involves the judicial killing or taking the life of the accused as a form of punishment. The question of whether the state has the right to take the life of a person, however gruesome the offence he may have committed, has always been a contested issue between moralists who feel that death sentence is required as a deterrent measure, and the progressive who argues that judicial taking of life is nothing else but court mandated murder.[1]

The Law Commission of India has taken up the subject suo moto due to the technological advances in the field of science, technology, medicine, anesthetics and since more than three decades have passed by after the 35th Report of the Law Commission on Capital Punishment, 1967 with reference to the mode of executing death penalty. The various modes of execution of death sentence as prevalent at that time in 1967 were studied by the Law Commission. The Commission in Topic 58(c) paragraph 1149, concluded: "We find that there is a considerable body of opinion which would like hanging to be replaced by something more humane and more painless….." [2] However, the Commission was not able to arrive at any firm conclusion on this point as explained in Para’s 1150 and 1151.

"1150. The matter is, to a certain extent, one of medical opinion. That a method which is certain, humane, quick and decent should be adopted, is the general view, with which few can quarrel. It is true that the really agonizing part is the anticipation of impending death. But society owes to itself that the agony at the exact point of execution be kept to the minimum. It is, however, difficult to express an opinion positively as to which of the three methods satisfied these tests most, particularly when the two other methods are still untried. We are not, at present, in a position to come to a firm conclusion on this point. Progress in the science of anesthetics and further study of the various methods, as well as the experience gathered in other countries and development and refinement of the existing methods, would perhaps, in future, furnish a firm basis for conclusion on this controversial subject. [3]

1151. We do not therefore recommend a change in the law on this point. We should, however, state here that we do not subscribe to the view that the substitution of any other method will reduce the deterrent effect of the penalty of...
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