Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment – Recently, the Supreme Court has said that judges should not give the death penalty out of emotion.

Recently, the Supreme Court has given an important decision regarding the death penalty. The decision could set an important precedent for efforts being made against the death penalty.

  • The Supreme Court said the trial judges should not favor capital punishment merely because of the horrific nature of the crime and its deleterious effect on the society.
  • At the same time, judges should also not decide emotionally with regard to punishments like life imprisonment.
  • The judges noted the development of the principals of penology.
  • The principles of penology have evolved to balance the other obligations of society. For example, providing security to human life (even if it is the life of the accused), unless its termination is inevitable.
  • In addition, these principles have also been developed to serve other social interests and the collective conscience of society.
  • In capital punishment, the life of the offender is ended through hanging. Death penalty is given by the court after the conviction of the offender for a very serious punishable offence.
  • According to estimates by Amnesty International, a human rights organization, India is one of 56 countries upholding the death penalty. 142 countries of the world have abolished the provision of capital punishment either in law or in practice.
  • China remains the country with the highest number of executions. It is followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt.

Important decisions/provisions related to death penalty:

Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab, 1980: In this case, the Supreme Court had propounded the principle of the rarest of rare case. According to this principle, the death penalty should not be given except in the rarest of rare cases. The death penalty should be given only when there is no alternative remedy remaining.

Kehar Singh vs. Union of India, 1989: The pardoning power of the executive is subject to judicial review.

Bhagwan Das vs. National Capital Territory of Delhi, 2011: Death penalty may be considered in cases of honor killing.

As per the recommendation of the Law Commission (262nd Report), the death penalty should be abolished for all offenses other than those related to terrorism and waging war.

Source – The Hindu

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