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Author: Akash Priye, I year of BA LLB from KIIT School of Law, Bhuvaneshwar

Co-author: Harshika Chauhan, I year of BA LLB from KIIT School of Law, Bhuvaneshwar


Capital punishment commonly the death penalty or inhuman practices followed in India and other countries for a long period. Punishment should be of that kind which teaches people about the stern law made by the countries for the war against the crime, not to infringe the basic human right provided to common people of a prospective country. It is a legal procedure in which a state executes a person for crimes he/she has committed. This punishment has been implemented by many states and is normally used for atrocious crimes, especially murder. It is also used on crimes against the state such as treason, crimes against humanity, espionage, and violent crimes dealing with this stringent punishment. But killing a criminal cannot overcome a crime nor bring back the life of the person who was killed by the person convicted of murder. This inhuman practice ends up the message of the value of human life in our society. Today in our society if a person commits a heinous crime or negligent crime, societies are made to say he/she should be hanged or be killed. Capital punishment is a violent homicide that teaches society the permissibility of killing to solve social issues, and this is a bad sign. Hence, the death penalty should not be allowed because it is a thrash example to society. The death penalty should be scrapped because it can lead to the execution of innocent people. The justice system is bound to make mistakes and so, the accused people should be given a chance to appeal and prove their innocence. Most of the civilized countries have abolished it. India certainly does not need it as it serves no purpose. No study has shown that the death penalty deters murder more than life imprisonment.

In Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab, a 1980 court judgment, coined the phrase ‘rarest of the rare’ which required judges to use capital punishment only when the alternatives of life imprisonment was unquestionably foreclosed. In 1983, Machhi Singh vs. State of Punjab stated that a death sentence must be imposed when life imprisonment is altogether inadequate punishment for the crime. When the 35th law commission report came in 1967 it revises 1000 awarded of death penalty revising 1947-1967. Subordinate courts ignore the acknowledgement of human feelings and their rights before deciding the death penalty before any citizens. According to Project 39A by National Law University[1], Delhi in 2017 they stated that 60 former judges adjudicated 208 death penalty cases revising 1975-2016. Maximum capital punishment came from Delhi, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh consisting of 215 cases in 2000-2015. Lethal Lottery: Death Penalty in India – Amnesty International publishes that India’s Death penalty system work under fatal flaws and should be abolished.


From the very beginning, taking someone’s life as the death penalty is a habitual punishment practising for a long. There have been many controversies over the death penalty which cannot be count on a single hand and so abide by these controversies, especially after Cesare Beccaria’s essay on crime and punishment in 1764.

“Should the death penalty exist in the 21st century?”

A question with several impacts, different views and different perspectives across different countries around the world. Some countries never believe in terminating someone’s life or right, and there are countries which put one’s life in upliftment, where he/she can be corrected or be improved. The death penalty a widely conceptualize practice executed in Asia. Most countries around the world oppose the ideology, whereas 60% of the world’s population consisting of China, India, Pak, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Japan continue to practice this. There is a prodigious growth in the number of countries around the globe abolishing capital punishment. According to research in 1991 it was 48 countries which were abolished but in 2018 it massively increased to 142. European Union Countries accordingly abolished the death penalty. Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and international convention on civil rights and political rights 1966 provides that no persons can be subjected to any cruel punishment. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also stated that people with the right to live, liberty and securities of humans. The death penalty is treated as one of the most inhuman practice to provide justice. There are seven countries including Brazil and Chile, where capital punishment is practised when the crime is related to the military or any under such exceptional circumstances.


Capital punishment is penalized in India under the sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as other laws. It is considered a legal punishment in India. In India, the convicted is hanged by the neck till death to execute the death penalty which is being followed from the very British time. Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 provides with death sentence and section 368 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides the High Court’s the power to confirm death sentences. In India article 21 of the constitution provides the right to the citizen of living life with full dignity also known as the “Right to life”. According to this article, no person can be deprived of his life and liberty unless committed some heinous crime which is mentioned under the law. There are also delays in the conforming of death sentences. There can be various reasons for it such as on medical grounds when the prisoner is unwell or is going through some treatment. When a prisoner is executed he/she should be in a good state of mental as well as physical health. In the recent case of Shatrughan Chauhan vs. Union of India (2014) the Supreme Court of India laid down certain guidelines as to how the death penalty can be converted into a life imprisonment one. In the case of Bachan Singh Vs State of Punjab, Justice Bhagwati gave an opinion on the death penalty that is capricious, discriminatory and arbitrary.


The death penalty is said to violate the basic fundamental right that is Article 21 of the Indian constitution which states the Right to Life and personal liberty to every citizen. This right is also recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human rights. Capital punishment is considered one of the cruellest and inhuman punishment. An innocent person can be released from prison but cannot be brought back after the execution has taken place.[2]


No study supports the fact that the death penalty deters murder more than life imprisonment. The death penalty conveys a bad message to society. By doing so people in society are made to believe that human life has no value. This message conveyed is bad as everyone in society should be taught that every life has its value. Every life is respectable and valuable. Capital punishment is a violent homicide that teaches society the permission to kill anybody in response to any crime. Killing a criminal cannot overcome the crime nor can it bring the person back who was killed by the person convicted of murder. Sometimes Death penalty is unfairly targeted at poor and marginalized people. Those without capital get the punishment. Punishment should not imitate the crime. We do not rape the rapist or have done this to others. Why do we have to kill the killers?

Mainly the Death penalty is criticized under 3 counts-Arbitrariness, irreversibility and human rights. The retention of the death penalty is not a reflection of “uncivilized” polity in theocratic states that have come to be defined by violence but a creation of the individual geopolitical circumstances of each state. For deterrence to work, the severity of the punishment has to coexist with the certainty and swiftness of the punishment. The death penalty has not deterred terrorism, murder or even theft. For over a century, stealing attracted the death penalty in England, where spectators at public hangings often had their pockets picked. An eye for an eye can make everyone blink, so such practices must be stopped.


The death Penalty should be scrapped because it can lead to the execution of an innocent person. The justice system is bound to make mistakes and so, the accused people should be given a chance to appeal and prove their innocence. An eye for an eye can make everyone blink so such practice must be stopped. The state should make stringent laws where criminals get agitated to anew the crime. If a law can be made in a state to stop stringent crime, it is an obligatory step from the state to stop such heinous punishment against citizen.




Versha jha
Versha jha
May 16, 2021

Good work both of you!


May 16, 2021

Very informative and good researched. Keep writing as articles.

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