- March 16, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject : Polity
Context : Rarest of rare case’: IM terrorist Ariz Khan gets death penalty in Batla House encounter case.
Death Penalty in the Indian Context
- Prior to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act (Cr PC) of 1955, the death penalty was the rule and life imprisonment an exception in India.
- Further, the courts were bound to give an explanation for awarding a lighter penalty than death for capital offences.
- After the amendment of 1955 courts were at liberty to grant either death or life imprisonment.
- As per Section 354 (3) of the Cr PC, 1973 the courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.
- The situation has been reversed and a life sentence is the rule and death penalty an exception in capital offences.
- Moreover, despite a global moratorium against the death penalty by the UN, India retains the death penalty.
- India is of view that allowing criminals guilty of having committed intentional, cold-blooded, deliberate and brutal murders to escape with a lesser punishment will deprive the law of its effectiveness and result in travesty of justice.
- In concurrence of this, a proposal for the scrapping of the death penalty was rejected by the Law Commission in its 35th report 1967.
The Indian Penal Code prescribes ‘death’ for offences such as
- Waging war against the Government of India. (Sec. 121);
- Abetting mutiny actually committed (Sec. 132);
- Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death. (Sec. 194);
- Murder (Sec. 302);
Other criminal statutes that provide for the death penalty as a form of punishment:
- Direct or indirect abetment of sati is punishable with Death penalty under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
- Under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 giving false evidence leading to the execution of an innocent member belonging to the SC or ST would attract the death penalty.
- The POCSO Act was amended with five new clauses, including death sentence for aggravated penetrative sexual assault by a person in a position of authority–which includes police officers, members of the armed forces and public servants.
- Financing, producing, manufacturing as well as the sale of certain drugs attracts the death penalty for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Army, Navy and Air Force Acts also provide the death penalty for certain specified offences committed by members of the armed forces.