DEATH PENALTY IN INDIA (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     31st January 2024        

Context: Recently, an additional sessions court in Kerala's Alappuzha district awarded the death sentence to 15 activists of PFI-SDPI in connection with the murder of leader Ranjith Sreenivasan.

Death Penalty in the Indian

  • About: Execution of offenders sentenced to death by hanging after conviction for a criminal offense.
  • Article 39A: Inspired by Article 39A of the Indian Constitution, aiming to promote equal justice and equal opportunity by removing socio-economic barriers.
  • Sessions Courts in 2022: 165 death sentences imposed by Sessions Courts in India during 2022.
  • Highest Convicts: Uttar Pradesh led with 32 death sentences imposed in 2022, followed by Gujarat (61) and Jharkhand (46).
  • Majority Cases: Sexual offenses constituted the majority (51.28%) of cases resulting in the death penalty imposed by trial courts in 2022.

Judgements Related Death Penalty

  • Deena Vs. Union Of India: The court affirmed the constitutionality of hanging as a mode of execution under section 354(5) of the Indian Penal Code, considering it fair and just under Article 21.
  • Bachan Singh v State of Punjab: The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the death sentence, emphasizing its applicability only in the "rarest of rare cases."
  • Machhi Singh Vs. State of Punjab: This case introduced exceptions to the rarest of rare rule, allowing the death penalty when a murder is exceptionally brutal, driven by total depravity, or when the crime is of enormous proportion.
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