January 23, 2022

With Many Countries Opting Out Of Death Penalty ,Is It Time For India To Do Away With It Too?


India is a well developing country and at the same time crime rates have been increasing rapidly in recent times. Despite the effective codification in India to control the rapidly increasing crimes against women and children the crime rates are increasing simply because there is no severe punishment for such crimes. There should be strict and severe punishment for crimes such as rape, murder and many more. The main reason behind the punishment given should be that the wrongdoer learns from that and never repeats it ever again in the future and severe punishment should be given so that anyone fears the penalty that he has to pay when he or she does the crime. This would help to decrease the rapidly increasing crime rates. There are different kinds of punishment in India such as capital punishment, life imprisonment, imprisonment etc. Capital punishment is known as the most severe form of punishment. This article or essay explains about the modes of capital punishment in India. This article explains two major theories related to capital punishment, namely reformative theory and preventive theory. Rarest of the rare cases would also be discussed in this essay. This essay would give the readers a detailed view about the capital punishment in India.


India is a country which consists of large number of crimes and criminals. In India all punishments are based on the reason to give penalty to the criminals and wrongdoers. As I said punishments are given so that the wrongdoers suffer imposing punishment on criminals discourages others from doing wrong .There are different kinds of punishment in India based on their offence such as capital punishment , imprisonment, imprisonment with fine, life imprisonment, fine etc. Capital Punishment is one of the important part of Indian criminal justice system. Crimes the punishment for which is death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital punishment is derived from the Latin word “capitalis” means “regarding the head”. The term death penalty is also known as capital punishment. Capital Punishment is a process where a person is put to death by a state for their criminal offence. Capital punishment or death penalty means the offender sentenced to death by the court of law for a criminal offence. This punishment is awarded for the most grievous crimes against humanity .Death penalty differs from place to place, state to state and country to country. There are many human rights movements in India which says capital punishment is immoral. The human rights organisations argues that capital punishment affect one person’s right. In jurisprudence, criminology and penalty, capital punishment means a sentence of death. Indian criminal jurisprudence is based on the combination of two theories. The constitution also gave powers to president and governor to suspend or pardon death sentence. In India capital punishment is awarded for the most dreadful offences.[1] Capital punishment is given for murder, robbery with murder, waging war against the government and abetting mutiny, etc. The death sentence is given only when the court comes to an end that life imprisonment is insufficient, based on situation of the case. Capital Punishment is a legal death penalty in India. India gives capital punishment for very serious offences. Article 21 of the Indian constitution is“ protection of life and personal liberty”. This article says “ No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except as according to procedure established by law”. This article says right to life is given to every citizen in the country. The Indian Penal Code,1860 provides sentence of death as a punishment for various offences such as murder ,rape , criminal actions ad conspiracy , conducting war against the government , dacoity with killing ,encouragement of riot and anti terrorism.

The Indian Constitution has provision for mercy of capital punishment by the President. There have been twenty two cases of capital punishment in India since 1995. After independence there have been fifty two capital punishment cases in India. In “Mithu vs state of Punjab.”[2] the Supreme Court struck down section 303 of The Indian Penal Code,1860 which provides for mandatory death sentence for the offenders. [3]

Cases Dealing with Death Penalty in India:

MITHU VS STATE OF PUNJAB ( 1983) In this case the Supreme Court struck down Section 303 of the Indian Penal Code, which provided for mandatory death sentence for offenders.

BACHAN SINGH VS STATE OF PUNJAB In this case the Supreme Court says that capital punishment was given only to the rarest of rare cases.

The Capital Punishment in India is given by shooting or hanging.


Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty is being practiced in India since a very long time.

Many countries have abolished capital punishment or the death penalty as a punishment.. A look at the National Crime Staistics of India shows that death penalty has not shown any positive effect on crime rates the crime rates have been increasing in India. There is an urgent need to reform laws relating to capital punishment and death penalty in India. The punishment for the heinous and grievous crimes should be such severe and rigorous that sets an example before the society and instil fear in the minds of the people that they do not attempt to do such heinous and serious crimes. Each and every offender should be given rigorous and worst treatment in prison and according to me life in prison is much worse than death penalty. The wrongdoer, the offender should feel for the acts that he has done ,for the crimes that he has done , for the lives that he has spoilt due to his acts day and night. Efforts should be made to make the wrongdoer, the offender guilt ridden of his actions .In the end I would just like to conclude by saying that Capital Punishment is not effective to reduce crime in the society and specially in a country like India.


James A, Mccafferty. Capital punishment. Published by a division of transaction publishers.2010.

N. Prabha Unnithan. Crime and justice in India. Published by sage publications.2013.

Gandhi, Gopal. Abolishing the Death Penalty: Why India Should Say No to Capital Punishment.

VENKATESAN,V.(7th September,2012) “A case against the death penalty”

Author Details: Mihika Swaroop (The ICFAI Law School)

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