Abolition of Death Penalty in India: A Critical Study
Volume III, Issue VI, 2020
There has been an unprecedented controversy about the status of death penalty in India. The endless debate on the question seems to have been accelerated by the developments having taken place in western liberal societies, particularly the developed countries, such as, the U.K. & the U.S.A. The question of death penalty brings at forefront many related issues and also the confusion existing about the penological purposes served by it. It also touches a larger issue as to which model of punishment- crime control model or due process model- better serves the needs of modern India. The question needs to be examined in this context is whether death penalty is a product of such weighing of interests. Retention of death penalty has become a burning issue in this country since 1980. Although in theory death penalty continues to be a supreme punishment but has to be awarded in the rarest of rare cases. The question arises where the supremacy lies if the punishment cannot be awarded in 99% cases. Even the doctrine of rarest of rare cases has been attacked on various grounds from time to time. The perception of the judges is also not uniform in this regard. This paper critically examines the developments towards the abolition of death penalty.