Can India Risk Abolishing Capital Punishment?

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The Ministry of Home Affairs asked the State Governments for their opinion on death penalty and the way ahead, Fourteen states and union territories have replied so far, of which only Karnataka and Tripura want it abolished.

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have voted against doing away with the practice, reports suggested. Maharashtra is yet to revert on their decision.

In 2015, the Law Commission of India, with Justice A.P. Shah as chairman, had recommended doing away with the practice for all non-terror-related crimes.

“… Although there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes, concern is often raised that abolition of death penalty for terrorism-related offences and waging war, will affect national security. However, given the concerns raised by the law makers, the commission does not see any reason to wait any longer to take the first step towards abolition of the death penalty for all offences other than terrorism related offences,” the report had stated.

We spoke to several Puneites on their view on capital punishment.

Debashree Pradhan, Law Student: In India, law is not taken seriously. Even the Supreme Court is questioned. Many who are found guilty, can either get away with it, or the decision for punishment comes so late that they have already lived their life. Doing away with death penalty is arguable given the intensity of the crime. However, death penalty is only given for extreme cases. Hence, I believe that like in most other countries, the death penalty must stay in force.

Prerna Chowdhary, Administrator: I am glad this issue is made open for discussion and the states have their right to decide. Taking someone’s life cannot be justified. Yes, in cases of murders it can be exercised, but for other cases, there are several other was to punish the offender. An ‘eye for an eye’ is fine, but ruining the entire family’s life by taking away a family member is very insensitive.

A total of 48,31,515 cognizable crimes comprising 29,75,711 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 18,55,804 Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes were reported in 2016, showing an increase of 2.6% over 2015 (47,10,676 cases).

Maharashtra accounted for (8.8%) of total IPC crime reported in the country.

Manish Solanki, Chartered Accountant: We have seen in various cases especially rapes, murders and acid attacks that the victim leads a dreadful life and often succumbs to it, while the criminals roam freely and lives a happier life! Death penalty for such cases is the ideal punishment here. States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana, that have the highest crime rates, should welcome this decision, to provide speedy and accurate judgements.

Marmick Cota, Public Relations Associate: Criminals who serve life imprisonment, already have very little left of their life. I think in cases where death penalty is avoidable, the focus should be made on remedying such people and providing them with counselling and help from psychologists to remove any criminal tendencies from within. This will help them lead a better life, but where crimes are heinous, no one ought to be spared.

In ordinance to introduce ‘harsher punishment for rape’, The Haryana Assembly recently passed a bill approving capital punishment for rape of children below the age of 12. Before Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have also given their wave to this law.

Reports suggest that,Maharashtra and Karnataka are also thinking over the decision to implement the bill approving capital punishment for rape of minors below age 12.

Dhiren Raj, Entrepreneur: I think it is only the death penalty that can create fear among the offenders. Here in India, there are various loopholes with which people can easily get away from getting penalised.

If the laws were rigid and strict, then other punishments could have worked and capital punishment can be abolished.

But given the current scenario, it is better to create the fear or death and reduce the number of crimes happening in the city.

Total recorded Crimes against Women in India in 2016   : 3,38,954

Total Recorded Crimes against Children in India in 2016 :1,06,958

 Total Cases 
a. Murder  30,450 2,299
b. Kidnapping and Abduction  88,008 9,333
c. Crime against Women: Assault with intent to outrage her modesty  84,746 11,396
d. Kidnapping and Abduction  64,519 6,170
e. Rapes  38,947 4,189
f. Crime against Children: Kidnapping & Abduction  54,723 7,956
g. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012  36,022 4,815

Source: National Crime Records Bureau report 2016


Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur