The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is in the process to decide a set of guidelines to provide a “meaningful, real and effective” hearing to an accused in death penalty cases.
About Capital Punishment or Death Penalty in India
Process of Death Penalty
After the proceedings as specified by the Code of Criminal Procedure, the judge pronounces the judgement.
After the decision by the Session Court, a high court needs to confirm the death sentence.
The high court may confirm the death sentence or pass any other sentence or annul the conviction.
The High Court also has the power to withdraw a case pending before a subordinate court and conduct the trial and may award the sentence of death.
Special leave petition
After the death sentence is confirmed by the High Court, an appeal by Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution may be filed with the Supreme court.
Under Article 136, the Supreme Court decides whether the special leave petition deserves to be heard as an appeal or not.
The Supreme Court may allow a curative petition to reconsider its judgement or order if it is established that there was a violation of principles of natural justice or suspicion of bias in the role of a judge.
The curative petition would be circulated before the same bench which decided on the review petition.
Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution give power to the President of India and the Governor to grant pardons and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.
The president or the governor may consider the case of the convict and may pardon the death sentence.
In cases where the death sentence is awarded, the convict should be allowed to use all the legal remedies available such as appeal, review and mercy petitions.
The Supreme Court guidelines are needed to be followed before issuing the death warrant.
Death sentence or death penalty is a punishment approved for committing the offence.
The act of carrying out a death sentence is known as an execution.
Arguments in support of Capital punishment
All Guilty people deserve to be penalised in proportion to the severity of their crime.
Real justice requires people to suffer in a way suited for the crime. Every criminal must get what their crime deserves and in the case of murder they deserve death.
Arguments against capital punishment
Capital punishment is revenge rather than punishment and is a morally doubtful concept.
Against Real or Proportional justice, as the criminal suffers for many years before execution, it makes the punishment more severe.
There is always a risk of executing the innocent due to mistakes or defects in the justice system.
The death penalty doesn't seem to deter people from committing serious crimes.
The Law Commission of India recommended abolishing the death penalty, except in terror cases.