An Insight into the Inconsistency in Death Sentencing present in the Indian Judicial System

Author: Sandeepani A Neglur, Student, School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore, India


ABSTRACT India is among the few countries in the world that has retained death penalty as majority of the world moves towards its abolition much to the chagrin of political thinkers and academicians who still choose to support death penalty for the purpose of reducing recidivism and achieving retribution. The modern day death penalty sentencing regime rests on the grand old doctrines of “Rarest of Rare cases” and “Balance sheet of Mitigating and Aggravating circumstance” which was evolved in the landmark judgments of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab and Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab in order to provide a proper, uniform sentencing guideline that has now been turned into a meager statement through which various courts have passed inconsistent judgments. Even though the enthusiasm of the courts in India remain high in providing justice through capital punishment, their judgments do not reflect so and more often than not, various incongruences have crept in their judgments which have long bearing problems in death penalty system often creating inconsistent delivery of capital punishment reflecting their arbitrariness and predilections. This complicates the conundrum where there are various judgments which provide different answers as to whether the criminal who is proven guilty is to be hanged or to be out behind bars. The way forward is to identify and highlight the problems and develop a uniform death sentencing policy or remove death penalty in order to fulfill India’s long-standing commitment towards ICCPR.



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