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A brief analysis of 262nd Report of Law Commission of India on Death Penalty

 

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The Law Commission of India in its 262nd Report, 2015 recommended that the death penalty may be abolished for all the crime other than terrorism related offences and waging war.

Following are the major findings and recommendation of the Commission:

  1. The march of our own jurisprudence—from removing the requirement of giving special reasons for imposing life imprisonment instead of death in 1955; to requiring special reasons for imposing the death penalty in 1973; to 1980 when the death penalty was restricted by the Supreme Court to the rarest of the rare cases— shows the direction in which we have to head. Informed also by the expanded and depended contents and horizons of the right to life and strengthened due process requirements in the interactions between the state and the individuals, prevailing standards of constitutional; morality and human dignity, the Commission feels that time has come for India to move towards abolition of the death penalty.
  2. There is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other, concern is often raised that abolition of death penalty for terrorism related offences and waging war, will affect national security. However, given the concern 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.
  3. The Commission accordingly recommends that the death penalty be abolished for all crimes other than terrorism related offences and waging war.
  4. The Commission trust that this Report will contribute to a more rational principled and informed debate on the abolition of the death penalty for all the crimes.
  5. Further, the Commission sincerely hopes that the movement towards absolute abolition will be swift and irreversible.
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