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The harshest type of punishment that can be imposed is known as "Capital Punishment" or "Death Penalty." To uphold law and order, a community or democracy is necessary. However, killing a person in the name of justice is not acceptable no better than killing a person. Instead of concentrating on the criminal, we should eliminate the crime. Beijing is then with over 1000 executions each year, only country in the world where the death penalty is still widely used is India, where the "Rarest of the Rare" doctrine is upheld and the death penalty is frequently handed down gets converted to a life sentence.

But even so, from 2002 to 2015, India executed a total of 4 criminals. Both nations' capital punishment laws and procedures share a number of parallels, but China's death penalty cannot be overturned after it has been imposed. Because of this, the United Nations (UN) declared that "Life is valuable and death is irrevocable" and opposed the idea of the death penalty. In addition, the UN stated that murdering a person for the sake of justice also murders the fact that we are human. Nobody but God has the right to determine who lives and who dies. Therefore, instead of hanging someone to death, we should adopt an alternative strategy, known as the reformative strategy, so that the offender might better himself and go on to live in peace.


The compulsion employed to enforce the "law of land," which serves as one of the cornerstones of contemporary society, is known as "punishment." To uphold law and order in society, it is the responsibility of the State to punish offenders. For such offences, there used to be no explicit law or regulation, and the severity of the punishment was primarily up to the King. Modern notions of punishment evolved over time, and we voluntarily gave up our rights and the ability to enforce the law to the state. The harshest or, more accurately, the harshest penalty now meted out is known as "Capital Punishment."

The judicial execution of a person who has committed a specific offence that is against the law is the capital punishment. A person is executed by the state as retribution for the crime he committed under the legal term "death penalty," which is recognised by the government.

The act of carrying out a death sentence is known as "execution," and the sentence that condemns a convicted prisoner to death is known as "death sentence."

Making "Essence Sticks" and "Dhoop Batti" by the inmates of India's Tihar Jail is a good way to help them become more flexible or adaptable to society. In contrast, neither the human essence nor the potential for improvement exist in the Deterrent Theory.

The death penalty is an extremely serious subject because it involves taking someone's life, which is a very delicate matter. This is the reason why the death penalty is questioned in nations like China, India, the United States, and Arab nations.

China alone is the one of these nations that executes the most people, more than 60%. While in India, the death penalty is only applied in extremely rare circumstances. Death should only be used as a last resort because it is a cruel and brutal punishment.

The Doctrine of “Rarest of Rare"

In the case of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab6, the Supreme Court made clear its position on the death sentence, holding that it should only be given in the rarest of rare situations. Since the Supreme Court's position sought to curtail the use of the death penalty, it received a lot of support.

The Supreme Court's Ratio Decidenti, or Rule of Law, in the Bachan Singh case holds that the death sentence is only legal if it serves as an alternative to life in prison. The same will also apply in the extremely rare circumstance where the alternative option is categorically barred.

The Supreme Court further stated that the "rarest of rare dictum only serves as a guideline in enforcing the provisions mentioned in Section 354(3) of CrPC and entrenches the policy that life imprisonment is the rule and death punishment is an exception." The Indian Constitution, under Article 21, states that no person shall be deprived of his "Right to Life" unless done with due process. When the death penalty is imposed, it also restricts the scope of introducing fresh evidence or legal rules into the case. The punishment is irrevocable if it has been carried out.

Summed up, a total of 3 factors or considerations to be considered was stated by the Apex Court in the case of Macchi Singh vs State of Punjab6for imposing death sentence which are firstly, why that particular case belongs under the rarest of rare case. Second, what unusual circumstance renders life imprisonment insufficient? Thirdly, even after giving the mitigating element the most weight, it appears that the only option when examining the circumstances of the case is to impose the death penalty.

The Supreme Court has also been required to provide special justifications when imposing a severe penalty like the death penalty. The Supreme Court has also ordered that no laws be passed that "mandate the death penalty" or otherwise violate the Constitution.

Discussion Of Important Cases Relating To India's Death Penalty

In the first case to address the issue of the constitutionality of the death penalty in India, Jagmohan Singh v. State of U.P., In this case, the appellant's attorney advanced three defences against the constitutionality of section 302 of the IPC.

First of all, the law regarding the death penalty is illogical and not in the public interest because execution revokes all fundamental rights protected by Clauses (a) to (g) of Subclause (1) of Article 19.

The second is that there are no legislative requirements or policies that the judges must follow in order to use their discretion to choose the death penalty over a life sentence.

Because two people found guilty of murder on the same facts are likely to be treated different one losing his life and the other receiving only a sentence of life imprisonment Article 14 of the Constitution targets the judges' unchecked and unguided discretion to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment.

It was argued that the legal rules lack a system for a trial of the elements and circumstances that are essential for choosing between the death penalty and life imprisonment. The Criminal Procedure Code restricts the scope of the trial to the issue of guilt. The protection provided by Article 21 of the Constitution was violated because there was no legal process in place for imposing sentences, and the death penalty is therefore illegal as a result.

The five-judge court maintained the validity of the death sentence after considering the arguments and concluded that the taking of life is a constitutionally permissible punishment because it was acknowledged as such by the authors of our Constitution.


We can see from the talks above that India's position on the death penalty is still very ambiguous.

The moral and social issues surrounding this contentious subject, in addition to the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the death sentence, must cause a great deal of confusion in this regard.

Without addressing the legal issue, the debate over the death sentence must grapple with moral dilemmas like the "eye for an eye" ethic on the one hand and public attitudes on the other. Additionally, we are aware that making mistakes in judgement is only humane, and occasionally giving someone a second chance is equivalent to handing them another bullet because the first one missed you.


  • Death Penalty for Gang Rape in India.

  • State of Punjab v. Bachan Singh, AIR1980SC898.

  • State of Punjab v. Macchi Singh (1983), 3 SCC 470.

  • State of Uttar Pradesh v. Jagmohan Singh (1973 1 SCC 20).

This article is written by Tejasvee Kotian of Jayantilal H. Patel Law College Mumbai.

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