Landmark Judgements on Capital Judgement in India

 Capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty, is the execution of a person who has been condemned to death by a court of law. Extrajudicial executions carried out without due process of law should be separated from capital punishment. Because of the potential of commutation to life imprisonment, the terms death sentence and capital punishment are frequently used interchangeably. However, the application of the penalty does not necessarily result in execution (even when it is sustained on appeal). The word “Capital Punishment” refers to the worst type of punishment.

It is the retribution that will be meted out to those who commit the most egregious, severe, and abhorrent crimes against mankind. The death penalty was the default punishment for murder in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1898, and judges had to present reasons in their judgments if they chose to grant life imprisonment instead. The necessity of written reasons for not imposing the death sentence was abolished from the CrPC in 1955, demonstrating no legislative preference between the two penalties. When the CrPC was again revised in 1973, life imprisonment became the standard, with the death sentence reserved for “extraordinary situations” requiring “special justifications.” This substantial shift indicates a willingness in India to minimise the use of the death sentence. The Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 also divided a criminal trial into two parts with separate hearings, one for conviction and the other for sentencing. Let’s take a look at the landmark death penalty cases in India. 

  1. Shabnam v. the Union of India & Ors, 2015

A woman was sentenced to death in Shabnam v. The Union of India & Ors (2015), Shabnam and her lover assassinated members of her family in this case. In the year 2008, this occurrence occurred. Shabnam assassinated her family members for refusing to let her marry her boyfriend. As a result, she devised a terrible murder plot for her family, which served as an aggravating circumstance. She didn’t even leave her baby nephew (who was just 10 months old) and forced him to wear a bloody robe. Both Shabnam and her lover, Salim, filed two Writ Petitions after they were co-suspected in a murder case in which they were accused of murdering seven members of Shabnam’s family during the intervening night of April 14th and 15th, 2008. They were tried jointly, and after the trial, the learned Sessions Court returned with a verdict, finding them guilty of the crimes for which they were accused, and imposing the death penalty on both of them. The prisoners’ appeals were also denied by this Court, upholding their convictions as well as the death sentence imposed on them.

2. Hyderabad Gang Rape Case, 2019

The gang-rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Shamshabad, near Hyderabad, in November 2019 aroused anger throughout India. Her corpse was discovered in Shadnagar the day after she was murdered, on November 28, 2019. Four individuals were apprehended and admitted to robbing and killing the doctor, according to the police. The victim stopped her scooter near a toll plaza, drawing the notice of two lorry drivers and their assistance, according to the Telangana Police Department. They punctured her tyre, pretended to rescue her, then pulled her into adjacent bushes, where they raped and suffocated her, according to authorities. They allegedly placed her body onto a vehicle and dumped it on the side of the road. Based on evidence acquired from CCTV cameras and the victim’s cell phone, the police detained four males. For seven days, the accused were held in judicial custody at Cherlapally Central Jail. Telangana’s Chief Minister has ordered the establishment of a special court to try the guilty for their alleged offences. In various sections of the country, rape and murder sparked outrage. Following the occurrence, nationwide protests and public demonstrations against rape were held, with the people demanding harsher legislation against rape and rapists. The Minister of Home Affairs chastised the Telangana Police and claimed that the government planned to change the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to implement rules that would allow for faster punishment by fast-track courts. Meanwhile, these four accused arrived and began torturing and rapping her, as well as setting fire to her body. The case was clear-cut enough for a death sentence to be handed down, but when the police came upon the accused, it raised doubts about our Indian criminal justice system. 

3. Surendra Koli v. The State Of U.P., 2011

         Surendra Koli v. The State of Uttar Pradesh (2011), popularly known as Nithari Kaand, was one of the most stunning developments for Indians in 2007. The remains of the murdered children and adults were discovered at Mohinder Singh Pandher’s home in the Noida hamlet of Nithari. When the matter was investigated further, it was discovered that the girls’ bodies had been raped, murdered, and devoured by him. He was sentenced to death after committing such a crime on fifteen females. The aggravating factors applied to him. However, due to particular plea bargaining clauses, he was sentenced to life in jail.



Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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