At the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social and humanitarian issues, India voted against the UN General Assembly draft resolution which called for abolishing the death penalty. 110 nations voted in favour of the resolution while 36 abstained and 39 countries voted against the resolution. The draft resolution expresses its "deep concern about the continued application of the death penalty and calls on states to establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the practice".
India held that:
- Every nation had the "sovereign right" to determine its own legal system.
- The draft resolution sought a moratorium on executions. India could not support the text in its present form.
Counsellor Amit Kumar from the Indian mission to the UN held that:
- In India, the death penalty is exercised in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, where the crime committed is so heinous as to shock the conscience of society
- Indian law provides for all requisite procedural safeguards, including the right to a fair hearing by an independent Court, the presumption of innocence, the minimum guarantees for the defence, and the right to review by a higher Court
- The President of India in all cases, and the Governors of States under their respective jurisdictions, have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence
Amongst other nations that voted against against the resolution were Bangladesh, China, Korea, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan and the USA.