Death Penalty Current Affairs

Death penalty should stay: 12 out of 14 states/UTs

The 12 out of 14 states/UTs have replied to Home Ministry that capital punishment or death penalty should stay, as it serves to act as deterrent in cases of heinous crimes such as murder and rape. The Home Ministry had forwarded proposal to abolish death penalty to states/UTs based on recommendation of Law Commission of India (LCI). The states/UTs that vetoed abolition of capital punishment were Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. Only two states, Karnataka and Tripura, want practice to be done away with.

Background

In 2013, the Supreme Court had asked Law Commission to examine whether death penalty is deterrent punishment or is retributive justice or serves an incapacitative goal. In its report in 2015, Law Commission, ten headed by Justice A P Shah, had proposed abolition of capital punishment for non-terrorism cases (i.e. it should be abolished for all crimes other than terrorism related offences and waging war). According to Law Commission’s Report, India is among handful of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq that still carry out executions. At end of 2014, 98 countries had abolished death penalty, 7 had abolished it for ordinary crimes, and 35 were abolitionists in practice, making 140 countries abolitionists in law or practice.

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Rajasthan passes bill for death penalty for child rape of girls below 12

Rajasthan Assembly has passed Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 by voice vote to amend Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 to add provisions providing for death penalty for those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below.

The bill will become a law after it gets Presidential assent. With this, Rajasthan became second state in the country after Madhya Pradesh approving death sentence for those convicted of such rapes.

Key facts

The Bill aims at protecting girl child by laying down deterrent punishment, including death sentence, to offenders of child rape of girls below 12. It inserts sections 376-AA and 376-DD in IPC, 1860. These sections provide, that whoever commits rape or gang-rape on a girl upto 12 years of age shall be punishable with death or rigorous imprisonment. The capital punishment under it will be not less than 14 years and 20 years respectively for sections and which may extend to imprisonment for life, which means imprisonment for remainder of offenders’ whole life, and with fine.

Background

According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crimes against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan. The state has recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8% of crimes against children (98,344) registered across country. It stands fourth in crime against women category. In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, increased by 345 in year under review. State police had registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.

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