Law Commission Current Affairs - 2020

What is “Collective Conscience” invoked by Indian Courts in Death Penalty cases?

Project 39A was conducted by a team of National Law University, Delhi. According to the project, the Indian Courts invoke “Collective Conscience” of the society in most of the death penalty cases.

Project details

The study chose three states and Union Territories namely Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra. These states were chosen as they ranked high in awarding capital punishments

Findings

The study has found out that around between 2000 and 2015, 72% of cases of Delhi trial courts that awarded death penalty has invoked “Collective Conscience”. In Madhya Pradesh, this was invoked in 42% of death penalty cases and in Maharashtra it was invoked in 51% of death penalty cases.

In all these cases, the courts opined that the crime was heinous to shake the “collective conscience” of the society. Thus, the harshest punishment is being sentenced.

Recommendations of Law Commission

The Law Commission in 2015, headed by Justice A P Shah proposed to abolish capital punishments. However, the commission had made the proposal only to non-terrorism cases. According to the commission, India is one among few countries that still carry out executions. The other countries that practice executions include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China. By the end of 2014, 98 countries had abolished death penalty.

22nd Law Commission of India approved by the Union Cabinet

On February 19, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the 22nd Law Commission of India. The commission has been approved for a period of three years.

Highlights

The 22nd Law Commission will consist of a full time Chairperson. It has four full time members. Also, secretaries from Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative department.

Law Commission of India

It is a non-statutory body that is constituted by the GoI from time to time. It was constituted in 1955 for the first time. Since then it has been reconstituted for every 3 years. So far, the Law Commission of India has submitted 277 reports.

Benefits

The Law Commission will make recommendations based on the aspects of laws entrusted upon it. It will undertake research works and suggest reforms that are essential to enact new legislations.

Functions

The functions and objectives of the Law Commission are as follows

  • To identify laws that shall be repealed immediately
  • To examine the current laws in force and suggest ways to improve them
  • To respond to requests made by other countries in framing their legal system
  • To make measures that shall help to serve the poor legally
  • To revise laws to simplify them.