Trending: Call for Papers Volume 4 | Issue 4: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]



  • For a long time, capital punishment was just the way things were done. Rulers and citizens alike believed it was necessary and unavoidable. No one seemed to doubt it deterred crime or questioned its wider impact on society. This was especially true for those directly involved in the justice system.
  • However, times have changed. Today, we’re re-evaluating this practice. Does capital punishment still make sense in a society that prioritizes human dignity, freedom, and equality (the hallmarks of a welfare state)? Critics argue it’s often used to silence political opposition, unfairly targeting the poor and minorities. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides that, ‘The State shall not deprive a person’s right to life and personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law.”[1]
  • The Indian Constitution stipulates that the right to life can only be deprived through a fair, just, and reasonable legal process. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the primary criminal law in India and includes provisions for Capital Punishment. The Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) outlines the procedures for carrying out Capital Punishment. However, the state, as the executor of capital punishment, engages in illegal actions.
  • Capital punishment, sanctioned by the state, entails the deliberate killing of a human being. While this practice was once widespread globally, with only a few countries abstaining, it is now widely condemned by organizations like the United Nations and Amnesty International. Various methods, such as gassing, shooting, hanging, and electrocution, have been employed. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everyone the rights to life, liberty, and personal security.[2]
  • Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[3] affirms the right to life for every individual, protected by law, and prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life. Even in times of national emergency, such as those posing a threat to national life, no derogation from this right is permitted. The Human Rights Commission, established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, emphasizes that the right to life is inviolable.[4]
  • Criticism of Capital Punishment is widespread, both in developed and developing countries, viewing it as an exceptionally cruel, inhuman, and degrading form of punishment. The stance of the Indian judiciary on capital punishment remains ambiguous, with judicial decisions indicating a divergence of opinion among judges.
  • Globally, there is a growing momentum within the abolition movement against capital punishment. Human rights advocates and organizations are actively campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty. Given these contemporary concerns, the aim of this study is to evaluate the continued relevance of capital punishment amidst evolving socio-economic conditions and emerging human rights principles. The researcher has endeavored to explore the historical roots of capital punishment and its developmental trajectory. Additionally, the study examines the disparities in legal frameworks and judicial attitudes toward capital punishment across different nations. The scholar underscores the significance of repealing capital punishment laws in multiple countries.

[1] Article 21 in Constitution of India

[2] Article 3 of the UDHR

[3]OHCHR. Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/HRBodies/CCPR/GCArticle6/HRW.pdf (Accessed: 29 March 2024).

[4]Bisset, Alison. ‘Blackstone’s International Human Rights Documents’.