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SC asks Centre to find other alternatives of death to convicts

Observing that a condemned prisoner should die with dignity; in peace and not in pain, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to consider enacting a legislation on other forms of executing a death row convict rather than “hanging”.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud passed this brief order while issuing notice on a PIL filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra seeking to stop death by hanging as it is a cruel form of death, inflicting pain and injury and violated one’s right to die with dignity.

The petitioner challenged the method of execution of death sentence in India i.e. hanging by the neck till death. He said the Execution as contemplated u/s 354(5) CrPC is not only barbaric, inhuman and cruel, but also against the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which had categorically resolved by way of safeguard, viz “where capital punishment occurs it shall be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible suffering”.

He said the execution should be as quick and as simple as possible and free from anything that unnecessarily sharpens the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension. It should produce immediate unconsciousness passing quickly into death. It should be decent and should not involve mutilation of the body. He suggested execution by lethal injection or by gunshots.

Justice Chandrachud told the petitioner that there was lot of criticism in the US on use of lethal injection as it tak-es more than 45 minutes for the convict to die after a lot of suffering.

The bench asked the attorney-general K.K. Venugopal to render assistance and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.


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