Law Commission recommends abolition of death penalty, except in terror cases

apshah_2530498fJustice A.P. Shah, Chairman, Law Commission, presenting the report on death penalty in India.

Principle of ‘rarest of rare’ cannot be operated free of arbitrariness, says Law Commission.

The Law Commission of India has recommended the abolition of death penalty in all cases except those related to terrorism and waging war against India.

Justice A. P. Shah, Former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court presented Report No. 262 – The Death Penalty.

Three Law Commission members (including two government representatives) dissented and argued for retention of death, while six supported the report.

Here are the top takeaways:

– Death for terrorism should be debated by Parliament, abolition in its case not immediately recommended by Law Commission.

– Deterrence is a myth, retributive justice should not turn into vengeance, Law Commission notes with respect to death penalty.

– Principle of ‘rarest of rare’ cannot be operated free of arbitrariness, is constitutionally unsustainable.

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