Death penalty is a debatable international topic and every country stands with different opinion in this context. It has been banned in various countries where as, it is regarded as panacea to the persistent threat to the society. United Nations prohibits death penalty in all of its forms declaring it as barbarous and inhuman. India is party to UN conventions but it has always voted against the question of global moratorium on the death penalty. India restricts itself to apply the provisions of UN resolutions on death penalty. Indian legislation has several provisions that provide death penalty for some serious type of offences. During the 1980s the Supreme Court sought to restrict the use of the death penalty by characterizing it as a punishment reserved only for the “rarest of the rare” cases. This category is no where defined in the constitution or any other legislative provision. It’s all judicial creativity based on facts and circumstances of the case and subjected to judicial mindset and judicial creativity. Here, we have examined various case laws and tried to find the reasonability behind the category of rarest of rare. In a case, for a crime, a person is awarded death sentence and for the same offence in another case, accused is given life imprisonment, proving the theory of rarest of rare as vague. It is subjected to arbitrary practices which infuses corruption in system. Provisions of mercy petition by President and governor proves to be inconsistent with the criteria of awarding death penalty. India is a land of customs, beliefs and superstitious traditions. There exists a belief that God resides in every human being and there are ample chances of transformation. But now we are facing such situations where expiratory theory doesn’t work. Retributive way of punishment is the only way to cure brutal acts against humanity. There exists a persistent doubt, is death penalty applicable in India? And the answer is YES.


Debatable, persistent, opinion, prohibits, provisions, characterizing, category, mindset, transformation, applicable.

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o Code of Criminal Procedure,1973

o Indian Penal Code,1860

o The Constitution of India,1950

o The General Clauses Act,1897


o Indian Penal Code, Ratanlal & Dheerajlal, Allahabad Law Publication, 16th Edition

o Introduction to Constitution of India, D.D.Basu, Lexis Publications

o R.V.Kelkar Lecture series on Criminal Law, 2014 Reprint Edition

o Justice and Reality by Ram Krishna Iyer, 2012

o Criminal Law, S.N.Mishra, 2013


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