Ruling On Death Penalty

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  • More than four decades after a landmark ruling on death sentence cases, a bench in the Supreme Court has made psychological evaluation of the condemned prisoner mandatory.
  • It has also sought a report on the inmate’s conduct at the time of examining whether the gallows remain the only fitting punishment.
  • Taking a cue from the Bachan Singh verdict, justice Lalit, in a series of death sentences cases, has recently held that “complete assistance” to the court in such matters would necessitate the production of not just the evidence in the case but also the latest state of the mental health of the prisoner.
  • Supreme Court’s verdict in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980): This verdict established the doctrine of “rarest of rare” crime in handing down capital punishment while mandating a comparative analysis of aggravating and mitigating circumstances in connection to the accused.
  • The judgment laid down that a court must scrutinise both the crime as well as the criminal, and then decide whether death penalty is the only suitable punishment in the facts of the case.
  • Emphasis is to be also laid on the aggravating and mitigating factors which are dependent upon the facts and circumstances of the case.


Source : Hindustan times

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