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Death Penalty is Valid in Law, Says Supreme Court in 2:1 Ruling

Despite the split verdict, the three judges were unanimous when they commuted the death penalty of a convict to life term.

Death Penalty is Valid in Law, Says Supreme Court in 2:1 Ruling
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, by 2:1 majority, upheld the validity of death sentence in the statute book on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a three-judge bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, ruled upon the validity of the highest punishment under the penal law while dealing with a case of death sentence.

Justice Kurian Joseph, the most senior judge on the bench, cited the 262nd Law Commission’s report to state that death penalty has failed to prove a deterrent for crimes in the society.

He ruled that trials are usually subject to public opinion and collective demand and that investigating agencies mount pressure on the courts by invoking passions and public sentiments.
But the other two judges on the bench dissented with their senior colleague.

Justice Deepak Gupta, reading out the majority opinion on this point, held that death penalty is a valid punishment and in view of the Supreme Court’s rulings in Bachan Singh and Machhi Singh in 1980s, there is no need to debate the correctness of the capital punishment.

However, in the case concerned, the three judges were unanimous when they commuted death penalty of convict Chhannu Lal Verma to life term.

Verma was convicted of killing three persons in 2011. The top court on Wednesday noted that there was no evidence to show he was beyond reformation and that life term will prove to be an inadequate punishment for his crime.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai

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