Capital Punishment has been at the center of human rights debate. It has been practiced since the dawn of civilization in the world to punish those charged with heinous crimes such as murder etc.


In India, capital punishment was officially recognized and codified by the British during colonial period. Post-independence, it has been awarded, but with high caution. Even the Supreme Court has declared the “Rarest of the Rare” doctrine in the Bachan Singh case when giving capital punishment to a criminal.


A Law Commission Report on the subject has provided many arguments for and against capital punishment. They are as follows:


Arguments for Capital Punishment:

  1. Deters extreme crimes.
  2. Keeps the society together by producing a fear of the law.
  3. Puts a criminal to justice in the eyes of the victim’s family, which is important for their psychological being.
  4. It is a must to counter new problems such as terrorism.
  5. It is too expensive for a justice system to keep a serious criminal under bars.


Arguments Against:

  1. Against the modern principles of liberalism and humanism
  2. The primary aim of the justice system is reform and not punishment. Capital punishment does not give any chance for the criminal to reform himself.
  3. It is practiced in inhumane ways such as hanging and poisoning and even stoning to death in many societies, which is regressive.
  4. It does not have a place in a democratic and forward looking society of ours.



Human rights group Amnesty International has published a new report on number of death penalty executions across the world. At least 1,634 people were executed last year, an increase of more than 50% on 2014.