INDIA. FIGHT AGAINST DEATH PENALTY SET TO GET TOUGHER
September 13, 2008: with increasing support for tougher laws to deal with fundamentalist and extremist activities in India, the fight against death penalty is set to get tougher, former Additional Director of Central Bureau of Investigation V.R.Lakshminarayanan said.
He was speaking at the release of a book "Lethal Lottery: The Death Penalty in India", brought out by the Peopleās Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Amnesty International.
According to statistics, between 1950 and 2006, the Supreme Court has passed over 700 death sentences. Amnesty International (India) Director Mukul Sharma said, "Among them 44 are on the death row awaiting a response from the President on their mercy petitions."
Considered to be the first comprehensive documentation of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases in India, the book is a weapon in the hands of activists fighting for its abolition, said V.Suresh of PUCL. The book was researched and written over a period of ten years by Bikram Jeet Batra, consultant to Amnesty International India and Dr.Suresh and D.Nagasaila from PUCL contributed to it.
Mr Sharma said the rights body would urge India to declare an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing death penalty. Advocate Sudha Ramalingam said since the Code of Criminal Procedure was in the concurrent list, States too could enact laws to abolish the death penalty. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (Dalit Panthers of India) Member of the Legislative Assembly D.Ravikumar said he would try pushing for a private bill in the Tamil Nadu Assembly for this purpose. (Sources: The Hindu, 17/09/2008)