Hanging best option in death sentence: Centre to Supreme Court | india news | Hindustan Times
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Hanging best option in death sentence: Centre to Supreme Court

Making the execution “overly comfortable” would bring down the deterrent effect of a death sentence, the home ministry has said in an affidavit.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2018 00:11 IST
Bhadra Sinha
The home ministry in an affidavit  said hanging is free from anything that would unnecessarily sharpen the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension.
The home ministry in an affidavit said hanging is free from anything that would unnecessarily sharpen the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension.(Representative photo)

Hanging was a safe and quick method to carry out a death sentence, the Centre has told Supreme Court in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) that says the practice violates the right to die with dignity.

Making the execution “overly comfortable” would bring down the deterrent effect of a death sentence, the home ministry has said in an affidavit seen by the Hindustan Times. Other means such as lethal injection or a firing squad could be more barbaric and inhumane, it says, adding death sentence is awarded in the rarest of rare cases of abhorrent and barbaric acts.

Advocate Rishi Malhotra’s PIL wants execution by hanging abolished and also wants the court to declare the right to die by a dignified procedure a fundamental right under Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

Section 354(5) of the criminal procedure code says a convict be hanged by the neck till death.

The Centre requested the court not to entertain the PIL, saying the issue was sensitive and a matter of legislative policy.

The apex court, it pointed out, had in an earlier judgment upheld Section 354(5), finding it in conformity with Article 21.

The judgment, it said, had looked at different methods such as an electric chair, firing squad and lethal injection in use in other parts of the world and found hanging the most suitable mode of execution.

Hanging, the affidavit says, is “free from anything that would unnecessarily sharpen the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension”.

Chances of accidents could be safely excluded as well as the possibility of a lingering death. “Unconsciousness supervenes almost instantaneously after the process is set in motion and death follows,” says the affidavit.

The Centre said the law commission report that favoured lethal injection did not take into account the possibility that medical professionals were unlikely to participate in an execution, or that the chemical used could fail.

There were also problems of finding the right vein, right doses and other complications.