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To retain death sentence or not: Law panel report next week

Delhi: Days after its consultation process saw a majority opposing death penalty, the Law Commission will submit its report on the much-debated subject to the Supreme Court next week recommending as to whether capital punishment should be retained or done away with.

The law panel will submit its report to the Supreme Court “sometime” next week on whether India should continue with death penalty or abolish it. A copy will also be handed over to the Law Minister as any call on changes in penal provisions will be taken by Parliament.

The report assumes significance as it comes days after a debate was generated over the hanging of Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon.

The Commission is working overtime to complete the report as its three-year term is coming to an end on August 31.

The Supreme Court, in Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar vs Maharashtra and Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs Maharashtra, had suggested that the Law Commission should study the death penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject”.

In a consultation paper released on May 22 last year, the Law Commission had said that at this juncture, an exhaustive study on the subject would be a useful and salutary contribution to the cause of public debate on this issue.

Such a study will also provide a definitive research- backed orientation to the lawmakers and judges on this very contentious issue, it had said.

The Commission said the study would have to address queries and concerns of courts and present an international perspective on the issue.

Former President late A P J Abdul Kalam and DMK MP Kanimozhi were among the people who had supported abolishing death penalty while responding to the consultation paper.

A discussion held last month on a Law Commission consultation paper on whether capital punishment should be retained or abolished saw most of the participants opposing capital punishment.

with PTI