From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Project 39A
Mains level : Capital Punishment and its justification
Trial courts in India delivered 102 death sentences in 2019, over 60% fewer than the 162 death sentences passed in 2018.
Highlights of the Report
- In 2019, fewer death sentences overall were delivered.
- 1 out of 2 sentences for sexual violence-murder; in 3 out of 4 sexual violence-murder death sentences, children were the killer’s victims.
- The courts were, however, especially unforgiving of murders that involved sexual violence — the proportion of death sentences imposed for murders involving sexual offences was at a four-year high in 2019 at 52.94%.
- 2019 also saw the highest number of confirmations by High Courts in four years; 17 out of the 26 confirmations (65.38%) were in offences of murder involving sexual violence.
- The Supreme Court, primarily during the tenure of the previous CJI Gogoi, listed and heard 27 capital cases, the most in a year since 2001.
- These are the headline findings in the fourth edition of The Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics, published by Project 39A at the National Law University (NLU), Delhi.
- Project 39A is a research and litigation initiative focussed on the criminal justice system, and especially issues of legal aid, torture, death penalty, and mental health in prisons.
- The report tracked news of death sentences awarded by trial courts published online by news organisations in English and Hindi.
- It checked these numbers against judgments uploaded to websites of High Court and district courts.