No other viable method of execution than by hanging, says Centre.
New Delhi: Today, there is no other viable method of execution of a death row prisoner other than by hanging, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
In a brief response made before a three judge Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, the Centre through additional solicitor general Pinky Anand said “execution by lethal injection is unworkable as often it fails. The draft response is ready with the Union home ministry. We file our reply shortly.”
The ASG made this submission during the course of hearing of a PIL filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra seeking to stop death by hanging as it is a cruel form of death inflicting pain and injury and violated one’s right to die with dignity.
During the last hearing the court had observed that the condemned prisoner should die with dignity in peace and not in pain and asked the Centre to consider enacting a legislation on other forms execution of death sentence of a convict than by “hanging”. On Tuesday, the court granted four weeks time to the government to spell out its stand by an affidavit.
The petitioner challenged the method of Execution of Death sentence in India i.e. by hanging by neck till the prisoner is dead. He said Execution as contemplated u/s 354(5) Cr.P.C. is not only barbaric, inhuman and cruel but also against the Resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) which had categorically resolved by way of safeguard, viz “where capital punishment occurs it shall be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible suffering. He said the execution should be as quick and as simple as possible and free from anything that unnecessarily sharpens the poignancy of the prisoner’s apprehension. It should produce immediate unconsciousness passing quickly into the death. It should be decent and should not involve mutilation of the body. He suggested execution by lethal injection or by gunshots.
Justice Chandrachud told the petitioner that there was lot of criticism in the US on use of lethal injection as it takes more than 45 minutes for the convict to die after a lot of suffering. In a brief order, the Bench had said the Legislature might think of other forms of execution keeping in view the dynamic progress in science as a convict in law has to face death sentence in peace and not in pain as it has been said since centuries that nothing can be equated to painless death. Though the apex court has upheld the provision relating to hanging by death, the Bench noted that Indian Constitution was compassionate and recognises the principle of sanctity of life.