“Punishment is not revenge, but reducing crime and transforming crime.“-Elizabeth Fry

BY – Unnati Nigam

According to Aristotle, punishment is needed in order to maintain social order. Criminal law prohibits harmful conduct in society as a whole, and legal law regulates private communication between individuals. According to Sutherland, the penalty is imposed by the party on its corporate power against anyone deemed to be a member of the same party. Punishment includes the pain and suffering produced by the project and which can be forgiven by other values ​​that suffering is expected to have. Former Italian forensic activist Enrico Ferri said the punishment was a legal barrier. Punishment is therefore a punishment / fines imposed by the government on people, who violate criminal law. The community describes the cases and punishes them. The types of punishment that are imposed are certainly influenced by the type of community in which a person lives. In ancient times the punishment was severe as fear was considered a major weapon in crime prevention.

The section 53 of the IPC, 1860 determines, five types of penalties –

  • Death Penalty
  • Life imprisonment
  • Imprisonment (Rigorous & Simple)
  • Forfeiture of property
  • Fine


Appointed by the national regulatory authority, penalty is usually levied on the country to avoid the worst circumstances. Penalty is usually made for the worst, most serious crimes against human society or the people. The infliction of death by an authority as a punishment is called capital punishment. It is the most extreme form of punishment. Capital punishment is the practice of deliberately causing death of an offender as a measure of social policy. It is imposed by the Judicial Authority of the country. Capital punishment is generally imposed for the most, grievous crimes against human society or human beings.  It is the most extreme form of punishment ; the authors of the code have categorically stated that it should be inflicted in cases which are an exception where either there is murder or the highest offence against the state has been committed.


Justice is exercised even if the right to life exists

The legal issue on this side is about the right to life, regardless of anything because the majority of the Constitution guarantees this right and in good morals, it is human nature to enjoy it. The argument made by those who prefer to be punished with leather does not work because we do not live in a pagan society where the eye can be taken with the eye or tooth by tooth. When a murder is committed, the opposition says the life of the killer should also be taken, but that is not the case, for example, when a person is attacked or robbed. In addition, tooth decay only includes murder but does not involve other crimes such as rape which can be considered equally serious. If someone robs your house, justice is done when the offender is arrested, facing a similar charge and imprisoned according to the existing law (rules). Justice has not been done by allowing you to go and rob his house or ask a government-appointed criminal to rob his house in contrast to the death penalty case in which a State-appointed executor kills a convicted felon.

It is not a valid deterrent tool

Opponents of the death penalty strongly believe that the death penalty is not a valid deterrent. In Canada, where the death penalty was abolished, the homicide rate dropped by 44% . This makes it clear that the death penalty and the ban are unrelated, and if any, the repeal of such a law would actually work rather than its observance. It will be fair to claim that the abolition of this law will be a practical obstacle is also an easy task. Still, one point remains. The death penalty is not a valid deterrent. It clearly shows that the reasons related to non-monetary punishment are based on a lower homicide rate.


In Mithu vs State of Punjab [1]ruling states that the death penalty is not a mandatory punishment in the cases listed above. The Supreme Court also ruled that the mandatory death penalty was illegal.

Section 416 of the CrPC states that if a woman receives the death penalty and is found to be pregnant, the high court will rule that the sentence be postponed and if, if it is appropriate, she can commute the sentence to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court also ruled that mental illness is a “limiting factor” in protecting those with such ailments.


For a convicted felon to apply for a pardon, his death sentence must be upheld by the high court first. The law states: “The death penalty has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal or upholds the death sentence, the convicted person or his relatives can apply to the President of India (Article 72) or the Governor of the State (161). ”

According to Article 72 of the Constitution, the power to pardon – the philosophy of “all developed countries recognize and provides the power to pardon as an act of kindness and humanity in accordance with the law” – lies with the President. He may grant amnesty, reinstatement, respite or abolish a penalty or suspension, remission or sentence. The petition is being reviewed by the Department of Home Affairs, which is consulting with the government concerned, before going to the President.

When former President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the 24 petitions, his predecessor, Pratibha Patil, gave a record of 30 pardons, some of which were serious criminal offences. President Ram Nath Kovind, who came to power in July 2017, has rejected at least two requests for favour – that of Jagat Rai, who burned seven people alive, five of them children, and the recently convicted 2012 rapist Akshay. The power of the ruler of the country is almost the same as that of the President. According to Article 161, a governor may “pardon, reinstate, rest or pardon a sentence or suspend, pardon or commute a sentence of any convicted person in any law relating to a matter of higher jurisdiction”.

[1] AIR 1983 SC 473 : 1983 Cri LJ 81


On the basis of morality, it is very difficult to justify the use of the death penalty, whether minor or serious offences. In the case of petty crimes such as theft or assault, it is clear that it does not make sense to receive the death penalty as a result. Both sides of the house agree. On the basis of morality, it does not make sense for rapists to be sentenced to death and instead should be punished with more severe prison sentences, after a fair trial. When it comes to murder, even though a person’s right to life has been violated, there is no reason for the murderer to be executed because apart from the crime, even the murderer has the right to life.

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