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Report No. 35

V. Special position in India.

314. Special position in India.-

(a) In arriving at a decision about the necessity of capital punishment, it is desirable to make oneself familiar with the homicide rate in other countries as compared with the murder rate in India. (By "homicide" or "murder" rate here is meant the homicide or murder rate per million of the population). Murder rate in India has fluctuated in the nine years ending with 1962 between 25 and 30.6. It has never been less than 25 in this period1.

(b) It must be stated, that the homicide rate per million of the population in several countries or States is less than 25.

The figures for 1940 to 1948 (or 1940 to 1949) for some countries are as follows2:-

Murders per million of the population

England and Wales3 (Abolished 1965)

4.0

Scotland

2.7

New Zealand (Abolished 1941, restored 1950, again abolished except for treason, 1961)

7.2

New South Wales (Retains)

10.0

Queensland (Abolished 1922)

17.0

South Australia (Retains)

6.2

Sweden (Abolished 1910)

5.4

Maine (U.S.A.) (Abolished 1876, restored 1884)

14.1

Massachusetts (U.S.A.) (Retains)

13.7

Nebraska (U.S.A.) (Retains)

18.4

Rhode Island (U.S.A.) (Abolished 1852)

13.7

Vermont (U.S.A.) (Retains)4

12.6

(c) It may also be stated, that in many countries, the rate of homicide per million (for the period 1940 to 19485) was higher than 25. Thus, for South Africa, it was 108.9; for Georgia (U.S.A.), it was 167.3; for Kansas (U.S.A.), 29.8; for Michigan (U.S.A.), it was 33.4; for Missouri (U.S.A.) it was 56.3; and for New York (U.S.A.), it was 28.8.

1. Figures showing murder rate in India are given separately.

2. Taken from the R.C. Report, p. 371, Table 46, giving a general comparison of prevalence of "Murders" in the British sense of the term. The figures given there are per million of the population; see ibid., p. 370, para. 89.

3. By the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act, 1965, death penalty has been temporarily suspended.

4. It appears, however, that recently some States including Vermon have abolished or limited the death penalty. See Clarence H. Patrick Status of Capital Punishment, A World Perspective, (1965 December) 56 Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science 397, 411, foot-note 12.

5. The figures are per million of the population. See R.C. Report, p. 370, para. 89.

315. South Africa, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and New York.-Out of the States or countries mentioned above, with figures higher than India, Kansas (U.S.A.) and Missouri (U.S.A.) had abolished capital punishment at one time, but restored it later, while in Michigan (U.S.A.), it was abolished in 1847, and it is understood to be not restored even now. Others, namely, South Africa, Georgia (U.S.A.) and New York (U.S.A.) have not abolished the death penalty1.

1. Figures for 1962 for: abolitionist and retentionist countries are given separately.

316. There is another aspect of the matter, so far as India is concerned. The murder rate per million of the population in India seems to have been fluctuating. Thus, the figures for the 10 years ending 1962 are1:-

1953

27.1 (per million)

1954

26.9

1955

27.7

1956

27.8

1957

28.9

1958

29.6

1959

29.8

1960

25

1961

26

1962

26

These figures show-

(a) continuous increase during 1954-1959,

(b) slight decrease in 1960, but

(c) increase again in 1961, which was maintained in 1962.

It may also be noted, that in some cities of India, the increase has been noticeable2.

1. Figures for 1953 to 1961 are based on the figures supplied by the Home Ministry, and have also been checked with "Crime in India". Figures for 1962 are based on "Crime in India, 1962", p. 25.

2. Table showing noticeable increase in certain cities is given separately.



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