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Report No. 262

B. Previous Reports of the Law Commission

(i) The 35th Report on Capital Punishment (1967)

1.2.1 The Commission began work on its 35th Report on "Capital Punishment" in December 1962, which it presented in December 1967. The Report was the consequence of a reference by the Parliament, when the third Lok Sabha debated on the resolution moved by Shri Raghunath Singh, Member, Lok Sabha for the abolition of capital punishment.6

The Commission undertook an extensive exercise to consider the issue of abolition of capital punishment from the statute books. Based on its analysis of the existing socio-economic-cultural structures (including education levels and crime rates) and the absence of any Indian empirical research to the contrary, it concluded that the death penalty should be retained.

6. Law Commission of India, 35th Report, 1967, available at and (last visited on 25.08.2015).

1.2.2 Its recommendations said:

It is difficult to rule out the validity of, or the strength behind, many of the arguments for abolition. Nor does the Commission treat lightly the argument of irrevocability of the sentence of death, the need for a modern approach, the severity of capital punishment, and the strong feeling shown by certain sections of public opinion, in stressing deeper questions of human values.

Having regard, however, to the conditions in India, to the variety of the social upbringing of its inhabitants, to the disparity in the level of morality and education in the country, to the vastness of its area, to the diversity of its population, and to the paramount need for maintaining law and order in the country at the present juncture, India cannot risk the experiment of abolition of capital punishment.

Arguments which would be valid in respect of one area of the world may not hold good in respect of another area in this context. Similarly, even if abolition in some parts of India may not make a material difference, it may be fraught with serious consequences in other parts.

On a consideration of all the issues involved, the Commission is of the opinion that capital punishment should be retained in the present state of the country.7

7. Law Commission of India, 35th Report, 1967, at para 1 (Summary of Main Conclusions and Recommendations), available at
(last viewed on 7.08.2015).

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