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Report No. 262

(i) Recent expansions of the scope of the death penalty

2.5.4 Several of these enactments have been passed relatively recently. For example, passed in 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act introduced several new provisions into the IPC, including Section 376A, which allowed for the death penalty to be imposed in cases where rape led to the death of the victim, or left her in a persistent vegetative state; and 376E which allowed for the imposition of the death penalty for certain repeat offenders.

These amendments were passed in the wake of the recommendations of the Verma Committee.113 Pertinently, while the Verma Committee was in favour of enhanced punishment for certain forms of sexual assault and rape, it noted that "in the larger interests of society, and having regard to the current thinking in favour of abolition of the death penalty, and also to avoid the argument of any sentencing arbitrariness, we are not inclined to recommend the death penalty."114 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, nevertheless expanded the scope of the death penalty.

113 See Verma Committee Report, 2013, available at %20committe%20report.pdf (last viewed on 26.08.2015).

114 See Verma Committee Report, 2013, at page 246, available at %20committe%20report.pdf (last viewed on 26.08.2015).

2.5.5 There is currently a Bill pending in Parliament, the Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill 2014, which also prescribes the death penalty.115

115 See PRS India, Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014, available at (last viewed on 15.08.2015).

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