Report No. 262
(i) Development in India
1.3.2 The Commission's conclusions in the 35th Report rejecting the abolition of capital punishment were linked 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."12
12. Law Commission of India, 35th Report, 1967, at para 1 (Summary of Main Conclusions and Recommendations), available at
(last viewed on 7.08.2015).
1.3.3 Nevertheless, education, general well-being, and social and economic conditions are vastly different today from those prevailing at the time of writing the 35th Report. For example, per capita Net National Income at constant prices, based on the 2004-2005 series was Rs. 1838.5 in 2011-2012, while it was Rs. 191.9 in 1967-1968.13 Similarly, adult literacy was 24.02% in 196114 and 74.0% in 2011,15and life expectancy (a product of nutrition, health care, etc.) was 47.1 years in 1965-197016 and 64.9 years in 2010-2015.17 The state of the country and its inhabitants has thus changed significantly.
13. See Table 1.1, The Statistical Appendix to the Economic Survey 2014-2015, available at:
http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2014-15/estat1.pdf (last viewed on 6.08.2015).
14. "State of Literacy", Census of India, available at Census of India 1961,
http://censusindia.gov.in/Data_Products/Library/Provisional_Population_Total_link/PDF_Links/chapter7.pdf (last viewed on 19.08.2015).
15. "Status of Literacy", Census of India 2011, available at
http://censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/data_files/mp/07Literacy.pdf (last viewed on 19.08.2015).
16. Life Expectancy at Birth- Both Sexes Combined, 1965-70, UN Data, available at
http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=india+life+expectancy+1965&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a68%3bcrID%3a356%3btimeID%3a103%2c104 (last viewed on 19.08.2015).
17. Life Expectancy at Birth- Both Sexes Combined, 2010-2015, UN Data, available at
http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=india+life+expectancy+2010&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a68%3bcrID%3a356%3btimeID%3a112%2c113 (last viewed on 19.08.2015).
1.3.4 Further, the 35th Report justified its hesitation in "risk[ing] the experiment of abolition," "at the present juncture," on the prevailing (high) crime rate. It expressed its concern in the following manner:
The figures of homicide in India during the several years have not shown any marked decline. The rate of homicide per million of the population is considerably higher in India than in many of the countries where capital punishment has been abolished.18
18. Law Commission of India, 35th Report, 1967, at paras 262, 263, available at
(last viewed on 7.08.2015).
1.3.5 However, according to the Crime in India19 reports, published by the National Crime Records Bureau ('NCRB') under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the murder rate has been in continuous and uninterrupted decline since 1992, when it was 4.6 per lakh of population.20 As per the latest figures for 2013, the murder rate is 2.7 per lakh of population, after having fallen further from 2012, when it was 2.8.21 This decline in the murder rate has coincided with a corresponding decline in the rate of executions, thus raising questions about whether the death penalty has any greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment.22
19. See Crime in India, National Crime Records Bureau, available at
(last viewed on 2.08.2015).
20. Crime in India, 2013, National Crime Records Bureau, available at
(last viewed at 8.08.2015).
21. Crime in India, 2013, National Crime Records Bureau, available at
(last viewed on 8.08.2015).
22. See Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Hanging on Theories, Frontline, 7 September 2012, 29-32.
1.3.6 It is evident that the socio-economic and cultural conditions in India, which had influenced the Commission in formulating its conclusions in the 35th Report, have changed considerably since 1967.