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Report No. 187


In Idaho State prescribes that any infliction of punishment of death by administration of the required lethal substance or substances in the manner required by this section should not be construed to be practice of medicine.

It may be mentioned here that in Deena's case (supra) the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 354(5) of Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 for carrying out of death sentence by hanging by neck till he is dead as the best available method in India as compared to electric chair, shooting or lethal injection. As mentioned earlier by reference to the Punjab and Haryana Jail Manual, the procedure of hanging starts a day earlier as the condemned person is weighed. Furthermore, his hands and legs are tied and the black mask is put on his head before he is hanged.

This causes further punishment although the judgment holds that no further agony 41should be caused. It may be noted that hands and legs are tied and the mask is kept not for the benefit of the condemned person but for the benefit of people who are present for carrying out the death punishment by hanging as they cannot bear the last sight of restlessness of the condemned person. Furthermore, because many times, tongue and eyes protrude, a black mask is placed on the convict's head. As the person is kept hanging and as there is no provision for postmortem, it is not known whether death was caused by painful strangulation or instantaneously by breaking of the spinal cord.

It may also be mentioned that the Supreme Court observed that method of shooting to death was practiced in dictatorships. But this is not fully correct. In fact the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts in India give discretion to the Court Martial tribunal to hold that the condemned person be hanged to death or be shot to death, as mentioned earlier. It may be further noticed that since hanging has been given up in several states in the United States of America and has been substituted by electrocution, or lethal injection. In thirty four States, the execution is carried by lethal injection. These methods are adopted as they are more civilized and hanging has been abolished by most of these states in the U.S.A

There is also significant increase in the number of countries which have adopted the method of execution by lethal injection and today thirty five States use this method.

The following table gives comparative analysis of different modes of executing death sentence:

Hanging By Neck Till Death Shooting Intravenous Lethal Injection
1. Simple to execute 1.Simple to execute 1. Simple to execute
2. Execution process takes more than 40 minutes to declare prisoner to be dead 2. Execution process takes not more than few minutes to declare prisoner to be dead 2. Execution process takes 5 to 9 minutes to declare prisoner to be dead
3. Less scientific equipments are required. 3. Less scientific equipments are required. 3. More scientific equipments are required, they are easily available.
4. Uncertainty as to time required for the prisoner to become unconscious. 4. Instant death. 4. Unconsciousness takes place immediately after the application of anaesthesia and dies in sleep.
5. May cause lingering death 5. Instant death 5. Not a lingering death.
6. Most of the time may involve enormous pain. 6. Pain may hardly be involved. 6.Pain only as result of needle prick.
7. Has been abandoned by most of the countries considering it not to be a civilized mode. 7. Most of the countries provide for the option of either lethal injection or shooting. 7. It is being accepted now to be most civilized mode of execution of death sentence.
8. Mutilation involved. 8. Mutilation involved. 8. No mutilation involved..
9. Not a controlled way of execution. It depends on various factors. 9. It is always under control and does not depend on the factors like physique etc. of the convict. 9. It is the best controlled way of execution.
10. Not generally swift 10. It is comparatively swift and painless. 10. It is the painless and swift method of execution.

Mode of Execution of Death Sentence and Incidental Matters Back

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