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Report No. 187

Earlier Studies:

The 35th Report of the Law Commission on Capital Punishment of 1967 dealt with various mode of death sentence concluded:

"We find that there is a considerable body of opinion which would like hanging to be replaced by something more humane and more painless..."

"That a method which is certain, humane, quick and decent should be adopted, is the general view, with which few can quarrel. It is true that the really agonizing part is the anticipation of impending death. But society owes to itself that the agony at the 89exact point of execution be kept minimum....Progress in the science of anesthetics and further study of the various methods, as well as experience gathered in other countries and development and refinement of the existing methods, would perhaps, in future, furnish a firm basis for conclusion on this controversial subject. "

The Law commission then was not able to arrive at any firm conclusion and retained hanging.

The Royal Commission Report on Capital Punishment 1949-53 dealt with prevalent modes of execution of death and sated that three conditions should be fulfilled in executing the death sentenc.- (a) it should be as less painful as possible; (b) it should be as quick as possible; and (c) there should be least mutilitation of the body.

The Royal Commission also observed that the question of judicial execution 'should be periodically examined especially in light of progress made in the science of anesthetics'.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its resolution 1984/50, annex. General Assembly Resolution 29/118, 1984 provides that where capital punishment occurs it shall be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible suffering.

The Supreme Court of India in Deena v. Union of India 1983(4) SCC 845 provides that the execution of death punishment to satisfy the following four tests:

(1) The act of execution should be as quick and simple and free from anything that unnecessarily sharpens the poignancy of the prisoner's apprehension.

(2) The act of the execution should produce immediate unconsciousness passing quickly into the death.

(3) It should be decent.

(4) It should not involve mutilation.

Mode of Execution of Death Sentence and Incidental Matters Back

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