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Indian Polity

Proposal for Guidelines to Execute Death Penalty

  • 23 Jan 2020
  • 2 min read

Why in News

The Central government has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking a time limit of seven days for death row convicts to file a mercy plea.

  • The petition seeks appropriate modifications to the judgement passed in 2014, during the case of Shatrughan Chauhan versus the Union of India and others.
    • The above judgment defined the procedure and guidelines to be adopted in cases of prisoners on death row.
  • The move comes in the backdrop of various pleas filed by convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case (2012) that have delayed their hanging.

Other Demands

  • Imposition of a time limit to file curative and review petitions for death row convicts.
  • Mandatory issuance of death warrant of a convict within seven days of the rejection of his mercy petition by the competent courts, State governments, prison authorities in the country.
  • Execution of the death sentence within seven days after the issuance of death warrant of the convict irrespective of the stage of review petition/curative petition/mercy petition of his co-convicts.


  • There are instances where the death sentence is not executed because the co-convicts either by default or by design choose to file review or curative or mercy petition one after the other, even at a belated stage. This causes a delay in the execution of the sentence of other co-convicts whose mercy petition has already been rejected.
  • The existing guidelines to execute the death penalty are more"convict-centric" rather than "victim-centric". As these guidelines do not take into account an irreparable mental trauma of the victims and their family members, the collective conscience of the nation.
  • Over the years, it has been observed that convicts of heinous crimes misuse Article 21 (Right to life) to delay the judicial proceedings and in turn death sentences.

Source: TH

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