The Union government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it is considering forming an expert panel to decide if the execution of the death penalty by hanging is the most suitable method or if there are other alternatives, reported Live Law.
Attorney General R Venkataramani made the submission before a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala, which was hearing a petition seeking to abolish the practice of executing a death row convict by hanging.
On March 21, the Supreme Court had said that it might consider forming an expert committee to examine the question. It had asked Venkataramani to find out data on the impact of death by hanging, the pain caused by it, the time taken for the death to take place, and the availability of resources to execute this method.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the attorney general told the court that the government was in the process of finalising the names of the members of the committee, reported PTI.
The petition was filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra in 2017. He argued that death by hanging involves “prolonged pain and suffering” and contended that it should be replaced with intravenous lethal injection, shooting, electrocution or gas chamber, in which a convict could die in just a matter of minutes.
Malhotra also sought the declaration of the right to die by a dignified procedure of death as a fundamental right under the Constitution. He demanded that Section 354(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure should be declared unconstitutional as it violates the right to protection of life and personal liberty.
Section 354(5) states: “When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.”
The petitioner has argued that death by hanging “till the person is dead” is not only barbaric, inhuman and cruel but also against the United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution that categorically states that “where capital punishment occurs, it shall be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible suffering”.