The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea seeking alternatives to death by hanging for prisoners sentenced to die. The top court asked the government to give a detailed reply within three months.

The plea said that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution on the right to life includes the right of a convict to have a dignified mode of execution. The petition also challenged the constitutional validity of a provision in the Criminal Procedure Code, which specifies hanging by the neck as the mode of executing a death penalty, PTI reported.

“Our Constitution is a compassionate one, which recognises the principle of the sanctity of life,” the Supreme Court said while hearing the plea. “The legislature can think of some other means by which a convict, who under law has to face a death sentence, should die in peace and not in pain,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said in the order.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Misra and justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar, said that since other more painless methods of causing death exist in modern science, the legislature could think of using these other methods to execute the death sentence.