Report 262 of Law Commission: Recommendations

Report 262 of Law Commission: Recommendations

Question: Report 262 of the 20th Law Commission has recommended swift abolition of death penalty with the exception of terrorism. Discuss its chief recommendations.

- The 20th Law Commission in the Report 262 has recommended swift abolition of death penalty except for those criminals who commit acts of terrorism

- They held that it did not serve penological goal of deterrence more than life imprisonment

- However, the recommendation of the 9 member panel was not without its dissidents

- One full time member dissented while government reps supported retention of capital punishment

- Law Commission also recommended that there is a need to debate how to bring about abolition of death penalty in the near future

- Panel has refused to recommend single model for abolishment of death penalty has zeroed in on many from moratorium to full fledged abolition bill

- Law Commission has indicated that method of abolition should be such that it is rapid and irreversible

- Though there was no penological justification of treating terrorism different from other crimes, concern is there that abolition of death penalty in this respect could harm national security

- Panel also questioned rarest of rare doctrine for awarding death to convicts and said death penalty is constitutionally unstable even without it

Recommendations at a Glance

- Government should include provisions for police reforms, witness protection scheme and victim compensation scheme

- Even special reasons (rarest of rare doctrine) are not enough to impose the death penalty which foes against prevailing standards of constitutional morality and human dignity.

- Except for terrorism(as this impacts national security), death penalty should be abolished

- Committee trusts that these recommendations will ignite a rational informed and principled debate on death penalty moving towards swift and irreversible abolition of the same

Facts and Stats

- Law Commission No.20 comprises a Chairman, 3 full time members, 3 part time members and two ex officio members representing the government

- Of three full time members, retired Justice Usha Mehra and ex officio members Law secretary P. K. Malhotra and Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh have struck dissenting notes

- The report was presented by Justice A. P. Shah, former CJI of Delhi HC
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