ACHR Welcomes SC Verdict on Death Sentence

The Asian Centre for Human Rights today welcomed the judgment of Supreme Court commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment for 15 death-row convicts, including ten from Assam, on the grounds of inordinate delay and mental illness.

"This makes India to move an inch towards being an abolitionist state and India must now consider abolition of death penalty once and for all," ACHR Director Suhas Chakma said in a press release today.

The judgment will impact 414 death row convicts who remained in various prisons at the end of 2012.

The maximum number of death row convicts at the end of 2012 were in Uttar Pradesh with 106 followed by Karnataka (63), Maharashtra (51), Bihar (42), Delhi (27), Gujarat (19), Punjab (16), Kerala (14), Tamil Nadu (12) while Assam, Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh each had 10 death row convicts, Chakma said.

"Out of the 414 death row convicts 13 were women. Maharashtra had maximum with five followed by Delhi (four); Punjab (two); and one each in Haryana and Karnataka," he said.

In a landmark verdict that can come as a relief to many death row convicts, the Supreme Court today held that death sentence of a condemned prisoner can be commuted to life imprisonment on the ground of delay on the part of the government in deciding the mercy plea.

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