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There has been a significant dip in the death penalties handed out to convicts in India in the year 2017. A National Law University (NLU) report titled Death Penalty in India, Annual Statistics for the year 2017 showed that death penalties handed out by session courts were significantly reduced to 27 per cent as compared to the year 2016 and were mostly awarded in cases involving sexual violence.

The report said that only 109 persons were awarded death penalty in 2017 as compared to 149 persons in 2016. The high courts commuted 53 cases and acquitted 35 persons out of the 109 death penalties by session courts.

The report also revealed the significant rise of convicts involved in murders in sexual violence being handed out capital punishments than other crimes.

It said that 19 more persons were handed out death penalty for murders involving sexual violence in 2017 than in 2016 overall totalling to 43.

Maharashtra emerged as frontrunner of all the states having 67 prisoners on death row. The state had reported 47 death row prisoners, the report said.

Karnataka witnessed the significant dip in the number of death row prisoners having 12 in 2017 as compared to 27 in 2016 due to various commutations and acquittals by the high court.

A total of 371 prisoners were on death row across the country as on December 31, 2017, the report also divulged.

—India Legal Bureau

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