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The Supreme Court on Friday (October 6) admitted a PIL by Rishi Malhotra, asking for the death by hanging sentence to be changed to more scientific and less painful methods while giving capital punishment.

The PIL is related to the death sentence given by courts in India by hanging under Section 354 (5) of CrPC. The Section states: “When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.”

This is a language and method carried down from the times of the British Raj.

The petitioner argued that science has become more modern. India can use lethal injections or shooting instead.

Justice DY Chandrachud said: “But there are so many criticisms for lethal injections.”

The petitioner argued, mentioning some cases in which the Supreme Court had observed that the hanging concept is very cruel. In Bachhan Singh versus the State, the tenth Chief Justice, P Bhagwati also considered this a very cruel way to give a death sentence.

The petitioner further stated that he is not against the death sentence, but against the mode of carrying it out.

He further stated that the 187th report of the Law Commission advised to not carry out this mode.

The bench, its order, said that there are so many various modes in modern science. The legislature can think about some other way of giving the death sentence in which the convict dies in peace and not in pain.

The bench also mentioned that the constitution offers enough flexibility. And some things become outdated with time.

It issued the notice to the government.

India Legal Bureau

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