Mental Illness, Sentencing and the Death Penalty

A close look at the commutation of a death sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds of post-conviction mental illness yields a few legal observations on the reasoning for commutation. What makes post-conviction onset of mental illness a factor for commutation is not that the person is no more culpable, but that the mental illness in prison in addition to punishment is “punishment plus.”

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Justice A K Sikri and the Death Penalty
Maitreyi Misra
The death penalty: a fatal margin of error
Rahil Chatterjee
Divergence on Death Penalty
Life Imprisonment Without the Possibility of Release – The Many Constitutional Sins of Sriharan

The Supreme Court validating sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of release by excluding remission raise questions about both the desirability of such a punishment and also about the serious disruption in the separation of powers.

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Amartya Kanjilal
Climb the escalator of reason

The cognitive psychologist, Steven Pinker, identifies ‘the escalator of reason’ as a historical force, which has helped reduce violence in societies. For India’s criminal justice system to climb the escalator of reason, our political and judicial leadership need to create and preserve a culture of the dispassionate study of the human costs and benefits of retribution, no matter how serious the shock to our conscience.

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Yash VijayComment
Ineffective and Arbitrary

The amendments to the Indian Penal Code passed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh introducing the death penalty as a possible punishment for the rape of a girl below the age of 12 years

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Anup Surendranath
Criminal Justice and the Death Penalty in India: An Opinion Study with 60 Former Supreme Court Judges

The study allows us to better understand judicial thought processes on the death penalty while locating it within the broader context of India’s criminal justice system.

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Neetika Vishwanath
Beyond Inconsistent Application: Inherent Gaps in the ‘Rarest of Rare’ Framework

In Matters of Judgment, an opinion study among sixty former Supreme Court judges on the death penalty and the criminal justice system, former judges strongly acknowledged the role of personal backgrounds while exercising judicial discretion in the context of capital cases.

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Preeti Dash & Rahul Raman