NEW DELHI: India saw as many as 162 convicts sentenced to death by lower courts last year, with Madhya Pradesh accounting for 25 — mostly cases of sexual assaults on children — the highest among all states.
According to ‘The Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics 2018’, released by the National Law University, Delhi, Maharashtra accounted for the second highest number of death penalty verdicts, while Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh stood a joint third.
The report notes this with concern, pointing out that last year’s IPC amendment introducing death penalty for rape of children aged below 12 years was used most commonly in MP.
The MP government’s rewards scheme for public prosecutors could be another reason for the spike in death penalties. The prosecutors are awarded 100 to 200 points for maximum punishment secured in lower courts, 500 for a life sentence and 1,000 for death penalty.
In contrast, the Supreme Court commuted death to life term in 11 cases, but confirmed death for three in the 2012 gang rape case. As on December 31, 2018, there are 426 prisoners on death row. MP, UP and Maharashtra lead with maximum prisoners on death row.