HYDERABAD: The death sentence awarded by a Warangal district court on Thursday in connection with the rape and murder of a nine-month-old girl comes 13 months after two accused in twin blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad in 2007 were sentenced to death.
According to the Amnesty International records, 162 persons were awarded death sentence across the country in 2018, taking the number of people on death row to 426 in that particular year while the number in 2017 was put at 371.
The 162 death sentences awarded in 2018 are the highest in a calendar year since 2000. The year also witnessed the legislative expansion of the death penalty for non-homicide offences, most prominently for sexual violence against children. However, the Supreme Court moved in the opposite direction, commuting 11 out of the 12 death sentence cases it decided in 2018.
On the other hand, around 690 executions were recorded in 20 countries in 2018, a decrease of 31 per cent compared to 993 in 2017.
A research by Project 39A at the National Law University Delhi, also indicated that Indian courts gave 162 death sentences in 2018 — including 45 for murder and 58 for murder involving sexual offences — a 50 per cent increase compared to the numbers in 2017.