India Foreign Nationals and the Death Penalty Death Penalty Overview The death penalty in India stems from the colonial Indian Penal Code of 1860, which lists capital offences as including murder, aggravated rape, sexual offences against children, drug traf cking and crimes against the state, such as espionage and terrorism. The only permissible method of execution is by hanging. Project 39A, a research and litigation unit at the National Law University, Delhi’s Death Penalty India Report (2016), the rst major empirical work on capital punishment in India, mapped the socio-economic pro le of prisoners sentenced to death and found that nearly 75% of prisoners on death row belong to marginalised and vulnerable backgrounds, who are often unable to navigate the legal system and do not have the resources to access quality legal representation. fi fi fi fi fi The debate around the death penalty in India, particularly in the context of sexual offences and terror offences, has intensi ed in the recent past. In 2015, the Law Commission of India, after undertaking a thorough analysis of capital sentencing jurisprudence since the Bachan Singh case (1980), recommended the abolition of the death penalty except for terror offences, which was considered politically expedient. However, despite this call for abolition, since 2015, the scope of the death penalty in India has widened. In March 2019, four men convicted of the internationally condemned gang rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi in 2012, were executed. This marked the rst hanging for a sexual offence in India since 1996. Since the Delhi rape case, India has introduced tougher laws to deal with sexual violence against women and children. Across the political spectrum, political leaders have expressed support for the death penalty for sexual violence, in a bid to ‘protect’ women. The increasing use of death sentences for sexual offences has been documented by Project 39A, who found that between 2016 and 2020, the proportion of capital cases

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