The Law Commission of India has through a press release clarified that the Indian Express’s report stating that the commission is recommending the Government to abolish death penalty save for terror cases is an ‘incorrect reporting’ and does not reflect the final recommendations of the Commission.
What had Indian Express reported:
The Indian Express had today on 28 August 2015 published a news report captioned “End death penalty, keep it for terror only: Law Commission”. The news report stated:
A 272-page draft report of the Law Commission, circulated among members, favours speedy abolition of the death penalty from the statute books, except in cases where the accused is convicted of involvement in a terror case.
The draft report hopes that the “movement towards absolute abolition will be swift and irreversible”. In 1962, the Law Commission, in its 35th report, had recommended retention of death penalty.
The final report, which is likely to be cleared by seven full-time members, including chairman Justice (retired) A P Shah, and four part-time members, could be submitted to the government either over the weekend or next Monday. There may not be unanimity on the recommendation for ending death penalty because some members are opposed to it. The term of the Commission ends on August 31.
What did law commission clarify:
The Law Commission of India clarifies that this is a case of incorrect reporting arid does not reflect the final recommendations of the Commission. The “draft report” that has been reported upon is not the final version that is proposed to be submitted to the Union Minister of Law and Justice. The Commission further clarifies that a subject like death penalty is extremely sensitive in nature, and reporting on such a subject without clearly understanding the views of the Commission may have an adverse impact on the public. Attributing the final views of the Commission to a “draft report”, that was intended for private circulation amongst Members and meant for discussion, has opened up the issue for unnecessary speculation. The Commission regards the news report as an interference in its functioning.
As reported earlier, on 11 July 2015, the Commission had also held a one-day consultation on the death penalty which aimed at bringing together a select group of leading figures in the judiciary, the bar, academia, media, and political and public life, to debate and discuss various aspects of the death penalty.
One of the four key themes discussed deliberated upon in the consultation was:
The Way Forward: Retention, Reform, Abolition: Should the death penalty be retained in its present or modified form, in view of India’s constitutional and international legal commitments?