Analysing Capital Punishment

Analysis of Capital Punishment


Capital punishment of death penalty is the legal procedure undertaken by the state or the judiciary of the country, to take an individual’s life for the henious crime or act committed by him. Some countries have declared it to be legal, whereas other consider it to be illegal. There are various pros and cons of this punishment which makes these countries decision obvious. In India, the capital punishment is awarded in ‘rarest of rare’ cases, which are listed out under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Different countries adopt different execution methods.

What are the different execution methods of  capital punishment?

There are five main execution methods used:


It is the most common method of executing capital punishment. Here the culprit is hanged officially in a room with a rope which can bare its body weight. Along with India, this method is followed by Afghanisthan,  Bangladesh, Botswana, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Palestanian Authority in Gaza, South Sudan and Sudan.

Firing squad:

In this, twelve armed executioners shoot the culprit in his chest. If the culprit is not yet dead, the commander issues a final bullet to the head. It is the most preferred method in Indonesia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Taiwan, Yemen and United Arab Emirates (UAE).


This method of executing capital punishment is only used in Saudi Arabia. Here the culprit or the guilty is beheaded with the sword in front of the public.

Lethal Injection:

Tough the result of all the executionary method is death, this method is seen as one of the least cruel method of capital punishment. In this the guilty is injected with few doses of fatal drugs and is made to attain death. It was the primary method of capital punishment execution practiced in United States. However after the pharmaceutical companies banned these drugs, they started using cocktail drugs which was ineffective in obtaining the desired result and had many other harmful effects. Thus the government halted this method of capital punishment execution. This method of execution through lethal injection was mainly used in China and Vietnam.


It is considered as one of the most cruel way of executing capital punishment. United States is the only country which executes capital punishment through this method. The culprit is made to sit on electric  chair, given electric shock periodically till all his nerves and body parts are burnt and attains death. There are instances of the skull bursting out into flames and bleeding while carrying on this procedure.

The Crimes for which Capital Punishment is Awarded

Capital punishment is awarded for the following crimes done, mentioned under different sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and others:

  1. Being a party during criminal conspiracy for commiting a capital offense; under section 120B of IPC.
  2. Waging, or attempting to,or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India; under section 121 of IPC,
  3. Abetting a mutiny in the armed forces(if mutiny occurs as a result), engaging in the mutiny; under section 132 of IPC.
  4. Giving or fabricating false evidence with the intention to procure a coviction of a capital offense; under section 194 of IPC.
  5. For commiting murder; under section 302 and 303 of IPC.
  6. Abetting suicide of a minor; under section 305 of IPC.
  7. Kidnapping, during the course of which the victim was held for ransom or other coercieve purposes; under section 364A of IPC.
  8. Rape, if the perpetrator inflicts injuries that result in victim’s death or incapacitation in a persistent vegitative state, or is a repeat offender; under section 376A of Criminal law amendment act, 2013.
  9. Banditry with murder, i.e. in cases where a group of five or more individuals commit banditry and one of them commits muder during the course of commiting crime, in such cases all members are liable for capital punishment; under section 396 of IPC.
  10. Aiding or abetting an act of Sati; under Part 2, section 4 of prevention of Sati Act.
  11. Drug trafficking, in cases of repeated offences committed; under secction 31A of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment

These are some of the arguments in favour of capital punishment. If the hard core criminals are put under life imprisonment without being awarded capital punishment, the cost of looking after the victims well being is imposed on the government. Though the prison acts as a rehabilitation centre, the cost of looking after a criminal for his lifetime is very huge, which a government has to bare to look after the well being of criminal instead of spending it on well being of other innocent citizens. Even though the criminal is prisoned for lifetime, the problem arises when the criminal escapes and starts doing the same henious crime with the people of society. This, causes injustice to several people in the verge of giving justice to one. Also it is said that the magnitude of punishment must be equavalent to the crime committed. In this case life imprisonment of  the criminal for the henious crime like murder committed by him will nor serve the purpose. When the hardcore criminal is awarded capital punishment for the crime committed by him, this act will prevent a large number of criminals who were planning to commit the same crime. By this, the crime rate in the society can be decreased drastically.

These are argument against capital punishment. Capital punishment is considered as a form of vegeance and justice given to the victims of the crime. But, can it in any ways equated to the atrocities, torture and pain experienced by the victims? So, as it does not serve the purpose, this situation be transformed into the advaantage of the government. This can be done by life imprisoning the criminal, transforming him into a good person who can give back to the society and thus can transform him to the asset for the country from being a liability to the society. Also many culture, religion and ethical groups see it as an act against the nature as they belive that only god can take the life of an individual. Also, there are some countries which have legalized capital punishment and some have not. So the people who have not been awarded for the same punishment for the same crime committed as it is done for the country where capital punishment is legalized, will create inequalities and injustice to the culprit. Belonging to a that particular country will become his great badluck. In many cases innocents die because of capital punishment, this goes against the principle that “even though many culprits are let free, no one innocent should be punished”. The act of capital punishment violates the citizens fundamental right, i.e. right to life.


So there are both pros and cons of legalizing capital punishment. The countries should take serious and appropriate decision regarding the same. However, in India the criminal can plead for mercy from president and reduce the decree of punishment awarded.

Author: Harshini P,

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