Capital punishment is a such a process in which a person is set to death by state as a punishment for a crime. Capital punishment is the execution of any individual who has been found guilty of certain major crimes and sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law .The term ‘capital’ stems from the Latin word capitalis meaning “regarding the head,” and originally referred to beheading. Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial implementation carried out without due process of law. The term death penalty is sometimes used as identical with capital punishment, though inflicting penalty is not always followed by execution.
‘Capital Punishment’ is: According to Oxford Dictionary, Capital Punishment is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. (Kindersley, 2011)
This article throws light on the status of capital punishment all around in today’s world. The article first and foremost introduces the concept of capital punishment or death penalty in which the definitions and meaning of capital punishment is defined. This article elucidate the views of various countries around the globe for capital punishment and also mentions about the abolitionist and retentionist countries. This article analyze the International Scenario for Capital Punishment.


The concept of capital punishment is an ancient concept which uses to found in almost all the sections of society. Capital punishment at earlier time use to be providing on normal mistakes against society. But nowadays Capital punishment is awarded where in the criminal provision consider a person as a gross danger to the existence of the society in cases of crimes involving btutal murder, multiple murders, planned murders, repeated crimes; rape and murder etc. So, Capital offence is such an offence which refers to any criminal charge which is punishable by the death penalty. Crimes which are punishable by death vary from state to state and country to country.
India is a developing country but at the same time the crime rates in India are increasing nowadays. There are lots of legislation in India to stop and control crimes, even though the crime rates are increasing because the punishments are not sufficient for the crimes. Severe punishment should be given in order to reduce the crime rate. The motive for giving punishments for wrongdoers is to give penalty for them and giving deterrence for like minded people. There are different kinds of punishment in India such as capital punishment, life imprisonment, simple imprisonment etc.,.Capital punishment is known as the most severe form of punishment. In this article the status of capital punishment all around the world have been discussed and it also defines the concept of capital offence. This article has a detailed view about the capital punishment in India and the views of other countries towards capital punishment.


In the past few years, however, many western cultures have put ab end to this practice, considering it immoral and unjust. The U.K. and France have both completely end this system, after various succeeding abolitionist movements. The US, however, due to a fragmented judiciary, has differing opinions on the issue, varying state-by-state. The Federal US government, however, does use the death penalty, although only in extraordinary cases.
In the past few years, many countries have abolished this practice of awarding capital punishment, considering it grossly inconsistent with human rights requirements.
Currently thirty-six countries actively practice capital punishment, hundred and three countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, and six have abolished it for ordinary crimes. Fifty have abolished it de facto.
Although all countries in the world prohibit the execution of individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes; Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have carried out such executions. However executions of this kind are prohibited under international law.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to concluding abolition. But even now countries like China USA India and Indonesia, where 60% of the world’s population resides, still practice capital punishment. Especially in India use of capital punishment is growing since 2010 due to both a growth in right wing politics and due to anger over several recent brutal cases of rape.


Around 102 countries around the globe have abolished capital punishment in practise. The practise of execution is still debated globally (52 countries have retained death penalty). One argument against capital punishment is this school of thought which says that if life as we know it is not a choice for humans to make, that is, if a human cannot choose whether he can be born or not, when there is no choice to be made by a human as to his existence in the world, how can there be laws that enable the state to take the life of a fellow human being. The same school of thought also says that if a man taking another man’s life is punishable by law, how can the state give a punishment where in the convict’s life is again taken by another man, on the orders from the state. In simple words it is arbitrary for the state to take the life of a man when it was not given by the state. The human rights activists are strictly against such punishments as it takes away all the rights guaranteed to a person. And capital punishment has not proved to reduce the crime rates . This is not completely true. In singapore the country follows a system of capital punishments and corporal punishments (caning) for serious crimes and imposition of fines is mandatory. In fact caning is accepted as a punishment in singapore schools. Relative to its population of approximately 56 lakh people has the one of the highest execution rates. According to a report submitted by amnesty international in the year 2017, a total of 993 executions was carried out by 23 countries. However this number does not include executions carried out in China. It is believed that thousands of people are executed in China every year but figures remain a state secret. Iran tops the list with a total number of 507 executions, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, and USA.

Author: Shaijal Shekhar,
Faculty of Law, A.M.U (2nd Year)

Leave a Comment