Statement by India at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under Biennial High-Level Panel Discussion on the Question of Death Penalty, delivered by Dr. A. Sudhakara Reddy, Counsellor (Legal), Permanent Mission of India [26 February 2019] Geneva

Statement by India at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under Biennial High-Level Panel Discussion on the Question of Death Penalty, delivered by Dr. A. Sudhakara Reddy, Counsellor (Legal), Permanent Mission of India [26 February 2019] Geneva

Mr. President

India aligns itself with the Joint Statement delivered by Singapore. I have the honour to deliver this statement in my national capacity.

2. As mandated by the Human Rights Council’s Decision 36/17 to hold the high-level panel discussion on the question of Death Penalty, we reiterate our stand that any simplistic approach to characterize death penalty as a human right issue in the context of the right to life of the convicted prisoner is deeply flawed and controversial.

3. In India, death penalty is exercised in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, where the crime committed is so heinous as to shock the conscience of society. Indian law provides for all procedural safeguards, including the right to fair hearing by an independent Court, the presumption of innocence, the minimum guarantees for the defence, and the right to review by a higher Court.

4. Further, Indian laws have specific provisions for suspension of the death penalty in exceptional cases.Indian laws have specific provisions for commutation of death penalty in the case of pregnant women and has rulings that prohibited executions of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities.

5. It is a well-known fact that there is no international consensus for or against death penalty.Several key international instruments that apply to countries with wide divergence in cultures and values do not proscribe the use of death penalty in their texts.Similarly, this has repeatedly been confirmed by the votes on several UNGA resolutions relating to moratorium on the use of death penalty, most recently the 73rd Session of the General Assembly.

5. Accordingly the question, whether to retain or abolish death penalty and the types of crimes for which the death penalty is applied shall be the inalienable and exclusive right of the sovereign State. There shall not be any external interference in the criminal justice system of any sovereign state.

I, Thank you Mr. President.

 
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