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Petition in high court against death penalty
December, 01st 2011

A lawyer based at Kochi approached the Kerala high court on Wednesday with a petition challenging death penalty.

The petition, filed by advocate Manju Antoney, seeks amendment of section 53 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with punishment for offenders, including death penalty. Death penalty is against the noble principles laid out in the Constitution and most of the countries have abolished this law, the petitioner says.

As of February 2011, 95 countries have abolished death penalty, while eight countries are allowing death sentence in special circumstances. However, death penalty has not been implemented in the last 10 years in 49 countries, the petition says.

The petitioner also highlighted a non-binding resolution by the United Nations in 2007 that called for a moratorium on execution with a view to abolishing death penalty. Many courts in India are awarding death sentences despite these circumstances, and therefore, an amendment is needed, he says.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramamchandra Menon heard the petitioner but said the petition was incomplete to be accepted as a public interest litigation in the present form.

Observing that the amendment should be made at higher platforms, the court asked the petitioner to monitor the proceedings in Parliament related to death penalty as well as study other public interest litigations on the same matter and file an amended petition after four weeks.

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