New Delhi: A total of 561 prisoners have been sent to death row in the last 20 years across the country. Apart from this, there has been a surge of 45.71 percent increase in number of prisoners sent to death row since 2015, a report by Delhi’s National Law University has said.
Two prisoners sentenced to death last year
As per the report, ‘Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics Report’, only two death sentences were confirmed last year, which was the lowest death sentence confirmed since the year 2000. “This marks the largest death row population in nearly two decades. Only one death sentence was confirmed in 2023, making it the year with the lowest rate of death sentence confirmations by the appellate courts since 2000. The year 2023 also witnesses a 45.71% increase in the death row population since 2015,” the report said.
The report further said that in 2023, trial courts across the country awarded 120 death sentences. Among the death sentences, the highest of 33 was awarded in Uttar Pradesh. The state was followed by 12 in Jharkhand and 11 each in Haryana, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, while 10 death sentences have been reported from West Bengal.
Largest number of death sentences in Uttar Pradesh
“Uttar Pradesh had the largest death row population at 119 prisoners. The highest number of trial courts death sentences in 2023 was imposed in murder cases involving sexual offenses, which is 64 (53.33%) out of 120 death sentences. This has been a rising trend in trial courts since our first annual statistics report in 2016,” the report added further.
According to the report, the Supreme Court also did not confirm any death sentences last year. In 2023 it took decisions in 10 cases which involved 11 prisoners and acquitted 6 prisoners who were earlier sentenced to death. The report further pointed out that the President of India rejected one mercy plea in March 2023 in a case related to the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a minor in 2008.