On Friday, the Supreme Court commenced a suo moto case for the examination and institutionalization award of the death penalty by courts in India.
Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and PS Narasimha, in a three-judge bench, suggested that the top court would issue guidelines for courts across India to follow when hearing cases involving the death penalty.
The Court enlisted the help of India’s Attorney General, KK Venugopal, and served notice on the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The Court stated that in order to address the issue of death sentences, the system must be institutionalized, which the AG agreed with.
The convicted, according to Justice Lalit, are at a point when litigation help is at a bare minimum. The Court was hearing an appeal from Irfan@ Bhayu Mevati (appellant), who was appealing the death penalty issued by the trial court and upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The Court had previously registered a case to investigate how courts dealing with death sentences can obtain a full analysis of the accused and the offense, particularly the mitigating circumstances so that the concerned court can decide whether a death sentence should be imposed or not.
This came after Project 39A of National Law University, Delhi, filed an application requesting permission for a mitigation investigator to visit the appellant in prison and interview him in order to collect information for making arguments on his punishment.
When the case was heard today, Amicus Curiae Adv K Parameshwar stated that in Madhya Pradesh, public prosecutors are given raises based on the number of sentences they have obtained in cases they have prosecuted.
A separate suo moto case was also filed by the Court to address the greater problem of institutionalizing the death penalty.