The government has said in the Rajya Sabha that it is ‘not in favour’ of abolishing the capital punishment considering the ‘prevailing circumstances’.
"The prevailing circumstances in which we are living does not warrant abolition of death penalty," MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju said while replying to a private member's resolution moved by D Raja (CPI) for the abolition of capital punishment in the country on Friday.
India has its own basis of formulating laws and it has to respect the "sentiments of the people", Rijiju added.
He said there are several provisions in the Constitution such as Articles 71, 134 and 161 for commuting of death sentence and the Supreme Court has made it clear that it should be used in "exceptional circumstances" and as an "unavoidable alternative".
Enumerating the remedies available regarding death sentence, he said even if capital punishment has been awarded by a lower court and has been upheld by the High Court, the person can approach the Supreme Court.
"Even if that fails, one can approach the Governor and the President of India," the minister added.
On awarding of the death sentence, he said several factors such as the accused's socio-economic condition, health, age and sex are considered before awarding such a sentence.
Referring to recommendation made by the Law Commission, Rijiju said it suggested abolishing death sentence except for terrorism and for waging war.
The Minister, as well as Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien, suggested to Raja to withdraw his resolution, but he did not agree saying he has taken up the issue as a "mission and a missionary zeal".
"It is not a question of technicality or legality, but we should look at it philosophically and morally. Now the time has come when India should emphatically say no to capital punishment," Raja said.
The resolution was negated by the House by voice vote.