Thursday, March 15, 2012

More than 400 prisoners await the death sentence as justice is delayed

By Aman Sharma
PUBLISHED: 21:38 GMT, 9 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:38 GMT, 9 March 2012

Ajmal Qasab and Mohammad Afzal are not the only ones on death row in India. There are 402 prisoners who await the noose. The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says there are 402 convicts, including 10 women, in Indian jails who face the death penalty.

The report, Prison Statistics India 2010, says there has been no execution in India since 2004, when rapist Dhananjay Chatterji was hanged in West Bengal. The delay in deciding on such executions over the last six years and the slow wheels of justice mean that the count of persons on death row has increased from 273 in 2005 to 402 in 2010. Delhi's Tihar Jail alone has 18 prisoners on the death row.Out of the 402 people facing capital punishment, 25 have their mercy petitions pending before the President.

It is, however, not clear how many have their mercy petitions pending before the state governors or whose cases are yet to attain finality before the Supreme Court (SC). Last week, the SC, which is monitoring the pending mercy petition cases, had asked the state governments to furnish a report on all such pleas pending with the governors.

The NCRB report says that out of the 402 death row convicts, the maximum are from Uttar Pradesh, whose jails have 131 such condemned prisoners. It is followed by Karnataka (60), Maharashtra (49), Bihar (31), West Bengal (20), Delhi (18), Tamil Nadu (16), Kerala (14) and Jharkhand (12). The NCRB report says that in 2010, 97 prisoners were awarded the death sentence, while 62 convicts had their capital punishment commuted to life.

* Out of the 3.68 lakh inmates in jails, 15,037 are women
* Nearly 65 per cent of all inmates are undertrials
* There are 1,663 children staying in jails because their mothers are either convicts or undertrials
* 19,925 inmates are graduates or post-graduates; Nearly 6,000 such inmates are lodged in UP jails
* Chhattisgarh has the most crowded jails with a 237 per cent occupancy, while Delhi's is 173 per cent

Source: [accessed on 15th March 2012]

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