Human rights body, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its report, "India: Death despite dissenting judgements", called for an end to imposition of death penalty by majority view of the judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India.
ratio of differences of opinion among the judges whether somebody
convicted for offences punishable with death should die or live in
most cases in India is 2:1. When this difference of opinion is also
between acquittal and death sentence, imposition of death penalty by
majority opinion becomes legally untenable and morally
unconscionable,' stated Suhas Chakma, Coordinator of the National
Campaign for Abolition of Death Penalty in India.
specific cases of imposition of death penalty by majority view in
India and the experiences of the United States, the report stated
that a study in the US in 2005 had shown that if there is no
unanimity for imposition of death penalty, in 20 states of the United
States, courts must impose a lesser penalty when the jury cannot
agree on whether to impose the death penalty, in four states the jury
can continue to deliberate on penalties other than the death penalty
before the court imposes a sentence, in one State the judge has the
option of imposing a sentence of life imprisonment without parole or impanelling a new jury, and in two states, statutes authorise the
court to impanel a new jury if the first jury cannot reach a verdict.
India, the "differences of opinion at the level of High Court" is
recognised as a ground for commutation of death sentences under the
broad guidelines on consideration of mercy pleas adopted by the
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.
the MHA regularly flouts its own guidelines including on 'the
differences of opinion at the level of High Court' while advising
the President of India for rejection of mercy pleas, AHRC in a press
the aim to reduce imposition of death penalty, Asian Centre for Human
Rights called for an end to imposition of death penalty without
unanimity of the judges in all stages of the proceedings of a case
and further urged the President of India to automatically grant mercy
if there are differences of opinion at any stage of the proceedings,
and not only at the level of the High Court.