27 July, 2021

No Noose Ends Here

Die a thousand deaths—the endless wait of UP’s death row inmates for the HC to decide their fate

Nirala Tripathi
No Noose Ends Here
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Devendra Nath Rai was a young army soldier, barely 34, when he was charged and court-martialled for the murder of a superior, convicted and given a death sentence. He’s now 56. He has spent the past 22 years in the historic Naini Central Jail in Allahabad, once the British Raj’s favourite dumping ground for freedom fighters, waiting for his own hanging. Deven­dra’s sentence is, literally, hanging—because the mandatory confirmation by the Allah­abad High Court is still awaited. And no one knows how many more years he will have to spend in this purgat­ory-like state. The provisions of Section 366 of the CrPC clearly spell out that “when the court of session passes a death sentence, the proceedings shall be submitted to the high court, and the sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed  by the high court”. The suspense is killing, because even in this mandatory function, the HC is empowered to not just confirm or commute the sentence but even to acquit the convict.

Expectedly enough, Devendra’s is not the...

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