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India’s records of convicts on death row goes missing !

Posted in S. Asia

Published on August 07, 2015 with No Comments

Records of death penalty convicts who have been executed since independence have gone missing from many prisons with the National Law University (NLU), conducting a first of its kind study , able to confirm data related to 755 executions since 1947.

“Some prison authorities have written to us that either the records have been lost or destroyed by termites,“ NLU director Anup Surendranath who is heading the death penalty research project told a leading daily from India,. The NLU is compiling data on all prisoners who have been executed since independence with the help of the central government.

The missing files are not only a serious lapse on part of prison authorities but has also hampered an ongoing attempt to study all death row convicts to ascertain the fairness of the capital punishment jurisprudence, par ticularly those who have been executed in independent India.

The casual attitude towards death row convicts is reflected in the loss of mercy pleas of Krishna Mochi and three others in the Krishna Mochi & Ors vs. Bihar case of 2001. Convicted by the TADA court, mercy pleas of the four have been lost by the Union home ministry . Their pleas were sent to the Presi dent in 2003, and a recent RTI response to Suhas Chakma of Asian Centre for Human Rights has revealed that the home ministry has no records available. “These papers have evidently been lost,“ Chakma said. Loss of data on executed prisoners reflects poorly on the recordkeeping of the government and the judicial system.

 

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