04 February 2019 :
A legislative intervention to extend capital punishment to non-homicide crimes may be the reason for a higher number of death penalties handed out in 2018. According to a report by the National Law University, Delhi, trial courts pronounced 162 death sentences in 2018, the highest in a calendar year since 2000.
In August, the Indian Penal Code was amended by parliament to extend death sentence in cases of rape and gangrape of girls below the age of 12.
Though the trial courts have pronounced more death sentences, the Supreme Court may overturn a majority of them. In 2018, the Supreme Court commuted death sentences to life imprisonment in 11 of the 12 cases it heard. The only case where the death penalty was upheld was in the December 16 Delhi gangrape case.