Death Penalty

Owing to the rarest of the rare doctrine for capital punishment in Indian legislation, it seems prerogative to take into consideration the views and opinions of the people pertaining to capital punishment and its practice in any form. The research project is first of its kind where we collected 25210 responses from general population from almost all states and union territories of India. An anonymous self-administered survey was formulated comprising of 15 items and disseminated via online and offline method.The purpose of this study to assess public attitude towards capital punishment, the type of crime and circumstances for which death penalty is favored, the level of support among various sub-population and understanding the reasons, socio-psychological and attitudinal correlates of death penalty in India.

Garima Jain

Research Findings

The data for this exploratory study was collected through random and convenience sample, using a combination of online and offline methods and disseminated to the social contacts of the authors. An anonymous self- administered survey was formulated comprising of many items and administered on 25,210 respondents covering almost all states and territories in India. According to the findings of the empirical research, it has been observed that an overwhelming 79% of the respondents’ favor legalizing capital punishment for specific crimes. Logistic regression and association rule analysis revealed that generally people who supported death penalty tend to be females, elderly, middle and upper class economic status,businessmen & self-employed. The support of death penalty with respect to demographic correlates for various crimes ranging from treason, murder, rape, terrorist attack, genocide, dowry death, human trafficking, drug trafficking and offences against children. The results further indicated that 20% of the total sample favor abolishing death penalty, owing to various factors like violation of right to life, un-economical, because of its barbaric, arbitrary & irretrievable nature. Explanation of these findings and its implication on legislative and judicial decision makers are also studied.

Outcomes of the Project

The book titled Death Penalty in India was published in 2020 by Springer Publications.


Sahni, S. P. & Junnarkar, M. (2018). Death Penalty: Indian Attitudinal Study. 29th International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montreal, Canada, 26-30th June 2018.

Sahni, S. P. & Junnarkar, M. (2017). Public Opinion and Death Penalty Attitude: The Indian Perspective. International Conference on Death Penalty in Asia Pacific: Reassessing the Contemporary Challenges to its Abolition, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, India, 9 December, 2017

Sahni, S.P. (2016). Abolishing Death Penalty in India: Public Opinion, Ethics and Right to Life. Societas Ethica 2016 Anuual Conference, Germany, August 2016

Sahni, S.P. (2015). An Empirical Analysis of Indian Public Opinion on Death Penalty, International Research Conference on Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Istanbul, Turkey, 5-6 December, 2015

Sahni, S. P. & Jain,G. (2015). Public Opinion & Death Penalty Attitude: The Indian Perspective, Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Swedish National Council of Crime Prevention, Sotckholm, Sweden, 15th June 2015.

Sahni, S. P.  (2015). Death Penalty: Worldwide View. 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha, Qatar, 13-15th April, 2015.

Jain, G.  (2015). India’s Perspective on Death Penalty. 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha, Qatar, 13-15th April, 2015.