Section 354 (5) of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) provides for a person to be hanged by the neck till death. This does seem cruel, even though there may be various arguments in favor of it. For example, in case of heinous crimes such as murder of children and women, it seems logical that the culprit be given the harshest punishment possible. And in India, the harshest punishment is death by hanging. However, this rule has been challenged in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and the Supreme Court has even agreed to review it. The petition points to the Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution, wherein it has been stated that execution should be conducted in a way that it is less painful. The court has directed the central government to file its reply within 3 weeks, providing a list of alternative methods that can be used.
While hanging is being reviewed, it is important to note that other countries have even more gruesome forms of capital punishment. Hanging is the most common and is followed in countries such as Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Electric chair was once used in the United States, but currently lethal injection is used as a more humane alternative. In Saudi Arabia, beheading is used for capital punishment. And this is done in full public view to act as a deterrent for other potential criminals. The option of shooting can be used by military courts in India, but it has not been used in recent times. Countries where shooting can be used include Indonesia, Afghanistan, US, Vietnam, Russia and North Korea.