PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 20/21/99
UA 132/99 Death penalty 8 June 1999
Jai Kumar may be facing imminent execution. On 11 May the Supreme Court of
India confirmed the death sentence handed down to him. He now has the right
to make a final petition to the President. The President can overturn death
sentences, acting on advice from the Minister of Home Affairs.
Jai Kumar was sentenced to death in September 1997 by a court in the state
of Madhya Pradesh for the murder of his sister-in-law and eight-year-old niece.
The sentence was upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in March 1998.
Amnesty International’s concern about this sentence is further stengthened
by the claims made by the defence that the trial court had allowed insufficient
time to consider all mitigating factors in the case and that the High Court
had not given Jai Kumar “an effective and substantial opportunity” to be heard
on the question of the sentence.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally as an extreme
form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a violation of the right
to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other
international human rights instruments.
India’s highest courts have ruled that the death penalty can only be applied
in the "rarest of rare" cases, which are not further defined. The use of the
death penalty in India thus depends to a large degree on how individual judges
interpret the phrase.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters
in English or your own language:
- acknowledging the grave nature of the crimes of which Jai Kumar has been
convicted, and expressing sympathy for the relatives of his victims;
- expressing unconditional opposition to the death penalty as a violation of
the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment and emphasising that the death penalty has never been
shown to have a special deterrent effect;
- urging that the death sentence handed down to Jai Kumar be commuted.
Mr. K. R. Narayanan
President of India
Office of the President
New Delhi 110 004, India
Telegrams: President, New Delhi, India
Faxes: + 91 11 301 7290
Salutation: Dear President Narayanan
Mr L K Advani
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block, New Delhi 110 001, India
Faxes: + 91 11 301 5750