India opposes UN draft resolution calling for moratorium on death penalty

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A United Nations committee has approved a draft resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. India, however, voted against the move, saying it went against the country’s statutory law and the sovereign right of every nation to determine its own legal practices, a news agency reported on Saturday.

“In India, the death penalty is exercised in the rarest of rare cases, where the crime committed is so heinous that it shocks the conscience of society,” India’s UN representative Mayank Joshi said, adding that the resolution was aimed at abolishing the death penalty eventually. He also emphasised that Indian laws provided “all requisite procedural safeguards”, such as the right to a fair hearing, the presumption of innocence and the right to review by a higher court.

Joshi, however, had voted in favour of an amendment that reaffirmed the absolute right of countries to develop their own legal systems. The amendment, introduced by Singapore’s representative, was passed with 76 votes for and 72 against it and 26 abstentions.

The resolution against death penalty was adopted with 115 votes in favour of the move and 38 against it. At least 31 countries abstained from voting, which followed an “intense discussion,” said a statement on the UN website.