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Matters of Judgment (Published by the National Law University, Delhi) (2017)

  • Reports and Studies
  • 8 Dec 2017

Matters of Judgement: A judges’ opinion study on the death penalty and the criminal justice system, sheds fresh light on the complicated and sometimes troubling views of India’s most senior judges towards the death penalty and the administration of justice in India.

The report presents findings from interviews with 60 former Supreme Court judges on the death penalty and the criminal justice system. This unprecedented research project was undertaken by the National Law University in Delhi, in association with The Death Penalty Project. Professor Carolyn Hoyle, Centre on Criminology, University of Oxford, and Dr Mai Sato, University of Reading, were consultants on the project.

The findings reveal an overwhelming sense of concern amongst judges, pointing to a crisis in India’s criminal justice system. Speaking with remarkable openness, a majority of former judges interviewed acknowledged that widespread use of torture, fabrication of evidence in criminal investigations and a broken legal aid system left India vulnerable to wrongful convictions. However, such concerns about the integrity of the criminal justice process did not significantly affect judicial support for the death penalty, or views on the possibility of abolition.

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