The Supreme Court of India while upholding the constitutionality of the death penalty in Bachan Singh (1980) developed the ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine to guide sentencing judges and much of the scholarship since then has focused on ‘arbitrary outcomes’ in sentencing. This seminar, however, will evaluate the experience of administering the death penalty in the world’s largest constitutional democracy based on extensive interviews with India’s death row prisoners and their families. While discussing the multiple crisis points in India’s criminal justice system, the seminar will also examine the appropriate role for an equality analysis in death penalty sentencing.

Dr. Anup Surendranath teaches Constitutional Law at NLU Delhi and is also Director of the Centre on the Death Penalty, which currently comprises the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic and the Death Penalty Research Project. The Centre on the Death Penalty is involved in the carrying out three major research projects and also in ensuring effective legal representation for 55 prisoners sentenced to death across various prisons in India. He was invited by Chief Justice RM Lodha (as he then was) in May 2014 to serve as the Deputy Registrar (Research) in the Supreme Court and was on deputation to the Supreme Court until August 2015. Anup's doctoral research at the University of Oxford, supervised by Professor Sandra Fredman, was on equality and anti-discrimination in the context of reservation (affirmative action) policies in India.

This seminar is being co-hosted with the Oxford Human Rights Hub (OxHRH).

This seminar will take place at Mansfield College, in the Gilly Leventis Seminar Room, within the Institute and based in the new Hands Building (shown on the map as Love Lane building). Please report to the Lodge on arrival and ask for directions.