Dear Friends,


We would like to invite you to attend the conference “Campaign Against the Death Penalty in India” to be held from 3pm to 9pm on 10 May 2013 at the Constitution Club of India, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.


The conference is an emergency response to the recent resumption of the death penalty in India.  This campaign comprises of distinguished jurists, senior lawyers human right groups, academics, NGOs and activists opposing the death penalty, revealing its flawed premises and barbaric nature.


The conference will consist of eminent speakers from both the judiciary and those working in the Indian criminal justice system.  We will explore issues such as: sexual offences and the death penalty; the arbitrary passing of death sentences without the observance of fair trial rights and due process; miscarriages of justice; the death sentence under emergency anti-terrorist legislation, such as TADA and POTA; the courts’ failure to acknowledge “death-row syndrome”; and, the UN moratorium on the death penalty.  We will also be analyzing the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar which encompasses a number of these themes.  Please see a tentative concept note attached a conference flyer.


We would be grateful of you could please confirm your attendance so as to help or organisers plan. Please feel free to invite any other parties that may be interested in attending.  Please also advise as to any special needs.  We will send you a draft program schedule shortly.


Look forward to your swift response and seeing you at the conference.




Colin Gonsalves

Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.


“The death penalty is judicial murder”  Former Supreme Court Judge K T Thomas, 27 April 2013


Given the disturbing recent trend of the death penalty being carried out arbitrarily this year in India, a national campaign against the death penalty comprising of distinguished jurists, senior lawyers, human rights groups, academics, NGOs and activists have converged to highlight the disappointing return to capital punishment.  The secretive and barbaric nature of these executions has added to the alarm and concern.


The purpose of the conference is to provide a rational critique from eminent and distinguished speakers, both from the judiciary, those working within the Indian criminal justice system, NGO’s and human rights groups; How the death penalty as a means of punishment and deterrence is both dangerous and flawed as a penal objective in 2013.


The conference will examine some of the following topics with eminent speakers including:


Justice A.K. Ganguli (Retd), Supreme Court, Juvenile Justice: the death penalty for juveniles accused of serious offences


1. Justice A. P. Shah (Retd.), Chief Justice Delhi High Court, A judges View of the use and abuse of the death penalty.


2. Colin Gonsalves, Senior Supreme Court Advocate and director of HRLN, Access to justice, flawed investigations, legal aid and the right to a fair trial where the death penalty is carried out.


3. Shashi KumarVelath, Amnesty International, The “Lethal Lottery”, activism and mobilization.

Meagan Lee, Reprieve, India bucking the trend: The global move away from the death penalty and “Death-row Syndrome”.


4. Anup Surendranath, Professor National Law University Delhi, TADA – Emergency Legislation and the Death Penalty.


5. Navneet Bhullar, My struggle against the death penalty.


6. Satnam Singh Bains, Barrister Chambers Lord Gifford QC, London, Miscarriages of justice and the irreversible nature of the death penalty.


This conference has been organised by Human Rights Law Network in collaboration with Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Free Bhullar Campaign AISA, Anhad, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, , Indian Alliance for Child Rights,  Lawyers for Human Rights International, Lawyers for Justice, People’s Watch, Sikh Human Rights Groups and other NGOs.

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