Death Penalty

Death Penalty

The sentiments of victims, their families, and a significant portion of the general public are crushed when they demand perpetrators of serious crimes to be sentenced to death but our judiciary refuses to comply. Death penalty is a no-go in Nepal in its present justice system status. Here are a few things we should know about the abolishment of death penalty in most of the countries today along with in Nepal:

  1. International Instrument: The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has explicitly provisioned the necessity to take all measures to avoid the death penalty. Nepal has ratified the Protocol. 
  2. Human Rights Concern: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with other national, international frameworks acknowledge the right to life and protection against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Amnesty International asserts that the death penalty violates this fundamental right.
  3. Basis: No evidence has been found of the provision of death penalty resulting in declining crime rate. The verdicts of courts may be erroneous which would mean the death of innocent people as well.
  4. Current Statistics: The United Nations has reported that by 2022, 170 out of its 193 member states have either completely abolished the death penalty in law or do not practice it.
  5. Provision in Nepal: The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2047 abolished the death penalty for the first time making Nepal one of the first countries to do so in South Asia. The provision has been carried forward by the present constitution of Nepal.
  6. Maximum Punishment: The harshest punishment imagined by the law of Nepal is life imprisonment until death which is the duration until which the sentenced person is alive. It is reserved for the heinous crimes of the highest degree.
  7. Reformative Approach: The purpose of punishment must be to deter the crime from happening, to make the criminal feel guilty, and to assist the offender’s rehabilitation in society.


The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2047 (1990)

Article 12

No provision to be made for capital punishment.

Constitution of Nepal 2072 (2015)

Section 16

Right to live with dignity; no law providing for the death penalty.

The National Criminal Code Act 2074 (2017)

Section 41

Life imprisonment until the end of natural life.

The Criminal Offences (Sentencing and Execution) Act 2074 (2017)

Section 13

Reformative purpose of sentencing

The Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR 1991

Article 1(2)

State Party to take necessary measures to abolish the death penalty.