New Delhi: Justice Gita Mittal of the Delhi High Court has expressed concern over absence of guidelines for awarding capital punishment which leaves it to the "huge discretion" for judges to decide death penalty cases.

Justice Mittal said for sending the convicts to gallows it is essential to determine that the offence comes under the ambit of "rarest of rare" cases, which too is decided at the discretion of judges.

"...because there are no such guidelines it creates huge discretion on the part of the judges," she said.

"Every judge has her or his philosophy and moral conviction about issues relating to justice and this may have an impact on the decision relating to the imposition of death penalty in a given case," the judge was quoted as saying in a release issued here by Jindal Global Law School.

"It is in this context that any reform relating to the law and practice of death penalty needs to examine the role of legislature in the law making process," the senior judge said in her lecture on 'The Future of Death Penalty in the US and the World'.

In the lecture organised on the occasion of signing of a memorandum of understanding between Jindal Global Law School and the Maurer Law School, Indiana University, US, Justice Mittal referred to the "complexity of the adjudicatory process in cases relating to death penalty particularly when in India there are no sentencing guidelines".

Prof Joseph Hoffman of the Indiana University spoke about the political, social, religious and legal issues surrounding death penalty and said there is no global common ground on the moral arguments relating to the imposition of death penalty.

He said every society and country should make own laws and policies on the imposition of death penalty, based on their own social, cultural, moral and legal views.

(Agencies)