Though there is a provision for capital punishment under the POCSO Act and IPC for sexual offences against children, not a single criminal was hanged to death in Odisha during last 25 years.
The last capital punishment was executed in the State in 1994. Laxman Nayak of Mayurbhanj district who killed his nine-year-old niece in drunken state after committing rape was found guilty by the Mayurbhanj Sessions Court which was upheld in higher court.
As there was no hangman available in the State, a person from Maharashtra was hired for the purpose. And hanging was executed inside the Brahmapur Jail.
There was also provision of gallows in Bolangir Jail. Ujjwal Sai, brother of legendary fighter Veer Surendra Sai, was hanged in Bolangir Jail. Now-a-days, only gallows are available in Brahmapur Jail and authorities are also maintaining the same though there is no hangman available in the State.
In view of rising graph of crime against girl child, the Union Government has brought Prevention of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act with rigorous punishment provisions including capital punishment. There is also provision for hanging in IPC for certain crimes like murder.
Though thousands of rape and murder cases were reported during last 25 years, no one was hanged to death in Odisha after 1994.
Of course in several cases of rape and murder, the Sessions Judges of different districts have awarded death penalties during these years. However, such punishments were yet to be executed due to different reasons.
After the barbaric incidents in New Delhi and Telengana, there is a cry from different forums to send the rapists to gallows. However, as per official statistics, in heinous crime like rape, percentage of conviction in Odisha is very low, i.e., about 18 per cent only.
As per the latest report on the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), rate of conviction in cases relating to crime against women in Odisha is only 7.4 per cent whereas it is 9.8 per cent in cases of crime against children and 9.3 percent in IPC related crimes.