India's top court has refused to replace hanging with lethal injection as the country's sole method of execution, saying there is no evidence it is less painful than other ways.
The ruling rejected a petition by rights activist Ashok Kumar Walia, who said hanging was a "cruel and painful" method of execution and should be replaced by lethal injection, which is used in more than 30 US states as a primary method of execution.
"How do you know that hanging causes pain? And how do you know that injecting the condemned prisoner with a lethal drug would not cause pain?" Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said.
Judges Balakrishnan and P. Sathasivam said experts believe that hanging - meant to dislocate the neck and sever the spinal cord - causes instant death.
The judges suggested that Walia instead campaign for abolition of the death penalty in India.
The judges noted that the death penalty is awarded only in the "rarest of rare" cases.
India last carried out the death sentence in 2004, when a man was hanged for raping and murdering a 14-year-old school girl in 1990.
The government says 28 convicts are in line to be hanged for various offences, including an Islamic militant convicted of taking part in an attack on India's Parliament in 2001.
Their petitions against their execution are still under government review.Reuse content