Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terror attacks, has been sentenced to death -- the ultimate punishment available under the Indian Penal Code under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
He will be one of the 309 prisoners in the country who will await his death, and if executed, he will become the 56th prisoner since Independence to be hanged in the gallows.
In India there are 309 convicts including six women, who are awaiting their death.
Kasab would be the 39th prisoner in Maharashtra who has been sentenced to death.
Bihar tops the state-wise list on death sentences with 80 convicts, while Uttar Pradesh comes next with 72.
Most of these cases are in the appeal stage and there are 29 clemency petitions, including that of Afzal Guru, that are pending before the president of India.
In 2007 alone the Indian judiciary handed out 186 death sentences.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee was the last person to be executed in the country in 2004 in West Bengal. Prior to this, a convict named Auto Shankar was executed in 1995.
The verdict of a sessions court in case of a death sentence is not final until it is confirmed by the high court, where the convict will have a right to appeal.
If this fails he can approach the Supreme Court and then the president of India.
In India, the final appellate authority is the President of India.
At present there are 29 mercy petitions pending before the president.
The last mercy petition that was rejected by the president was that of Chatterjee who had raped and murdered a 14-year-old girl.
However, the most publicised mercy petition till date has been of Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death in connection with the Parliament attack case.
The petition is still pending before the President of India while the convict languishes in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
The other mercy petitions pending with the president are that of the three assassins of former prime minister Rajeev Gandhi.
Other than this, there are the mercy petitions of Davinder Singh Bhullar of the Khalistan Liberation Force, Simon, Gnanprakashan, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilvendran, associates of Veerappan, among others.