New Delhi: The year 2017 saw an increase in number of convicts sent to gallows for murders involving sexual, says a study by the National Law University.

According to the study  43 convicts were awarded death for murders involving sexual violence in 2017 against 24 in 2016.

The study, however, finds that there was a significant drop of nearly 27 per cent in award of death penalty by sessions courts.

Titled as ‘Death Penalty in India, Annual Statistics for the year 2017’, the study says  that while 149 persons were sentenced to death in 2016, the number came down to 109 in 2017. Out of the 109 death punishments awarded by sessions courts last year, the high courts commuted 53 cases and acquitted 35 persons.

Among the states, Maharashtra tops the list with 67 prisoners on death row. The state had 47 death row prisoners in 2016. However, the death row population in Karnataka reduced from 27 in 2016 to 12 in 2017, owing to various commutations and acquittals by the high court.

The study reveals that  as on December 31, 2017, a total of 371 prisoners were on death row across the country.