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POST CONVICTION MENTAL ILLNESS IS A JUSTIFYING FACTOR TO CONSIDER APPEALS OF DEATH CONVICTS: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 16 Apr 2019 10:10am

POST CONVICTION MENTAL ILLNESS IS A JUSTIFYING FACTOR TO CONSIDER APPEALS OF DEATH CONVICTS: Supreme Court

A Review petition was filed was regarding Trial Court not giving a separate hearing while awarding the sentence for contravening Section 235(2), CrPC. This Section provides for the right of hearing before sentencing. It was also contended that executing persons who are suffering from mental illness or insanity is in violation of Article 21 and such mental illness or insanity would be a supervening circumstance meriting commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment. The Trial Court convicted the accused in 2001 and his death sentence was upheld by High Court.

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee made an observation that as long as the spirit and purpose of Section 235(2) is met, inasmuch as the accused is afforded a real and effective opportunity to plead his case with respect to sentencing, whether simply by way of oral submissions or by also bringing pertinent material on record, there is no bar on the pre-sentencing hearing taking place on the same day as the pre-conviction hearing. A separate date can be allotted to the hearing depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case. But it is also allowed to argue on the question of sentence on the same day if the parties wish to do so.
The reports of the psychiatrist suggested that the accused has been reeling under bouts of some form of mental irritability since 1994. The bench commuted the sentence to life imprisonment without any remission and directed the State to mention his case under the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The Supreme Court has held that post conviction mental illness will be a mitigating factor while considering appeals of death convicts. 

Tagged: Supreme Court   Life Imprisonment   Justice NV Ramana   Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar   Justice Indira Banerjee  
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