Lawstreet Journal

SC: Urgent Need For Mitigating Circumstances To Be Considered At Trial Stage In Death Penalty Cases

Lawstreet Journal 23 May 2022 9:33pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary SC: Urgent Need For Mitigating Circumstances To Be Considered At Trial Stage In Death Penalty Cases

On Friday, the Apex Court of India in "Manoj and ors v. State of Madhya Pradesh", noted that courts need to exercise restraint when balancing public opinion with the facts of the case. As a result, the court commutated the death sentences of three murder convicts to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years.

It was decided by a three-judge bench consisting of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi that an examination of the mitigating circumstances of such cases must be carried out liberally and expansively, even in cases involving brutal crimes. This decision was based on the test that was laid out in the "Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (1980)" case. It held that,

"There is urgent need to ensure that mitigating circumstances are considered at the trial stage, to avoid slipping into a retributive response to the brutality of the crime, as is noticeably the situation in a majority of cases reaching the appellate stage."

The Bench has issued guidelines in this regard and stated that it has been held that public opinion towards a cruel crime is not an objective circumstance relating to the crime or the criminals. 

The highest court was hearing appeals against a judgement that was handed down in 2014 by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. In that ruling, the Madhya Pradesh High Court upheld a verdict from a Sessions Court that found the present appellants guilty of murder and sentenced them to death. The three… Continue Reading...

Tagged: Supreme Court of India   Manoj and ors   Justice UU Lalit   Justice S Ravindra Bhat   Justice Bela M Trivedi   Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (1980)   Code of Criminal Procedure 1973   Section 235(2)   Socio-economic  
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