SC orders against reduction of the sentence by the High Court, relying on the principle of just and appropriate punishment

Supreme Court: The Bench
comprising of Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant, JJ. vehemently criticised the
approach of lower courts in awarding and reducing the quantum of punishment
based on the concepts like ‘first time offender’, ‘convicts belonging to weaker
section of the society’ and ‘no useful purpose would be served’.

The present case
was an appeal which was filed to challenge the reduction of sentence by the
High Court, wherein the Court found that the offenders were awarded a sentence
of three years under Section 306 IPC by the trial Judge which was subsequently
in appeal before the High Court was reduced to the term already undergone by
them. The Punjab and Haryana High Court
stated that in view of totality of circumstances, no useful purpose will be
served by sending the offenders back to jail for remaining sentences of

The Supreme Court
while setting aside the reduction of sentence and restoring the sentence given
by trial Judge, relying on its previous decisions said that ‘it is discernible
how the principle of “first offender” would come into play in such a case. Once
the offence under Section 306 IPC is proved there should be adequate and
appropriate punishment’. Criticising further, the Court said that, the approach
of the High Court as the reasoning shows, reflects more of a causal and
fanciful way, while imposing sentence; it has a duty to respond to the collective
cry of the society. A Judge has to keep in mind the paramount concept of rule
of law and the conscience of the collective and balance it with principle of
proportionality, as one cannot remain a total alien to agony of the victim and
survivors of the victim. [Raj Bala v.
State of Haryana, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 734, decided on 18.08.2015]

Source: Legal news India

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