Mon. Sep 21st, 2020

Uniform sentencing policy cannot be evolved as the adequate quantum of sentence depends on various factors peculiar to each case

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Supreme Court: Deliberating upon a much debated issue of forming a
uniform sentencing policy, the bench of T.S. Thakur and V. Gopala Gowda, JJ said
that determining the adequacy of sentence to be awarded in a given case is not
an easy task, just as evolving a uniform sentencing policy is a tough call as
the quantum of sentence that may be awarded depends upon a variety of factors
including mitigating circumstances peculiar to a given case.

Further explaining the situation,
the Court held that the Courts have not attempted to exhaustively enumerate the
considerations that go into determination of the quantum of sentence nor have
the Courts attempted to lay down the weight that each one of these
considerations carry because any such exercise is neither easy nor advisable
given the myriad situations in which the question may fall for determination. Laying
down some of the considerations kept in mind by the Courts while exercising the
discretion in awarding sentence, the Court said that the reformative, deterrent
and punitive aspects of punishment, delay in the conclusion of the trial and
legal proceedings, the age of the accused, his physical/health condition, the
nature of the offence, the weapon used and in the cases of illegal gratification
the amount of bribe, loss of job and family obligations of accused are some of
the considerations that weigh heavily with the Courts while determining the
sentence to be awarded.

The matter that came before the
Court was relating to an offence under Section 8 of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988 where the appellant had accepted a bribe of Rs. 700.
Considering the amount received in bribe and the fact that the appeal
proceedings have in the case at hand continued for nearly 17 years thereby causing
immense trauma, mental incarnation and anguish to the appellant and that the
appellant has already undergone 7½ months against the statutory minimum of 6
months imprisonment, the Court upheld the High Court’s order of reducing the
sentence. [K.P. Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 858, decided on 28.09.2015]
Source: Legal news India

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