-Report by Arunima Jain
The Supreme Court on Thursday announced its decision on the long-standing appeal of the petitioner in this case of a triple murder. The Constitution Bench has determined that the HighCourt or, in the event of a subsequent appeal, the Supreme Court, and not any other Court inthis country, may exercise power to impose a fixed term sentence or modified punishmentthat can be derived from the IPC. When a Constitutional Court determines that even though a case does not fall under the category of “rarest of the rare,” taking into account the seriousness and nature of the offence, as well as all other pertinent factors, it can always impose a fixed term sentence, preventing the accused from benefiting from statutory remission, etc. In addition to the same, the Court has the power to alter a lower court’s judgement to the said punishment, whether it lowers or upgrades it, depending on the gravity of the crime committed and the application of judicial conscience appropriate to the offence that was judged to have been committed.
In the matter at hand, the appellant had been involved in the gruesome murder of three peoplealongside other co-accused persons in March 2006. Upon the case reaching the SessionsCourt, the appellant was convicted for the offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The three co-accused in the case were also convicted for the same offence and all those convicted were sentenced to life imprisonment. After the initial judgement, an appeal waspreferred in
the High Court, which further went on to affirm the lower court’s judgement. On finding norecourse, the appellant came to the present Court.
The appellant’s learned counsel has challenged the High Court conviction on the basis ofwrongful identification of the accused in the matter. The counsel has submitted that there isno compelling evidence to prove the involvement of the appellant in the murder. As per thelearned counsel, he has taken the precedent of Union of India v. V. Sriharan aliasMurugan & Ors., to further his case that the current sessions court has no jurisdiction to deal in the matter in regards to the punishment of life imprisonment. According to the appellant’s counsel, when it came to commuting a death sentence, only the Constitutional Courts can usesuch a power.
Contrary to the petitioner’s counsel, the respondent’s learned counsel submits that both theCourts preceding the present Hon’ble court have considered the evidence provided and thetestimony of witnesses so given. The Court has the jurisdiction and power to modify and/orrectify the provided judgement of the High Court in such a manner.
Upon giving due regard to the facts and law in the above-mentioned case, it is contended bythe Hon’ble Court that pursuant to the contested judgements, the appellant’s conviction isaffirmed. Although the arrangement of the sentence has been tweaked a bit. The appellant is to serve a set term of 30 years of solitary confinement under strict supervision. Moreover, the appellant has been stripped of the opportunity to opt for recourse or remission under the Codeof Criminal Procedure. The appeal was thus partly allowed.
READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/3zZYCoH