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Punishment less than Life Imprisonment for offence punishable under section 302 IPC would be contrary to section 302: Supreme Court

-Report by Anas Ali

In the case of The State of Madhya Pradesh versus Nandu @ Nandua, The Supreme Court ruled that if an accused person is found guilty of the offence covered by Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), no penalty or punishment may be less than life imprisonment.


The Appellant; the State of Madhya Pradesh filed an appeal against the order of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The High Court had reduced the sentence of the accused to what he had already undergone. The accused had been sentenced to life imprisonment when he was convicted for the offences under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).


It was argued by the appellants that the punishment that could be imposed would be death or imprisonment for life and also a fine, however, it shall not be less than imprisonment for life. Any punishment or sentence that is less than life imprisonment would violate Section 302 of the IPC.


The Supreme Court has entertained the appeal of the state. The Court gave a decision in the favour of the state and set aside the decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. It was observed

“The punishment for murder under Section 302 IPC shall be death or imprisonment for life and fine. Therefore, the
minimum sentence provided for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC would be imprisonment for life and fine. There cannot be any sentence/punishment less than imprisonment for life, if an accused is convicted for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC. Any punishment less than the imprisonment for life for the offence punishable under Section 302 would be contrary to Section 302 IPC.”

The decision of the trial court was restored and the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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