NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court recently ruled that undue leniency in awarding of sentences needed to be avoided because it did not have the necessary effect of being a deterrent for the accused and did not reassure the society that the offender had been properly dealt with.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh was hearing an appeal filed by the state against the judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court wherein the sentence imposed by the trial court — of imprisonment for 10 years — for an attempt to murder, was reduced.
According to the case, complainant Kriparam was called to the Panchayat Bhawan where the accused, Rajaram, Hakim and Udaibhan, were already waiting with iron rods and lathis in hand.
As soon as Kriparam arrived, he was threatened and assaulted by the trio. When the complainant’s brother Prabhu went to his rescue, he was also assaulted.
The Supreme Court expressed its displeasure over the fact that the Madhya Pradesh High Court had not even noted down the six injuries suffered by the complainant, which included a grievous injury on the temporal part, a reddish blue mark on the upper side of the right eye and injury on the forehead.
The apex court further took exception to the fact that the high court had taken such a lenient view in the case despite all the mitigating circumstances.
The bench, commenting on the case, said, “It is the duty of the court awarding sentence to ensure justice to both the parties and therefore undue leniency in awarding sentence needs to be avoided because it does not have the necessary effect of being a deterrent for the accused and does not reassure the society that the offender has been properly dealt with. It is not a very healthy situation to leave the injured and complainant side thoroughly dissatisfied with a very lenient punishment to the accused.”
“In the present case the order of punishment imposed by the High Court suffers from the vice of being over-lenient even in absence of any mitigating circumstance,” the bench said. “In such a situation, the interest of justice requires interference with the punishment imposed by the High Court. The ends of justice would be satisfied by imposing on all the three accused persons a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for three years in place of the period already undergone,” the bench ruled.