Criminal history of a convict alone no ground for death penalty: Supreme Court

The case is related to a shootout related to political and family rivalry in a UP village, in which six people lost their lives.
Supreme Court.
Supreme Court.

NEW DELHI: While commuting a convict’s capital punishment in connection with a 2003 political murder in a Uttar Pradesh village, the Supreme Court observed that the criminal history of a convict cannot by itself be a ground for the court to award him the death penalty.

Considering the age of the convict — Madan, a 64-year-old man who has been serving a jail term for 18 years and three months — a bench of Justices BR Gavai, BV Nagarathna and PS Narasimha also held that old age is a mitigating circumstance in his favour.

The top court, however, said that the convict has to serve at least 20 years in jail as part of his life-imprisonment sentence before he could be considered for release.

It was also noted by the bench that Madan has been imprisoned for a long time, while another co-accused, Sudesh Pal, who had an equal role in the murder case but had no criminal history, got only life imprisonment.

Citing this, the apex court observed that the criminal history of the convict cannot be the reason for two people who committed the same crime to be treated in different ways.“No doubt that there is a history of previous conviction insofar as appellant Madan is concerned. However, this court, in the case of Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik (supra), has held that the history of the convict by itself cannot be a ground for awarding him death penalty,” the order read.

The case is related to a shootout related to political and family rivalry in a UP village, in which six people lost their lives.

On July 31, 2015, the trial court held three accused persons guilty of committing the murder of the six persons and accordingly convicted them under various offences including murder, rioting and other charges. Two were sentenced to death, while one was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Being aggrieved thereby, Madan and Sudesh Pal preferred their respective appeals before the high court.  The high court commuted the death penalty of Sudesh Pal, but Madan’s capital punishment remained.
When there was no relief from the high court, Madan moved an appeal in the apex court. The bench commuted his death sentence.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com