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Tests To Be Applied While Sentencing In A Criminal Case; SC Explains [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
22 Oct 2019 1:31 PM GMT
Tests To Be Applied While Sentencing In A Criminal Case; SC Explains [Read Judgment]

"The aspect of sentencing should not be taken for granted, as this part of Criminal Justice System has determinative impact on the society. "

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The Supreme Court briefly explained three tests to be applied while sentencing in a criminal case.

The court said that the crime test, criminal test and comparative proportionality test have to be applied while sentencing an accused in a criminal case.

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi were considering the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior Bench) in which reduced the sentence awarded by the Trial Court to the period already undergone for the offences under Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 34 of IPC, and Section 452 of the IPC.

While considering the appeal [State of MP vs. Udham], the apex court bench noted that the reasoning of the High Court on the aspect of sentencing is limited to one sentence. The court observed:

It is clear that there is no detailed analysis of the facts of the case, the nature of the injuries caused, the weapons used, the number of victims, etc. given by the High Court in the impugned order.
We are of the opinion that a large number of cases are being filed before this Court, due to insufficient or wrong sentencing undertaken by the Courts below. We have time and again cautioned against the cavalier manner in which sentencing is dealt in certain cases. There is no gainsaying that the aspect of sentencing should not be taken for granted, as this part of Criminal Justice System has determinative impact on the society. In light of the same, we are of the opinion that we need to provide further clarity on the same.

The bench briefly explained two tests:

Crime Test

Crime test involves factors like extent of planning, choice of weapon, modus of crime, disposal modus (if any), role of the accused, anti-social or abhorrent character of the crime, state of victim.
Additionally, we may note that under the crime test, seriousness needs to be ascertained. The seriousness of the crime 6 may be ascertained by (i) bodily integrity of the victim; (ii) loss of material support or amenity; (iii) extent of humiliation; and (iv) privacy breach. 

Criminal test

Criminal test involves assessment of factors such as age of the criminal, gender of the criminal, economic conditions or social background of the criminal, motivation for crime, availability of defense, state of mind, instigation by the deceased or any one from the deceased group, adequately represented in the trial, disagreement by a judge in the appeal process, repentance, possibility of reformation, prior criminal record (not to take pending cases) and any other relevant factor (not an exhaustive list).

The bench then considering the facts and circumstances of the case sentenced the accused to three months rigorous imprisonment.

Click here to Read/Download Judgment


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