Life has come full circle for Debapriya Pal, a murder accused, as the Supreme Court acquitted him on Thursday after about seven years of a trial court sentencing him to death penalty.
Debapriya Pal and Subhankar Sarkar were accused of murdering a housewife and her daughter.
Both were tried and the trial court imposed capital sentence on both of them. The high court, partly allowing their appeals, commuted the death penalty and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
The apex court bench, comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice RK Agrawal finally heard Debapriya’s appeal on Thursday and set aside the conviction. But the bench, which dictated the order in open court, also issued a separate order, directing his release from prison. “Since it may take few days for that order to be ready, on the strength of this order, the appellant shall be released forthwith,” the order said.
It was only a week before when another bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra ruled that the result of adjudication cannot be announced without the judgment available on record.
The court had observed: “If the judgment is not complete and signed, it cannot be a judgment in terms of Section 353 CrPC. It is unimaginable that a judgment is pronounced without there being a judgment. It is gross illegality.”
But it must be stated here that though such a practice of announcing result of adjudication without the judgment available on record cannot be adopted by the high court and the trial courts, there is no bar in Supreme Court doing so. This aspect has been dealt in the Constitution Bench judgment in State Of Punjab vs. Jagdev Singh Talwandi wherein it observed: “It may be thought that such orders are passed by this Court and therefore there is no reason why the High Courts should not do the same. We would like to point out respectfully that the orders passed by this Court are final and no appeal lies against them. The Supreme Court is the final court in the hierarchy of our courts. Besides, orders without a reasoned judgment are passed by this Court very rarely, under exceptional circumstances.”
Read the order here.