HC modifies life term of murder convict sentenced to 25 yrs in jail without remission.
Modifying to life term the punishment awarded to a murder convict sentenced by the trial court to undergo 25 years in custody without being considered for remission, the Delhi High Court has said the trial court cannot order an accused to undergo life imprisonment for a certain number of years beyond 14 years without being considered for remission.
“…after the judgment in Union of India v. V. Sriharan, the trial Court cannot possibly order that the accused will undergo life imprisonment for a certain number of years beyond 14 years without being considered for remission,” said a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice IS Mehta.
It is to be noted that in V Sriharan’s case, the apex court had expressly stated that imprisonment for life in terms of Section 53 read with Section 45 of the Penal Code only means imprisonment for rest of life of the convict and that the right to claim remission, commutation, reprieve etc. as provided under Article 72 or Article 161 of the Constitution will always be available being constitutional remedies untouchable by the court.
The Delhi high court was hearing the appeal filed by a man named Govind who was convicted of stabbing two persons to death way back on April 6, 2013 in northwest Delhi.
In December 2014, a sessions court had sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life with the condition that he would spend at least 25 years in actual custody and “shall not be considered for grant of remission till he undergoes an actual sentence of 25 years”.
Besides, he was also slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh which was ordered to be disbursed as compensation to the family of the deceased.
While upholding his conviction, the division bench of Delhi High Court noted that “the Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that while the imprisonment for life is itself a severe punishment it should not be combined with a heavy fine”.
It referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Palaniappa Gounder v. State of Tamil Nadu wherein it was observed that “the sentence of fine must not be unduly excessive”.
While also referring to the V Sriharan’s judgment, the high court modified the order on the sentence by sentencing Govind to imprisonment for life with fine of Rs. 5,000.