In India neither the legislature nor the judiciary has issued structured sentencing guidelines. Several governmental committees have pointed to the need to adopt such guidelines in order to minimize uncertainty in awarding sentences. The higher courts, recognizing the absence of such guidelines, have provided judicial guidance in the form of principles and factors that courts must take into account while exercising discretion in sentencing.
Indian Penal Code prescribed offences and punishments for the same. For many offences only the maximum punishment is prescribed and for some offences the minimum may be prescribed. The Judge has wide discretion in awarding the sentence within the statutory limits. There is now no guidance to the Judge in regard to selecting the most appropriate sentence given the circumstances of the case.
In some countries guidance regarding sentencing option[s] is given in the penal code and sentencing guideline laws. There is need for such law in our country to minimise uncertainty to the matter of awarding sentence. There are several factors which are relevant in prescribing the alternative sentences. This requires a thorough examination by an expert statutory body.