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Life imprisonment shall be sentenced with adequate reasoning only : The Supreme Court

Bidisha Ghoshal ,
  17 January 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Writ Petition (CRL.) No. 323/2022.

CASE TITLE:

Jaswant Singh & Ors. v. The State of Chhattisgarh & Anr.

DATE OF ORDER:

13 Jan 2023.

JUDGE(S):

Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M. Trivedi. 

PARTIES:

Petitioner: Jaswant Singh & Ors. 

Respondent: The State of Chhattisgarh & Anr.

SUBJECT:

In the present case, the petitioners are convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter to be referred as “IPC”) and are undergoing the statement of life imprisonment. The Court 

BRIEF OF THE ORDER-

  • The present petitioners along with the other co-accused were charged and tried for offences under Section 147, 148, 302/149, 307/149 of the IPC and Section 3 (2) (5) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Corruption Act). They were found guilty for the said offences and thereby sentenced to life imprisonment by the Special Judge (SC,ST), Durg.
  • There were a total number of 8 accused. It was alleged that they had constituted an unlawful assembly and killed Kartikram and Puneet by using deadly weapons like sword, axe, wooden stick etc.
  •  The three petitioners namely Jaswant Singh, Ajay and Naresh were undergoing the sentence of life imprisonment for about 16 years without remission (with remission about 21 years of imprisonment).  Hence, they submitted applications to the Jail Superintendent, Central Jail, Durg seeking their premature release under Section 432(2) of Cr. P.C.
  • The Jail Superintendent sought an opinion of the concerned Sessions Court and the Special Judge gave his opinion stating inter alia that it was inappropriate to allow remission of the remaining sentence of the said petitioners.
  • The Law Department, Government of Chhattisgarh also gave the same opinion as stated above and added that two of the petitioners were not to be given the benefit of provisions of Section 433-A of Cr. P.C. 
  • The Director General, Jail and Correctional Services Chhattisgarh referred the case of the second petitioner to the Home Department, Government of Chhattisgarh which remained pending for consideration.
  • The Law Department again gave its opinion that it was inappropriate to release the two petitioners as the presiding Judge gave a dissenting opinion. The Director General, Jail and Correctional Services therefore, rejected the applications of all the three petitioners. 
  • Ram Chander who was convicted alongwith the present petitioners and was one of the co-accused filed a writ petition. 
  • This Court gave an order directing the Special Judge to provide a fresh opinion with proper reasoning after taking into consideration of the relevant factors laid down in Laxman Naskar v. Union of India [(2002) 2 SCC 595].
  • The Special Judge (Atrocities Act Durg) opined inter alia that the sentence of the prisoner Ram Chander could be set aside and ordered to remit his sentence.
  • The Court observed that the case of the present petitioners were similar to the case of the co-accused Ram Chander and the case did not contain any reasons with regard to the factors that were to be taken into consideration as laid down in the case of Laxman Naskar v. Union of India (supra). Hence, the Court opined to pass a similar order as was passed earlier in the case of Ram Chander.
  • The Court held that the applications of the petitioners required a reconsideration by the respondent authorities. The Special Judge, Durg was also ordered to provide an opinion on the applications of the petitioners by giving adequate reasoning and considering relevant factors that govern the grant of remission in the case of Laxman Naskar v. Union of India (supra).

CONCLUSION

The Court allowed the writ petition and correctly pointed out that “no person is a born criminal”. Life imprisonment is a brutal punishment and it should be sentenced only with adequate reasons and taking each and every fact into consideration.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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