The Supreme Court has asked the trial courts and the High Courts to award punishment in criminal cases in proportion to the gravity of the offence committed.

“Imposition of appropriate punishment is the manner in which the courts respond to the society’s cry for justice against the criminals. Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime,” said a Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal.

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “In operating the sentencing system, law should adopt the corrective machinery or deterrence based on factual matrix. By deft modulation, sentencing process must be stern where it should be, and tempered with mercy where it warrants to be.”

The Bench pointed out that the facts and circumstances in each case, the nature of the crime, the manner in which it was planned and committed, the motive for commission of the crime, the conduct of the accused, the nature of weapons used and all other attendant circumstances were relevant facts, which would enter into the area of consideration.

“It was the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed. The sentencing courts are expected to consider all relevant facts and circumstances bearing on the question of sentence and proceed to impose a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the offence,” it said.

In the instant case, the appellant Jameel was sentenced to undergo two years rigorous imprisonment for an offence under IPC Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) by a trial court in Lucknow. The Allahabad High Court dismissed his appeal against the trial court’s order and the present appeal is directed against the High Court’s judgment.

Dismissing the appeal, the Bench said, “in view of the materials placed by the prosecution, analysed by the trial court and approved by the High Court, we are not inclined to reduce the sentence. There is no valid ground for reducing the sentence as claimed by the appellant.”

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