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A Division Bench of the Madras High Court was recently aghast to find that a lower court had imposed a sentence lesser than the statutory sentence prescribed for two murder convicts.
An Additional District and Sessions judge was found to have imposed only a 7 and 10 year imprisonment terms for two murder convicts, although the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prescribes a penalty of either death or life imprisonment for a person found guilty of murder.
The Bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and N Anand Venaktesh took critical note over the same on Friday. The Court was unequivocal in its disapproval over the incident. As noted in their order,
“Section 302 I.P.C., specifically provides that whoever commits the offence of murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to pay fine. Therefore, the minimum punishment that has been provided for murder is life sentence and no other sentence lesser than that can be imposed by any Court. This is a rudimentary principle of law that a Sessions Judge is supposed to possess. It is shocking that a person holding the post of Sessions Judge has sentenced the accused persons for 10 years and 7 years respectively after convicting them under Section 302 I.P.C“
The Bench in turn has sought a report from the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Virdudhunagar, who had passed the penalty order under scrutiny. To this end, a copy of the High Court order was also directed to be sent to the judge concerned forthwith.
“A report is called for from the learned Additional District and Sessions Judge, Virudhunagar, to explain as to how after convicting the accused persons under Section 302 I.P.C., the Judge had proceeded to sentence the accused persons for 10 years and 7 years respectively.”
The Court has directed that this report be sent by October 21, on which date the Court is expected to take up the matter next. “
.”The report shall reach this Court positively on 21.10.2019.”