In a major boost for anti-death penalty jurisprudence, the Supreme Court has observed that death penalty breaches the reformative theory of punishment under criminal law..A Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton Nariman made this observation in an appeal filed against a verdict of the Bombay High Court in a double-murder case. The Trial Court had found the accused guilty of murdering his minor child and pregnant wife and awarded death penalty. The High Court had, however, acquitted accused..The Supreme Court relied upon the dying declarations of the deceased to uphold the Trial Court verdict in terms of affirming the guilt of the accused. But that’s not where the case ends..The Court goes on to consider whether death penalty should be awarded in this case. It then relies on the 262nd Report of the Law Commission and states,.“..the Law Commission of India has submitted its Report No.262 titled “The Death Penalty” after the reference was made from this Court to study the issue of Death Penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informeddiscussion and debate on this subject”. We have noticed that the Law Commission of India has recommended the abolition of death penalty for all the crimes other than terrorism related offences and waging war (offences affecting National Security).”.The Court then proceeds to make the most interesting observation regarding death penalty. Deciding against upholding the High Court order imposing death sentence on the respondent, the Court holds,.“We have noticed that the Law Commission of India has recommended the abolition of death penalty for all the crimes other than terrorism related offences and waging war (offences affecting National Security). Today when capital punishment has become a distinctive feature of death penalty apparatus in India which somehow breaches the reformative theory of punishment under criminal law, we are not inclined to award the same in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case.”.It, therefore, imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on the convict while stating categorically that ‘life imprisonment’ would mean imprisonment for the natural life of the accused..Bar & Bench had earlier discussed the various pros and cons of the death penalty debate, especially in context of the judge hearing the case..Read the judgment below.