HC: Trial courts can award life term without remission

HC: Trial courts can award life term without remission

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13

Just about six months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that trial courts have no power to impose penalty of lifelong imprisonment without remission or parole, another Division Bench has asserted that it is unable to understand under what circumstances the Judges of a coordinate Bench gave such a finding.

The assertion came in a petition by Anil Dass challenging the order dated August 28, 2020, whereby the Gurugram division commissioner rejected his application for four-week parole. The Bench of Justice SN Satyanarayana and Justice Archana Puri was told that the Hisar Additional Sessions Judge had recorded the finding that the petitioner, among other accused, was responsible for homicidal death of several persons before finding them guilty of murder and other offences punishable under Sections 302, 342 and 120-B of the IPC. The petitioner was subsequently sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life without remission, pursuant to which he was undergoing sentence in the Gurugram district jail.

FINDING GETS high court BACKING

When that was looked into, we really felt that the Additional Sessions Judge was right ... leaving these people out in society even for a minute at any time, after they were found to be guilty of these offences, was not in the larger interest of society. —Punjab and Haryana High Court

The counsel for the petitioner, during the course of arguments, argued that the order passed by the Hisar Additional Sessions Judge in sentencing the petitioner to imprisonment for life without remission was wrong. The counsel pointed out that there was already a finding to that effect by a coordinate Bench in another matter, wherein it was held by the Division Bench that putting such a restriction was incorrect.

After taking note of the contentions, the Bench asserted that it went through the judgment threadbare and considered the manner in which the petitioner and 14 other accused were involved in causing homicidal death of innocent persons, including women and children.

The petitioner and other similarly placed accused had supported another hardcore criminal, whose arrest was opposed by them by using these persons as a shield.

The Bench added: “When that was looked into, we really felt that the Additional Sessions Judge was right in giving such a finding for the reason that he felt leaving these people out in society even for a minute at any time, after they were found to be guilty of these offences, was not in the larger interest of society and they could be threat to the society at any point of time in any manner.”

Appreciating the findings of the Additional Sessions Judge, the Bench added that he did not come to such a conclusion in a whimsical or fanciful manner, but after giving careful consideration with reference to the manner in which all accused in the case behaved.

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