Show no undue sympathy towards criminals while awarding sentence: SC tells judiciary

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New Delhi, Nov 13: The Supreme Court has held that judiciary should not show undue sympathy towards criminals while awarding sentence, saying it would do more harm to the justice system and would undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law.

"Undue sympathy by means of imposing inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and the society cannot endure long under serious threats," a bench headed by Justice M Y Eqbal said.

It said that it is the duty of courts to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was committed. "If the courts do not protect the injured, the injured would then resort to personal vengeance," the bench said.

"The legislature has bestowed upon the judiciary this enormous discretion in the sentencing policy, which must be exercised with utmost care and caution. "The punishment awarded should be directly proportionate to the nature and the magnitude of the offence. The benchmark of proportionate sentencing can assist the judges in arriving at a fair and impartial verdict," it said.

The apex court set aside the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court by which it had reduced the two-year jail term awarded to a convict by the trial court to the period already undergone subject to depositing further compensation of Rs 2,000 to the widow/mother of the deceased in a road accident case.

PTI

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