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Sentencing On The Same Day As Conviction Denies An Effective Hearing: MP HC Commutes Death Sentence To Life Imprisonment

[13 September 2021]
While commuting the death sentence awarded to a man to life imprisonment, the Madhya Pradesh High Court referred to the jurisprudence laid down in Bachan Singh to observe that the accused was denied an effective hearing. A Division Bench of Justices G.S. Ahluwalia and Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava noted that no sufficient opportunity was given to the accused-appellant for placing mitigating circumstances on record. It was further observed that the trial court did not consider the grant of any alternative punishment or the possibility of reformation. He remarked, “For effective hearing under Section 235(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the suggestion that the court intends to impose death penalty should specifically be made to the accused, to enable the accused to make an effective representation against the death sentence, by placing mitigating circumstances before the Court.”

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