Uniform sentencing policy cannot be evolved as the adequate quantum of sentence depends on various factors peculiar to each case

Supreme Court: Deliberating upon a much debated issue of forming a uniform sentencing policy, the bench of T.S. Thakur and V. Gopala Gowda, JJ said that determining the adequacy of sentence to be awarded in a given case is not an easy task, just as evolving a uniform sentencing policy is a tough call as the quantum of sentence that may be awarded depends upon a variety of factors including mitigating circumstances peculiar to a given case.

Further explaining the situation, the Court held that the Courts have not attempted to exhaustively enumerate the considerations that go into determination of the quantum of sentence nor have the Courts attempted to lay down the weight that each one of these considerations carry because any such exercise is neither easy nor advisable given the myriad situations in which the question may fall for determination. Laying down some of the considerations kept in mind by the Courts while exercising the discretion in awarding sentence, the Court said that the reformative, deterrent and punitive aspects of punishment, delay in the conclusion of the trial and legal proceedings, the age of the accused, his physical/health condition, the nature of the offence, the weapon used and in the cases of illegal gratification the amount of bribe, loss of job and family obligations of accused are some of the considerations that weigh heavily with the Courts while determining the sentence to be awarded.

The matter that came before the Court was relating to an offence under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 where the appellant had accepted a bribe of Rs. 700. Considering the amount received in bribe and the fact that the appeal proceedings have in the case at hand continued for nearly 17 years thereby causing immense trauma, mental incarnation and anguish to the appellant and that the appellant has already undergone 7½ months against the statutory minimum of 6 months imprisonment, the Court upheld the High Court’s order of reducing the sentence. K.P. Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 858, decided on 28.09.2015

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.