Here’s why SC commuted the death sentence of man who killed his wife and 5 children to LI

Supreme Court:

“The mercy petition is the last hope of a person on death row. Every dawn will give rise to a new hope that his mercy petition may be accepted. By night fall this hope also dies.” – Deepak Gupta, J

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Deepak Gupta and Indira Banerjee, JJ commuted the death sentence of a man who was convicted for killing his wife and 5 children due to the the un­explained delay of 4 years in forwarding the mercy petition by the State of Madhya Pradesh leading to delay of almost 5 years in deciding the mercy petition.

The Court said that it has repeatedly held that in cases where death sentence has to be executed the same should be done as early as possible and if mercy petitions are not forwarded for 4 years and no explanation is submitted, it cannot but hold that the delay is inordinate and un­explained. The Court noticed:

“there not only was there a long, inordinate and un­explained delay on the part of the State of Madhya Pradesh but to make matters worse, the State of Madhya Pradesh has not even cared to file any counter affidavit in the Writ Petition even though notice was issued 4 years back on 18.11.2014 and service was effected within a month of issuance of notice.”

The Court also took note of the fact that the petitioner has now been behind bars for almost about 14 years as he was convicted on April 24, 2006. It, hence, held that regardless of the brutal nature of crime this is not a fit case where death sentence should be executed and it commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment. However, keeping in view the nature of crime and the fact that 6 innocent lives were lost, the bench directed that life imprisonment in this case shall mean the entire remaining life of the petitioner and he shall not be released till his death. [Jagdish v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 250, decided on 21.02.2019]

2 comments

  • Post Shatrughan Chauhan (2014) 3 SCC 1 it almost appears as fait accompli in that there is inordinate and unexplained delay in deciding the clemency petition by the executive which in turn creates legitimate ground for the SC to commute the death sentence imposed by itself. However, the convict’s incarceration for the rest of his life for reasons cited is unfathomable. Does the Hon’ble SC find him such a threat to the society that he must be permanently isolated from the society? Moreover, such a sentence goes completely against the reformatory theory of punishment as he is condemned to die in prison without being given a chance to prove that he is a reformed person. A sentence grounded in object and theory of punishment, would be free from arbitrariness and caprice.

  • I want discuss to the article 19 and ipc section 292.

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