Punishment; 5 Important Supreme Court Decisions

Punishment needs to be proportionate to the nature and magnitude of the offence. It is essential for the court to ensure that adequate and just punishment, befitting the crime, is imposed upon the convict, keeping in view the atrocity of the crime, the manner in which it was committed and the defenceless state of the victim.

Supreme Court on Punishment

1. State Vs. Saurabh Bakshi, (2015) 5 SCC 182

Wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court quoted the eminent thinker and author Sophocles as under :

“Laws can never be enforced unless fear supports them.”

Hon’ble Apex Court further observed that :

  • Though the aforesaid statement was made centuries back, it has its pertinence, in a way, with the enormous vigour, in today’s society.
  • It is the duty of every right ­thinking citizen to show veneration to law so that an orderly, civilized and peaceful society emerges.
  • It has to be borne in mind that law is averse to any kind of chaos. It is totally intolerant of anarchy. If anyone defies law, he has to face the wrath of law, depending on the concept of proportionality that the law recognizes.

2. Gopal Singh Vs. State of Uttrakhand, (2013) 7 SCC, 545

Hon’ble Apex Court has opined that just punishment is the collective cry of the society. While the collective cry have to be kept upper most in the mind simultaneously the principle proportionality between the crime and punishment cannot be totally brushed aside. The principle of just punishment is the bed rock of sentencing in respect of criminal offence.

3. State of Punjab Vs. Bawa Singh (2015) 3 SCC 441

The Hon’ble Apex Court laid down that :

  • It is duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed.
  • The sentencing courts are expected to consider all relevant facts and circumstances bearing on the question of sentence and proceed to impose a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the offence.
  • The court must not only keep in view the rights of the victim of the crime but also the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment.

4. Dhananjay Chatterjee vs. State of W.B. (1994) 2 SCC 220

Where it had observed :

  • The measure of punishment in a given case must depend upon the atrocity of the crime, the conduct of the criminal and the defencies and unprotected state of the victim.
  • Imposition of appropriate punishment is the manner in which the courts respond to the society’s cry for justice against the criminals.
  • Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public adhorrence of the crime.
  • The courts must not only keep in view the rights of the criminal but also the rights of the victim of crime and the society at large while considering the imposition of apropriate punishment.

5. Ahmed Hussein Vali Mohammed Saiyed vs. State of Gujarat, (2209) 7 SCC 254

Where it was observed as follows :

  • The object of awarding appropriate sentence should be to protect the society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object to (sic break the) law by imposing appropriate sentence.