Sen Gupta, J.C.
1. This Rule was issued upon the Opposite Party to show cause why the sentence of his transportation for life passed by the Sessions Judge of Agartala under Section 302, Penal Code, in Sessions case No. 17 of 1950, should not be enhanced to one of death.
2. The matter came to the notice of this Court on an appeal being filed by the opposite party against his conviction and sentence and the rule was issued during the pendency of the appeal. The appeal having been dismissed, the rule was heard after further notice to the opposite party and the State. The opposite party was represented by an Advocate of this Court, who had also conducted the appeal on his behalf. The State Advocate appeared to support the rule.
3. Grounds put forward by the opposite party were, (1) that he was innocent. (2) that he was only 22 years of age and (3) that his family would be in distress if the sentence against him is executed. This cause was shown before the disposal of the appeal. The opposite party did not file any further application, after the dismissal of his appeal.
4. No argument was advanced in support of the first ground. The opposite party was convicted by the Sessions Judge agreeing with the majority of the assessors. His conviction was upheld on appeal. Nothing further could be said about the innocence of the opposite party.
5. With regard to the second ground, it appears that the learned Sessions Judge inflicted the lesser sentence under Section 302, I.P.C. on the ground of the youth of the opposite party, although he held that the extreme penalty was the only punishment for the offence. The age of the opposite party is said to be 22 years in the cause shown but it appears from his statement before the Committing Magistrate, which was also made a part of the evidence of the Sessions Record, that he gave his age as 22 on 15.1.50. He was thus over 2l years at the commission of the offence. This is an age at which a normal man of this country and of the class to which the opposite party belongs attains sufficient maturity to understand the gravity of the offence committed by him and to know the normal consequences of his action. Age alone is not therefore an extenuating circumstance in this case.
6. My attention was drawn to another circumstance on record. There are some materials to show that the opposite party had some companions when he committed the offence. It was argued that the opposite party might have commuted the offence under their influence or at their instigation. There is however no material for coming to such a conclusion. On the other hand, there is evidence that no other person took any part in the actual commission of the offence and when Abdul Sobhan was stabbed the other men were at some distance from the opposite party.
7. Several Rulings of the Lahore High Court were placed before me on behalf of the opposite party. These were Sikandar v. Emperor AIR 1931 Lah 536; Chirag Din v. Emperor AIR 1934 Lah 786; Maghar Singh v. Emperor AIR 1941 Lah 220; Nasib Singh v. Emperor AIR 1943 Lah 89.
8. It will be seen that in each of these cases the young accused was accompanied by elderly relations or others under whose influence the accused seems to have acted and, therefore, a more lenient view was taken in awarding him the punishment of transportation for life instead of death.
9. The present case stands on an altogether different footing and the rulings can have no effect on the decision of this case. Besides in two of the cases the accused were only 17 years, in one 18 or 19 years and in the fourth case 19 or 20 years of age. On account of the absence of any influence of the nature found in the reported cases and on account of the mature age of the opposite party, the principle applied in those cases cannot be followed here.
10. In the present case, the opposite party, Abdul Gofur, has been found to have murdered an aged man, manifestly for having rendered assistance in the investigation of crimes. The murder was also premeditated and cold-blooded. The only punishment contemplated by the law for such a case of deliberate and diabolical murder is the extreme penalty provided by Section 302, I.P.C.
11. The possible distress in the family of the offender resultant on the execution of a legal sentence passed on him is not a matter which a Court of Law is expected to consider in passing the sentence prescribed by law.
12. The Rule is therefore made absolute. The sentence of transportation for life passed on the opposite party, Abdul Gofur, by the Sessions Judge of Agartala in Sessions case No. 17 of 1950. under Section 302, Penal Code, is enhanced to one of death.
13. Abdul Gofur, opposite party, shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead.
14. Let this decision and order be certified to the Court of Sessions Judge, Agartala, for necessary action under Section 442 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.