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Ambaram Vs. the State of Madhya Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 15 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1976SC2196; 1976CriLJ1716; (1976)4SCC298; 1976(8)LC459(SC)
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 354(3); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 367(5); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (Amendment) Act, 1955
AppellantAmbaram
RespondentThe State of Madhya Pradesh
Cases ReferredBalwant Singh v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
criminal - death sentence - section 354 (3) of criminal procedure code, 1973, criminal procedure code (amendment) act, 1955 and section 376 (3) of criminal procedure code, 1898 - conviction recorded after new code of 1973 came into force - in pursuance to enactment of code of 1973 imprisonment for life made to be a rule and death sentence an exception in matter of awarding punishment for murder in code of 1973 - court's no longer left with discretion to award either of the two punishment - where death sentence has to be awarded court's to justify punishment by special reason - absence of special reason renders high court's order of death sentence invalid. - .....do not appear to have adverted at all to the changes brought about in the matter of awarding a death sentence by section 354(3) of the new code. sub-section (5) of section 367 of the crpc, 1898, as it stood before the amending act 26 of 1955, enjoined upon the court convicting a person of capital offence, to give reasons why imprisonment for life, instead of a death sentence was being awarded. that rule, and death sentence an exception in the matter of awarding punishment for murder. now, if a death sentence is to be awarded to a person found guilty of murder, the court awarding it has to justify it by giving special reasons. the implication of this change in law wrought by the code of 1974, were explained by this court in balwant singh v. state of punjab (1). the high court has not.....
Judgment:

R.S. Sarkaria, J.

1. Ambaram was tried and convict'd for murder of one Kachru by the Sessions Judge and sentenced to death. The High Court of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed the sentence, of death. His appeal limited to the question of sentence, by special leave, is now before us. The appellant was tried alongwith four other persons for the double murder of Kachru & Parwat. It is said it was the appellant who shot dead Kachru, while his companions as resulted Parwat to death with Sharuedged weapons a lathi. The Trial Court and recorded conviction of the appellant after the CrPC 1973, had come into force. The learned Judges of the High Court do not appear to have adverted at all to the changes brought about in the matter of awarding a death sentence by Section 354(3) of the New Code. Sub-section (5) of Section 367 of the CrPC, 1898, as it stood before the Amending Act 26 of 1955, enjoined upon the Court convicting a person of capital offence, to give reasons why imprisonment for life, instead of a death sentence was being awarded. That rule, and death sentence an exception in the matter of awarding punishment for murder. Now, if a death sentence is to be awarded to a person found guilty of murder, the Court awarding it has to justify it by giving special reasons. The implication of this change in law wrought by the Code of 1974, were explained by this Court in Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab (1). The High Court has not given any special reasons why Ambaram has been singled out for the award of the extreme penalty Nor do we find any such reason to treat him differently in the matter of sentence from his companions who have been awarded the lesser penalty. On this short ground we allow this appeal and commute Ambaram's death sentence to that of imprisonment for life.


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