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Srirangan Vs. State of Tamil Nadu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 470 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1978SC274; 1978CriLJ186; (1978)1SCC17; [1978]2SCR270; 1977(9)LC796(SC)
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 84 and 302; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Sections 354(3)
AppellantSrirangan
RespondentState of Tamil Nadu
Appellant Advocate V. Mayakrishnan and Amicus Curiae, Advs
Respondent Advocate A.V. Rangam, Adv.
Cases ReferredNanu Ram v. State of Assam
Prior historyFrom the Judgment and Order dated April 20, 1976 of the Madras High Court in Criminal Appeal 708 of 1975 and Reference Trial 39 of 1975--
Excerpt:
.....relevant factors be considered for awarding capital punishments - precedents not so supportive of death penalty - death penalty reduced to life imprisonment. - section 37b & constitution of india, article 141: [k.g. balakrishnan, c.j.i., dr. arijit pasayat, harjit singh bedi, p. sathasivam & j.m. panchal, jj] circulars issued by board binding effect held, circulars and instructions issued by the board are no doubt binding in law on the authorities under the respective statutes, but when the supreme court or high court declares the law on the question arising for consideration, it would not be appropriate for the court to direct that the circular should be given effect to and not the view expressed in a decision of supreme court or the high court. so far as the..........of sentence. 2. the trial judge, whose horror at the multiple homicide unsheathed the terror of death penalty, decreed capital sentence on the culprit, and the high court, deeply disturbed by 'the brutal triple murder', set its seal of approval on guilt and punishment.3. in the agonisingly sensitive area of sentencing, especially in the choice between life term and death penalty, a wide spectrum of circumstances attracts judicial attention, since they are all inarticulately implied in the penological part of section 302 i.p.c. read with section 354(3) cr. p.c. the plurality of factors bearing on the crime and the doer of the crime must carefully enter the judicial verdict. the winds of penological reform notwithstanding, the prescription in section 302 binds and death penalty is still.....
Judgment:

Krishna Iyer, J.

1. A toddy tapper, young in age and a mental? case, returning after a day-long toil with his tool, the sickle, and tense in state, was provoked by some trivias and went into tantrums and inflicted triple killings, all in one sombre sunset. This bleeding tragedy led to prosecution and conviction, appeal and confirmation, the unimpeachable offence being murder. The defence of insanity tested by the hoary rule in McNaghten's case, codified in the Indian Penal Code over hundred years ago, was rightly dismissed, the testimony of dementia falling far short of the prescription in Section 84 I.P.C. We have discovered no error in the factual finding and must therefore confirm the conviction. Indeed, leave itself was granted confined to the question of sentence.

2. The trial Judge, whose horror at the multiple homicide unsheathed the terror of death penalty, decreed capital sentence on the culprit, and the High Court, deeply disturbed by 'the brutal triple murder', set its seal of approval on guilt and punishment.

3. In the agonisingly sensitive area of sentencing, especially in the choice between life term and death penalty, a wide spectrum of circumstances attracts judicial attention, since they are all inarticulately implied in the penological part of Section 302 I.P.C. read with Section 354(3) Cr. P.C. The plurality of factors bearing on the crime and the doer of the crime must carefully enter the judicial verdict. The winds of penological reform notwithstanding, the prescription in Section 302 binds and death penalty is still permissible in the punitive pharmacopoeia of India. Even so, the current of precedents and the relevant catena of clement facts, personal, social and other, persuade us to hold that, even as m Nanu Ram v. State of Assam : 1975CriLJ646 , the lesser penalty of life imprisonment will be a more appropriate punishment here.

4. We set aside the death sentence and award imprisonment for life to the appellant under Section 302 I.P.C. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.


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