Judgment of Acquittal or Conviction (Section 235)

In State of Punjab v. Prem Sagar & Others, the Supreme Court observed that whether the Court while awarding a sentence would take recourse to the principle of deterrence or reform or invoke the doctrine of proportionality, would no doubt depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

While doing so, however, the nature of the offence said to have been committed by the accused plays an important role. The offences which affect public health must be dealt with severely. For the said purpose, the Courts must notice the object for enacting Article 47 of the Constitution of India.

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There are certain offences which touch our social fabric. We must remind ourselves that even while introducing the doctrine of plea bargaining in the Code of Criminal Procedure, certain types of offences had been kept out of the purview thereof. While imposing sentences, the said principles should be borne in mind.

A sentence is a judgment on conviction of a crime. It is resorted to after a person is convicted of the offence. It is the ultimate goal of any justice delivery system.

Although a wide discretion has been conferred upon the Court, the same must be exercised judiciously. It would depend upon the circumstances in which the crime has been committed and his mental state. Age of the accused is also relevant.

What would be the effect of the sentencing on the society is a question which has been left unanswered by the legislature. The superior Courts have come across a large number of cases which go to show anomalies as regards the policy of sentencing.

Whereas the quantum of punishment for commission of similar type of offence varies from minimum to maximum, even where same sentence is imposed, the principles applied are found to be different. Similar discrepancies have been noticed in regard to imposition of fine.