Judgement of the Day-JAGMOHAN SINGH VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH

JAGMOHAN SINGH VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH


(1973)1 SCC 20


FACTS


The Appellant was convicted under Section 302 Indian Penal Code, 1860 and was sentenced to

death. The Supreme Court granted leave limited to the question of sentence. Arguments were

raised regarding the constitutionality of the death penalty on grounds that there was too wide a

discretion vested in courts since no standards or guidelines were available, and that it violated

Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950.


JUDGEMENT


The Supreme Court held that the right to life was not a part of Article 19 and the death penalty

could not be called unreasonable or opposed to public policy. The framers of the Constitution

were aware of capital punishment as permissible under law which is evidenced by provisions like

Article 72 (1) (c), Article 73 (3), Article 134 etc. The implication of these provisions is that the

deprivation of life is constitutionally permissible if it is done according to the procedure

established by law. The Court also took notice of the 35th Report of the Law Commission of

India which recommended the retention of capital punishment. It was held that Article 14,

Constitution of India, 1950 can hardly be invoked in matters of judicial discretion since the

exercise of discretion in each case would be peculiar to its facts and circumstances. The

discretion given to courts is to impose the death penalty after balancing the aggravating and

mitigating circumstances and it cannot be called unguided. Further, the Code of Criminal

Procedure, 1973, lays down detailed procedures as to when a death sentence can be imposed and

the imposition of the death sentence, following the procedure established by law, cannot be

called unconstitutional

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