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Ascertain accused’s rehabilitation before sentencing: SC


New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed trial courts to determine before pronouncing sentence whether a person convicted of murder or other heinous crimes could be reformed or rehabilitated.

“Many a times, while determining the sentence, the courts take it for granted, looking into the facts of a particular case, that the accused would be a menace to the society and there is no possibility of reformation and rehabilitation,” the bench said.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramajit Sen in their judgment delivered Thursday said that while it was the duty of the court to ascertain the factors, the state was obliged to furnish material “for and against the possibility of reformation and rehabilitation of the accused”.

“Facts, which the courts, deal with cannot be the foundation for reaching such a conclusion, which, as already stated, calls for additional material,” it said.

The court said this while commuting the death sentence of a man named Anil alias Anthony Arikswamy Joseph to 30 years imprisonment over what he had already undergone.

Joseph was sentenced to death by the trial court for strangulating to death a 10-year-old boy after subjecting him to carnal intercourse. The death sentence was confirmed by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

The court said the murder was committed in an “extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical and dastardly manner and the accused was in a dominating position and the victim was an innocent boy, the only son of his mother”.

It said a further period of 30 years, without remission, “will be an adequate punishment” in the case, rather than death sentence.