Authors’ of “Sentencing in India : A Critical Insight”

Tell us about yourself ?

Hello everyone! I am Padmini , a law student from Amity Law School Delhi, (GGSIPU) and I hail from Delhi, India only. Currently, I am pursuing my 4th year of BA.LLB.(H) from the institution . I completed my senior secondary education from Queen Mary’s School, Delhi. I highly admire all the diverse subjects of law though I chose Criminal Law as the theme of this research paper because of its dynamic nature in our country’s legislations and I keenly desired to explore the sentencing aspects of our criminal jurisprudence.

Hello, my name is ANSHIKA GOEL and I am from DELHI, INDIA. I am a student of Amity Law School, Delhi affiliated to GGSIPU, where I am pursuing my BA.L.L.B. (H). I did my secondary as well as higher secondary schooling from Mother’s Global School, Delhi. I chose law to study the country’s functions and to know the foundation of the legislation that we obey in our everyday lives.

What are the theories of Punishment and how do these theories support the use of punishment to maintain order in society?

Retribution theory requires the perpetrator to suffer in return.

Deterrence theory, threat of punishment prevents people from committing a crime and decreases the possibility of offending in the community.

Denunciation theory, convey to law-abiding people that specific conduct that is punished or condemned is not permissible.

Incapacitation theory, this includes criminal punishment, sending the offender to jail, or likely limiting their freedom in the society.

Rehabilitation Theory, the target is to reintegrate offenders back into society by re-educating and re-training them.

Restorative Justice Theory gives offenders the chance to redeem them and prevent them from doing more harm.

What could be the reasons for the absence of structured sentencing guidelines in India?

Reasons for the absence of structured sentencing guidelines in India could be the inconsistency between policymakers and those who interpret and enforce it, emphasizing the need to codify sentencing practices. There is a near-confrontation between the executive and the judiciary. Also, it is neither practicable nor alluring to imprison the sentencing discretion of a judge or jury in the restraint of comprehensive and rigid norms. The discretionary powers used by the judges have contributed to the disparity in the awarding sentences. That is why we need structured sentencing guidelines to reduce this disparity.

What are the aggravating and mitigating factors that need to be considered by the courts before awarding a sentence?

The following are the aggravating and mitigating factors suggested by us in our article:

Aggravating Factors:

1. The severity of the offence committed.

2.The convict’s history of assaults and prior convictions.

3.The gravity of impact of the offence committed on society.

4. The intention behind the commission of offence.

5. Recruited killings and so on.

Mitigating Factors:

1. The way and the conditions in and under which the offence was committed.

2. The gender, age and social background of the accused, however not determinative factors.

3.  The likelihood of the accused being changed and restored. 

4. The state of the accused shows that he was intellectually deficient.

5.  Where it is absolutely risky to focus on the testimony of a single eyewitness, etc.

Why do you feel that the suggestions of the Malimath committee must be taken as standard policies?

The rationale for the acceptance of the Malimath Committee recommendations as standard policies could be because it clearly underlined   the   exigency   to   initiate sentencing guidelines in order to prune the uncertainty in awarding sentences. It expressly indicated that “the exercise of unguided discretion is not good even if it is the Judge that exercises the discretion.”  The committee gave a concrete recommendation of constituting a thorough examination, of the various sentences awarded, by an expert statutory body which should be followed in our country’s criminal justice system.

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