SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Mohd. Salim Mohd. Kudus Ansari vs The State Of Maharashtra And Anr on 3 June, 2019

wp.1181.1182.14527.18.(J).doc

INTHEHIGHCOURTOFJUDICATUREATBOMBAY
APPELLATESIDECRIMINALJURISDICTION
WRITPETITIONNO.1181OF2014

Mohd.SalimMohd.KudusAnsari
Ageabout27years,Occ.-PunchingOperator,
ResidingatVishnuNagarBuilding,
RoomNo.2,NearDattaMandir,
MahulVillage,VashiNaka,
Mumbai-400074…..Petitioner

V/S

1.StateofMaharashtra
[Summonstobeservedupon
Ld.PublicProsecutorappointed
u/s.24SectionoftheCodeofCriminal
Procedure,1973].

2.UjwalD.Nikam
SpecialPublicProsecutor,
appointedinSessionsCase
No.846/2013AND914/2013
atBombaySessionsCourt
throughDCBCID,Unit-III,
Mumbai…..Respondents

WITH
WRITPETITIONNO.1182OF2014

Mohd.KasimMohdHasimShaikh
Ageabout19years,Occ.-Mason,
ResidingatZopdaNo.188,
MaulanaAzadRoad,Agripada,
Mumbai…..Petitioner

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V/S

1.StateofMaharashtra
[Summonstobeservedupon
Ld.PublicProsecutorappointed
u/s.24SectionoftheCodeofCriminal
Procedure,1973]

2.UjwalD.Nikam
SpecialPublicProsecutor,
appointedinSessionsCase
No.846/2013AND914/2013
atBombaySessionsCourt
throughDCBCID,Unit-III,
Mumbai…..Respondents

WITH
WRITPETITIONNO.527OF2018

VijayJadhav
Ageabout22years,
presentlyincarceratedat
YerwadaCentralPrison,Pune
R/o.VishnunagarbuildingNo.R/2,
3rdFloor,RoomNo.307,
MahulVillage,VashiNaka,
Mumbai-400074…..Petitioner

V/S

1.StateofMaharashtra
ThroughP.P.AppellateSide,HighCourt.

2.UnionofIndia….Respondents

Dr.YugMohitChaudhary,Sr.AdvocatewithMs.RaginiAhujaand
Ms.PayoshiRoyforPetitioners.

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Mr.A.A.Kumbhakoni,AdvocateGenerala/wMr.AshutoshKulkarni,
Panel’A’Counsel,Mr.GauravSharma,Ms.ChandniSachade,Mr.Sagar
Ghogare,Ms.MrinalikaDevarapalli,Mr.S.B.LolageandMr.J.P.Yagnik,
fortheRespondentNo.1-StateofMaharashtra.

Mr.AnilC.Singh,AdditionalSolicitorGeneral,a/wMr.SandeshPatil,
Ms.ManjiriParasnis,Mr.AdityaThakkar,Ms.GeetikaGandhi,Mr.Amogh
Singh,Mr.CarinaXavier,Ms.DivyaPawari/bMr.D.P.Singhforthe
Respondent-UnionofIndia.

Mr.AabadPonda,AmicusCuriaea/wMr.KarmaVivan,Mr.Ashish
RaghuvanshiandMr.BhomeshBellam.

CORAM:B.P.DHARMADHIKARI
REVATIMOHITEDERE,JJ.

RESERVEDON:5thMarch,2019
PRONOUNCEDON:3rdJune,2019

JUDGMENT(PerRevatiMohiteDere,J.):

1.TheconstitutionalvalidityofSection376-EinsertedinSectionthe

IndianPenalCode(`SectionIPC’)bytheSectionCriminalLaw(Amendment)Actof2013,

witheffectfrom3rdFebruary2013,isunderchallengebeforeus,inthese

petitions.ThesaidSectionreadsthus:

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“376-E.Punishmentforrepeatoffenders:-“Whoeverhasbeen
previouslyconvictedofanoffencepunishableunderSectionsection376or
Sectionsection376-AorSectionsection376-ABorSectionsection376-DorSectionsection376-DA
orSectionsection376-DB,andissubsequentlyconvictedofanoffence
punishableunderanyofthesaidsectionsshallbepunishedwith
imprisonmentforlifewhichshallmeanimprisonmentforthe
remainderofthatperson’snaturallife,orwithdeath”.

2.Thesepetitionsariseinsomewhatpeculiarcircumstances.The

petitionersweretriedfortheoffencepunishableunderSection376ofthe

IPCandotheroffences,intwocasesi.e.inSessionsCaseNos.914of2013

and846of2013.Boththecasesweretriedsimultaneouslyandon20th

March2014,theorderofconvictionwaspronouncedinboththesetrials.

TheSessionsCourtadjournedthecasesto21stMarch2014forhearingthe

petitionersonthepointofsentence.Onthesaidday,thelearnedJudge

pronouncedthesentenceandawardedlifesentencetotheaccusedin

SessionsCaseNo.914of2013.Thereafter,SessionsCaseNo.846of2013

wastakenup,whenthelearnedSpecialPublicProsecutorpresentedan

applicationbeforethelearnedSessionsJudgeunderSection211(7)ofthe

CodeofCriminalProcedure(`SectionCr.P.C’)andprayedforframingofcharge

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underSection376-Easagainstthepetitioners-VijayJadhav,Mohd.

KasimMohdHasimShaikhandMohd.SalimMohd.KudusAnsari.On

24thMarch2014,thelearnedSessionsJudgeallowedthesaidapplication.

Thepetitionerssoughtstayoftheoperationoftheorderforaperiodoftwo

weekstoenablethemtoapproachtheHighCourt,however,thesamewas

refused.Pursuantthereto,thepetitionerspleadednotguiltytothecharge

framedagainstthem,underSection376-EoftheIPC.Thepetitioners-

Mohd.SalimMohd.KudusAnsariandMohd.KasimMohdHasimShaikh,

filedtwowritpetitions,beingWritPetitionNos.1181of2014and1182of

2014respectivelybeforethisCourt,challengingtheconstitutionalvalidity

ofSection376-EofIPCandforstrikingdownthesameandalsofor

quashingoftheorderdated24thMarch2014passedbythelearnedJudge,

framingchargeunderSection376-EoftheIPCandforstayofthe

proceedings.ThisCourt,afterhearingthepartiesatlength,videorder

dated27thMarch2014,issuednoticetotheAttorneyGeneral.Sincethe

trialwasatthefagend,thetrialwasnotstayed,butallquestions/issues

werekeptopen.Thereafter,thetrialproceededandthepetitionerswere

awardeddeathsentenceunderSection376-EofIPCinSessionsCase

No.846of2013.In2018,petitioner-VijayJadhavalsofiledapetition,

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beingCriminalWritPetitionNo.527of2018,challengingthe

constitutionalvalidityofSection376-EoftheIPCandprayedthatSection

376-Ebedeclaredasunconstitutionalandforstrikingdownthesame.

Accordingly,alltheaforesaidthreepetitionshavebeentaggedtogetherfor

consideration.Wemaynote,thatasthepetitioners’confirmationappeals

arebeinglookedintobytheCoordinateBench,wearenotconcernedwith

theactualfactsinvolvedinthesaidconfirmationcases,andassuchhave

narratedonlytheeventsthatledtothefilingofthesepetitions.

SubmissionsofDr.YugChaudhary:

3.Dr.Chaudhary,learnedseniorcounselforthepetitioners

submittedthatSection376-EoftheIPCisunconstitutional,asitviolates

Articles14and21oftheConstitution,onthefollowinggrounds:-(i)thatit

createsanewcategoryofpunishment,namelyimprisonmenttillthe

remainderofone’snaturallife,whichisnotenvisagedasapunishmentin

theSectionIPC;(ii)thatSection376-Edenudesconstitutionalpowersofremission;

(iii)thatSection376-Edenudesthestatutorypowersofremission;(iv)that

Section376-Eviolatestheprincipleofproportionalitybyprescribinga

sentenceofdeath,whichisdisproportionatetothenatureofoffence

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therein;(v)thatSection376-Eindirectlyimposesamandatorydeath

sentence,andassuchisviolativeofSectionArticle21oftheConstitution.

RelianceisplacedontheApexCourtdecisioninSectionMithuvs.Stateof

Punjab1;(vi)thatSection376-Eisdiscriminatoryandarbitrary;(vii)that

noprocedureexistsforimplementationofSection376-E,and(viii)that

Section376-Eisvoidforvagueness.Sincesomeofthegroundsare

overlapping,thesamewillbedealtwithtogetherindetail,hereinunder.

4.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,Section376-Ecreatesanew

categoryofpunishmentnamely,imprisonmentforlife,whichmeans

imprisonmentfortheremainderofthatperson’snaturallife,whichisnot

envisagedasapunishmentintheSectionIPC.HesubmitsthatSection53ofthe

IPCprescribesvariouspunishmentsthatcanbeimposedbyaCourtoflaw,

however,thesaidSectiondoesnotincludethepunishmentof

imprisonmentforremainderofone’snaturallife.Itissubmittedthatby

creatingthisnewcategoryofpunishmentunderSection376-Ei.e.

imprisonmentforlife,whichmeansimprisonmentfortheremainderofthat

person’snaturallife,anewcategoryofpunishmentiscreated,whichis

inconsistentwiththeexistingprovisions,relatingtopunishmentintheSectionIPC.

1(1983)2SCC277

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LearnedseniorcounselinvitedourattentiontothedecisionsoftheApex

CourtinSectionMaruRamvs.UnionofIndiaandOrs.2,SectionGopalVinayakGodse

vs.StateofMaharashtra3,andSectionUnionofIndiavs.V.Sriharan4and

submittedthattheconceptofimprisonmentforlifehasbeenexplainedby

theApexCourttherein,andthesamecannotbelostsightof,while

examiningthechallengeinthesepetitions.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,

punishmentmustbecertainandknowntoanaccusedclearly,beforehand

andtheremustbenoconfusionorvagueness.Ourattentionisinvitedto

Section376ofIPC,particularlyitssub-sections,tohighlightthedifference

inpunishmentsprescribedinthosesub-sections.Itisfurthersubmittedthat

thereisnoaccompanyingmachineryprovidedintheSectionCr.P.Cforthe

executionofthesaidsentencei.e.imprisonmenttilltheremainderofone’s

naturallifeunderSection376-E.HereliedonSection418oftheCr.P.Cin

thisregard,toshowthatthereisnomentionofimprisonmenttillthe

remainderofone’snaturallife,resultinginnomechanismtoexecutethe

saidsentence.This,accordingtothelearnedseniorcounsel,makesSection

376-EviolativeofSectionArticle21.Hesubmitsthatitiswellestablished,that

lifeandlibertycannotbetakenaway,exceptbyprocedureestablishedby
2(1981)1SCC107
3(1961)3SCR440
4(2016)7SCC1

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law.

5.Dr.Chaudharysubmitsthatarbitrarinesscanbeagroundto

challengethelawenactedbytheParliament.Accordingtothelearned

seniorcounsel,Section302ofIPCi.e.murder,amoreseriousoffence,

allowspunishmentforvaryingperiodi.e.fromlifetilldeath,whereas,the

offenceunderSection376-E,thoughofalesserdegree,prescribes

punishmentwhichismoregrave,namelyforimprisonmenttillthe

remainderofthatperson’snaturallifeorwithdeath.Hesubmittedthat

Section376-Eismanifestlyarbitrary,asthereisnodeterminingprinciple

forcreatingaharsherstandardofpunishmentunderSection376-E,by

loweringthecriteriaforenhancedpunishmentasopposedtoSection75of

theIPC.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,Section75alreadyprescribes

enhancedpunishmentforrepeatoffenders,whohavebeenpreviously

convictedandwhosubsequentlycommitanotheroffence,whichhecallsas

an`offencemodel’,andthatSection376-Efallsfouloftheprinciplesof

enhancedpunishment,whichalreadyexists.HesubmitsthatSection376-E

createsanewmodelofenhancedpunishment,whichonlyrequiresthe

existenceofapreviousconviction,irrespectiveofthechronologyof

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offences.LearnedseniorcounselsubmitsthatSection75andSection376-

Ecannotbeallowedtohavedifferentoutcomes,whentheyarebothpartof

thesamecodeandhavethesameobjective.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,

anarbitraryanddiscriminatoryoutcomeunderSection376-Ecannotbe

permitted,whenaperson’slifeisatstake.Tobuttresshissubmission,

learnedseniorcounselreliedonthedecisionsinSectionShayaraBanovs.Union

ofIndia5,SectionJohnVallamattomvs.UnionofIndia6,SectionAjayHasiaandOrs.

vs.KhalidMujibSehravardiandOrs.7,Reg.vs.SakyaValadKavji8,

Statevs.Badri9andSectionJagdishPrasadvs.StateofU.P.10

6.Advancingfurtherargumentsonthegroundofarbitrariness,Dr.

Chaudhary,submitsthatSection376-Epromotesinequality.Learnedsenior

counselreliedonthedecisionoftheApexCourtinAjayHasia(supra)to

showthatSectionArticle14hasbeeninterpretedtoincludeguaranteeagainst

arbitrarinessandthatarbitrarinessinstate-actioneitherbythelegislatureor

theexecutive,issufficienttoinitiatethatactionmentionedinpara16of

thesaidjudgment.Tobuttresshissubmission,learnedseniorcounselpoints
5(2017)9SCC1
6(2003)6SCC611
7(1981)1SCC722
8(1863)5BHCR36
9AIR1965Raj152
10AIR1966SC290

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outtheschemeintheSectionIPCtoshowthattherearenumerousprovisionsfor

punishingrepeatoffendersandthatSection376-Edoesnotfollowthe

`offenceparadigm’asenvisagedinSectionIPC.Accordingtohim,intheschemeof

SectionIPC,higherorenhancedpunishmentisforsecondoffencei.e.theoffence

whichiscommittedafterthefirstconviction.HetookusthroughSections

303,Section307(2)andthelanguageofSection75ofIPCforthispurpose.

Accordingtohim,theobjectbehindthisschemeistogiveanopportunity

toaconvicttoreform,whereas,suchanopportunityisnotprovidedunder

Section376-E,andhence,Section376-Esuffersfromtheviceof

arbitrariness,warrantingittobedeclaredasunconstitutional.

7.RelianceisalsoplacedonForm32inScheduleIIofSectionCr.PC.to

showhowthechargeforhigherpunishmentafterpreviousconvictionneeds

tobeframed.ItissubmittedthatasSection376-Eoverlooksthisaspect,it

adherestotheconvictionparadigmonly.Dr.Chaudharyplacedrelianceon

theprovisionsofSections396andSection460IPCtoshowthatifdeathoccurs

whilecommittingsomeotheroffence,higherpunishmentisprescribed,

whereas,thereisnohigherpunishmentforseconddacoity,orsecond

robberyorsecondtrespass,etc.andassuch,thereisnorationalefor

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treatingsecondrapedifferently.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,Section

376-EdeviatesfromtheoffenceparadigminSectionIPC.

8.Learnedseniorcounselrelieduponthe42ndreportoftheLaw

CommissionofIndia(onSectionIPC)publishedinJune,1971,toshowthe

purposeandobjectofSection75ofIPC.Hesubmitsthatthisreporttakes

notethatSection75itselfacceptsanintervalbetweenpreviousconviction

andsubsequentoffence.Dr.Chaudharypointsoutthatthischanceto

reforminsisteduponbytheLawCommissionislostinSection376-E.

TheDivisionBenchjudgmentofthisCourtinthecaseofSectionSayadAbdul

SayadImamvs.Emperor11isalsorelieduponbythelearnedseniorcounsel

tobuttresshissubmission.ThedecisioninSakyaValadKavji(supra)is

alsoreliedupontoshowthatSection75ofIPCisattractedonlyifthe

secondoffenceiscommittedsubsequenttoanyconviction.Thedecisionin

thecaseofBadri(supra),inparticular,paras4and11isalsoreliedupon

inthisconnection.ThesaidcasewasundertheSectionPreventionofFood

AdulterationAct.Inthesaidcase,theRajasthanHighCourtheldthatwhile

interpretinglawwhichprovidesenhancedpenalty,legalmeaningofphrases

usedthereinshouldprevailoverthegrammaticalconstructionthereofand
11AIR1926Bom305

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hencethephrase”thesecondoffence”shouldbeconstruedasthatoffence

whichhasbeencommittedaftertheoffenderhadbeenconvictedforthe

firstoffence.Thisaccordingtothelearnedseniorcounsel,hasalsobeen

acceptedbytheApexCourtinJagdishPrasad(supra).

9.Dr.Chaudhary,thussubmitsthatwhileintroducingSection

376-EofIPC,nocorrespondingnewprocedurehasbeenaddedinCr.P.C.

HesubmitsthatSection211(7)ofCr.P.Crequiresthesubsequentoffenceto

beafterthepreviousconvictionandthatthereisnoprocedurecontemplated

toframechargeunderSection376-E.

10.Whilepointingoutabsenceofprocedure,Dr.Chaudhary,

invitedourattentiontoSection219ofCr.P.C.tourgethatiftwooffences

ofrapeoccurinayear,theycouldbetriedtogetherandthatinsucha

circumstance,therewouldbenopreviousconvictionandthequestionof

applyingSection376-Ewouldnotarise.HepointsouthowSection220of

theIPCdealswiththeoffenceoflurkinghousetresspassandrape

committedduringit,howSection376(2)(n)doesnotenvisagemultiple

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rapesonasinglewoman,assecondoffence,andhowtheoffenceunder

Section302and326thoughrepeated,arepunishableunderthosevery

Sections,andthatthereisnospecialprovisionlike376-E.

11.Onthepointofremission,Dr.ChaudharysubmitsthatSectionArticle

161oftheConstitutionofIndiaconferspowerupontheGovernortogrant

pardonwhileSectionArticle72confersasimilarpoweruponthePresident.He

submitsthatnowwiththeinsertionofSection376-EintheSectionIPC,andthe

punishmentprescribedtherein,thispoweroftheGovernorandthe

Presidentistakenaway.Similarly,thewelfaremeasuresofremissionetc.

underSections432andSection433ofCr.P.C.arealsodeclined.Learnedsenior

counseladds,thatthoughthereisnonon-obstanteclauselikeSection31

oftheNarcoticDrugsandPsychotropicSubstancesAct,(`NDPSAct’),the

petitionerswouldnotbeentitledtobereleased,eitherunderSections432

or433Cr.P.C,ifconvictedunderSection376-E.

12.LearnedseniorcounselreliedonthedecisionoftheApex

CourtinMaruRam(supra),tourgethatwherethesentenceis

indeterminateandofuncertainduration,resultofsubtractionfromthat

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uncertainquantityisstillanuncertainquantity.Hepointedoutthatin

Godse(supra),theApexCourtheldthatimprisonmentforlifemeans

imprisonmentforthewholeoftheremainingperiodoftheconvicted

person’snaturallife.Para26ofMaruRam(supra)isalsorelieduponto

showthatthelanguageofSection433ACr.P.C,wherelifesentenceis

dealtwith,remissionleadsnowhereandtheprisonerisnotentitledto

release.Therelevantportionofpara26ofMaruRam(supra),reliedupon

isreproducedbelow:-

“………….Inthisview,theremissionrulesdonotmilitate
againsts.433AandtheforensicfateofGodse(whowas
laterreleasedbytheState)whohadstock-piledhuge
remissionswithoutacquiringarighttorelease,must
overtakeallthepetitionersuntil14yearsofactualjail
lifeissufferedandfurtheranorderofreleaseismade
eitherunders.432orArts.72/161oftheConstitution.”

13.Dr.Chaudhary,learnedseniorcounselalsosubmittedthat

Section376-EisviolativeofSectionArticle21,asitviolatestheprincipleof

proportionality,byprescribingasentenceofdeathforanoffencewhereno

deathhasbeencaused.Hesubmittedthatabalancemustbestruckbetween

theharmcausedandthepunishmentawardedandthatthesentenceofdeath

maybegivenonlywheredeathiscaused.Hesubmittedthattheoffenceof

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302i.e.murder,isfargraverthantheoffenceofrape,inasmuchas,deathis

caused,however,underSection376-E,deathsentencecanbeawardedtoan

accusedforrepeatoffenceevenwhendeathisnotcaused.Accordingto

Dr.Chaudhary,thereareothernon-homicidaloffences,wheredeath

sentenceisprescribed,however,thesaidoffencescannotbetreatedatpar

withtheoffenceofrepeatrapei.e.376-E.Hesubmittedthatthe

introductionofdeathsentenceunderSection376-Eviolatesthestandard

laiddowninSectionBachanSinghvs.StateofPunjab12,wherein,ithasbeenheld

thatitisonlyintherarestofrarecasesthatdeathcanbeawardedandonly

whenthealternativeoptionisforeclosed.HesubmittedthateventheVerma

Committeedidnotconsiderdeathtobeanappropriatesentence,incasesof

rape.Hereliedonparas24and25oftheVermaCommitteereport.Dr.

ChaudharyalsoreliedonSectionOmKumarandOrs.vs.UnionofIndia13,

SectionVikramSinghvs.UnionofIndia14,Kennedyvs.Louisiana15andShayara

Bano(supra),insupportthereof.HesubmittedthattheApexCourtin

VikramSingh(supra),whileupholdingtheconstitutionalvalidityof

Section364-AIPC,readdownthescopeoftheapplicabilityofdeath

12(1980)2SCC684
13(2001)2SCC386
14(2015)9SCC502
15554US407(2008)

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sentenceinthissection.

14.HesubmittedthattheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStatesof

AmericainKennedy(supra),relyinguponthedecisioninSectionEhrlich

AnthonyCokervs.StateofGeorgia16,heldthatthesentenceofdeathis

unconstitutionalincaseofrapeofaminor,whichwasnotaccompaniedby

takingoflife.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,Section376-Eisanoutcomeof

anexcessiveanddisproportionatelegislation,makingitarbitraryand

violativeofSectionArticle14oftheConstitution.

15.OurattentionisalsodrawntothedecisionoftheSupreme

CourtofUnitedStatesinCoker’scase(supra),particularly,para16

onwardstoshowthattheoffenceofrapeisnotseenasequivalentto

murder.LearnedseniorcounselrelyingonEarlEnmundvs.Florida17,in

particularpara26ofthejudgment,submittedthattheCourtafterreferring

toCoker’scase(supra),observedthatproportionalityasregardscapital

punishmentsnotonlyrequiresanenquiryintocontemporarystandardsas

expressedbylegislatorsandjurors,butalsoinvolvesthenotionthatthe

16433US584(1977)
17458US782(1982)

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magnitudeofthepunishmentimposedmustberelatedtothedegreeofthe

harminflictedonthevictim,aswellastothedegreeofthedefendant’s

blameworthiness.DecisionoftheSupremeCourtofUnitedStatesin

Kennedy(supra)isalsorelieduponforthesamepurposeandobservations

inpartIIofthejudgmentarepressedintoservice.Thisjudgment,in

conclusion,recordsthattherearemoralgroundstoquestionrulebarring

capitalpunishmentsagainstanindividualthatdidnotresultindeathandas

theoffenceisagainsttheindividual,themoderationorrestraintin

applicationofcapitalpunishmentwascalledfor.

16.Learnedseniorcounseldrewourattentiontothe

communicationbyT.R.Macaulayoncapitalpunishment,where,while

explaininghisreasonsfornotprescribingdeathaspunishmentforrape,

LordMacaulayobservedthatlesserpunishmentwouldbestrong

inducementtosparelivesofvictims.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,alaw

whichhangsanaccusedforrapewouldnotdeterhim,inhisdesignto

committhecrime,toalsocommittheoffenceofmurder,aspunishmentfor

murderandrapeisthesame.Dr.Chaudharyrelieduponthe262ndreportof

theLawCommissionwhichenvisagesdeathonlyforterrorism.Headds

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thatthecelebratedjudgmentoftheApexCourtinBachanSingh(supra)

uphelddeathpunishmentonlybecauseitwasforanoffencewherelifewas

takenaway.

17.Dr.ChaudharysubmitsthatSection376-E,byintroducing

deathasasentence,effectivelymakesdeathmandatory.Accordingtohim,

ifanaccusedisalreadyconvictedunderSection376-A,inarepeatoffence,

thereisnooptionforCourts,buttoimposedeathpenalty,asnoother

“enhanced”punishmentispossible.AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,when

Section376-EofIPCisresortedto,thereisnodiscretionleftbythelaw,

withtheCourtbuttoimposethehighestpunishment,whichisdeath.

Dr.ChaudharysubmitsthatSection376-EviolatesSectionArticle21,inasmuchas,

itrobsthediscretionofsentencinganaccused,fromajudge,whichisat

theheartofthesentencingjurisprudenceinIndianCriminalLaw.Learned

seniorcounselsubmitsthatwithrespecttoSections376-AandSection376-E,the

purposeofenhancedpunishmentcannotbemetasboththeSectionscarry

thesamepunishment,therebyrenderingSection376-Eotiose.According

tothelearnedseniorcounsel,withrespecttoSection376andSection

376-D,theobservationsinSectionMohammadivs.State18,wouldimplythatif
181957Cri.LJ275

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uponthefirstconvictionunderSection376-Aor376-D,asentenceoflife

imprisonmentisawarded,achargeunderSection376-Ewouldnecessarily

demandenhancedpunishmenti.e.death.Hesubmitsthattheonlyway

Section376-Eisnotrenderedotiose,is,ifonsubsequentconviction,the

punishmentawardedunderSection376-Eisgreaterthanthefirst

punishmentoflifeimprisonment,whichcanonlybeasentenceofdeath.

HesubmittedthatinviewofSectionSaibannavs.StateofKarnataka19,there

cannotbetwoconsecutivelifesentences,andhencetherewillbeno

discretionvestedinthetrialCourttoawardanyothersentence,otherthan

death.ReliancewasalsoplacedonMithu(supra),wherein,theApex

CourtstruckdownSection303ofIPC,asitprovidedmandatorydeath

sentence,foranoffencecommittedunderSection302,whilstundergoinga

sentenceofimprisonmentforlife;aswellasonthedecisionoftheApex

CourtinSectionStateofPunjabvsDalbirSingh20,whereinSection27(3)ofthe

ArmsAct,1959wasstruckdown,asitprovidedmandatorydeathsentence,

forthesaidoffence.

19(2005)4SCC165

20(2012)3SCC346

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18.LearnedseniorcounselalsorelieduponSaibanna(supra)to

urgethatinthesaidcase,theApexCourtfoundthattherecanbeno

impositionofsecondlifeterm,asitwouldbeameaninglessexercise.He

has,however,alsoinvitedourattentiontotheobservationsoftheApex

CourtinthecaseofSectionSantoshkumarSatishbhushanBariyarvs.Stateof

Maharashtra21toshowthattheseobservationswerefoundtobe

inconsistentwiththeearlierviewoftheApexCourtinMithu(supra)and

BachanSingh(supra).HeexplainsthatinSaibanna(supra),theApex

CourtrelieduponBachanSingh(supra)tonotethatdeathsentenceis

constitutional,onlywhenitisprescribedasanalternativesentence.

AccordingtoDr.Chaudhary,Section376-Emakesdeathsentence

mandatory.

19.Lastly,Dr.Chaudharysubmitsthatinviewoftheerrorsand

lacunaepointedoutbyhim,theburdentoshowconstitutionalityofSection

376-Ewhichdeprivesthecitizenofhislife,liesontheGovernment.He

reliedonthedecisionoftheApexCourtinSectionDeenavs.UnionofIndia22,in

particularlyparas11,15,17and21,insupportthereof.Hesubmitsthatas
21(2009)6SCC498

22(1983)4SCC645

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theStateisrelyingupontheprocedurefordeprivingthepetitionersoftheir

lives,theburdenisupontheStatetoshowthatthereexistsaprocedurein

theSectionCr.P.Candthatthesaidprocedureisjust,reasonableandfairandnot

unconstitutional.

SubmissionsofMr.AnilSingh,thelearnedAdditionalSolicitor

General:

20.LearnedAdditionalSolicitorGeneral(`ASG’)submittedthat

everywomanhasafundamentalrighttoliveherlifewithdignityand

honour,withoutanyviolationandthattheStateisunderanobligationto

safeguardit.Heinvitedourattentiontothereplyaffidavitfiledbythe

UnionofIndia,toshowthattheratioofcrimeagainstwomenisontherise

andthattheyfacerisksnotonlyinthesocietybutalsofromrelatives.He

submitsthatcertainoffencesareseenascausingstigmaonthewomenand

hence,severalwomendonotcomeforwardtocomplainagainstthe

perpetrator.LearnedASGreliedonthedecisionofApexCourtin

SectionJugendraSinghvs.StateofU.P.23,toshowhowinIndiansociety,rapeis

seenasamoreseriousoffencethanmurder.AccordingtothelearnedASG,

23(2012)6SCC297

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thisobligestheGovernmenttobemorecautiousandpragmatic.Hefurther

submittedthatanunfortunateeventledtotheappointmentofaCommittee,

headedbyaretiredChiefJusticeofIndia,ShriVerma,whichreportwas

thenviewedbytheParliamentaryCommitteeafterinvitingobjectionsand

thentheBillwasfinalized.He,therefore,statesthattheinsertionofSection

376-EintheSectionIPC,isafterduedeliberationandwithadefiniteobject,which

objectneedstobehonouredbytheCourtsoflaw.HesubmitsthatinIndia,

offenceofmurderandofrape,standondifferentfootings.Hesubmitsthat

Section53ofIPCneedstobeunderstoodinthelightofSection45which

defineswhat”life”means.HereliedupontheConstitutionBenchdecision

oftheApexCourtinV.Sriharan(supra),insupportofhissubmission.He

alsoreliedupontheobservationsmadebytheApexCourtinparas51,52

and53ofthesaidjudgmentforthispurpose.Healsoreliedonpara57

therein,whichreferstoanearlierjudgmentinthecaseofSectionRanjitSinghvs.

UTofChandigarh24,toshowthattwolifesentencescanrunconsecutively

toensurethatevenifanyremissionisgrantedforthefirstlifesentence,the

secondonecancommencethereafter.Hepointedoutthatinpara61,the

ConstitutionBenchhasheldthat`imprisonmentforlife’intermsof

24(1984)1SCC31

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Section53readwithSection45ofIPC,meansimprisonmentforrestofthe

naturallifeoftheprisoner,subjecthowever,totherighttoclaimremission

underArticles72and161oftheConstitutionandalsoasprovidedunder

Section432ofCr.P.C.Healsoreliedupontheobservationsmadeinpara87

inV.Sriharan(supra),toshowthatitcannotbesaidthatbyspecifying

theperioduptowhichsentenceoflifeshouldremain,theCourtis

encroachingonthepowersoftheexecutive.Hepointedoutthatthe

ConstitutionBenchhasalsoobservedthatthepunishmentprescribed

underSection376-Eisnotinconflictwithanylegalprinciple.Hesubmits

thattheconstitutionalpowers,bothunderSectionArticle72andSectionArticle161ofthe

Constitutionremainuntouched.Healsosubmittedthatthebartogrant

reliefunderSections432andSection433ofCr.P.C.isliftedafterthespecified

periodofimprisonmentisundergone.

21.Dealingwiththeothergrounds,learnedASGsubmitsthat

Section418ofCr.P.C.takescareoftheproceduretobefollowedunder

Section376-EasobservedbytheConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan’s

(supra).Ontheaspectofproportionality,learnedASGreliedonVikram

Singh(supra),inparticularpara52,inwhichtheApexCourthasobserved

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thatcapitalpunishmentisconsideredtobedifferent,inkindanddegree

fromthesentenceofimprisonmentandhence,thiscannotbethebasisto

examinetheprincipleofproportionality.Healsorelieduponthe

observationsmadeinpara53ofthesaiddecision,whereintheApexCourt

hasheldthatdiscretiontochooseoneofthetwosentencesistobe

exercisedbytheCourtjudiciously,keepinginmindtheprinciple,that

deathsentenceisawardedonlyinthe’rarestofrarecase’.Hesubmitted

thatthelegalprovisionpermittingdeathsentencecannotbeseenperse,as

inhumanorbarbaric.LearnedASGalsoreliedonpara96ofthe

ConstitutionBenchjudgment,inV.Sriharan(supra),toshowthecrimes

forwhich,deathpenaltyandlifeisprescribed.Healsopointedoutthatin

theSectionIPC,thereareSectionslike120-B,121,132,194etc.,whichpermit

awardingofdeathsentenceasapunishment,eventhoughnodeathhas

occurred.

22.Mr.Singh,learnedASGrelieduponBachanSingh(supra),to

showhowtheApexCourtupheldtheconstitutionalityofdeathsentence.

HesubmitsthatSection302asalsoSection376-Earenotrequiredtostand

thetestofSectionArticle19(1)oftheConstitutionofIndia.Herelieduponthe

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observationsinpara62ofBachanSingh(supra),toshowhowviciousand

perniciouscrimesaredistinguishedfromothertypesofcrime.Healso

pointedouttheobservationsoftheApexCourtinpara131ofthesaid

decisiontoshowthateffortsmadeintheParliamenttoabolishorrestrict

theareaofdeathpenaltyhadfailedandsubmitsthatthereasonsrecorded

bytheApexCourtinthesaidparaarevalideventoday,whenthevalidity

ofSection376-Eisbeingconsidered.

23.Ontheaspectofarbitrariness,learnedASGsubmitsthatSection

376-Eisasubstantiveprovision,whileSection211(7)ismerely

proceduralandhencetherecannotbeanycomparisonbetweenthetwo.

AccordingtothelearnedASG,undertheschemeofSection211(7)Cr.P.C,

thewords”subsequentoffence”referstoanoffencewhichisundera

separatetrial.Headds,thatsuchaseparatetrialneednotbesubsequentto

thefirsttrial.HesubmitsthateffortsofthepetitionerstouseSection376(2)

(n)ofSectionIPCtothrowlightonSection376-Emustbediscouragedandthatif

aninterpretationasurgedbythepetitionersisaccepted,theverypurpose

ofintroducingSection376-Ewouldstanddefeated.

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24.LearnedASGsubmitsthatSection376-Edoesnotmakedeath

mandatorybutitallowsthecompetentCourttochoosebetweenlife

imprisonmentwhichisforrestofone’snaturallifeorwithdeath,andhence

allnormsevolvedbytheApexCourt,inthisregard,governingthe

impositionofsuchpunishmentwillapply.Hesubmitsthatthedecisionof

theApexCourtinSaibanna(supra)relieduponbythepetitionershas

beendealtwithandexplainedinSantoshkumarBariyar(supra).He

reiteratesthatdeathisnottheonlyoptionavailableunderSection376-E,

andthatthedecisionoftheApexCourtinMithu(supra)willnotbe

applicableinthefacts.

SubmissionsofMr.Kumbhakoni,learnedAdvocateGeneral:

25.Mr.Kumbhakoni,learnedAdvocateGeneral(AG),while

adoptingtheargumentsofMr.Singh,learnedASG,submittedthatthevery

basisforadvancingthechallengeonthegroundofproportionalityresorted

tobythepetitionersismisconceived.Hesubmittedthattherecannotbeany

comparisonbetweenanoffenceofmurderandanoffenceofrape.

AccordingtothelearnedAG,rapehasveryseriousconsequences,

inasmuchas,thevictimthereafterremainsalivingcorpse.Hepointsout

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thatunderSection299oftheIPC,intentionorknowledgeisamustfor

constitutinganoffenceofculpablehomicide,andthattheoffenceofmurder

isexplainedbypointingoutexceptionsfirst,however,thesameperspective

cannotbeadoptedvis-a-visrape,inasmuchas,theaccusedcannotpointout

lackofintentionorknowledge,astherearenoexceptions.Hepointsout

theunfortunateattackonanurse,andtheleadingjudgmentoneuthanasia

inthisregard.Hesubmitsthatmanywomenresorttosuicideorattemptto

commitit,asrapetakesoutthe”meaning”oflifeandthatlifethereafter,is

mechanicalandnotadelightfullife.Heinvitedourattentiontothe

decisionoftheSupremeCourtofUnitedStatesinCoker’scase(supra)to

showhowinpara48,theminorityverdicthasdescribedrapeandfoundit

asamoreseriousoffencebyobservingthatitisdestructiveofawoman’s

personality.HereliedonthedecisioninSectionBodhisattwaGautamvs.Subhra

Chakraborty25,whereintheApexCourtinpara10,haspointedoutthe

effectsofrapeonthesocialstatusofwoman,ontheirpersonalityandwhy

rapeisthemosthatedcrimeandagainstSectionArticle21ofConstitutionofIndia.

HealsoreliedonthedecisioninDelhiDomesticWorkingWomen’s

SectionForumvs.UnionofIndia26,inparticular,paras13and14tosubmitthat

25(1996)1SCC490
261995(1)SCC14

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theApexCourthadtakennoticeoftheincreasingviolenceagainstwomen

andtheseriousproblemposedbyit,inthecriminaljusticesystem.He

submitsthatasobservedtherein,thereallifeofvictimsislost.The

observationsinpara14arepressedintoservicetoshowhowvictimsof

rapereceiveinappropriateandinhumantreatment.He,therefore,submits

thattherecannotbeanymathematicalprecisioninselectionof

punishmentsandthesaidaspectmustbeleftforthelegislaturetolegislate.

Accordingtohim,thereportofLordMacaulayin1860andthereasons

givenbyhimfornotselectingdeathasapunishmentforrapearenot

germane,inviewofthelatersocialandlegaldevelopments.Mr.

Kumbhakoni,learnedAGalsoreliedonthedecisionoftheApexCourtin

SectionMukeshandAnr.vs.State(NCTofDelhi)andOrs.27,inparticular,paras

372,496,497,505,509and510.Hesubmitsthataspertheratioof

crimesappearinginpara372,thereisamanifoldriseinrapecasesas

againsttheoffenceofmurder.HesubmittedthattheApexCourtinpara496

approvedtheemphasisonmakingthesentencingprocessaprincipledone,

ratherthanaJudge-centricone.AccordingtothelearnedAG,thetests

appliedbytheCourtlike”CrimeTest”,”CriminalTest”and”rarestofthe

27(2017)6SCC1

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rarecasetest”arealsolookedintowhileawardingsentenceofdeath,in

casesofoffencesagainstwomen,childrenandagedpersons,wherethe

accusedisshowntohavenoremorse.Mr.Kumbhakonisubmitsthatin

casesofrape,itisnotonlyaquestionoftherightsofacriminalbutalso

therightsofavictimandthesocietyatlargewhichhavetobeconsidered.

Headdsthattheoffenceofrapeisgraveandaseriousoneandhence,

legislature,initswisdom,thoughtitfittointroduceSection376-Einthe

SectionIPCandhencethesamemustnotbelightlydisturbedbyanyCourtof

law.

26.LearnedAGalsoreliedupontheobservationsoftheApexCourt

inShayaraBano(supra),inparticular,para101,toexplain,how

touchstoneofrealandmanifestarbitrarinessisrelevant,onlywhenthelaw

isquestionedonthegroundthatitisarbitrary.Healsorelieduponthe

observationsoftheApexCourtinVikramSingh(supra),inparticular,

para34,toshowthatwheretheParliamenthadprescribedalternative

sentences,itwasleftfortheCourtsconcernedtoawardwhatisconsidered

suitableinthefactsandcircumstancesofagivencase,andthatthe

parliamentarywisdomunderlyingitmustbehonoured.

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27.Mr.KumbhakonialsorelieduponVikramSingh(supra),in

particularpara52tosubmitthatprovisionsoflegislationmustprevailand

Courtscannotinterferewiththeprescribedpunishment,onlybecausethe

punishmentisperceivedtobeexcessive.Hefurtheraddsthatthe

discussioninpara54ofthesaidjudgmentwouldalsoapplytothe

challengetoSection376-E,thatdeathsentencecanbeawardedonlyinthe

rarestofrarecase.HealsoreliedontheApexCourtdecisionin

SectionBhanumatiandOrs.vs.StateofU.P28,inparticular,paras82and86ofthe

saidjudgment.ThedecisioninSectionSushilKumarSharmavs.UnionofIndia29

isalsoreliedupontoshowthatmerepossibilityofabuseofpower

conferredbylawcannotmakeSection376-Eunconstitutional.He

emphasizedthedifferencebetween”action”and”section”speltoutinthis

judgment.HethereafterplacedrelianceonBachanSingh(supra),in

particular,para175,toshowhowCourtsmustrespectthelegislatureand

thelaw.HesubmittedthattheApexCourthasobservedthat,`Thehighest

judicialdutyistorecognizethelimitsonjudicialpowerandtopermitthe

democraticprocessestodealwithmattersfallingoutsideofthoselimits.’

28(2010)12SCC1

29(2005)6SCC281

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Para36inDeena(supra)isalsoreliedupontourgethattheCourtscannot

bemadeathirdchamberofthelegislature.

28.WhilechallengingtheveryfoundationtoassailSection376-E

oftheIPConthegroundofproportionality,Mr.Kumbhakoni,learneedAG,

drawssupportfromthedecisionoftheApexCourtinSectionStateofRajasthan

vs.KherajRam30,inparticularparas36,37and38thereof.Hesubmitsthat

generallytheprincipleofproportionalityinprescribingliabilityaccording

toculpabilityforeachkindofcriminalconductisadheredtoincriminal

lawandtherecannotbecomparisonbetweenthepunishmentsprescribed

fortwooffences,whichareofadifferentnature.ThedecisionoftheApex

CourtinSectionGopalSinghvs.StateofUttarakhand31isalsopressedinto

serviceforthispurpose.Hearguesthat`justpunishment’isthecryofthe

Societyandthatproportionalitycannotbedecidedbymathematical

precision.Hesubmitsthatthelegislature,insuchasituation,confers

discretionontheJudgewhoisguidedbycertainrationalparameters,

regardbeinghadtothefactualscenarioofaparticularcase,astowhether

deathpenaltyistobeawardedornot.LearnedAGreliesonthedecisionof

30(2003)8SCC224
31(2013)7SCC545

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theApexCourtinSectionVinaySharmavs.StateofNCTofDelhi32,inparticular,

paras24and25therein,tosubstantiatethissubmission.Headdsthat

Section376-EhasbeeninsertedintheStatuteBookafterduedeliberation

andproperapplicationofmindandthattheexpertsaswellasthe

ParliamentaryCommitteehaslookedintothesame.LearnedAGalso

submitsthatSection376-Edoesnotcreateafreshoranewoffenceand

thatitisaprovisionwhichonlydealswithpunishmentforrepeatoffenders.

HeclaimsthatbecauseofthemandateofSection211(7)ofCr.P.C.,a

separatechargeisrequiredtobeframedinrespectofanearlierconviction

toruleoutanyprejudicetotheaccused.

SubmissionsofMr.AabadPonda,learnedAmicusCuriae:

29.Mr.Ponda,learnedamicuscuriaesubmitsthatSection376-E

cannotbeseenasprescribinganalienpunishmentandthattheingredients

andchronologynecessarytoattractSection75ofIPCandSection376-E

arethesame.HepointsoutthatSection376-Edoesnotemploytheword

“enhanced”unlikeSection31ofNDPSAct,wherethatwordhasbeen

used.HesubmitsthatSection376-Eprescribesonlyadifferentpunishment

32(2018)8SCC186

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forrepeatoffence.HefurthersubmitsthatSectionIPChasbeenextensively

amendedagain,after2013,i.e.witheffectfrom14thAugust2018,by

addingSections376-ABasalso376-DB,wherepunishmentofdeathhas

beenprescribedforthefirstoffenceitself.Hesubmitsthatthese

amendmentsshowthewillofthepeopleandwhenforfirstoffencesucha

punishmentisnotunconstitutional,itcannotbeviewedasunconstitutional

whenitisalsomadeavailableforarepeatoffence.Hefurthersubmitsthat

Section376(2)(n)providesfortheunfortunatecontingencyinwhichthere

areseveralrapes,withoutanyconvictioninbetweenthem.

30.Hesubmittedthatin2014,legislatureamendedSectiontheCodeof

CriminalProcedure,byaddingeightSectionsthereinandthatsuitable

amendmentshavebeenmadetoSections24,Section154,Section161,Section164,Section173,Section197,Section327

andSection357-CtobringitinharmonywithSection376-EandthatSections

53AandSection146ofEvidenceActhavealsobeenamended.

31.HesubmitsthatthedecisioninMaruRam(supra)reliedupon

bythepetitioners,inparticular,para19,showswhySection433-Aof

Cr.P.C.wasintroducedi.e.toensurethatcommutationoflifesentence

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shallnotreducetheactualdurationofimprisonmentbelow14years.He

submitsthattheConstitutionBenchjudgmentinV.Sriharan(supra),in

paras89and92hasalsoreferredtoSection376-E.Healsoreliedupon

para62,wherein,itislaiddownthatthereisnoquestionofalifeconvict

gettinganyremissionunderSection432or433A,unlesstheperiodoflife

imprisonmentiscommutedtoapunishmentforafixedperiodoftimeasthe

conceptoflifeimprisonmentmeanstilltheremainderoflife.Herelies

upontheApexCourtjudgmentinSwamyShraddananda(2)aliasSectionMurali

ManoharMishravs.StateofKarnataka33forthispurpose.

32.Comingtothecontentionofthepetitioners,thatthe

punishmentofdeathcanbeimposedwhenduringthecrimeoroffence,a

deathoccurs,Mr.PondapointsoutcertainSectionsintheSectionIPC,like

Sections121,Section132,Section195A,Section194andSection307(2)wherethoughthereisnodeath

caused,sentenceofdeathcanbeawarded.Hesubmitsthatafterthe2018

amendment,thelistofsuchoffencesintheSectionIPChasgoneupto33.

33(2008)13SCC767

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33.Inthisbackdrop,Mr.PondareliesupontheDivisionBench

judgmentofthisCourtinSectionIndianHarmReductionNetworkvs.Unionof

IndiaandOrs.34,inparticular,paras88and89tosubmitthattheword

“shall”therein,hasbeenreadas”may”andthattheconstitutionalityof

Section31-AoftheNDPSAct,prescribingpunishmentofdeathhasbeen

upheld.Wemaynotehere,thatthesaidprovisionhasthereafterbeen

amended.

34.Mr.Pondacommenteduponthejudgmentcitedbythe

petitionerinthecaseofKennedy(supra)toshowhowtherapeofa8year

oldgirlbyherstepfatherhasbeendealtwithandtheamendment

prohibitingdeathpenaltyforthesaidoffence.Hehasalsoinvitedour

attentiontothesaidEighthamendmentandrelevanthistoryincluding

variousjudgmentslookedintotherein.Hesubmitsthattheopinionofthe

CourtsintheUSshowsthatthesaidcrimei.e.ofrapehasbeenseenasa

crimeagainsttheindividual,whilstinIndiatheoffenceisviewednotonly

asacrimeagainsttheindividualbutalsoasacrimeagainstthesociety.

Learnedamicuscuriaehasalsoattemptedtoshowthefactualerrorinthe

caseofKennedy(supra)withreferencetotheobservationsthatrapewasa
342011(4)AIRBomR657

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capitaloffenceinonlysixStates.We,however,inthepresentmatter,donot

finditnecessarytodelveintothataspect.

35.Mr.PondaheavilyreliedonanddrewourattentiontotheApex

CourtdecisioninSectionStateofHimachalPradeshvs.AshaRam35inparticular,

para22toshowthattheoffenceofrapeisgraverinnatureandmore

heinousthanmurder.ThejudgmentreportedinBodhisattwaGautam

(supra),inparticularpara10isalsorelieduponforthispurpose.

36.Mr.Pondasubmitsthatlawrequiresfirstaconvictionandthen

anoffenceandanotherconvictionforit,toattractSection376-E.Learned

amicuscuriaereliedupontheobservationsmadeinV.Sriharan’scase

(supra)inpara97tourgethattheextremepunishmentofdeathprescribed

forcrimesofthebrutestnatureisupheldandsubmitsthatSection376-E

hasbeenincludedintheStatuteBookforthatpurposeonly.The

observationsinparas98and99arereliedupontostatethatthelawmakers

havetoprescribepunishmentsandleaveittotheCourtstochooseone.He

alsoheavilyreliesuponparas101and102tourgethatthepunishmentis

prescribedintheSectionIPC,whileitsproceduralpartisdealtwithinSectionCr.P.C.and
352005(13)SCC766

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thatboththeselawsarenotinconflictwitheachother.Healsopointsout

howinpara101,themajorityviewinV.Sriharan(supra)findsthatthe

proceduralprovisionscontainedinSectionCr.P.C.relatingtograntofremission,

commutation,suspensionorconstitutionalfunctionsunderArticles72and

162cannotbeheldtobeorcaninanymanneroverlapthepower,already

exercisedbytheCourtsofJustice.

37.Healsopointsoutthatthecontentionofthepetitioners,that

Section376-Emakesthesentenceofdeathmandatory,standsrefutedas

Section376-Eallowslifeimprisonmentwhichisforremainderofthat

person’snaturallifealso,asoneofthepunishments.Headdsthataconvict

hasnounfetteredrighttoclaimremissionandsubmitsthatasperthe

ConstitutionBench,noremissioncanbeclaimedtilltheminimumperiod

ofimprisonmentisover.

38.Mr.Pondarelieduponpara106ofV.Sriharan(supra)toshow

thattheratiolaiddowninSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra)imposinga

specialcategoryofsentenceinsteadofdeath,thereby,puttingthatcategory

beyondremission,hasbeenupheldandtheearlierviewofApexCourtin

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thecaseofSectionSangeetandAnr.vs.StateofHaryana36,hasbeenspecifically

overruled.Hesubmittedthatthelawonthepointoflifeimprisonmentas

laiddowninGodse(supra)hasbeenreiteratedinV.Sriharan(supra).Our

attentionhasbeenalsoinvitedtotheminorityviewinthisrespect,inparas

273and286ofV.Sriharan(supra).

39.Whiledealingwiththeaspectofrepeatoffender,themeaning

giventothewords”firstoffender”,”habitualoffender”and”repeat

offender”inBlack’sLawDictionary,10thEditionispressedintoserviceto

showthatifsomeonewhohasbeenconvictedofthecrimemorethanonce,

thatperson,hasbeenheldtobearepeatoffender.

40.ThedecisionoftheApexCourtinSectionRajendraWasnikvs.State

ofMaharashtra37,inReviewPetition,inparticular,paras64to66,68,70

to72areheavilyreliedupontoshowhowthepriorhistoryoftheconvict

orcriminalantecedentsareseen/takenintoconsideration,whilstaffording

theconvictanopportunitytoreform.HesubmittedthattheApexCourt,in

thesaidcase,commutedthesentenceofdeathawardedtotheaccused

36(2013)2SCC452
37(2012)4SCC37

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therein,withadirectionthatheshouldnotbereleasedfromcustodyforthe

restofhisnaturallife.Itissubmittedthattheobservationsmadebythe

ApexCourtinpara17wouldapplytoSection376-EIPCandshowthat

thesecondoffencehastobeafterthefirstconviction.Referencemadeby

theApexCourttothedecisionsoftheSupremeCourtofCanadainpara77

andoftheSupremeCourtofNorthernPartofAustraliainpara78arealso

reliedupontobuttresshissubmission,thatthesecondoffencemustbe

committedafterthefirstconviction.Theprincipleunderlyingitbeing,the

accuseddoesnotfacethejeopardyofanincreasedpenaltyunlesshehas

previouslybeenconvictedandsentenced.

CountersubmissionsofthelearnedASGandtheAG:

41.LearnedASG,Mr.SinghandlearnedAG,Mr.Kumbhakoni

advancedtheirargumentsbrieflyonthesubmissionsofMr.Ponda,learned

amicuscuriae.TheysubmitthatSection376-Eenvisagesonlytwoseparate

convictions.Theyalsoaddthatthereisnocontradictioninthestandof

UnionofIndiaandtheStateGovernmentonthequestionofadmissibility

ofremission.LearnedAGstatesthatthelanguageofSection376-Eisplain

andtherefore,mustbegiveneffectto.HereliesupontheConstitution

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BenchdecisioninSectionCommissionerofCustoms(Import)Mumbaivs.Dilip

KumarandCompanyandOrs.38forthispurpose.Hefurtheraddsthat

Section376-Edoesnotconstitutean`offence’asdefinedinSection40IPC

orSection2(n)ofCr.P.C.Itissubmittedthatthemomenttwoconditions

arefulfilledi.e.(a)thereisapreviousconvictionforoneoftheoffence

mentionedinSection376-Eand(b)thesamepersonissubsequently

convictedofanyoffencementionedtherein,Section376-Egetsattracted

andassuch,nopositive”act”onthepartoftheaccusedisnecessary.

CountersubmissionsofDr.YugChaudhary:

42.Inreply,Dr.Chaudhary,learnedseniorcounselsubmitsthat

thereareatleastthreeConstitutionBenchdecisionswhichexplainthe

scopeofpunishmentofimprisonmentforlife.HesubmitsthatinSection

376-E,certainwordsqualifyingthispunishmenthavebeeninsertedand

theygiverisetoseriousissuesofambiguityandcreateconfusion,asto

whethertherightsofaconvictunderSection432or433SectionCr.P.C.are

curtailedornot.Hereliesupontheaffidavit-in-replyfiledbyUnionof

IndiainWritPetitionNo.527of2018,particularlyparas10and11therein

38(2018)9SCC1

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toshowthatitexplainstheavailabilityofsucharight.Hepointsoutthat

thelearnedAGandthelearnedamicuscuriaeare,however,notagreeing

withlearnedASGinthisrespect.Hesubmitsthatthisconfusion,isitself

sufficienttostrikedownSection376-E.Hedrawssupportfromthe

judgmentsrelieduponbythelearnedamicuscuriaeforthispurpose.

43.Hearguesthatthoughtheconvicthasnorighttoclaim

remission,hecertainlyhastherighttoapplyforitandtohavehis

applicationconsideredandthatthesaidrightcannotbekilledsub-silentio.

HeagaininvitesourattentiontoSection31ofNDPSActtoshowhowit

expresslytakesawaysucharight.Headdsthatifsucharighttoapplyis

beingtakenawayinthismanner,theproceduremandatedbySectionArticle21is

notsatisfied.Hestatesthateverylaworchangethereinmustbeknownto

allconcernedinadvanceandthattheCourtssettlingsuchconfusion

inherentinthelaw,aftertheincidentoroffence,maytantamountto

rewritinglegislation.

44.Toanswerthequestion,whetherSection376-EofIPCpoints

outachangeintheperspectiveof”whydeath”to”whynotdeath”,herelies

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uponSection367(5)ofCr.P.C.prevalentin1898andthethenstatutory

requirementofaCourtgivingreasonsfornotinflictingdeathpunishment.

HepointedoutthepositionbeforetheamendmentofSection367(5)Cr.P.C.

bySectiontheCriminalProcedureCodeSection(Amendment)Act,1955(Act26of1955)

whichcameintoforceonJanuary1,1956andsubmitsthattheCourt,has

nowtorecordverystrongreasonsforawardingdeathsentence.Heclaims

thatSection376-EofIPCindirectlyrestorestheearlierpositionandcannot

standevenonthisground.Tosubstantiatethissubmission,hedraws

supportfrompara147andotherparasinBachanSingh(supra).

45.HesubmitsthattheoffencefallingunderSection376-Ecannot

beequatedwitheitherwagingofwarormutiny.Hepointedoutthatthe

ApexCourtinVikramSingh(supra)upheldtheconstitutionalvalidityof

Section364(A)ofIPCandthatthesamehasbeenapprovedbythe

ConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan(supra).Hesubmitsthatdeathpenaltyis

tobeimposedonlywhenduringthecommissionofacrime,deathtakes

placeandnototherwise.Para54ofVikramSingh(supra)isrelieduponby

himforthispurpose.

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46.ComingtotheobservationsoftheApexCourtinV.Sriharan

(supra),hearguesthattheseobservationsdonotlaydownanylaw

relevantforthepresentcontroversy.HereiterateshowprovisionsofSection

219andSection220ofCr.P.C.canbemisusedinacase,resultinginprosecutorial

discrimination.

47.WhiledealingwiththedecisionoftheApexCourtinRajendra

Wasnik(supra),hesubmitsthatthesaidcasewasconcernedwithoffences

priortotheadditionofSection376-EtotheStatuteBook,andthatin

review,Section376-Ehasonlybeennoted.Hecontendsthatthusthe

observationstherein,donotlaydownthelawonSection376-E.He

pointsoutthatthesaiddecisionismoreontheapproachofawelfarestate

towardsthevictim.

REASONING

48.Wehaveheardthelearnedseniorcounselforthepartiesandthe

learnedamicuscuriaeatlengthandhavegonethroughthejudgmentscited

byeachofthem.Althoughseveraljudgmentswerecitedbeforeus,wewill

dealwithonlythosejudgments,asarerelevantfordecidingthesepetitions.

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Beforeweproceedtodealwiththesubmissionsadvancedbytheparties,it

wouldbenecessarytoconsidertheparameterslaiddownbytheApex

Court,whichCourtsmustbearinmind,whileexaminingthevalidityofany

Statute.SectionInStateofBiharandOrs.vs.BiharDistilleryLimited39,the

ApexCourtinpara17,haslaiddowncertainprinciples,tobebornein

mindwhilejudgingtheconstitutionalityofanenactment.TheApexCourt

held,thattheapproachoftheCourts,whileexaminingthechallengetothe

constitutionalityofanenactment,(a)istostartwiththepresumptionof

constitutionality;(b)tosustainthevalidityoftheimpugnedlawtothe

extentpossibleandshouldstrikedowntheenactmentonlywhenitis

impossibletosustainit;(c)nottoapproachtheenactmentwithaviewto

pickholesortosearchfordefectsofdraftingorforthelanguageemployed,

muchlessinexactitudeoflanguageemployed;(d)considerthattheAct

madebythelegislaturerepresentsthewillofthepeopleandthatcannotbe

lightlyinterferedwith;(e)strikedowntheAct,onlywhenthe

unconstitutionalityisplainlyandclearlyestablished;and,(f)Courtsmust

recognizethefundamentalnatureandimportanceoflegislativeprocessand

accorddueregardanddeferencetoit.

39(1997)2SCC453

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49.Infact,inthesaidcasei.e.BiharDistilleryLimited(supra),the

ApexCourtalsoconsideredtheperceptiveobservationsofLordDenningin

SeafordCourtEstatesLtd.vs.Asher40highlightingthejobofajudgein

construingaStatute.LordDenningobservedthatajudgemustproceedon

theconstructivetaskoffindingtheintentionofParliamentandhemustdo

thisnotonlyfromthelanguageoftheStatute,butalsofroma

considerationofthesocialconditionswhichgaverisetoitandofthe

mischiefwhichitwaspassedtoremedy,andthenifnecessary,hemust

supplementthewrittenwordsoastogive'forceandlife'totheintentionof

thelegislature.AccordingtoLordDenning,theprincipleslaiddownin

Heydon'scase41wereoneofthesafestguides.TheApexCourtaccepted

theseprinciples.TheApexCourtinSectionDharamDuttandOrs.vs.Unionof

IndiaandOrs.42heldthatifthelegislatureiscompetenttopassaparticular

law,themotivewhichimpelledittoactisreallyirrelevant.Ifthelegislature

hascompetence,thequestionofmotivedoesnotariseatallandanyinquiry

intothemotivewhichpersuadedtheParliamentintopassingtheActwould

beofnouseatall.

40(1949)2KB481
4176ER637
42(2004)1SCC712

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50.TheApexCourt(ConstitutionBench)inSectionStateofGujaratvs.

MirzapurMotiKureshiKassabJamatandOrs.43inpara39ofthesaid

judgmenthasreproducedtheratiosummedupinSectionPathummaandOrsvs.

StateofKerala44(sevenjudgebenchdecision),whereinitisheldthatthe

legislatureisinthebestpositiontounderstandandappreciatetheneedsof

thepeopleasenjoinedintheConstitution,andthattheCourtswillinterfere

inthelegislativeprocessonlywhentheStatuteisclearlyviolativeofthe

rightsconferredonacitizenunderPartIIIoftheConstitution;orwhenthe

Actisbeyondthelegislativecompetenceofthelegislature.Itisfurther

observedthatCourtshaverecognizedthatthereisalwaysapresumptionin

favouroftheconstitutionalityoftheStatutesandtheonustoproveits

invalidityliesonthepartywhichassailsit.Thesamewasagainreiterated

bytheApexCourtinBhanumati(supra).

51.Inhistreatise,'PrinciplesofStatutoryInterpretation'Justice

G.P.Singhhaslucidlypointedouttheimportanceofconstructionof

StatutesinamodernStateasunder:

43(2005)8SCC534
441978AIR771

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"LegislationinmodernStateisactuatedwithsome
policytocurbsomepublicevilortoeffectuatesomepublic
benefit.Thelegislationisprimarilydirectedtotheproblems
beforethelegislaturebasedoninformationderivedfrompast
andpresentexperience.Itmayalsobedesignedbyuseof
generalwordstocoversimilarproblemsarisinginfuture.But,
fromtheverynatureofthings,itisimpossibletoanticipatefully
thevariedsituationsarisinginfutureinwhichtheapplicationof
thelegislationinhandmaybecalledfor,and,wordschosento
communicatesuchindefinite"referents"areboundtobe,in
manycaseslackinginclarityandprecisionandthusgivingrise
tocontroversialquestionsofconstruction."

52.InCommissionerofCustoms(Import)(supra),theApexCourt

observedthatanActofParliament/Legislaturecannotforeseealltypesof

situationsandalltypesofconsequencesandthatitwasfortheCourttosee

whetheraparticularcasefallswithinthebroadprinciplesoflawenactedby

thelegislatureanditisinsuchcircumstances,thattheprinciplesof

interpretationofStatutescomeinhandy.Itisfurtherobservedthatinspite

ofthefactthatexpertsinthefieldassistindraftingtheActsandRules,

therearemanyoccasionswherethelanguageusedandthephrases

employedintheStatutearenotperfectandtherefore,JudgesandCourts

needtointerpretthewordsandthatthepurposeofinterpretationis

essentiallytoknowtheintentionofthelegislature.Itwasfurtherobserved

thatitwaswellacceptedthattheStatutemustbeconstruedaccordingto

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theintentionofthelegislatureandthecourtsshouldactuponthetrue

intentionofthelegislaturewhileapplyingandinterpretinglawandthatifa

statutoryprovisionisopentomorethanonemeaning,theCourthasto

choosetheinterpretationwhichrepresentstheintentionofthelegislature.

53.Keepingtheaforesaidparametersinmindandbeforewe

proceedtoexaminethechallengesraisedtoSection376-E,itwouldalsobe

appositetoconsiderthehistoryandthebackground,whichnecessitatedthe

insertionofSection376-EintheSectionIPC.Infact,anyattempttoproperly

understandthetruescopeandpurportofSection376-Emust,inour

opinion,startwiththebackgroundinwhichtheprovisioncameonthe

StatuteBook.

OBJECTOFTHECRIMINALLAW(AMENDMENT)ACTOF2013

ANDINSERTIONOFSECTION376-E:

54.AsreflectedintheReportoftheDepartment-related

ParliamentaryStandingCommitteeonHomeAffairs,theMinistryof

HomeAffairsinitsbackgroundnotewhichwasfurnished,hasstatedthat

intheyear1997,Sakshi(NGO),anon-governmentalorganizationengaged

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inempoweringwomen,hadfiledaWritPetitionintheSupremeCourtof

Indiaseeking,interalia,directionsconcerningdefinitionoftheexpression

'sexualintercourse'ascontainedinSection375oftheIndianPenalCode,

1860.TheSupremeCourtdirectedtheLawCommissionofIndiatofileits

responsewithrespecttotheissueraisedintheWritPetition.The

CommissionfiledanaffidavitinJuly1998.TheSupremeCourt,however,

directedSakshitodrawanotecontainingthepreciseissuesinvolvedinthe

petitionanddirectedtheLawCommissionofIndiatoexaminethesaid

issuesafresh.TheLawCommission,inits172ndReport,made

recommendationforwideningthescopeofrapeandtomakeitgender

neutral.

TheMinistryofHomeAffairsinthebackgroundnotehas

furtherstatedthatsincetheCriminalLawandtheCriminalProcedurewere

intheConcurrentListoftheSeventhScheduletotheConstitutionofIndia,

theReportoftheLawCommissionwasreferredtotheStateGovernments

fortheirviews/comments.TheStateGovernmentswereconsultedonthe

recommendationsmadebytheLawCommission.MostoftheState

GovernmentssupportedtheviewsoftheLawCommission.Thereafter,on

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thebasisoftheLawCommission'sReport,theLegislativeDepartment

draftedaBill.Meanwhile,theNationalCommissionforWomen('NCW')

forwardedaseparateBillonthesamesubject.Accordingly,the

recommendationsoftheLawCommissionofIndia,thedraftBillprepared

bytheLegislativeDepartmentandtheBillforwardedbyNCWwere

discussedbythethenHomeMinisterwiththethenLawMinisterwherethe

thenChairperson,NCWwasalsopresent.Itwasstatedthatduringthe

discussion,theviewthatemergedwasthatvarioussexualoffences

specificallyrelatingtomalesandfemalesshouldbedifferentiatedandthe

crimeshouldremaingenderspecific,andtherefore,therecommendations

oftheLawCommissionwouldneedare-looktakingintoaccountthe

suggestionsmadebytheNCW.

TheMinistryfurtherstatedinthebackgroundnotethatthe

LegislativeDepartment,accordingly,havingregardtothesensitivityofthe

subject,wasrequestedtorevisethedraftBilltakingintoconsiderationthe

abovesuggestions.ItwasalsorequestedthattherevisedBillshouldaddress

theexistinginadequaciesinthelawsrelatingtosexualoffencesandalso

provideformeasurestodealwiththesexualabuseofchildrenthrough

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stringentprovisions.Accordingly,theLegislativeDepartmentprepareda

revisedBill.TheNCWrecommendedsomechangesrelatingto'rape'inits

AnnualReport2004-05.SincetheCriminalLawandtheCriminal

ProcedurewereintheConcurrentListoftheSeventhScheduletothe

ConstitutionofIndiaandthelawsarealsobeingadministered/implemented

bytheStateGovernments/UnionTerritoryAdministrations,theirviews

weresoughtontherecommendationsmadebytheNCWinitsaforesaid

Report.Inordertogetaquickerresponse,aConferenceoftheHome

SecretariesoftheStateGovernmentsandUnionTerritoryAdministrations

wasconvenedon7thJuly,2008inDelhitodiscussthematterrelatingto

rape/sexualassault.Therewasnoagreementastotheamendmentsthat

shouldbecarriedoutinSectionIPC,SectionCr.P.C.andtheSectionIndianEvidenceAct.

InthebackgroundnoteontheBill,theMinistryofHome

Affairshasstatedthatasthesubjectmatterrelatingtorapeissensitivein

nature,itwasdecidedthattheBillonrapelawsmaybefinalizedafteranin

depthconsultationwithallconcerned.Therefore,aHighPowered

Committee('HPC')wasconstitutedon29thJanuary,2010underthe

ChairmanshipoftheformerUnionHomeSecretarycomprisingSecretary,

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MinistryofWomenandChildDevelopment;Secretary,Departmentof

LegalAffairs;Secretary,LegislativeDepartment;MemberSecretary,NCW;

MemberSecretary,LawCommissionofIndia;SpecialSecretary,Ministry

ofHomeAffairs('MHA')andConsultant(Judl.),MHAasmembers,to

examinetheissuerelatingtothereviewofrapelaws.TheHPCdiscussed

thematterinitsmeetingsheldon12thFebruary,2010and15thMarch,2010.

ThesuggestionsmadebytheHPCwereformulatedintoadraftCriminal

Law(Amendment)Bill,2010whichwasreferredtotheStateGovernments

fortheircomments/views.ThedraftBillwasalsopostedonthewebsiteof

theMHAforcommentsofthegeneralpublic.TheHPCaftergoingintothe

commentsreceivedfromthevariousindividualsandNGOs,theState

Governmentsandalsoafterfurtherconsultationamongstitsmemberson

10thAugust,2010,4thOctober,2010and8thFebruary,2011finalizedits

reportalongwiththedraftCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2011and

recommendedittotheGovernmentforitsenactment.

TheCommitteewasfurtherapprisedthattheprovisionsofthe

draftCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2011asformulatedbytheHPC,

werefurtherexaminedintheMHAinconsultationwithLegislative

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Department,MinistryofLawandJustice.Afternecessarymodifications,

theLegislativeDepartmentprovidedareviseddraftCriminalLaw

(Amendment)Bill,2012.Afterconsultationwithotherstakeholderslike

MinistryofLawandJusticeandMinistryofWomenandChild

Development,aCabinetNoteon"Reviewoflegalprovisionspertainingto

sexualassault-ProposaltoamendSectiontheIndianPenalCode,1860,SectiontheCode

ofCriminalProcedure,1973andtheSectionIndianEvidenceAct,1872"was

finalizedandsenttotheCabinetforconsiderationon2ndJuly,2012.The

Cabinetconsideredthenoteon19thJuly,2012andapprovedtheproposalof

introductionoftheBilli.e.theCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2012in

theParliament.Although,theBillwasintroducedintheLokSabhaon4th

December,2012,itappearsthatinpursuancetotherulesrelatingtothe

Department-relatedParliamentaryStandingCommittees,theChairman,

RajyaSabha,inconsultationwiththeSpeaker,LokSabhareferredthe

CriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2012,asintroducedon4thDecember,

2012intheLokSabhaandpendingtherein,totheCommitteeon28th

December,2012forexaminationandreportwithinthreemonths.

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AfterthegruesomeincidentthattookplaceinDelhion16th

December2012i.e.theNirbhayacase,therewaspublicoutrageand

outcry,whichledtotheformationofaCommitteeheadedbyJusticeJ.S.

Verma.TheCommitteesoconstitutedwasset-upwiththeobjectofmaking

recommendationsforamendingthelaws,todealwithcrimesagainst

women,forenhancingpunishmentforoffendersincasesofsexualassault

ofextremenatureandforprovidingspeedyjustice.JusticeVerma

CommitteesubmitteditsReporttotheGovernment(recommendations)on

23rdJanuary2013,afterhearingthestakeholdersonthesaidsubject.The

Department-RelatedParliamentaryStandingCommitteeonHomeAffairs,

afterconsideringthereportsubmittedbyJusticeVermaCommittee,report

oftheMHA,172ndReportonReviewofRapeLawsofLawCommissionof

India,TheCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2012,TheCriminalLaw

(Amendment)Ordinance,2013,CommentsoftheMHAonthememoranda

receivedfromindividuals/public,women'sorganizations,NGOs,

suggestionsofState/UTGovernmentsandMembersofParliamentandthe

Committeeandsoon,preparedaReportdated26thFebruary2013.The

Committeevidethesaidreport,feltitnecessarytobringtherevisedlaws

intoeffectasexpeditiouslyaspossible.

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TheCommittee,initsmeetingheldon21stFebruary,2013,

heldaclause-by-clauseconsiderationoftheBill.TheCommitteedecidedto

considertheBillclause-by-clauseinthelightoftheprovisionsofthe

OrdinancepromulgatedbytheGovernment.WhilediscussingSection

376-A,someMembersfeltthattheGovernmentwillhavetotakeadecision

regardingdeathpenalty.Itwasstatedthatseveralcountrieshadabolished

deathpenaltywhereasIndiawascontinuingwithit.However,majorityof

theMembersfeltthattheissueofabolishingdeathpenaltywascompletely

adifferentmatterandneededtobediscussedanddecidedseparately,and

thatsince,deathpenaltyexistedasondate,inthelaw,theCommittee

decidedthatitcannotrecommendabolishingofdeathpenalty.The

Committeealsotooknoteofthefact,thatdeathpenaltyisproposedin

Section376-Aonlyinanextremecase,wherethevictimhaddiedorgone

inavegetativestateandinSection376-Einthecaseofarepeatoffender.

Accordingly,majorityoftheMembersagreedtotheviewofaccepting

deathsentence.

TheCommitteetableditsreportintheParliament.Keepingin

viewtherecommendationsoftheDepartment-relatedParliamentary

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StandingCommitteeonHomeAffairs,therecommendationsofJustice

VermaCommitteeandtheviewsandcommentsreceivedfromvarious

quartersincludingwomengroups,theGovernmentdraftedtheCriminal

Law(Amendment)Bill,2013.TheBillof2013soughttoamendtheSectionIPC,

SectionCr.P.C,theSectionIndianEvidenceActandProtectionofChildrenfromSexual

Offences('POCSO')Act.ThestatementofObjectsandReasons,ofthe

SectionCriminalLaw(Amendment)Act,2013readsasunder:

"TheCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2012wasintroducedin

theLokSabhaon4thDecember,2012inordertoprovideforstringent

punishmentforcrimesagainstwomen,asalsotoprovideformorevictim

friendlyproceduresinthetrialsofsuchcases.Afterthehorrendous

incidentofgangrape,whichoccurredon16thDecember,2012inDelhi,a

Committee,headedbyJusticeJ.S.Vermawassetuptomake

recommendationsonamendingthevariouslawstoprovideforspeedy

justiceandenhancedpunishmentforoffendersincasesofsexualassaultof

extremenature.TheJusticeVermaCommitteesubmitteditsReporton23rd

January,2013.

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2.Itwasfeltnecessarytobringtherevisedlawsintoeffectas

soonaspossible,asanycrimeagainstwomencommittedduringtheperiod

whenthelawisinmakingwillbepunishableonlyundertheexistinglaws.

Inviewoftheurgencyofthematter,theCriminalLaw(Amendment)

Ordinance,2013waspromulgatedon3rdFebruary,2013.

3.TheDepartment-relatedParliamentaryStandingCommitteeon

HomeAffairsexaminedtheCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2012and

tableditsReportinParliamenton1stMarch,2013.Keepinginviewthe

recommendationsoftheDepartment-relatedParliamentaryStanding

CommitteeonHomeAffairs,therecommendationsofJusticeVerma

Committeeandtheviewsandcommentsreceivedfromvariousquarters

includingwomengroups,theGovernmentdraftedtheCriminalLaw

(Amendment)Bill,2013.

4.TheCriminalLaw(Amendment)Bill,2013seekstoamendSectionthe

IndianPenalCode,1860,SectiontheCriminalProcedureCode,1973,theSectionIndian

EvidenceAct,1872andtheProtectionofChildrenfromSexualOffences

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Act,2012.Theseamendmentsseekto:-

(a)makespecificprovisionsforpunishmentfortheoffencesofcausing

grievoushurtbyacidattackandalsoforanattemptthereof;

(b)defineandprescribepunishmentfortheoffencesofstalking,voyeurism

andsexualharassment;

(c)widenthedefinitionofrape;broadentheambitofaggravatedrape;and

enhancethepunishmentthereof;

(d)prescribeforpunishmentextendingtothesentenceofdeath,foran

offencewhereinthecourseofcommissionofanoffenceofrape,the

offenderinflictsanyinjurywhichcausesthedeathofthevictimorcauses

thevictimtobeinapersistentvegetativestate;

(e)punishtherepeatoffendersofrapewithimprisonmentforlife,which

shallmeantheremainderoftheperson'snaturallife,orwithdeath;

(f)prescribepunishmentfortheoffenceofgangrapewithrigorous

imprisonmentforaminimumoftwentyyearsextendabletolife(whichshall

meantheremainderofthatperson'snaturallife)andfine;tobepaidtothe

victimtomeetthemedicalexpenses;

(g)enhancepunishmentunderSections354andSection509oftheIPC;

(h)makecorrespondingamendmentstocertainprovisionsintheSectionCr.P.C,

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withtheobjectofprovidingwomenfriendlyprocedures;greatersensitivity

totherequirementofphysicallyandmentallydisabledpersons,under-aged

childrenandoldpersonsinthecourseofinvestigationandtrial;forspeedy

trialofrapecases,andbetterrecordingofevidence;

(i)providethatallhospitalsshallimmediatelyprovidefirstaidand/or

medicaltreatment,freeofcost,tothevictimsofacidattackorrape;and

provideforpunishmentforcontraventionthereof;

(j)provideforcompensationpayablebytheState,inadditiontothe

paymentoffinetothevictim;

(k)tomakecorrespondingamendmentsintheIndianEvidenceActinorder

toprotectthedignityofwomen;and

(l)amendPOCSOsoastoharmonisethesaidActwiththeprovisionsof

theBill."

(emphasissupplied)

AperusalofthestatementofObjectsandReasonsofthe

CriminalLaw(Amendment)Act,2013,clearlyshowstheobjectbehind

introducingnewoffences,gradationofpunishment,introductionofharsher

punishmentetc.ApartfromtheSectionCriminalLaw(Amendment)Actof2013,a

specialActwasenactedtoprotectthechildrenfromsexualabuse.Under

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thePOCSOAct,theterm`child'isgenderneutralandthepunishmentis

stringent.ThereareseveralpresumptionsunderthesaidAct,whichcastan

obligationontheaccusedtoprovehiscaseandthereareprovisionsasto

howthecaseistobeinvestigatedaswellasconducted,keepinginmindthe

sensitivenatureofthecases.

55.Therivalcontentionsofthepartiesdetailedsupraneed

appreciationinthisbackground.Havingheardthelearnedseniorcounsel

andthelearnedamicuscuriaeandkeepinginmindthebroadparameters

laiddownbytheApexCourt,whilstconsideringtheconstitutionalvalidity

ofaStatute,inthiscase,theconstitutionalvalidityofSection376-E,and

thebackgroundandcircumstancesinwhichSection376-Ewasinsertedin

theSectionCriminalLaw(Amendment)Act,2013,weareoftheconsidered

opinionthatSection376-EisnotultravirestheConstitutionandassuchis

notrequiredtobestruckdown,forthereasonswhichwillbedealtwith,in

detail,hereinunder.

56.Withregardtotheissue,whetherSection376-Ecreatesanew

categoryofpunishmenti.e.imprisonmentforlife,whichmeans

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imprisonmentfortheremainderofone'snaturallife,ouranswerisinthe

negative.Dr.ChaudharyvehementlycontendedthatSection376-Ecreatesa

newcategoryofpunishmentunknowntoSectionIPC.HereliesonSection53of

theIPCinsupportofthesaidsubmission.Wemaynotethatthesaidissue

hasbeensettledbyacatenaofjudgments,withwhichwewilldealwith,in

somedetail.Butbeforewedealwiththesaidjudgments,itwouldbe

appositetoreproduceSection53andSection45ofIPCtounderstandthe

realpurportofthesaidsubmission.Section53andSection45ofIPC,read

thus;-

53.Punishments.--Thepunishmentstowhichoffendersareliable
undertheprovisionsofthisCodeare--

First--Death;

Secondly.--Imprisonmentforlife;

[***]
Fourthly.--Imprisonment,whichisoftwodescriptions,namely:--

(1)Rigorous,thatis,withhardlabour;

(2)Simple;

Fifthly.--Forfeitureofproperty;

Sixthly--Fine."

45."Life".--Theword"life"denotesthelifeofahuman
being,unlessthecontraryappearsfromthecontext."

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57.Asfarasjudicialpronouncementsareconcerned,whichhavea

bearingonthisissue,itwouldbeappropriatetorefertothedecisionofthe

ApexCourtinGodse(supra),whereintheApexCourtheldthatasentence

ofimprisonmentforlifeisoneof`imprisonmentforthewholeofthe

remainingperiodoftheconvictedperson'snaturallife'.Godse'sjudgment

(supra)isanauthorityonthisproposition.TheApexCourtinMaruRam

(supra),inpara25,hasobservedasunder:

"25.Ordinarily,whereasentenceisforadefiniteterm,the
calculusofremissionsmaybenefittheprisonertoinstant-releaseat
thatpointwherethesubtractionresultsinzero.Here,weare
concernedwithlifeimprisonmentandsowecomeuponanother
conceptbearingonthenatureofthesentencewhichhasbeen
highlightedinGodse'scase.Wherethesentenceisindeterminate
andofuncertainduration,theresultofsubtractionfroman
uncertainquantityisstillanuncertainquantityandreleaseofthe
prisonercannotfollowexceptonsomefictionofquantificationofa
sentenceofuncertainduration.Godsewassentencedto
imprisonmentforlife.Hehadearnedconsiderableremissionswhich
wouldhaverenderedhimeligibleforreleasehadlifesentencebeen
equatedwith20yearsofimprisonmentalaSection55I.P.C.On
thebasisofarulewhichdidmakethatequation,Godsesoughthis
releasethroughawritpetitionunderSectionArticle52oftheConstitution.

HewasrebuffedbythisCourt.AConstitutionBench,speaking
throughSubbaRao,J.,tooktheviewthatasentenceof
imprisonmentforlifewasnothinglessandnothingelsethanan
imprisonmentwhichlastedtillthelastbreath.Sincedeathwas
uncertain,deductionbywayofremissiondidnotyieldanytangible
dateforreleaseandsotheprayerofGodsewasrefused.Thenature
ofalifesentenceisincarcerationuntildeath,judicialsentenceof
imprisonmentforlifecannotbeinjeopardymerelybecauseof
longaccumulationofremissions.Releasewouldfollowonlyupon
anorderunderSection401oftheCriminalProcedureCode,1898

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(correspondingtoSection432ofthe1973Code)bythe
appropriateGovernmentoronaclemencyorderinexerciseof
powerunderArticles72or161oftheConstitution.Godse(supra)
isauthorityforthepropositionthatasentenceofimprisonment
forlifeisoneof"imprisonmentforthewholeoftheremaining
periodoftheconvictedperson'snaturallife"...............

(emphasissupplied)

58.ThesameisagainreiteratedbytheApexCourtinSectionLaxman

Naskar(LifeConvict)vs.StateofWestBengal45,andinSectionJayawant

DattatraySuryaraoandOrs.vs.StateofMaharashtra.46InSwamy

Shraddananda(2)(supra),theApexCourtreferringtothelegalpositionas

enunciatedinKishoriLalvs.Emperor47,Godse(supra),MaruRam

(supra),SectionStateofMadhyaPradeshvs.RatanSingh48andSectionShriBhagwan

vs.StateofRajasthan49,inparas91and92,recognisedtherighttoimpose

apunishmentbeyondmerelifeimprisonment,bytermingitasa`special

categorycase',wheredeathsentenceisconsideredtobetooexcessiveand

merelifeimprisonmentinadequate,bytakingintoconsiderationthemanner

inwhichremissionswereallowedincaseswherelifeimprisonmentwas

awardedandhowconvictswerebeingreleasedprematurely,oncompletion

of14years,ontheirsentencebeingcommuted.SwamyShraddananda(2)
45(2000)7SCC626
46(2001)10SCC109
47AIR(32)1945PC64
48(1976)3SCC470
49(2001)6SCC296

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(supra)wasfirstsuchcasecreatingaspecialcategoryofsentencei.e.

imprisonmenttillremainderofone'slife.

Inparas92to94ofthesaidjudgment,itisobservedasunder:

"92.Themattermaybelookedatfromaslightlydifferent
angle.Theissueofsentencinghastwoaspects.Asentencemaybe
excessiveandundulyharshoritmaybehighlydisproportionately
inadequate.WhenanappellantcomestothisCourtcarryingadeath
sentenceawardedbythetrialcourtandconfirmedbytheHigh
Court,thisCourtmayfind,asinthepresentappeal,thatthecase
justfallsshortoftherarestoftherarecategoryandmayfeel
somewhatreluctantinendorsingthedeathsentence.Butatthesame
time,havingregardtothenatureofthecrime,theCourtmay
stronglyfeelthatasentenceoflifeimprisonmentthatsubjectto
remissionnormallyworksouttoatermof14yearswouldbegrossly
disproportionateandinadequate.WhatthentheCourtshoulddo?If
theCourt'soptionislimitedonlytotwopunishments,oneasentence
ofimprisonment,forallintentsandpurposes,ofnotmorethan14
yearsandtheotherdeath,thecourtmayfeeltemptedandfinditself
nudgedintoendorsingthedeathpenalty.Suchacoursewould
indeedbedisastrous.Afarmorejust,reasonableandpropercourse
wouldbetoexpandtheoptionsandtotakeoverwhat,asamatterof
fact,lawfullybelongstothecourt,i.e.,thevasthiatusbetween14
years'imprisonmentanddeath.Itneedstobeemphasizedthatthe
Courtwouldtakerecoursetotheexpandedoptionprimarily
becauseinthefactsofthecase,thesentenceof14years
imprisonmentwouldamounttonopunishmentatall.

93.Further,theformalisationofaspecialcategoryof
sentence,thoughforanextremelyfewnumberofcases,shallhave
thegreatadvantageofhavingthedeathpenaltyonthestatutebook
buttoactuallyuseitaslittleaspossible,reallyintherarestofthe

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rarecases.ThiswouldonlybeareassertionoftheConstitution
BenchdecisioninBachanSingh(supra)besidesbeinginaccord
withthemoderntrendsinpenology.

94.Inlightofthediscussionsmadeaboveweareclearlyof
theviewthatthereisagoodandstrongbasisfortheCourtto
substituteadeathsentencebylifeimprisonmentorbyatermin
excessoffourteenyearsandfurthertodirectthattheconvictmust
notbereleasedfromtheprisonfortherestofhislifeorforthe
actualtermasspecifiedintheorder,asthecasemaybe."

(emphasissupplied)

59.Itisworthwhiletonote,thatthesaiddecisionwasputtotest

andconsideredbytheConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan(supra).The

ApexCourtinV.Sriharan(supra)heldthatsuchanimprisonmenti.e.

imprisonmentforremainderofone'slifefallswithinthepurviewof

Section53oftheIPC.Inpara61itisnotedthatimprisonmentforlifein

termsofSection53readwithSection45oftheIPC,meansimprisonment

fortherestofthelifeoftheprisonersubject,however,totherighttoclaim

remissionetc.,asprovidedunderSectionArticle72andSectionArticle161ofthe

ConstitutionandalsoasprovidedunderSection432oftheCr.P.C.Infact,

inpara89ofV.Sriharan(supra),theApexCourt,aftertakinginto

considerationseveraldecisions,includingtheConstitutionBenchdecision

inVikramSingh(supra),concludedthatitisnowhereprescribedinthe

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PenalCodeorforthatmatter,anyoftheprovisionswheredeathpenaltyor

lifeimprisonmentisprovidedfor,anyprohibitionfromimposing

imprisonmentforaspecificperiod,withinthesaidlifespan.Itisfurther

observedthat,`whenlifeimprisonmentmeansthewholelifespanofthe

personconvicted,canitbesaid,thattheCourtwhichisempoweredto

imposethesaidpunishmentcannotspecifytheperioduptowhich,thesaid

sentenceoflifeshouldremainbefittingthenatureofthecrimecommitted,

whileatthesametimeapplyingtherarestofrareprinciple,theCourts'

consciencedoesnotpersuadeittoconfirmthedeathpenalty.'

60.Itispertinenttonote,thatthesubmissioncanvassedby

Dr.Chaudharyinthesepetitionsthatanewcategoryofpunishmentis

soughttobecreatedi.e.imprisonmentforlife,whichmeansimprisonment

forremainderofone'snaturallife,hasbeenrepelledbytheApexCourtin

para90ofV.Sriharan(supra).Itiscategoricallyheldthatthereisno

violationofthestatutoryprovisionsprescribingtheextentofpunishment

providedinSectionthePenalCodeandthat,theCourthasnotcarvedoutanew

punishment.Itisfurtherobservedthatthenatureofpunishmenttobe

imposediswellwithintheprescribedlimitofpunishmentoflife

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imprisonmentandthatthepunishmentwillbeawardedhavingregardtothe

natureofoffencecommittedandwouldbeproportionaltothecrimeaswell

astheinterestofthevictim,whoseinterestisalsotobetakencareofbythe

Court.Wemayobservehere,thatthespecialcategorycreatedbytheApex

CourtinSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra)hasstoodthescrutinyandtest

oftheConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan(supra).

61.TheApexCourtinV.Sriharan(supra),furtherobservedthat

theprescriptionofdifferenttypesofpunishmentsinothercountrieswould

notdissuadethemfromdeclaringthelegalpositionbasedonthe

punishmentprescribedintheSectionIPCandtheenormityofthecrimesbeing

committedinthiscountry.Afternotinginpara96,thetwelvecrimesfor

whichthepenaltyofdeathandlifeisprescribed,andafternotinginpara

96.10,thepunishmentprescribedunderSection376-E,theApexCourtin

paras97to99inV.Sriharan(supra),hasobservedasunder:

"97.Thus,eachoneoftheoffencesabovenoted,forwhichthe
penaltyofdeathorlifeimprisonmentorspecifiedminimumperiod
ofimprisonmentisprovidedfor,areofsuchmagnitudeforwhich
theimpositionofanyoneofthesaidpunishmentprovidedfor
cannotbeheldtobeexcessiveornotwarranted.Ineach
individualcase,themannerofcommissionorthemodusoperandi

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adoptedorthesituationsinwhichtheactwascommittedorthe
situationinwhichthevictimwassituatedorthestatusofthe
personwhosufferedtheonslaughtortheconsequencesthat
ensuedbyvirtueofthecommissionoftheoffencecommittedand
soonandsoforthmayvaryinverymanydegrees.Itwasforthis
reason,thelawmakers,whileprescribingdifferentpunishments
fordifferentcrimes,thoughtitfittoprescribeextremepunishments
forsuchcrimesofgrotesque(monstrous)nature.

98.Whilethatbesoitcannotalsobelostsightofthatitwill
benexttoimpossibleforeventhelawmakerstothinkofor
prescribeinexactitudeallkindsofsuchcriminalconducttofit
intoanyappropriatepigeonholeforstructuredpunishmentstorun
inbetweentheminimumandmaximumperiodofimprisonment.
Therefore,thelawmakersthoughtitfittoprescribetheminimum
andthemaximumsentencetobeimposedforsuchdiabolicnature
ofcrimesandleaveitfortheadjudicationauthorities,namely,the
InstitutionofJudiciarywhoisfullyandappropriatelyequipped
withthenecessaryknowledgeoflaw,experience,talentand
infrastructuretostudythedetailedpartsofeachsuchcasebased
onthelegallyacceptablematerialevidence,applythelegal
principlesandthelawonthesubject,apartfromtheguidanceit
getsfromthejuristsandjudicialpronouncementsrevealedearlier,
todeterminefromthenatureofsuchgraveoffencesfoundproved
anddependinguponthefactsnotedwhatkindofpunishment
withintheprescribedlimitsundertherelevantprovisionwould
appropriatelyfitin.Inotherwords,whilethemaximumextentof
punishmentofeitherdeathorlifeimprisonmentisprovidedfor
undertherelevantprovisionsnotedabove,itwillbeforthe
Courtstodecideifinitsconclusion,theimpositionofdeathmay
notbewarranted,whatshouldbethenumberofyearsof
imprisonmentthatwouldbejudiciouslyandjudiciallymore
appropriatetokeepthepersonunderincarceration,bytaking
intoaccount,apartfromthecrimeitself,fromtheangleofthe
commissionofsuchcrimeorcrimes,theinterestofthesocietyat
largeorallotherrelevantfactorswhichcannotbeputinany
straitjacketformulae.

99.Thesaidprocessofdeterminationmustbeheldtobe
availablewiththeCourtsbyvirtueoftheextentofpunishments

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providedforsuchspecifiednatureofcrimesandsuchpoweristo
bederivedfromthosepenalprovisionsthemselves.Wemustalso
state,bythatapproach,wedonotfindanyviolationoflawor
conflictwithanyotherprovisionSectionofPenalCode,butthesame
wouldbeincomplianceofthoserelevantprovisionsthemselves
whichprovideforimpositionofsuchpunishments."

(emphasissupplied)

62.Thesameprincipleisreiteratedinpara101,wheresuchan

interpretationisheldtobeinharmonywiththeSectionCr.P.C.andtheSectionIPC.Para

101readsasunder:

"101.SuchprescriptioncontainedinSectiontheCodeofCriminal
Procedure,thoughprocedural,thesubstantivepartrestsinSectionthe
PenalCodefortheultimateConfirmationormodificationor
alterationoramendmentoramendmentofthepunishment.
Therefore,whatisapparentisthattheimpositionofdeathpenalty
orlifeimprisonmentissubstantivelyprovidedforinSectionthePenal
Code,proceduralpartofitisprescribedinSectiontheCodeofCriminal
Procedureandsignificantlyonedoesnotconflictwiththeother.
HavingregardtosuchadichotomybeingsetoutinSectionthePenalCode
andSectiontheCodeofCriminalProcedure,whichinmanyrespectstobe
operateduponintheadjudicationofacriminalcase,theresultof
suchthoroughlydefineddistinctivefeatureshavetobeclearly
understoodwhileoperatingthedefiniteprovisions,inparticular,
theprovisionsinSectionthePenalCodeprovidingforcapitalpunishment
andinthealternatethelifeimprisonment."

63.Infact,eventheminorityviewinpara260ofV.Sriharan's

(supra)hasnotedthatlifeimprisonmentmeansimprisonmentfortherest

ofthelifeortheremainderoftheconvictslife.

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64.Thus,notonlyhastheApexCourtbyitsjudicial

pronouncements,recognisedthesentenceofimprisonmentforlife,tomean

imprisonmentforremainderofone'slife,but,nowthereisastatutory

recognitiontothispunishmentundertheSectionCriminalLaw(Amendment)Act,

2013.

65.Wealsocannotloosesightofthefact,thatSection376-Eis

nottheonlySectionwhichprescribesimprisonmentforlife,whichmeans

imprisonmentfortheremainderofone'snaturallife,butthereareother

Sectionsi.e.Sections370(6),Section370(7),Section376-A,Section376-Dandrecently,in2018,

Sections376-AB,Section376-DA,Section376-DB,Section376(3)wereintroduced,which

prescribethesamesentencei.e.imprisonmentforlife,whichmeans

imprisonmenttilltheremainderofone'snaturallifeandthatthereisno

challengetothesame.

66.AsfarasDr.Chaudhary'ssubmissionthatthereisno

mechanismtoexecutethesaidsentence,inasmuchas,inSection418

Cr.P.C,thereisnomentionofimprisonmenttilltheremainderofone's

naturallifeandthatlifeandlibertycanbetakenaway,onlybyprocedure

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establishedbylaw,whichprocedureisamiss,isalsodevoidofmerit.

Section418oftheCr.P.Cwhichdealswiththeexecutionofsentenceof

imprisonmentforlifeistheanswer.Asnotedabove,itisevidentfromthe

judicialpronouncementsandtherelevantprovisionsintheSectionIPC,thatthe

termimprisonmentforlifeusedinSection418Cr.P.C,istobeunderstood

tomeanimprisonmenttilltheremainderofone'snaturallifeandhence,

thereisamechanisminplacetoexecutesuchasentence.Thus,thereisno

violationofArticle21oftheConstitution,asthereisa

machinery/procedureforimplementationandexecutionofthesentenceof

imprisonmentforlife,whichmeanstilltheremainderofone'slife,under

Section376-E.

67.InVikramSingh(supra),itisnotedthatprescribing

punishmentsisthefunctionofthelegislatureandnottheCourtsandthat

thelegislatureispresumedtobesupremelywiseandawareoftheneedsof

thepeopleandthemeasuresthatarenecessarytomeetthoseneeds.Itis

furtherobservedthattheCourtsmustshowdeferencetothelegislativewill

andwisdomandbeslowinupsettingtheenactedprovisionsdealingwith

thequantumofpunishmentprescribedfordifferentoffences.

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68.Havingregardtothediscussionasaforesaid,thereisnomeritin

eitherofDr.Chaudhary'ssubmission,thatSection376-Ecreatesanew

categoryofpunishmenti.e.imprisonmentforlife,whichmeans

imprisonmenttilltheremainderofaconvict'slife,unknowntotheSectionIPCand

thatthereisnomechanismprovidedtoexecutethesaidsentence.

69.ComingtoDr.Chaudhary'snextsubmission,thatSection

376-Edenudesconstitutionalaswellasstatutorypowersofremission,we

find,thatthereisnomeritinthesame,inasmuchas,theConstitution

BenchinV.Sriharan(supra)hasconcludedthesaidissue.Inpara8ofV.

Sriharan(supra),theApexCourtframedsevenissues,outofwhichwe

areconcernedwiththefirsttwoissues,whichreadthus;

(i)Astowhetherimprisonmentforlifemeanstilltheendofconvict's
lifewithorwithoutanyscopeforremission?and

(ii)Whetheraspecialcategoryofsentenceinsteadofdeathforaterm
exceeding14years,canbemadebyputtingthatcategorybeyondthegrant
ofremission?

70.Thefirstquestion,findsitsanswerinGodse(supra)and

MaruRam(supra).TheConstitutionBenchdecisioninMaruRam

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(supra),whileendorsingtheearlierratiolaiddowninGodse(supra),held

asunder;

"30.Apossibleconfusioncreepsintothisdiscussionby
equatinglifeimprisonmentwith20years'imprisonment.
RelianceisplacedforthispurposeonSection55IPCandon
definitionsinvariousRemissionSchemes.Allthatweneedsay,
asclearlypointedoutinGodse,isthattheseequivalentsare
meantforthelimitedobjectiveofcomputationtohelptheState
exerciseitswidepowersoftotalremissions.Evenifthe
remissionsearnedhavetotaledupto20years,stilltheState
Governmentmayormaynotreleasetheprisoneranduntil
suchareleaseorderremittingtheremainingpartofthelife
sentenceispassed,theprisonerscannotclaimhisliberty.The
reasonisthatlifesentenceisnothinglessthanlifelong
imprisonment.Moreover,thepenaltythenandnowisthe
same-lifeterm.Andremissionvestsnorighttoreleasewhen
thesentenceislifeimprisonment.Nogreaterpunishmentis
inflictedbySection433-Athanthelawannexedoriginallyto
thecrime.Norisanyvestedrighttoremissioncancelledby
compulsory14-yearjaillifeoncewerealisethetruismthata
lifesentenceisasentenceforawholelife.(SectionSeeSambhaJi
KrishanJi.v.StateofMaharashtra(1974)1SCC196and
SectionStateofM.Pv.RatanSingh,(1976)3SCC470.)"

(emphasissupplied)

Itisfurtherheldinpara72asunder;

"72.(4)WefollowGodse'scase(supra)toholdthat
imprisonmentforlifelastsuntilthelastbreath,andwhatever
thelengthofremissionsearned,theprisonercanclaimrelease
onlyiftheremainingsentenceisremittedbyGovernment."

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71.TheApexCourtinRanjitSingh(supra),whilecommutingthe

sentenceofdeathtolifeimprisonment,heldthat"thetwolifesentences

shouldnotrunconcurrently,toensurethatevenifanyremissionisgranted

forthefirstlifesentence,thesecondonecancommencethereafter".

72.SectionInSubashChandervs.KrishanLal50,theApexCourt

followingGodse(supra)andSectionStateofMadhyaPradeshvs.Ratan

Singh,51heldthatasentenceforlifemeansasentenceforentirelifeofthe

prisonerunlesstheappropriateGovernmentchoosestoexerciseits

discretiontoremiteitherthewholeorpartofthesentenceunderSection

401oftheCriminalProcedureCode,1898[presentSection432Cr.P.C,

1973].

73.InRatanSingh(supra),theApexCourtheldthatasentence

ofimprisonmentforlifedoesnotautomaticallyexpireattheendof20

years,includingtheremissions.

50(2001)4SCC458
51(1976)3SCC470

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74.TheConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan(supra),afternoting

thetwoConstitutionBenchdecisionsinGodse(supra)andMaruRam

(supra)whichwereconsistentlyfollowedinRatanSingh(supra),

SubashChander(supra)etc,heldinpara61thatimprisonmentforlifein

termsofSection53readwithSection45ofthePenalCodemeans

imprisonmentforrestofthelifeoftheprisonersubject,however,tothe

righttoclaimremission,etc.asprovidedunderArticles72and161ofthe

ConstitutiontobeexercisablebythePresidentandtheGovernorofthe

StateandalsoasprovidedunderSection432oftheCriminalProcedure

Code.

75.Inpara92ofV.Sriharan(supra)itisfurtherobservedthat

thehighestexecutivepowerprescribedundertheConstitutioninArticles72

and161remainsuntouchedforgrantofpardon,suspension,remissionor

commutationofanysentenceawarded.Thesaidpositionisagainreiterated

inparas93and102,whereitisobservedthatthepowersofremissionunder

Articles72and161oftheConstitutionareuntouched.Thesaidparasreads

asunder:

"93.Asfarasthereferencetoprescriptionofdifferent
typeofpunishmentsincertainothercountriesneednot

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dissuadeustodeclarethelegalpositionbasedonthe
punishmentprescribedinSectionthePenalCodeandtheenormityof
thecrimesthatarebeingcommittedinthiscountry.Forthe
verysamereasons,wearenotabletosubscribetothe
submissionsofMr.DwivediandShriAndhyarujinathatby
awardingsuchpunishmentofspecifiedperiodoflife
imprisonment,theCourtwouldbeenteringthedomainofthe
Executiveorviolativeoftheprincipleofseparationof
powers.Bysospecifying,itmustbeheldthat,theCourtseven
whileorderingthepunishmentprescribedinSectionthePenalCode
onlyseektoensurethatsuchimpositionofpunishmentis
commensuratetothenatureofcrimecommittedandinthat
processnoinjusticeiscausedeithertothevictimorthe
accusedwhohavingcommittedthecrimeisboundtoundergo
therequiredpunishment.Itmustbenotedthatthehighest
executivepowerprescribedundertheConstitutioninArticles
72and161remainsuntouchedforgrantofpardon,suspend,
remit,reprieveorcommuteanysentenceawarded.Asfaras
theapprehensionthatbydeclaringsuchasentencingprocess,
inregardtotheoffencesfallingUnderSection302andother
offencesforwhichcapitalpunishmentorinthealternatelife
imprisonmentisprescribed,suchpowerswouldalsobe
availabletothetrialCourt,namely,theSessionsCourtis
concerned,thesaidapprehensioncanbesufficiently
safeguardedbymakingadetailedreferencetotheprovisions
containedinChapterXXVIIIofCodeofCriminalProcedure
whichweshallmakeinthesubsequentparagraphsofthis
judgment.Asfarastheotherapprehensionthatby
prohibitingtheconsiderationofanyremissiontheexecutive
powerUnderSections432andSection433areconcerned,itwill
havetobeheldthatsuchprohibitionwillloseitsforcethe
moment,thespecifiedperiodisundergoneandthe
AppropriateGovernment'spowertoconsidergrantof
remissionwillautomaticallygetrevived.Hereagain,itcanbe
statedattheriskofrepetitionthatthehigherexecutivepower
providedundertheConstitutionwillalwaysremainandcan
beexercisedwithoutanyrestriction."

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"102.Oncewesteerclearofsuchdistinctivefeaturesin
thetwoenactments,onesubstantiveandtheotherprocedural,
onewillhavenohurdleordifficultyinworkingoutthe
differentprovisionsinthetwodifferentenactmentswithout
doinganyviolencetooneortheother.Havingthusnotedthe
aboveaspectsonthepunishmentprescriptioninSectionthePenal
CodeandtheproceduralprescriptioninSectiontheCodeofCriminal
Procedure,wecanauthoritativelystatethatthepower
derivedbytheCourtsoflawinthevariousspecified
provisionsprovidingforimpositionofcapitalpunishmentsinSection
thePenalCodesuchpowercanbeappropriatelyexercisedby
theadjudicatingCourtsinthematterofultimateimposition
ofpunishmentsinsuchawaytoensurethattheother
proceduralprovisionscontainedinSectiontheCodeofCriminal
Procedurerelatingtograntofremission,commutation,
suspensionetc.ontheprescribedauthority,notspeakingof
similarpowersUnderArticles72and162oftheConstitution
whichareuntouchable,cannotbeheldtobeorcaninany
manneroverlapthepoweralreadyexercisedbytheCourtsof
justice."

(emphasissupplied)

76.ThemajorityviewinV.Sriharan(supra),has,inpara177,

summarizedthatthepowerofthePresidentandtheGovernorunder

Articles72and161oftheConstitutionremainsuntouchedinspecial

categorycases.Itisheldthattherighttoclaimremission,commutation,

reprieve,etc.asprovidedunderSectionArticle72orSectionArticle161oftheConstitution

willalwaysbeavailablebeingconstitutionalremediesuntouchedbythe

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Court.Thispositionisagainreiteratedbytheminorityviewinpara260,

whichisadidemwiththemajorityviewonthepowerofthePresidentand

theGovernorunderSectionArticle72andSection161oftheConstitution.

77.Fromtheaforesaiddiscussion,itisevidentthatanaccusedif

convictedunderSection376-E,tosufferimprisonmentfortheremainder

ofhislife,hewouldbeentitledtoclaimremission,commutation,etc.as

providedunderSectionArticle72orSectionArticle161,beingtheconstitutionalremedies.

Infact,bothMr.Singh,learnedASGandMr.Kumbhakoni,learnedAG,do

notdisputethesaidconstitutionalrightofaconvictandtherefore,the

submissionsofthepetitionersthatSection376-Edenudesconstitutional

remission,doesnotholdground.

78.Asfarasthesubmission,thatSection376-Edenudesstatutory

powersofremission,isconcerned,thesameisalsocoveredbythe

decisionsinV.Sriharan(supra)andSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra).

ByinsertingSection376-EintheSectionIPC,thelegislature,hasintroduceda

punishmentinthenatureofaspecialcategorypunishmenti.e.tillthe

remainderofthenaturallifeoftheconvict.Asnotedabove,thedecisionin

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SwamyShraddananda(2)(supra)creatingaspecialcategoryof

punishmenti.e.tilltheremainderofthenaturallifeofaconvictwas

recognizedforthefirsttimeandwasthereafterreiteratedbythe

ConstitutionBenchinV.Sriharan(supra).Asalsonotedabove,alife

convicthasaconstitutionalrighttoapplyforremissionunderArticles72

and161oftheConstitutionasclarifiedinthejudgmentsreferredto

hereinabove,buthasnounfetteredstatutoryrighttoclaimremission.The

sameisreflectedinpara67ofSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra),which

readsasunder:

"67.Onaperusalofthesevendecisionsdiscussedabove
andthedecisionsreferredtothereinitwouldappearthatthis
Courtmodifiedthedeathsentencetoimprisonmentforlifeor
insomecasesimprisonmentforatermoftwentyyearswith
thefurtherdirectionthattheconvictmustnotbereleasedfrom
prisonfortherestofhislifeorbeforeactuallyservingoutthe
termoftwentyyears,asthecasemaybe,mainlyontwo
premises;one,animprisonmentforlife,intermsofSection53
readwithSection45ofthePenalCodemeantimprisonment
fortherestoflifeoftheprisonerandtwo,aconvict
undergoinglifeimprisonmenthasnorighttoclaimremission.
Insupportofthesecondpremiserelianceisplacedontheline
ofdecisionsbeginningfromSectionGopalVinayakGodsev.TheState
ofMaharashtraandcomingdowntoSectionMohd.Munnav.Union
ofIndia,(2005)7SCC417(supra)."

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79.Inpara62ofV.Sriharan(supra),itisheldthatthereisno

scopetocounttheearnedremission,unlesstheperiodoflifeimprisonment

iscommutedtoanyspecificperiod,astheconceptoflifeimprisonment

meanstilltheentiretyofone'slife.Inotherwords,intheabsenceofany

stipulationofthelifesentencerestrictingtheperiodtolessthantheentire

lifeofthesaidconvict,thereisnoquestionoftheconvictgettingearned

remissions.Therefore,theconstitutionalchallengetoSection376-Ebased

onstatutorypowerofremissionbeingtakenaway,doesnotarise.

80.InV.Sriharan(supra),boththemajorityandminorityviews

wereunanimousonthepowersofthePresidentandtheGovernor,as

regardsconstitutionalpowerofremission,however,asregardsthestatutory

provisionsrelatingtoremissionunderSection432andSection433Cr.P.C,in

respectofspecialcategorycases,themajorityviewwastotheeffectthat

statutorypowersofremissionwerenotavailabletosuchcategories.Itis

pertinenttonotethatinSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra),althoughthe

specialcategoryofsentencewascarvedoutbythejudiciaryandnotbythe

legislature,eveninsuchcases,theprohibitiononthegrantofstatutory

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remissionwasnotconsideredtobeunconstitutional.TheApexCourtinV.

Sriharan(supra),has,inpara63observedthattheexclusionofthe

statutorypowersofremissioninspecialcategorycases,puttingthesaid

punishmentbeyondtheapplicationofremissionasheldinparas91and92

ofSwamyShraddananda(2)(supra),hascometostayasondateandin

para76againaffirmsthesaidprincipleofexclusionofstatutorypowersof

remissionincasesofspecialcategoryofsentence.Inpara77,it

differentiatesbetweentheconstitutionalpowersandthestatutorypowersof

remissionasnotedinMaruRam(supra)andinpara78,itreiteratesthat

theexecutivehastogivedueweightagetoajudicialdecisionalready

pronounced.Itwouldbeappositeheretoreproducepara78ofV.

Sriharan's(supra).Thesamereadsasunder:

"78.Thoughwearenotattemptingtobelittlethescope
andambitofexecutiveactionoftheStateinexerciseofits
powerofstatutoryremission,whenitcomestothequestionof
equationwithajudicialpronouncement,itmustbeheldthat
suchexecutiveactionshouldgivedueweightandrespectto
thelatterinordertoachievethegoalssetintheConstitution.

Itisnottobesaidthatsuchdistinctiveroletobeplayedby
theExecutiveoftheStatewouldbeinthenatureofa
subordinateroletothejudiciary.Inthiscontext,itcanbesaid
withoutanyscopeofcontroversythatwhenbywayofa
judicialdecision,afteradetailedanalysis,havingregardto

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theproportionalityofthecrimecommitted,itisdecidedthat
theoffenderdeservestobepunishedwiththesentenceoflife
imprisonment(i.e.)fortheendofhislifeorforaspecific
periodof20years,or30yearsor40years,suchaconclusion
shouldsurvivewithoutanyinterruption.Therefore,inorder
toensurethatsuchpunishmentimposed,whichislegally
providedforinSectiontheIndianPenalCodereadalongwithSectionCode
ofCriminalProceduretooperatewithoutanyinterruption,
theinherentpoweroftheCourtconcernedshouldempower
theCourtinpublicinterestaswellasintheinterestofthe
societyatlargetomakeitcertainthatsuchpunishment
imposedwilloperateasimposedbystatingthatnoremission
orothersuchliberalapproachshouldnotcomeintoeffectto
nullifysuchimposition."

81.Inpara102,itisheldthatthereisnorighttoremitor

commute,astheexecutiveauthoritycannotoverlapthepoweralready

exercisedbytheCourtsofjusticeandinpara106,itgiveslegalsanctityand

upholdsthepowertowithholdthestatutorypowersofremission.Itisthus

evident,thatthereisnounfetteredstatutoryrighttoclaimremission.Both,

learnedASGandthelearnedAGdonotdisputethatthepowersunder

Sections432andSection433Cr.P.Careintact,however,thesame,accordingtous,

liesinthedomainofthePunishingCourt,beforetheremissionpowersare

exercisedbytheappropriateGovernment.

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82.Thenextquestionthatarisesforconsiderationis,whether

Section376-Eviolatestheprincipleofproportionality,byprescribinga

sentenceofdeath,thoughnodeathiscaused?Isitarbitrary?Isitviolative

ofArticles14and21ofConstitutionofIndia?AccordingtoDr.

Chaudhary,abalancemustbestruckbetweentheharmcausedandthe

punishmentawardedandthesentenceofdeathmaybeawardedonlywhere

deathiscausedi.e.foranoffenceunderSection302,asmurderisfargraver

thantheoffenceofrape.Hefurthersubmittedthatalthoughtherearenon-

homicidaloffences,wheredeathsentenceisprescribed,thesaidoffences

cannotbetreatedatparwithrepeatoffenceofrape(376-E).Accordingto

Dr.ChaudharyintroductionofdeathsentenceunderSection376-Eviolates

thestandardlaiddowninBachanSingh'scase(supra),whereinithas

beenheldthatitisonlyintherarestofrarecasesthatdeathcanbeawarded

andonlywhenthealternativeoptionisforeclosed.Thesaidsubmissions

werevehementlyrefutedbythelearnedA.S.G.,learnedAGandthelearned

amicuscuriae.TheysubmittedthattherearecertainoffencesintheSectionIPC

whichprescribedeathsentenceforanact,evenifthesaidactdoesnot

resultindeath.Theysubmittedthattheoffencesofrapeandmurderare

incomparableandthatsuchacomparisonisunrealisticinlaw,as,the

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consequencesofbotharedifferentandthattherecanbenomathematical

exactitude.Accordingtothelearnedcounselfortherespondents,rapeis

farmoregraveroffencethantheoffenceofmurder,inasmuchas,ittakes

thevictim'srightoflifeunderSectionArticle21.Wehavenotedthesubmissions

onthepointofproportionalityandarbitrarinessandhaveconsideredthe

Judgmentsrelieduponbythepartiesonthesaidaspect.Firstandforemost,

wemaynotethatthepunishmentprescribedunderSection376-Ewould

havetobeevaluatedintheIndiancontextandnotintheAmericancontext.

RelianceplacedontheEnglishcasesbyDr.Chaudharycannotbe

consideredintheIndiancontext,inasmuchas,theU.S.Courtstreatcrimes

ofrapeascrimesagainstindividuals,unlikeIndianlaw,whichtreatsan

offenceofrapenotonlyasacrimeagainstthevictimbut,asacrimeagainst

theentiresociety.

83.Therecanbenodispute,thatpunishmentsmustbe

proportionatetothenatureandgravityoftheoffences,forwhich,thesame

wereprescribedandthatprescribingpunishmentsisthefunctionofthe

legislatureandnotofCourts.Thelegislature,initswisdom,whileenacting

Section376-Ewasawareoftheneedsofthepeopleandthemeasuresthat

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werenecessarytobetakentomeetthoseneedsi.e.thegrowingincidentsof

rape.Nodoubt,Courtshavejurisdictiontointerferewhenthepunishment

prescribedissooutrageouslydisproportionatetotheoffenceorsoinhuman

orbrutalthatthesamecannotbeacceptedbyanystandardofdecency.

However,Courtsdonotinterferewiththeprescribedpunishmentonly

becauseapunishmentisperceivedtobeexcessive.Thelegislatureisinthe

bestpositiontounderstandtheneedsofthepeopleasenjoinedinthe

Constitution.TheCourtwillinterfereinthisprocessonlywhenthe

Statute/provisionisclearlyviolativeoftherightconferredonacitizen

underPartIIIorwhentheStatute/insertionofaprovisionisbeyondthe

legislativecompetenceofthelegislature.InVikramSingh'scase(supra)

inpara40,itisobservedasunder:

"40.InaParliamentarydemocracylikeours,lawsare
enactedbytheParliamentortheStatelegislaturewithintheir
respectivelegislativefieldsspecifiedundertheConstitution.

Thepresumptionattachedtotheselawsisthattheyaremeant
tocatertothesocietaldemandsandmeetthechallengesof
thetime,forthelegislatureispresumedtobesupremelywise
andawareofsuchneedsandchallenges.Themeansfor
redressingamischiefarealsointherealmoflegislationand
solongasthosemeansarenotviolativeoftheconstitutional
provisionsorthefundamentalrightsofthecitizens,the
Courtswillshowdeferencetowardsthem.That,however,is
nottosaythatlawsthatareoutrageouslybarbaricor
penaltiesthatarepalpablyinhumanorshockingly

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disproportionatetothegravityoftheoffenceforwhichthe
sameareprescribedcannotbeinterferedwith.Asobservedby
Chandrachud,C.J.inMithu'scase(supra)iftheParliament
weretomorrowtoamendSectiontheIndianPenalCodeandmaketheft
ofcattlebyafarmerpunishablewithcuttingofthehandsofthe
thief,theCourtswouldstepintodeclaretheprovisionas
constitutionallyinvalidandinbreachoftherighttolife.
...................

(emphasissupplied)

Inpara37,itwasfurtherobservedthatalegislationis

presumedtobeconstitutionallyvalidwiththeburdenofshowingthe

contrary,lyingheavilyuponanyonewhochallengesitsvalidity.

84.Itispertinenttonote,thatSectionIPCitselfrecognizesoffences,

whichfetchadeathterm,evenifnodeathiscaused,andassuch,thereisno

meritinDr.Chaudhary'ssubmissionthatunderSection376-E,death

sentenceisnotjustified,asnodeathiscaused.InSectionIPC,theoffenceswhich

prescribedeathsentenceforanact,whichdoesnotresultindeathare;

Section120B(1)dealingwithconspiracy;Section121forwagingwar

againsttheGovernmentofIndiaorattemptingtowageawarorabettingthe

same;Section132whichdealswithapersonwhoabetsthecommittingof

mutinybyasoldier,officer,sailororairmanintheArmy,NavyorAir

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Force,andintheeventofsuchmutinybeingcommittedasasequeltosuch

abetment;Section195Awhichpunishesaperson,ifhethreatensanyother

togivefalseevidenceandasaconsequenceofsuchact,anyperson,though

innocent,isconvictedandsentencedtodeathinconsequenceofsuchfalse

evidence;Section307(2)whichdealswithattempttomurderbyaperson

whoisalreadyconvictedandsentencedtolifeimprisonment;Section376-

Awhichdealswithrapeofanaggravatednatureandevenifthewomanis

notkilledbuttheactofrapecauseshertobeinavegetativestate.Wemay

note,thattheDivisionBenchofthisCourtinIndianHarmReduction

Network(supra),upheldthevalidityofSection31AoftheNDPSActand

readdowntheword`shall'toread`may'forawardingdeathsentenceto

repeatoffendersandincludedlifeimprisonmentasanalternative

punishment.Hereagain,underSection31A,legislaturehadprescribed

deathsentence,eventhoughnodeathwascaused.

85.Infact,aftertheinsertionofSection376-EintheSectionIPCin2013,

byvirtueoftheSectionAmendmentActof2018,twoprovisionshavebeeninserted

intheSectionIPCi.e.Section376-ABandSection376-DA,whichalsoprovides

fordeath,asoneofthesentence.Section376-ABprovidespunishmentfor

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rapeonawomanbelowtwelveyearsandSection376-DAprovidesfor

punishmentforGangrapeonawomanundersixteenyears.

86.Itwouldbehighlyunrealistictocomparecasesofrapewith

theoffenceofmurder,astheconsequencesareincomparable.Avictimof

rapeundergoesatraumaticexperiencewithwhichshehastoliveforthe

restofherlife.Theeffectsofrapearenotonlyphysical,butalso

psychological.Herrighttolivewithhumandignityisinfringed,whichis

constitutionallyguaranteedtoherunderSectionArticle21oftheConstitution.

Rapeisahighlyreprehensiblecrimeanddemonstratesatotalcontemptfor

thepersonalintegrityandautonomyofthevictim.Itisan`ultimate

violationofselfrighttolivewithdignity'.Theeffectofrapecaneven

havedisastrousconsequences,forexample,canleavethepersonina

vegetativestate;cancompelhertocommitsuicideandcanhavelifelong

impactonhermentalandemotionalpsyche.Needlesstostate,thatthe

stigmathatisattachedtorapevictimsislifelong.Inasense,theoffenceof

rapecanbesaidtobegraverthanthatofmurder.

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87.InBodhisattwaGautam(supra),theApexCourtobservedthat

'unfortunately,awoman,inourcountry,belongstoaclassorgroupof

societywhoareinadisadvantagedpositiononaccountofseveralsocial

barriersandimpedimentsandhave,therefore,beenthevictimoftyrannyat

thehandsofmenwithwhomthey,fortunately,undertheConstitutionenjoy

equalstatus.Womenalsohavetherighttolifeandliberty;theyalsohave

therighttoberespectedandtreatedasequalcitizens.Theirhonourand

dignitycannotbetouchedorviolated.Theyalsohavetherighttoleadan

honourableandpeacefullife.Women,inthem,havemanypersonalities

combined.Theyaremother,daughter,sisterandwifeandnotplaythings

forcenterspreadsinvariousmagazines,periodicalsornewspapersnorcan

theybeexploitedforobscenepurposes.Theymusthavetheliberty,the

freedomand,ofcourse,independencetolivetherolesassignedtothemby

naturesothatthesocietymayflourishastheyalonehavethetalentsand

capacitytoshapethedestinyandcharacterofmenanywhereandinevery

partoftheworld.'TheApexCourthasfurtherobservedthat'rapeisthus

notonlyacrimeagainstthepersonofawoman(victim),itisacrime

againsttheentiresociety.Itdestroystheentirepsychologyofawomanand

pushesherintodeepemotionalcrisis.Itisonlybyhersheerwillpower

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thatsherehabilitatesherselfinthesocietywhich,oncomingtoknowofthe

rape,looksdownuponherinderisionandcontempt.Rapeis,therefore,the

mosthatedcrime.Itisacrimeagainstbasichumanrightsandisalso

violativeofthevictim'smostcherishedfundamentalright,namely,theright

tolifecontainedinSectionArticle21.Tomanyfeministsandpsychiatrists,rapeis

lessasexualoffencethananactofaggressionaimedatdegradingand

humiliatingwomen.Therapelawsdonot,unfortunately,takecareofthe

socialaspectofthematterandareineptinmanyrespects.'

88.InDelhiDomesticWorkingWomen'sForum(supra),the

ApexCourtobservedthatrapedoesindeedposeaseriesofproblemsfor

thecriminaljusticesystem.Therearecriesforharshestpenalties,butoften

attimes,suchcrieseclipsetherealplightofthevictim.Rapeisan

experiencewhichshakesthefoundationsofthelivesofthevictims.For

many,itseffectisalong-termone,impairingtheircapacityforpersonal

relationships,alteringtheirbehaviourandvaluesandgeneratingendless

fear.Inadditiontothetraumaoftherapeitself,victimshavetosuffer

furtheragonyduringlegalproceedings.

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89.TheApexCourtinthecaseofSectionTheStateofPunjabv.Gurmit

SinghandOrs.52inpara21observedthatcrimeagainstwomeningeneral

andrapeinparticularisontheincrease;thatwhilewearecelebrating

women'srightsinallspheres,weshowlittleornoconcernforherhonour;

thatitisasadreflectionontheattitudeofindifferenceofthesociety

towardstheviolationofhumandignityofthevictimsofsexcrimes;and

thatarapistnotonlyviolatesthevictim'sprivacyandpersonalintegrity,but

inevitablycausesseriouspsychologicalaswellasphysicalharminthe

process.Itwasfurtherobservedthatrapeisnotmerelyaphysicalassault-

itisoftendestructiveofthewholepersonalityofthevictim;thatamurderer

destroysthephysicalbodyofhisvictim,whereas,arapistdegradesthevery

soulofthehelplessfemaleandtherefore,Courtsshoulderagreat

responsibilitywhiletryinganaccusedonchargesofrape;thattheymust

dealwithsuchcaseswithutmostsensitivity;thattheyshouldexaminethe

broaderprobabilitiesofacaseandnotgetswayedbyminorcontradictions

orinsignificantdiscrepanciesinthestatementoftheprosecutrix,whichare

notofafatalnature,tothrowoutanotherwisereliableprosecutioncase;

thatiftheevidenceoftheprosecutrixinspiresconfidence,itmustberelied

521996(2)SCC384

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uponwithoutseekingcorroborationofherstatementinmaterialparticulars;

thatifforsomereason,theCourtfindsitdifficulttoplaceimplicitreliance

onhertestimony,itmaylookforevidencewhichmaylendassurancetoher

testimony,shortofcorroborationrequiredinthecaseofanaccomplice;and

thatthetestimonyoftheprosecutrixmustbeappreciatedinthebackground

oftheentirecaseandthetrialCourtmustbealivetoitsresponsibilityand

besensitivewhiledealingwithcasesinvolvingsexualmolestations.

90.InAshaRam(supra),theSupremeCourtinpara22

observedthatordinarily,theoffenceofrapeisgravebyitsnature.Moreso,

whentheperpetratorofthecrimeisthefatheragainsthisowndaughter,it

ismoregraverandtherarestofrare,whichwarrantsastrongdeterrent

judicialhand.Eveninordinarycriminalterminologyarapeisacrimemore

heinousthanmurder,asitdestroystheverysoulofhaplesswoman.Thisis

moresowhentheperpetratorofthegravecrimeisthefatherofthevictim

girl.Fatherisafortress,refugeandthetrusteeofhisdaughter.Bybetraying

thetrustandtakingundueadvantageoftrustreposedinhimbythe

daughter,servingfoodatoddhoursat12.30a.m.heravishedthechastityof

hisdaughter,jeopardizedherfutureprospectofgettingmarried,enjoying

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maritalandconjugallife,hasbeentotallydevastated.Notonlythat,she

carriesanindeliblesocialstigmaonherheadanddeathlessshameaslong

asshelives.

91.Rapecasesincludinggangrapesareonastaggeringhighand

statisticsbeartestimonytothat.Judicialnoticecanalsobetakenoftherise

insuchcases.Despitelegislation,andstringentpunishment,casesofsexual

assaultarecommittedbypredatorswithimpunity,withnofearoflaw.Not

onlyyounggirlsorwomen,butevenchildren,new-bornsortoddlersare

notspared.Whereareweasasocietyheading?Dochildren,women,not

havetherighttolivewithhumandignityguaranteedtothemunderSectionArticle

21oftheConstitution?Dowomennothavetherighttomovefreely,

withoutfearofinvasionoftheirprivacy?Ofcourse,theydoandnobody

hasarighttotakeawaythisinvaluablefreedom,guaranteedtothemunder

SectionArticle21oftheConstitution.Anactofsexualassault,invadestheprivacy

ofthesurvivor,leavinganindeliblescaronthesurvivor,whichisnotonly

physical,butalsoemotionalandpsychological.Thesurvivorundergoes

post-traumaticstressdisorder,sleepdisorder,feelingofguilt,anger,distrust

ofothers,feelingofpersonalpowerlessness(feelsthattherapisthasrobbed

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herofcontroloverherbody),stigmainthesocietyetc.Thesurvivorsmany

atimeexperiencealong-termimpactontheirpersonallivesneeding

greaterpsychologicalassistance.Effectsofsexualassaultarelifelong,as

theactaffectsthesouloftheperson,herbodilyintegrity,andherrightover

abody.Ifthegirl/womangetspregnantonaccountofsexualassault,the

traumaisevengreater.Ifachildisbornasaresultofsexualassault,the

questionarises,whowilllookafterthechild?Thus,consideringtheimpact

anoffenceofsexualassaulthasonthesurvivor,bynostretchof

imagination,itcanbesaidthatrapeislessfoulthanmurder.Therising

crimerateandfallingstandardshaveechoedtheneedforadeterrentlaw.

ThestatisticsoftheNationalCrimeRecordsBillof2017showsthatrapes

havegoneupsince2016inMumbaiandDelhi.

92.InVikramSingh(supra),theApexCourtwhiledecidingthe

constitutionalvalidityofSection364Aobserved,thatthebackgroundin

whichthelawwasenactedandtheconcernshownbytheParliamentforthe

safetyandsecurityofthecitizensandtheunity,sovereigntyandintegrityof

thecountry,thepunishmentprescribedfortheoffenceunderSection364A,

cannotbedubbedasbeingoutrageouslydisproportionatetothenatureof

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theoffence,forittobedeclaredunconstitutional.Itwasfurtherobserved

thatjudicialdiscretionwasavailabletotheCourtstochooseoneofthetwo

sentencesprescribedinSection364AandthatCourtsalongjudicially

recognizedlines,wouldawarddeathsentenceonlyintherarestofrare

cases;thatjustbecausesentenceofdeathisapossiblepunishmentthatmay

beawardedinappropriatecasescannotmakeitperseinhumanorbarbaric;

andthatintheordinarycourseandincaseswhichqualifytobecalled

rarestoftherare,deathmaybeawardedonlywherekidnappingor

abductionhasresultedinthedeatheitherofthevictimoranyoneelseinthe

courseofthecommissionoftheoffence.

93.Havingregardtowhatisstatedaforesaidandthebackground

inwhich376-EwasenactedshowstheconcernoftheParliamentforthe

safetyandsecurityofitswomenandchildrenandassuch,cannotbe

dubbedasbeingeitherarbitraryoroutrageouslydisproportionateor

violativeofArticles14and21oftheConstitution.Thereisalwaysa

judicialdiscretionavailabletotheCourtstochooseoneofthetwo

sentencesprescribedforthosefallingunderSection376-Ei.e.

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imprisonmentforremainderofone'slifeordeathandthediscretionwill

undoubtedlybeexercisedbyCourtsalongthejudiciallyrecognizedlines

anddeathsentence,intherarestofrarecase.Needlesstostate,thatwhile

awardingdeathsentence,theCourtswillhavetofollowtheparameterslaid

downbytheApexCourtinBachanSingh(supra)andSectionMachhiSinghvs.

StateofPunjab53.

94.Section376-Ewouldbeapplicableonlytothoseoffenders,

whoarepreviouslyconvictedforanoffencepunishableunderSections376

or376-A,or376-Dor376-ABor376-DAor376-DBandaresubsequently

convictedforanoffencepunishableunderanyofthesaidSections.

95.Infact,V.Sriharan(supra),inpara96.10readwithpara97

holdsthatthepenaltyprovidedunderSection376-E,cannotbeheldtobe

excessiveorunwarranted.Inparas98and99ofthesaidjudgment,the

ApexCourtafternotingdownthepunishmentsprescribedforvarious

offencesinpara96,whichincludesthepunishmentprescribedfor

Section376-E,hasheldthatthereisnoviolationoflaworconflictwith

53(1983)3SCC470

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anyotherprovisionoftheSectionIPCbyimpositionofsuchminimumand

maximumsentencesforcrimesofsuchdiabolicnature.Itwasfurther

observedthattheprocessfordeterminationofanappropriatepunishment

waslefttotheadjudicationoftheinstitutionofthejudiciarywhichisfully

equippedwiththenecessaryknowledgeoflaw,experience,talentand

infrastructuretostudythedetailedpartsofeachcaseandapplythelegal

principlesandthelawonthesubject.Itwasalsoobservedthattheever

risingcrimerateofsexualoffencesechoestheneedforadeterrent

punishment,includingforrepeatoffendersunderSection376-E.

96.Havingsaidso,wehastentoadd,thatoncetheGovernment

acknowledgesandrecognisestheneedforenactingthelegislation,tocurb

incidentsofsexualassault,whichareontherise,itsdutydoesnotendby

passingtheLegislation.Infact,itsdutyandresponsibilitycontinueseven

thereafter.Undoubtedly,preventionofsexualassaultistheprimary

responsibilityoftheState,however,theresponsibilitydoesnotstophere.

OncetheStateacceptsandrecognisesthedreadfulimpactandeffectsthat

sexualassaulthasonarapesurvivor,itisincumbentontheStatetohavea

system/mechanisminplace,whichwillprovidenotonlymedicalhelpto

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suchsurvivors,butalsoaplacewheretheycanberehabilitatedand

assistanceofcounsellors,psychiatrists,psychologistscanbeprovidedfor

dealingwiththeirtrauma.Government/Statemustbealiveandsensitiveto

suchissuesandhaveamechanismtohelpsuchsurvivors,postsexual

assault.Wherethesurvivorgetspregnantanddeliversachild,asaresultof

thesexualassault,theneedtoprovideallassistanceisevengreater.

Survivorscannotbelefthighanddrytofendforthemselves,postincident,

whentheyrequireutmosthelp.Incidentsofsexualassault,toagreat

extentarearesultofthefailureoftheState,toprotectitscitizens.In

thesecircumstances,itbecomestheresponsibilityandboundendutyofthe

Statetoextendallpossiblehelp,emotionalandpsychologicalassistanceto

suchsurvivors,apartfrommedicalassistance.Financialassistanceis

providedthroughschemessuchastheManodhairya,butapartfromsuch

financialhelp,rebuildingthesoulofthesurvivoriscrucialandimperative,

consideringthetraumathatthesurvivorundergoes.Theplightofthe

survivorcannotbeoverlooked.Wefindthatallpartiesaread-idemonthe

fact,thatarapevictimsurvivorlooseshersoul,personalintegrityand

dignity,then,underthesecircumstances,oncehavingrecognisedthesaid

fact,theStatecannotshirkitsresponsibilitybynotprovidingassistanceto

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such,survivors.Wehopeandexpect,thattheStatewillcomeupwitha

mechanismorpolicytohelpsuchsurvivors,postincidentsofsexual

assaults,inthelightofwhatisobserved.Statemustalsocomeupwitha

policy/mechanismtotakefullresponsibilityofthechildrenbornto

survivors,asaresultofthesexualassault.

97.Anotheraspect,whichwestronglyfeel,isthattheremustbea

mechanismtokeepatrack/watchonsexoffenders,topreventrepeat

crimes.Inthiscontext,wemayrefertotheParliamentaryCommittee

Report,inparticularpara5.42.1,whereinitisobservedasunder:-

"TheCommitteehasbeengiventounderstandthatinour

country,thereisnosystemofkeepingawatchonrepeatsexoffenders.The

Committeehasalsobeengiventounderstandthat,accordingtoastudy

conductedonthesexoffenders,majorityoftheoffendershadcommitteda

sexcrimeearlierandescapednoticeofthepoliceauthoritiesandwere

roamingfreely.TheCommitteehasalsobeengiventounderstandthat

WesternEuropeancountriesandtheUShavedevelopedamechanismfor

trackingsuchtypeofsexoffendersandaremaintainingadatabaseinthis

regard.TheCommitteerecommendsthatasuitablemechanismmaybe

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evolvedtokeepawatchonhabitualandrepeatsexoffenders.The

Committeealsorecommendsthataftertheconvictiononfirstoffence,the

namesoftheconvictedpersonsshouldbepublicizedforinformationofthe

public.TheCentralCrimeRecordsBureaushouldincludethedataintheir

records.TheStateandUTGovernmentsalsoshouldsetupcrimerecords

bureausandthedata,includingthenamesofconvictedpeoplemustbe

maintainedandupdated,fromtimetotime".

Itis,thus,timefortheGovernmenttoworkontheselinesas

suggestedbytheCommitteeandprovideamechanismtocreateadatabase

ofoffendersinvolvedincasesofsexualoffences.Infact,bymonitoring,a

tabcanalsobekeptonsuchoffenders,whethersuchoffendersareonthe

pathofreformationorlikelytodeviate,sothatfuturecrimesbysuch

offenderscanbeobviated.Infact,sexualoffenders,whilstinjailcanalso

beprovidedwithcounsellingandpsychiatric/psychologicalhelp,asmaybe

necessary,sothattheyrealisetheconsequencesofplayingwithhuman

lives,andassuchminimizetheprospectofrepeatingtheoffence.

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98.Apartfromtheaforesaid,theStatealsoneedstotakeup

measurestopreventincidentsofsexualassault.Governmentmusttake

necessarystepsforpromotinggendersensitizationinschools,colleges,at

workplaceetc.Schoolcurriculumshouldincludevalueswhichencourage

childrentorespecttheirfellowhumanbeings,especiallywomen,poorand

theneedy.Ahealthyschoolcurriculumcanlaythefoundationforanall

rounddevelopmentofone'spersonality.Stepsshouldbetakentoensure

thatrespectforwomenisthenorm.Inachievingthisobjective,

Governmentmustundertakeprogrammestowardsgendersensitization,at

alllevels.

99.Havingsaidthat,wedonotfindthatSection376-E,by

providingstringentpunishmenttorepeatoffenders,inanywayviolatesthe

principleofproportionalityorisarbitraryorinanyway,violativeofArticles

14and21oftheConstitution.Norcanitbesaidtobevoidforvagueness.

Asnoted,therealsoexistsafairandjustprocedureintheCr.P.Ctodeal

withanycontingencyarisingoutofSection376-E.

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100.Thenextquestionthatarisesforconsiderationis,whether

Section376-Eprescribesamandatorydeathsentence?AccordingtoDr.

Chaudhary,lawdoesnotallowconsecutivelifesentence,inasmuchas,ifa

personisservinglifeimprisonmentandifheisconvictedagain,hecannot

besentencedtolifeagain.Theanswertothesaidquestionliesinthe

ConstitutionBenchJudgmentoftheApexCourtinthecaseof

SectionMuthuramalingamandOrsvs.StaterepresentedbyInspectorOfPolice54

whereinitisheldthatitisperfectlylegalforapersontobesentencedto

morethanonelifeterm.Takeforexample,ifapersoncommitstwo

separatemurders,andheissentencedtolifeimprisonmentinthefirstcase,

thenmusthebemandatorilysentencedtodeathinthesecondcase,evenif

thesaidoffencedoesnotfallinthecategoryof'rarestofrarecases'?Can

henotbesentencedtolifeimprisonmentagain?Wouldthelifetermmerge

withtheearlierlifesentence?Theanswertothefirsttwoquestionsis'Yes',

inviewoftheConstitutionBenchJudgmentinMuthuramalingam

(supra).Asfarasthethirdquestionastowhetherthelifetermmergeswith

theearliersentenceoflifeandassuchwouldnotactasadeterrentis

concerned,takeforexample,wherethesentenceisoflifeimprisonment

54(2016)8SCC313

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simplicitorandasecondsentenceoflife,isagainawarded.Thefirst

sentenceoflifeimprisonmentsimplicitorwillrunfirstandtillsuchperson

doesnotcomplete14years,hewouldnotbeentitledtoremission.The

convictinsuchacasewouldhaveastatutoryrighttoapplyforbeing

releasedonremissionafter14yearsaftergettingthesentencecommuted.

Evenifaconvictgetsthebenefitoftheremissioninthefirstcase,the

secondsentencewouldactasadeterrentandtheearlyreleasewouldonly

bebyresortingtoArticles72and161oftheConstitution.TheApexCourt

hasheld,thatmultiplesentencesforimprisonmentforlifecanbeawarded,

however,suchsentenceswouldbesuperimposedovereachother,sothat

anyremissionorcommutationgrantedbythecompetentauthorityinone

doesnotipsofactoresultinremissionofthesentenceawardedtothe

prisonerfortheother.Thus,Dr.Chaudhary'scontention,thatSection

376-Eindirectlyprescribesamandatorydeathsentence,hasnobearingand

oughttoberejected.

101.Section376-Econtemplatestwotypesofpunishmentsi.e.

imprisonmentfortheremainderoftheperson'slifeorwithdeath.Thus,

thequestionofmandatorydeathterm,doesnotarise.Although

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Dr.ChaudharylaidemphasisonSection75oftheIPCtourgethatthere

wouldbeamandatorydeathsentence,itmaybenotedthattheprincipleof

Section75oftheIPCcannotbeblindlyadoptedtoacaseunderSection

376-E,astheyoperateindifferentfields.Section75restrictsits

applicabilityofChapterXIIandChapterXVIIoftheSectionIPC,whereas,

ChapterXVI,whichprecedesChapterXVIIwasdeliberatelyomittedfrom

Section75oftheIPC,Section376-Ecreatesanewclassofpunishmentfor

repeatoffenders,similartoSection31AoftheNDPSAct.Theserepeat

offenderscannotfallunderSection75IPC.

102.TheApexCourtinV.Sriharan'scase(supra)has,inparas97

to99,afternotinginpara96,the12crimes,forwhichdeathandlifeis

prescribed(inpara96.10,-punishmentunderSection376-Eisnoted),has

observedthatforeachoneoftheoffencesnotedinpara96thepunishment

providedfori.e.penaltyofdeathorlifeimprisonmentorspecified

minimumperiodofimprisonment,cannotbeheldtobeexcessiveor

unwarranted,havingregardtothemagnitudeoftheoffence.TheApex

Courtobservedthathavingregardtothemannerofcommissionofmodus

operandi,thesituationinwhichtheactwascommitted,thepositionofthe

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victimandsoon,thelawmakers,whileprescribingdifferentpunishments

fordifferentcrimes,thoughtitfittoprescribeextremepunishmentsfor

suchcrimesofgrotesque(monstrous)nature.Itwasfurtherobservedthatit

wouldnotbepossibleforthelawmakerstothinkoforprescribein

exactitudeallkindsofsuchcriminalconducttofitintoanyappropriate

pigeonholeforstructuredpunishmentstoruninbetweentheminimumand

maximumperiodofimprisonmentandtherefore,thelawmakersthoughtit

fittoprescribetheminimumandthemaximumsentencetobeimposedfor

suchdiabolicnatureofcrimesandleaveittotheJudiciary,whois

appropriatelyequippedwiththenecessaryknowledgeoflawandexpertise,

tostudyindetaileachcasebasedonlegallyacceptableevidence,apart

fromtheguidanceitgetsfromthejuristsandjudicialpronouncements,and

determinefromthenatureofoffence,whatkindofpunishmentwithinthe

prescribedlimits,undertherelevantprovisionwouldappropriatelyfitin.

103.Dr.ChaudharyurgedthatSection376-Emakesdeath

mandatory,bymakingreferencetothepasthistoryoftheprovisions

prescribingdeathpenaltyandsubmitsthatthesaidSectionseekstorevive

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Section367(5)ofCr.P.C,thenprevalent.TheApexCourtinBachanSingh

(supra),hasnarratedthehistoryandapprovesandsupportsthereasons

recordedinSectionJagmohanSinghvs.StateofU.P55.TheApexCourtin

BachanSingh(supra),hasobservedthatbeforetheamendmentofSection

367(5)Cr.P.C.bySectiontheCriminalProcedureCodeSection(Amendment)Act,1955

(Act26of1955)whichcameintoforceonJanuary1,1956,onaconviction

foranoffencepunishablewithdeathiftheCourtsentencedtheaccusedto

anypunishmentotherthandeath,thereasonwhysentenceofdeathwasnot

passedhadtobestatedinthejudgment.Section367(5)oftheCodeof

CriminalProcedurebeforeitsamendmentbyAct26of1955providedthat

"iftheaccusedisconvictedofanoffencepunishablewithdeath,andthe

Courtsentenceshimtoanypunishmentotherthandeath,theCourtshall,in

itsjudgmentstatethereasonswhysentenceofdeathwasnotpassed".This

sub-sectionwasconstruedbeforetheSectionAmendmentAct,Act26of1955as

meaningthattheextremesentenceisthenormalsentenceandthemitigated

sentenceistheexception.SectionInDalipSinghandOrsvs.StateofPunjab56it

washeldthatinacaseofmurder,thedeathsentenceshouldordinarilybe

imposedunlessthetryingJudgeforreasonswhichshouldnormallybe

55AIR1973SC947
56(1979)4SCC332

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recordedconsidersitpropertoawardthelesserpenalty.SectionInVadiveluThevar

vs.TheStateofMadras57theApexCourtexpresseditsviewthatthe

questionofsentencehastobedetermined,notwithreferencetothevolume

orcharacteroftheevidenceadducedbytheprosecutioninsupportofits

case,butwithreferencetothefactwhetherthereareanyextenuating

circumstanceswhichcanbesaidtomitigatetheenormityofthecrime.If

thecourtissatisfiedthattherearesuchmitigatingcircumstances,onlythen,

itwouldbejustifiedinimposingthelesserofthetwosentencesprovidedby

law.Thesetwocaseswererenderedinrelationtooffenceswhichwere

committedbeforeSectiontheCriminalProcedureCodeSectionAmendmentAct26of1955

wasenacted.Thelawthereforepriortotheamendmentwasthatunless

thereareextenuatingcircumstancesthepunishmentformurdershouldbe

deathandnotimprisonmentforlife.

104.Thedevelopmentoflawregardingtheimpositionofdeath

sentencecanbesummarisedasfollows.WhilebeforetheSectionAmendingAct26

of1955wasintroducedthenormalsentenceforanoffenceofmurderwas

deathandthatthelessersentencewastheexception.Aftertheintroduction

57AIR1957S.C.614

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ofsub-section(5)toSection367byAct26of1955,itwasnotobligatory

fortheCourttostatethereasonsastowhythesentenceofdeathwasnot

passed.BytheamendmentthediscretionoftheCourtindecidingwhether

toimposeasentenceofdeathorimprisonmentforlifebecamewider.The

Courtwasboundtoexerciseitsjudicialdiscretioninawardingoneorthe

otherofthesentences.BytheintroductionofSection354(3)thenormal

sentenceisthelessersentenceofimprisonmentforlifeandifthesentence

ofdeathistobeawarded,specialreasonswillhavetoberecorded.Inother

words,theCourtbeforeimposingasentenceofdeathshouldbesatisfied

thattheoffenceisofsuchanaturethattheextremepenaltyiscalledfor.

ThedecisionsrenderedaftertheintroductionoftheamendmenttoSection

354(3)byAct2of1974havereiteratedthisposition.SectionInBalwantSinghvs.

StateofPunjab58,theApexCourtsummingupthepositionobservedthat

underSection354(3)oftheCr.P.C,1973,theCourtisrequiredtostatethe

reasonsforthesentenceawardedandinthecaseofsentenceofdeath

specialreasonsarerequiredtobestated."Itwouldthusbenoticedthat

awardingofthesentenceotherthanthesentenceofdeathisthegeneralrule

nowandonlyspecialreasons,thatistosay,specialfactsandcircumstances

58AIR1976SC230

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inagivencase,willwarrantthepassingofthedeathsentence".Thisview

wasreiteratedinSectionAmbaramvs.TheStateofMadhyaPradesh59.SectionIn

SarveshwarPrasadSharmavs.StateofMadhyaPradesh,60theApex

Courtobservedthatinseveralcases,theCourthadindicatedguidelinesin

thisproblemareaoflifeanddeath,however,thesaidguidelineswere

neithercutanddrynorexhaustiveandthateachcasewoulddependupon

thetotalityofthefactsandcircumstancesandothermattersrevealed."

105.Inparas165and166ofBachanSingh(supra),itwasfurther

observedasunder;

"165.Thesoundnessorapplicationoftheother
propositionsinJagmohan,andthepremisesonwhichthey
rest,arenotaffectedinanywaybythelegislativechanges
sinceeffected.Onthecontrary,thesechangesreinforcethe
reasonsgiveninJagmohan,forholdingthattheimpugned
provisionsSectionofthePenalCodeandSectiontheCriminalProcedure
CodedonotoffendArticles14and21oftheConstitution.
Now,ParliamenthasinSection354(3)givenabroadand
clearguide-linewhichistoservethepurposeoflodestarto
thecourtintheexerciseofitssentencingdiscretion.

Parliamenthasadvisedlynotrestrictedthissentencing
discretionfurther,as,initslegislativejudgment,itisneither
possiblenordesirabletodoso.Parliamentcouldnotbutbe
awarethatsincetheSectionAmendingAct26of1955,deathpenalty
hasbeenimposedbycourtsonanextremelysmall
percentageofpersonsconvictedofmurder--afactwhich
59AIR1976SC2196
60(1977)4SCC596

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demonstratesthatcourtshavegenerallyexercisedtheir
discretionininflictingthisextremepenaltywithgreat
circumspection,cautionandrestraint.Cognizantofthepast
experienceoftheadministrationofdeathpenaltyinIndia,
Parliament,initswisdom,thoughtitbestandsafetoleave
theimpositionofthisgravestpunishmentingravestcasesof
murder,tothejudicialdiscretionofthecourtswhichare
mannedbypersonsofreason,experienceandstandinginthe
profession.Theexerciseofthissentencingdiscretioncannot
besaidtobeuntrammelledandunguided.Itisexercised
judiciallyinaccordancewithwellrecognizedprinciples
crystallizedbyjudicialdecisions,directedalongthebroad
contoursoflegislativepolicytowardsthesignpostsenacted
inSection354(3).

166.ThenewSection235(2)addstothenumberof
severalothersafeguardswhichwereembodiedinSectionthe
CriminalProcedureCodeof1898andhavebeenre-enacted
inSectiontheCodeof1973.Then,theerrorsintheexerciseofthis
guidedjudicialdiscretionareliabletobecorrectedbythe
superiorcourts.TheprocedureprovidedinSectionCriminal
ProcedureCodeforimposingcapitalpunishmentformurder
andsomeothercapitalcrimesunderSectionthePenalCodecannot,
byanyreckoning,besaidtobeunfair,unreasonableand
unjust.Norcanitbesaidthatthissentencingdiscretion,with
whichthecourtsareinvested,amountstodelegationofits
poweroflegislationbyParliament.Theargumenttothat
effectisentirelymisconceived.Wewould,therefore,reaffirm
theviewtakenbythisCourtinJagmohan,andholdthatthe
impugnedprovisionsdonotviolateArticles14,19and21of
theConstitution."(emphasissupplied)

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106.ThelawexplainedabovebytheApexCourtholdsgoodeven

today.WiththeinsertionofSection376-E,noseparatecorresponding

changewasrequiredintheprocedurallawandthatSection211(7)Cr.P.C

containssufficientguidelines,totakecareofsuchaneventuality.The

challengetoSection376-EIPConahypotheticalgroundthatitwouldlead

toa`prosecutorialabuse'(discrimination)isunsustainableandpossibility

ofitsabuse,ifany,cannotformagroundtochallengetheconstitutional

validityofsaidSection.ThePetitionerswouldrequiretochallengethe

same,intheAppealspreferredbythemagainsttheirconviction.

107.Wemaynote,thattheConstitutionBenchoftheApexCourtin

Mithu(supra),struckdownSection303IPC,asunconstitutional,asthere

wasnojudicialdiscretiontoawardasentenceotherthandeath.Onlyone

sentence,whichisofdeath,wasprescribedunderSection303IPC.Inthis

context,theApexCourttooktheviewthatthemandatorydeathsentence

deprivedtheCourtofitswiseandbeneficialdiscretioninthematteroflife

anddeath,makingitharsh,unjustandunfair.Sameisnotthecasehere.In

thecaseinhand,theParliamenthasprescribedalternativesentences,

leavingitfortheCourtsconcernedtoawardwhatisconsideredsuitablein

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thefactsandcircumstancesofagivencase,havingregardtothegravity,

severityandbarbarityoftheoffence.

108.Section376-Edoesnotforecloseanalternativesentenceand

doesnot,inanyway,makedeathmandatory.Thesentenceprescribedfor

repeatoffenceunderSection376-Eiseither,imprisonmentforlifewhich

meansfortheremainderofone'slifeorwithdeath.Letusconsiderthe

punishmentsstipulatedfortheoffenceslistedinSection376-E.Theoffence

underSection376ispunishablewithrigorousimprisonmentofeither

descriptionforatermwhichshallnotbelessthantenyears,butwhichmay

extendtoimprisonmentforlife,andalsowithfine.Thepunishment

prescribedunderSection376-A,forcausingdeathorpersistentvegetative

stateofthevictimis,rigorousimprisonmentforatermwhichshallnotbe

lessthantwentyyears,butwhichmayextendtoimprisonmentforlife,

whichshallmeanimprisonmentfortheremainderofthatperson'snatural

life,orwithdeath.ThepunishmentunderSection376-Dforgangrapeis,

rigorousimprisonmentforatermwhichshallnotbelessthantwentyyears,

butwhichmayextendtolife,whichmeans,imprisonmentfortheremainder

ofthatperson'snaturallife,andwithfine.Theenhancedpunishment

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prescribedunderSection376-Eforrepeatoffenceisimprisonmentfor

remainderofone'slifeordeath,theobjectbeingtosendastrongsignalto

theaccusedpersonsnottoindulgeintheoffenceofrape.Repeatrapeisto

beviewedmoreseriouslyandtherefore,amorestringentpunishmentis

prescribed.ThislogicneedstobeseeninSection376-E.Itisobvious,

thattheParliamentwasawareoftheneedsofthesocietyandthelegal

fetters,whichdidnotpermitittoprovide"death",astheonlyapt

punishmentforthesecondprovedoffence,afterthefirstconviction.In

2018,thisintentionoftheParliamentbecamemoreexplicit,whenitadded

Sections376-ABandSection376-DBtotheSectionIPCandprovidedstringent

punishmentforthefirstoffenceitselfi.e.aminimumoftwentyyears

imprisonment,whichmayextendtoimprisonmentforlife,whichshall

meanimprisonmentfortheremainderofthatperson'slifeandwithfineor

withdeath.

109.TheParliament,whilemakingitsdesireclearalsodidnot

encroachontheCourt'spoweranddiscretion,andleftthefieldof

punishmentopenfortheCourt,tochoosea"just"punishment.Ithas,

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therefore,keptthechoiceinthearea,betweenlifeimprisonmentforrestof

one'snaturallifeordeath,openfortheCourttoselectandtoformulatethe

mostdeservingpunishment,inthefactsofthecase.Ithas,therefore,not

madedeathmandatoryunderSection376-Eandhasleftthescopeforits

applicationonvariousfactors,havingabearingon"deathpenalty".Choice

leftopenbySection376-Eitselfattractsthejudicialdiscretionandall

principlesgoverningtheawardofthedeathpenaltyasperSection354(3)

Cr.P.C.

110.Neither,theUnionofIndianortheStateacceptthatdeathis

mandatoryunderSection376-EIPC.WehavefoundthatSection376-E

IPCneitherintroducesadiscordantnotenorintroducesanynewparadigm

inthecriminaljusticeadministration.Legislativedevelopmentsrevealthat

itonlyaddstotheeffortsbeingmadebythenationtoinfusedeterrencein

thewrongelementsandtocautionthemofseriousconsequenceswhich

mayensueiftheycontinuetotreadonthesameroad.Attemptisto

strengthenthelaw.ConvictsloosetheirlibertyunderSectionArticle21toacertain

extentandonewhohascommittedaheinousoffenceofrapeorhas

repeatedit,cannotbeallowedtoputhislifebeforethelifelongplightofthe

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survivor.Needlesstostate,thatincaseswhereSection376-Eisapplied,

theaccusedwouldbeentitledtoalltheproceduralsafeguards,which

alreadyexistintheCr.P.C.Thus,thereisnovaguenessandconfusion

inasmuchas,thereexistsaprocedurewhichisjust,reasonableandfairto

dealwiththeimplementationofSection376-E.

111.AsfarasDr.Chaudhary'ssubmissionthattherehastobean

intervalbetweenpreviousconvictionandsubsequentoffence,thesamecan

beraisedbeforetheCourtdecidingtheconfirmationappeal.We,inthese

petitions,donotthinkitnecessarytodealwiththesame,asthechallenge

beforeusistheconstitutionalvalidityofSection376-E,onthegrounds

whichhavebeendiscussedindetailhereinabove.Although,wehave

upheldtheconstitutionalvalidityofSection376-EoftheIPC,itisalways

openforthepetitionerstochallengeitsapplicationtothefactsoftheircase,

intheirAppeals,whicharependingbeforetheDivisionBench.Similarly,

thesubmissionwithrespecttoapplicationofSection219ofCr.P.C.is

concernedi.e.whether,iftwooffencesofrapeoccurinayear,theycanbe

triedtogetherandthatinsuchasituation,therewouldbenoprevious

convictionandassuch,thequestionofapplyingSection376-Ewouldnot

SQPathan116/117

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wp.1181.1182.14527.18.(J).doc

arise,isagainamatterwhichcanberaisedbeforetheCourthearingthe

petitioners'appeals.

Havingregardtowhatisstatedhereinabove,withregardtothe

constitutionalvalidityofSection376-E,wedonotfindanymeritinthe

saidchallengeandaccordinglydismissthePetitions.

ThePetitionsareaccordinglydismissed,withnoorderasto

costs.Ruleisdischarged.

Before,wepart,wewouldbefailinginourduty,ifwedonot

acknowledgetheeffortstakenbyallthelearnedseniorcounselandtheir

teams,includingtheamicuscuriaeMr.Pondaandhisteam,andthe

valuableassistancerenderedbythem.

REVATIMOHITEDERE,J.B.P.DHARMADHIKARI,J.

SQPathan117/117

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