SC:Civilised society cannot be achieved only through punitive attitudes and vindictiveness

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 30th September 2020, in the matter of Satish @ Sabbe v. The State of Uttar Pradesh pronounced that whilst it is undoubtedly true that society has a right to lead a peaceful and fearless life, without free ­roaming criminals creating havoc in the lives of ordinary peace­loving citizens. But equally strong is the foundation of reformative theory which propounds that a civilised society cannot be achieved only through punitive attitudes and vindictiveness; and that instead public harmony, brotherhood and mutual acceptability ought to be fostered.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Whilst it is undoubtedly true that society has a right to lead a peaceful and fearless life, without free ­roaming criminals creating havoc in the lives of ordinary peace­loving citizens. But equally strong is the foundation of reformative theory which propounds that a civilised society cannot be achieved only through punitive attitudes and vindictiveness; and that instead public harmony, brotherhood and mutual acceptability ought to be fostered. (Para 13)

The Constitution of India through Articles 72 and 161, embody these reformative principles by allowing the President of India and the Governor of a State to suspend, remit or commute sentences of convicts. Further, Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”) streamlines such powers by laying down procedure and pre­conditions for release. The only embargo under Section 433­A of CrPC is against the release of persons sentenced to life imprisonment till they have served at least fourteen years of their actual sentence. (Para 14)

Once a law has been made by the appropriate legislature, then it is not open for executive authorities to surreptitiously subvert its mandate. Where the authorities are found to have failed to discharge their statutory obligations despite judicial directions, it would then not be inappropriate for a Constitutional Court while exercising its powers of judicial review to assume such task onto itself and direct compliance through a writ of mandamus. (Para 16)

Copy of judgement:Judgement_30-Sep-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *