Tag Archives: probability

Murder – Aggravating Circumstances and Mitigating Circumstances

In Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684, the court referred to the decision in Furman v. Georgia, 33 L Ed 2d 346 : 408 US 238 and noted the suggestion about the aggravating and mitigating circumstances as under:
Aggravating Circumstances.— A court may, however, in the following cases impose the penalty of death in its discretion:
(a) If the murder has been committed after previous planning and involves extreme brutality; or
(b) If the murder involves exceptional depravity; or
(c) If the murder is of a member of any of the armed forces of the Union or of a member of any police force or of any public servant and was committed—
(i) While such member or public servant was on duty; or
(ii) In consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such member or public servant in the lawful discharge of his duty as such member or public servant whether at the time of murder he was such member or public servant, as the case may be, or had ceased to be such member or public servant; or
(d) If the murder is of a person who had acted in the lawful discharge of his duty under Section 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or who had rendered assistance to a Magistrate or a police officer demanding his aid or requiring his assistance under Section 37 and Section 129 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

Mitigating Circumstances.—In the exercise of its discretion, the court shall take into account the following circumstances:
(a) That the offence was committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance.
(b) The age of the accused. If the accused is young or old, he shall not be sentenced to death.
(c) The probability that the accused would not commit criminal acts of violence as would constitute a continuing threat to society.
(d) The probability that the accused can be reformed and rehabilitated.
(e) That in the facts and circumstances of the case, the accused believed that he was morally justified in committing the offence.
(f) That the accused acted under the duress or domination of another person.
(g) That the condition of the accused showed that he was mentally defective and that the said defect impaired his capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.” Vasanta Sampat Dupare v. State of Maharashtra, (2015) 1 SCC 253.

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Word Appear – Interpretation of

The word “appear” means “clear to the comprehension”, or a phrase near to, if not synonymous with “proved”. It imparts a lesser degree of probability than proof. In Pyare Lal Bhargava v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1963 SC 1094, a four Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court was concerned with the meaning of the word “appear”. The Court held that the appropriate meaning of the word “appears” is “seems”. It imports a lesser degree of probability than proof. In Ram Singh v. Ram Niwas, (2009) 14 SCC 25, a two Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court was again required to examine the importance of the word “appear” as appearing in the Section. The Court held that for the fulfillment of the condition that it appears to the Court that a person had committed an offence, the court must satisfy itself about the existence of an exceptional circumstance enabling it to exercise an extraordinary jurisdiction. What is therefore, necessary for the court is to arrive at a satisfaction that the evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecution, if unrebutted, may lead to conviction of the persons sought to be added as the accused in the case. Hardeep Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 2 SCC (Cri) 86.

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