SC for 'fresh look' on criterion for awarding death penalty

Supreme Court

"The Constitution Bench of this Court has not encouraged standardisation and categorisation of crimes and even otherwise it is not possible to standardise and categorise all crimes," the court said.

The Constitution Bench had observed that under the old CrPC, the sentence of death and life imprisonment under section 302 of the IPC could be imposed "after weighing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the particular case."

However, the standard of making the balance sheet of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances has been applied differently by different judges and needed to be looked at afresh.

The court, in 1980, had classified the nature of cases to carve out the "rarest of rare" category, while identifying mitigating circumstances which it held should enable a judge to consider awarding life sentence even in convictions warranting imposition of death penalty.

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