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Courts must avoid undue leniency in awarding sentence: Apex Court

Undue leniency in awarding sentence must be avoided by courts as it neither deters an accused, nor does it reassure the society that an offender has been properly dealt with, the Supreme Court observed, while awarding three persons three years’ in jail for grievously injuring a man.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, which set aside a Madhya Pradesh high court order that had sentenced the trio to a period already undergone by them in jail during trial, also said the High Court was “over-lenient” in its order.

“It is the duty of the court, awarding sentence, to ensure justice to both the parties and, therefore, undue leniency in awarding sentence needs to be avoided because it does not have the necessary effect of being a deterrent for the accused and does not reassure the society that the offender has been properly dealt with. In the present case the order of punishment imposed by the high court suffers from the vice of being over-lenient even in absence of any mitigating circumstance,” the Bench said, while deciding the appeal filed by MP government challenging the High Court verdict.

The HC had partly allowed criminal appeals preferred by the three convicts to convert their conviction under Section 307(attempt to murder) to 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons) of IPC and had reduced the sentence of 10 years jail to a period already undergone which was of one year and nine months. 
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