Finality of Death Sentence Important, Can’t Fight Endlessly: SC

A condemned prisoner shouldn’t be under the impression that death sentence can be questioned all the time, SC said.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday, 23 January, observed that the finality of death sentence is extremely important and that "one cannot go on fighting endlessly for everything", while hearing a review petition against a death sentence given to a couple over the murder of seven people.

A condemned prisoner shouldn't be under the impression that death sentence remains open-ended and can be questioned all the time, a bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices S A Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna said during the hearing, according to reports.

The apex court's comments come when death warrants have been issued against four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The convicts have appealed against their punishment at several forums.

Catch all the updates on the Nirbhaya case here.


Pointing out that the courts "punish the crime and not the person", the chief justice emphasised that the "sentencing should be proportionate to the crime".

“The only focus and importance cannot be on the life of the accused when life has been sucked out of seven people without reason, which included a 10-month-old child...”
CJI SA Bobde, as quoted by reports

The case that the court was hearing on Thursday pertains to the death sentence given to Shabhnam and Salim, who were convicted of murdering seven members of the former's family in Uttar Pradesh's Amroha.

The court stressed it has to act as per law and judges also have a duty towards the society and the victims to deliver justice.

The remarks came when senior advocates Anand Grover and Meenakshi Arora pleaded for leniency and commutation of the death penalty of the two accused.

The bench was told by the lawyers for the convicts that they belong to a poor and uneducated background and moreover, they were first time criminals and hence be given an opportunity to reform, reports PTI.

"Every criminal is said to have an innocent heart. However, we have to look into the crime also," the bench said.

(With inputs from The Times of India, PTI and The Print.)

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