"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

SC Judgments

Balancing the Claims of the Victim and Accused in Reducing Sentence
Mangal Singh & Anr. v. Kishan Singh & Ors. Criminal Appeal No.1858 of 2008. Date of Judgment 21-11-08
Justice Aftab Alam in this judgment has flagged an aspect which gets unnoticed while courts compute the effects of delay in criminal trial. Ordinarily, the dealy is viewed from the effect it causes to the accused. In this judgment the court said that inordinate delay in the conclusion of criminal trial is deleterious both for the society and the accused. Reduction of sentence would also be justified in certain cases. But while doing so, courts should not be forgetful of the fact that in many cases the victims also suffer and may be more than the accused. It wont be justified to give all the benfits on account of delay in trial to the accused completely ignoring the claim of justice that is due to the victim of offence.
The point of view of the victim rarely gets judicial attention and this judgment is a change in that aspect. The fact of delay remaining unresolved is a disquieting factor
Distinction between Murder and Culpable Homicide Not Amounting to Murder
Md. Rafique @ Chachu v. State of West Bengal . Criminal Appeal No. 828 of 2006. Date of Judgment 21-11-08
Court raises the issue of complexities involved in distinguishing the offences of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. There is an attempt to tender explanation by setting out certain guidelines. The court also bail themselves out by qualifying them as only "broad guidelines not cast iron imperatives". See, paragraphs 7 to 10 and 17 for the discussion.

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