The Supreme Court on March 26, 2018 ruled that as per Section 302 of Indian Penal code, the punishment for murder is death or life imprisonment and any punishment less than the life imprisonment is illegal and without the authority of law.
The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices RK Agarwal and Abhay Manohar Sapre, who directed that once a murder accused is convicted, trial court judges have no "discretion" to award lesser punishment than the life imprisonment.
The court expressed its astonishment on the judgement made by a trial court wherein the Sessions Judge sentenced ten years imprisonment to a murder convict Bharatkumar Rameshchandra Barot.
The apex court verdict came on an appeal filed by Rameshchandra Barot challenging the Gujarat High Court order of enhancing his sentence to life imprisonment.
Barot claimed before the apex court that he was not given adequate opportunity to defend himself in the appeal filed by the State.
However, the apex court refused to interfere with the order of the Gujarat High Court on the grounds that neither the accused nor the amicus curiae, who appeared on his behalf, had made any complaint in the high court for not giving him more time for preparation of the case.
Rather, the court advocated the high court order enhancing the sentence of Rameshchandra Barot from 10 years to life imprisonment.
The Gujarat High Court had enhanced the sentence to life imprisonment on an appeal by the Gujarat Government challenging the 10 year sentence to Barot after his conviction for murder of Dilipbhai Ratnaji in 2012.
What: Ruled by Supreme Court