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Report No. 135

2.20. Reduction of life imprisonment - Section 432, Cr. P.C. (A case from Allahabad).-

Although the present Report is not directly concerned with the Government's powers to remit punishment as such, it is worthwhile noting the facts of a recent Allahabad judgment, because those facts illustrate how situations may arise when the sentence of life imprisonment (which is the least severe sentence for murder) may still prove to be too severe on the facts of a particular case. In the Allahabad case,1 a mother had committed murder of her infant son and then herself attempted to commit suicide. She was aged only 17 years at the time of the offence. There was no apparent motive for the murder, which was committed in rage.

As a result of her act, she had not only lost her son, but she had also lost the sympathy of her husband, who refused to keep her in his house after this tragic incident. The High Court, while awarding the sentence of life imprisonment to the woman, made observations to the effect that the case was one in which a part 'of the sentence of imprisonment should be reduced by the State Government under section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This is only one sample case, illustrating the proposition that, in particular circumstances, even life imprisonment may turn out to be too severe a sentence for murder. If so, section 433A of the Code needs revision.2

1. Rukmina Devi v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1989 CO 548 All (V.P. Mathur and N.M. Lal, JJ.).

2. Para. 2.19, supra.

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