J&K District Court while sentencing murder convict to life imprisonment states that “Retributive theory has had its days and is no longer valid”2 min read

By- Akshay Gurnani

“Sentence of death is only deterrent and preventive, but the sentence of imprisonment for life is in addition to deterrence and preventive, also gives a chance to the criminal for reformation”, the Court observed.
An Additional Sessions Court at Jammu on Monday convicted and sentenced a man to life imprisonment for committing a murder in the year 2009.
Judge Virinder Singh Bhou sentenced one, Royal Singh to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life for the commission of murder over a cable network dispute with the deceased.
The Court further sentenced Singh to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years along with the payment of a fine for the commission of an offense under the Arms Act.
“The sentences awarded to the convict shall run concurrently”, the order reads.
While passing the order, the Court also made pertinent observations regarding the contemporary significance of the reformative goal of criminal justice over the goal of retribution.
Deterrence and reformation are the primary social goals that make “deprivation of life and liberty reasonable as a penal panacea”, the judge noted. However, he went on to observe, “Retributive theory has had its days and is no longer valid.”
The Court explains, “the sentence of death is only deterrent and preventive, but the sentence of imprisonment for life, in addition to deterrence and preventive, also gives a chance for the criminal for reformation and repentance while undergoing life imprisonment in the jail (sic).”
The Court added, “Certainly, the nature of sentence of life is incarceration till death of the convict.”
In the backdrop of these observations, the Court sentenced Singh to life imprisonment after finding that his case did not fall in the category of “rarest of the rare.”
“It is not the only duty of the Court but social and legal obligations are clearly enjoyed upon it to impose adequate punishment according to the law while taking into consideration not only the crime but also the criminal”, the order reads.
The convict Royal Singh is accused of having murdered Jatinder Singh armed with a country-made pistol in August 2009.

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