Judiciary should not show undue sympathy towards criminals

Balakumar Rajendran

Supreme Court has held that the judiciary must not show undue sympathy towards the criminals while awarding the sentence as this would ruin the public trust on laws and judiciary. If the courts lose the basic trust of the society there would be no tranquillity and faith in the Indian legal system. There would be pandemonium proliferating throughout the society.

The law of nature has it that every individual is a combination of both the good and the wicked spirit and thus wicked spirit is chastened only by law. It can be illustrated with one example. The government provides tax supported programs to benefit citizens, in the field of academics. Every human being has a choice t either avail these benefits or drop out of school, and fall prey to all the unlawful activities thus becoming a threat to the society by indulging in criminal activities. The law will chasten these individuals by way of punishment.

It becomes an obligatory function of the judiciary to provide punishment in the event of a wrong doing and for this, criminals have to be awarded punishment based on the nature of the offence and sympathy should never be brought in as it would in-turn melt the sovereignty of the Law. Awarding justice without considering undue sympathy will only protect the public.

In our day to day lives we often come across many crimes and offences being committed in the community. For instance if we talk about rape, we daily come across such heinous crimes being committed in almost every nook and corner of the country.  However, the Nirbhaya gang-rape case that occurred on 16th December 2012 alarmed the whole country. This case becomes very important if we are to analyse the concept of justice with no emotions attached to it. It was Mens Rea or the guilty intention and wilfulness of committing the crime that made the bench award capital punishment for all the four convicts without taking into consideration the aspect of sympathy. This case clearly illustrates why a judgment should not be given on the grounds of sympathy towards the criminals.  These convicts were convicted for besides murder, for offences like gang rape, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity (robbery by armed gang), and destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping and various other offences.

The entire legal system functions on the aim of providing and promoting justice. Justice, the sole aim of the Indian judiciary can only be attained if there is no sympathy and emotions attached to it. If we were to bring in the concept of sympathy, the very essence of our legal system shall crumble right before our eyes. Thus, the judiciary made a right move by destroying the dimension of sympathy while awarding sentences.

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