Prior record of the conviction,a relevant factor in awarding Death Sentence, only if it has attained finality : SC

Important observations by Hon. Supreme Court in Birju Vs. State of M.P. can be read below

  • The case before SC was about killing of a child aged one year who was in the arms of his grand-father, for which the accused was awarded death sentence by the trial court, which was affirmed by the High Court and these appeals have been preferred by the accused against the judgment of conviction and sentence awarded to him for the offences under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959.
  • One of the factors which weighed with the High Court to affirm the death sentence was that the accused was charge-sheeted for commissioning of 24 criminal cases, out of which three were under Section 302 IPC and two were under Section 307 IPC, consequently, the Court held that there was no probability that the accused would not commit the act of violence in future and his presence would be a continuing threat to the society. The Court also took the view that there was no possibility or probability of reformation or rehabilitation of the accused.
  • We may first examine whether “substantial history of serious assaults and criminal conviction” is an aggravating circumstance when the court is dealing with the offences relating to the heinous crimes like murder, rape, armed dacoity etc. Prior record of the conviction, in our view, will be a relevant factor, but that conviction should have attained finality so as to treat it as aggravating circumstance for awarding death sentence. The second aspect deals with a situation where an offence was committed, while the offender was engaged in the commission of another serious offence. This is a situation where the accused is engaged in the commission of another serious offence which has not ended in conviction and attained finality

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