The Supreme Court on Monday referred to a five-judge Constitution bench, a suo motu plea on whether those sentenced to death penalty should be given an opportunity to present their mitigating circumstances before conviction by trial courts, Bar and Bench reported.
Mitigating circumstances are arguments that accused persons can present in their defence to avoid death sentences. These circumstances could include mental health problems, trauma in early life, absence of criminal records, or other such instances which might be reasons for the judges to pass a reduced sentence.
On Monday, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice UU Lalit, Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia held that the larger bench will frame rules on how and when the mitigating circumstances are to be considered during trial.
“This court is of the opinion that to have clarity on the matter to grant real and meaningful hearing to accused in such case, this reference to larger bench of five judges is needed,” the judges said.
The court was hearing a suo motu plea to find out how lower courts, while deciding on whether to impose death penalty, could incorporate a comprehensive analysis about the accused person and the crime. In many cases, the accused persons are sentenced to death on the same day they are…