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(Jan 02, 2008) In a recently adjudicated case, the Supreme Court of India expressed concern at the frequency of sexual offenses against women in the country and directed all trial courts and high courts to deal harshly with sexual offenders. Quoting an earlier judgment, the bench observed, "[j]udges who bear the sword of justice should not hesitate to use that sword with the utmost severity, to the full and to the end if the gravity of the offence so demand." ( Punishment Should be in Proportion to Crime: Apex Court, THE HINDU, Dec. 5, 2007, available at

In the case that led to the Supreme Court's ruling, a trial court in the State of Madhya Pradesh gave a sentence of seven years' imprisonment to the rapist of a married woman. The appellate High Court reduced the sentence to two months and three days, the period for which he was in prison before he was released on bail. The State pursued an appeal against the judgment in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the High Court and restored the original sentence awarded by the trial court.

In setting aside the High Court judgment, the Supreme Court emphasized the need for the courts to be vigilant in following the principle that punishment in criminal cases must be in proportion to the crime that the accused committed, so that it has an impact on the society in general and meets the ends of justice. ( Punishment Should Be in Proportion to Crime: Apex Court, THE HINDU, Dec. 5, 2007, available at

Author: Krishan Nehra More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
Jurisdiction: India More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/02/2008