SC orders suspension of life imprisonment on a 93-year-old woman

In an order passed on 11th of January 2021, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court suspended life imprisonment of a senior citizen woman.

The appellant was the mother-in-law of the deceased woman, held under sec.302 read with sec.34 and sec.498A of the IPC. The original trial in the case happened in 2012.

For the above offences, the Sessions court in Karnataka sentenced her for life imprisonment on 16th of October 2019. An appeal for suspension of sentence was made in the High Court, which declined the same.

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The SC on 15th of December 2020, while issuing notice in the case passed an order wherein the counsel for the petitioner stated that the age of the petitioner was referred as 86 years, in the Memo of Appeal. However, this age was before the trial court in 2012. Thus, the order indicated that the sole ground of suspension of sentence was due to her age, which was now 93.

The counsel for the State submitted a certified custody certificate, stating her age to be 86, whereas on the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel submitted a certified copy of criminal appeal wherein the age was stated as 93.

The three-judge bench of the Hon’ble Court, Justices Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna ordered a suspension of sentence and thus dismissed the appeal. The bench stated that due to the age of the appellant, regardless of 86 or 93, and the ongoing pandemic, necessitated the suspension of her sentence.

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