A five-judge Constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, said that any such situation where leniency will be shown in cases involving hardened criminals would endanger the lives of thousands of innocent people in the country.
"...it is the hard reality that the State machinery is not able to protect or guarantee the life and liberty of common man. In this scenario, if any further lenience is shown in the matter of imposition of sentence, at least in respect of capital punishment or life imprisonment, it can only be said that that will only lead to further chaos and there will be no rule of law but only anarchy will rule the country enabling the criminals and their gangs to dictate terms", it said.
Expressing concern over the growing number of crimes, the bench said it is a big question mark whether one would be able to lead a normal peaceful life without being hindered at the hands of such unlawful elements who enjoy in many cases the support of very highly placed persons.

The observations came in the verdict in which the bench decided issues like state's power to grant remission of sentence in serious case. The questions had arisen from Tamil Nadu government's suo motu decision to free killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.


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