Clearly demarcating criminal justice from social justice, the Supreme Court (SC) declared no leeway would be given to a woman found guilty of criminal offences on the grounds of gender.
Dismissing the Himachal Pradesh High Court (HC) order, which spared jail term for a woman convicted of attempted murder, the apex court said being a woman cannot serve as a ground for lesser punishment. Himachal Pradesh had challenged the HC order that had handed down a two-year jail term and a fine of Rs 2,000, when she pleaded that she was a woman and had three minor children to look after.
“Women are competing (with) men in the criminal world; they are emulating them in all the crimes; and even surpassing men at times. Therefore, concept of criminal justice is not necessarily synonymous with social justice,” a SC bench of justice AK Sikri and justice RK Agrawal said, quoted Hindustan Times.
Admitting that there have been instances where the apex court too had considered gender while fixing the quantum of sentence, it clarified citing international jurists that in this world of gender equality, women should be treated on par with men and this would include the offences committed by them.
The bench said, “There was no reason to show any further mercy by the HC,” as the trial court had already reduced the severity of the punishment by according the woman a two-year imprisonment instead of a 10-year term as deemed fit by law.
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