Case Study: Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab
In Bachan Singh v. Singh Punjab, AIR 1980 SC 898, formula of “rarest-of-rare-cases” formula for imposing death sentence in a murder case was evolved be Supreme Court of India. The following proposition emerge from Bachan Singh’ case:
(i) The extreme penalty of death need not he inflicted except in gravest cases of extreme culpability;
(ii) Before giving death penalty the circumstances of the ‘offender’ also require to be taken into consideration alongwith the circumstances of the ‘crime’;
(iii) Life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is an exception. In other words death sentence must he imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inadequate ounishpuni having regard to the relevant circumstances of the crime, and provided and only provided, the option to impose to the nature and circumstances of the crime and all relevant circumstances;
(iv) A balance of aggravating and mitigation circumstances has to be drawn up and in doing so the mitigation circumstances have to be accorded full weightage and a just balance has to struck between the aggravating and the mitigation circumstances before the option is exercised.