Fixed Term Sentences II

Vikas Chaudhary, when merely 18-19, kidnapped for ransom and killed. His grievance is with imposition of a fixed term sentence, without remission, by Trial Court. He is currently about 37-38. Learned Senior Counsel, Ms. Meenakshi Arora placed strong emphasis on Union of India v. Sriharan, (2016) 7 SCC 1 which categorically held, it was outside jurisdiction for a Trial Court to provide a fixed term sentence as an alternative to Death Penalty.

While there are issues which still remain unexplored and unresolved, Sriharan reserves power to impose fixed term sentences with only High Courts and this Court.

As per Probation Report, Vikas Chaudhary has ample scope for reformation and reintegration into society. It would be appropriate to modify sentence.    

– Hon’ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Vikas Chaudhary v. State of Delhi, [Criminal Appeal No. 2276 of 2022].


No doubt, Delhi High Court confirmed sentence passed by Additional Sessions Judge. But, mere affirmation of a hollow exercise of power by Additional Sessions Judge would not suffice in terms of legal requirement.

Sriharan reserves power to impose fixed term sentences with only High Courts and this Court. Can it be exercised even in cases where Death Sentence is not imposed? Gouri Shankar v. State of Punjab, (2021) 3 SCC 380 was not a case where Death Sentence was imposed. Recently, in Shiva Kumar v. State of Karnataka, [Criminal Appeal No. 942 of 2023] decided on 28.03.2023, Court affirmed, even in a case where Capital Punishment is not ‘proposed’, Constitutional Court would have power to impose a fixed term sentence.  

Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kumar, Ravinder Singh v. State Govt. of NCT of Delhi, [Criminal Appeal No. 1031 of 2023] decided on 25.04.2023.