AK Sarkar & Co vs State Of West Bengal 2024 INSC 186 :: [2024] 3 S.C.R. 356 – Article 20 Constitution

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 20 – A person cannot be punished for an offence which was not an offence at the time it was committed, nor can he be subjected to a sentence which is greater than the sentence which was applicable at the relevant point of time. All the same, the above provision does not prohibit this Court, to award a lesser punishment in a befitting case, when this Court is of the opinion that a lesser punishment may be awarded since the new law on the penal provision provides a lesser punishment i.e. lesser than what was actually applicable at the relevant time. The prohibition contained in Article 20 of the Constitution of India is on subjecting a person to a higher punishment than which was applicable for that crime at the time of the commission of the crime. There is no prohibition, for this Court to impose a lesser punishment which is now applicable for the same crime – Whether the appellant can be granted the benefit of the new legislation and be awarded a lesser punishment as is presently prescribed under the new law? When an amendment is beneficial to the accused it can be applied even to cases pending in Courts where such a provision did not exist at the time of the commission of offence.

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