In this article, we seek to explain what mitigation is, and the inadequacies in the present capital sentencing framework that the Supreme Court has set out to address in the suo moto writ.
Placing the innocent victim (and not the State) on the opposite side of the scale in an adversarial
model, and thus, invoking the rhetoric of balance, is a useful strategy for the purpose of drawing
attention to the purportedly privileged or exalted position occupied by the rights of the accused at the expense of those of the victim.
Evaluating aggravating and mitigating circumstances facilitate determining just sentences. Disregarding the crucial role mitigating circumstances play in the process is a bad precedent: it encourages a narrow reading of the law that supports increased (and not necessarily fair) punishment by Courts across the country.
The Supreme Court in 1975 had observed that ‘sentencing involves an element of guessing.’ More than 40 years later, this statement still rings true as there are no