News & Events

Faculty Seminar | Sentencing as a Fair Trial Right


Conference Hall, Ground Floor, Training Centre, NLSIU


Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 4:00 pm

NLS faculty Mrinal Satish will present a paper titled “Sentencing as a Fair Trial Right”. Kunal Ambasta will be the discussant.


The Supreme Court of India has in multiple cases attempted to define the elements of a fair criminal trial. It has articulated fair trial as development of norms to prevent miscarriage of justice, the opportunity to prove innocence, and importantly, as the main object of criminal procedure. However, scant attention has been paid to articulation of fair trial norms in the process of sentencing – where a court determines the appropriate punishment to be imposed on a person convicted of an offence after a criminal trial. In this paper, I explore and analyse the embodiment of fair trial rights in sentencing, focusing on the pre-sentence hearing process under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C). In doing so, I trace the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on pre-sentence hearing, including the role of the court in such a hearing. I examine, and critique a recent trend where courts have sought “pre-sentence reports” from probation officers to assist the court in its sentencing function. I also deal with the role of defence lawyers, and what impact ineffective legal assistance should have on sentencing decisions. Through an analysis of these, and other allied issues, I attempt to identify fair trial norms in the sentencing process, and the manner in which they should be applied, in order to ensure due process in sentencing.