Case Summary

The concept of rarest of the rare cases

In Machhi Singh and others v. State of Punjab, (1983) 3 SCC 470 a three-Judge Bench has explained the concept of rarest of the rare cases by stating that: (SCC p. 487, para 32)

“32. The reasons why the community as a whole does not endorse the humanistic approach reflected in `death sentence-in-no-case’ doctrine are not far to seek. In the first place, the very humanistic edifice is constructed on the foundation of `reverence for life’ principle. When a member of the community violates this very principle by killing another member, the society may not feel itself bound by the shackles of this doctrine. Secondly, it has to be realised that every member of the community is able to live with safety without his or her own life being endangered because of the protective arm of the community and on account of the rule of law enforced by it. The very existence of the rule of law and the fear of being brought to book operates as a deterrent of those who have no scruples in killing others if it suits their ends. Every member of the community owes a debt to the community for this protection.”


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