Muhammad Javed & Ors. v. The State & Ors. (2011 SCMR 1462)

If a young accused has acted under the direction of an elder, he should be shown leniency.

Two accused were convicted under PPC 302(b) and sentenced to death, though the Lahore High Court commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

The dispute was regarding the repayment of a loan by the deceased, the complainant’s brother, to the accused. Three incidents took place on one day, the last of which resulted in the murder of two people. The brothers of the one of the accused were also brought as co-accused, as they had attended the shop of the deceased and injured the deceased, complainant and others, however all six brothers were acquitted by the Trial or High Court.

Counsel for the accused submitted that the High Court had correctly commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment as, per the prosecution, each and every accused had carried firearms and participated in multiple firing, however the deceased received only one shot each. The Supreme Court determined that it was the demand of the loan and subsequent scuffle between the parties which resulted in the commission of the offence, and that the complainant party had prompted the incident.

The Court cited precedent“that extreme youth, sudden provocation; influence of an elder and question of family honour etc. are covered by the phrase of extenuating and mitigating circumstances. If a case falls within any of the aforesaid circumstances, a Court, in law, is justified to award lesser penalty.”1 The Court held these to be applicable in this case and dismissed the appeals, with the modification that the appellants pay compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased or suffer 6 months imprisonment, with the benefit of Cr.P.C. s. 382-B.