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Monday, January 19, 2015



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                      CRIMINAL  APPEAL NO. 99   OF 2015
                 (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL) NO.1491 of 2012)

MANOHAR SINGH                                             ...APPELLANT



                               J U D G M E N T

1.    Leave granted.
2.    This appeal has been preferred against the judgment  and  order  dated
23rd November, 2011 passed by the High  Court  of  Rajasthan  at  Jaipur  in
Criminal Revision No.6 of 2009 by the complainant against the  acquittal  of
the respondents of offences other than Section 323 of the Indian Penal  Code
("IPC") and grant of  probation  to  them  setting  aside  the  sentence  of
imprisonment imposed by the trial Court. As many as 13  accused  were  tried
on the allegations that they assaulted and caused injuries to PW-5-  Manohar
Singh, appellant, Devi Singh PW-4, Maan Singh PW-11 and Karan Singh PW-1  on
29th October, 1980 at around 2 P.M. with a view to  disturb  the  possession
of the complainant party on the agricultural land in question.
3.    The trial Court convicted the accused including  respondent  Nos.2  to
11 and one Mool Singh son of Jaswant Singh who died during pendency  of  the
proceedings.  Respondent  Nos.2  to  11  were  convicted  and  sentenced  as
follows :
|Sl.N|Name of the     |Convicted and Sentence Imposed                   |
|o.  |accused         |                                                 |
|1.  |Ladu Singh      |Under Section 323 IPC to undergo RI for three    |
|    |                |months; Under Section 326 IPC to undergo RI for  |
|    |                |four years and to pay fine of Rs.2,000/- and in  |
|    |                |default to undergo further imprisonment of three |
|    |                |months;  Under Section 324 IPC to undergo RI for |
|    |                |one year and to pay fine of Rs.500/- and in      |
|    |                |default to undergo further imprisonment of one   |
|    |                |month.                                           |
|2.  |Mange Singh,    |Under Section 325 IPC to   undergo RI for two    |
|    |Hanuman Singh   |years and to pay fine of Rs.1,000/- and in       |
|    |son of Udai     |default to undergo further imprisonment of two   |
|    |Singh, Sumer    |months; Under Section 323 IPC to undergo RI for  |
|    |Singh and Tej   |three months.                                    |
|    |Singh           |                                                 |
|3.  |Chotu Singh     |Under Section 324 IPC to undergo RI for one year |
|    |                |and to pay fine of Rs.500/- and in default to    |
|    |                |undergo further imprisonment of  one month; Under|
|    |                |Section 323, IPC to undergo RI for three months  |
|4.  |Mool Singh,     |Under Section 323, IPC, to undergo RI for three  |
|    |Anand Singh,    |months.                                          |
|    |Sohan Singh,    |                                                 |
|    |Hanuman Singh   |                                                 |
|    |S/o Jaswant     |                                                 |
|    |Singh and       |                                                 |
|    |Bhanwar Singh   |                                                 |

4.    On appeal,  the  Court  of  Sessions  set  aside  the  conviction  for
offences other than the  one  under  Section  323  IPC  but  maintained  the
conviction under Section 323 IPC.  The sentence  of  imprisonment  was  also
set aside and  the  accused  were  granted  probation  subject  to  fine  of
Rs.5,000/- which was to be paid to the victim.
5.    The injured PWs, namely,  Karan  Singh,  Devi  Singh  and  Maan  Singh
entered into the compromise and compounded the  offence  qua  them  but  the
appellant filed a revision in the High Court which was dismissed.
6.    We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
7.    Learned  counsel  for  the  appellant  submitted  that  the  Court  of
Sessions erred in setting aside  the  conviction  for  offences  other  than
Section 323 and also erred in  granting  benefit  of  probation.   The  fine
imposed was not adequate and having regard to number of injuries  and  their
nature, adequate compensation ought to have been  granted.    The  appellant
received as many as 10 injuries including an incised wound in  the  parietal
region by sharp edged weapon, a muscle deep injury on the front of left  leg
and a bone  deep  injury  just  above  the  front  of  left  leg.   Even  if
technically, the injury could be held to be simple instead of grievous,  the
sentence should have been adequate and in any case, due  compensation  ought
to have been  granted.   Thus,  the  High  Court  erred  in  dismissing  the
revision petition.
8.    Learned counsel for the accused pointed out that the  respondent  Devi
Singh  has  died  during  pendency  of  the  proceedings  in   this   Court.
Interference by this Court  was  not  called  for  at  this  stage  when  35
                            years have passed after the occurrence.  In  any
case, it may not be appropriate to give any sentence of imprisonment to  any
of the accused and at best compensation may be directed to be  paid  by  the
accused or the State to the appellant.
9.    After giving due consideration to the rival  submissions,  we  are  of
the view that while it may not be appropriate  to  impose  the  sentence  of
imprisonment at this stage, having  regard  to  the  nature  and  extent  of
injuries, the appellant-complainant deserves to be duly compensated.
10.   We find that the Court of Sessions and the High Court have  not  fully
focused on the need to compensate the victim which can now be  taken  to  be
integral to just sentencing.  Order of sentence in  a  criminal  case  needs
due application of mind.  The Court has to give attention not  only  to  the
nature  of  crime,   prescribed   sentence,   mitigating   and   aggravating
circumstances to strike just balance in needs of  society  and  fairness  to
the accused, but also to keep in mind  the  need  to  give  justice  to  the
victim of crime.  In spite of legislative  changes  and  decisions  of  this
Court, this aspect at times escapes attention.  Rehabilitating victim is  as
important as punishing the accused.  Victim's plight cannot be ignored  even
when a crime goes unpunished for want of adequate evidence.
11.   In the present case, following injuries were found  on  the  appellant
by Dr. A.P. Modi, PW-2:-

"1.   Bruise 6 cm x 4 cm down of right forearms.

 2.   Bruise 8 cm x 2 cm front of right arms.

3.    Bruise 8 cm x 2 cm front of right arms.

4.    Bruise 10 cm x 2 cm right supra scupular region.

5.    Swelling of right shoulder with tenderness.

6.    Bruise 15 cm x 2 cm on the middle of the back.

7.    Abbression 1 cm x 1 cm left forearms.

8.    Incised boon 2.5 x 0.5 x muscle deep fost of left leg.

9.    Lancirated boon 3 x 1 cm x bone deep above injury  no.8.

10.   Incised boon 8 cm x 0.5 x bone deep on right parital region."

Just compensation to the victim  has  to  be  fixed  having  regard  to  the
medical and other expenses, pain and suffering, loss of  earning  and  other
relevant  factors.   While  punishment  to  the  accused  is   one   aspect,
determination of just compensation to the victim is the  other.   At  times,
evidence is not available in  this  regard.   Some  guess  work  in  such  a
situation is inevitable.  Compensation is payable under Section 357 and 357-
A.  While under section 357, financial capacity of the  accused  has  to  be
kept in mind, Section 357-A under which  compensation  comes  out  of  State
funds, has to be invoked to make up the requirement of just compensation.
12.   We may refer to some recent decisions on the subject.
In State of Gujarat and anr. vs. Hon'ble High Court of Gujarat[1],
it was observed:
"46. One area which is totally overlooked  in  the  above  practice  is  the
plight of the victims. It is a recent trend  in  the  sentencing  policy  to
listen to the wailings of the victims. Rehabilitation of the  prisoner  need
not be by closing the eyes towards the suffering victims of the  offence.  A
glimpse at the field of victimology reveals two types of victims. The  first
type consists of direct victims, i.e., those who are alive and suffering  on
account of the harm inflicted by the prisoner while  committing  the  crime.
The second type comprises of indirect victims  who  are  dependants  of  the
direct victims of crimes who undergo sufferings due to deprivation of  their

94. In recent years, the right to reparation for  victims  of  violation  of
human rights is gaining ground.  The  United  Nations  Commission  of  Human
[pic]Rights has circulated draft Basic  Principles  and  Guidelines  on  the
Right  to  Reparation  for  Victims  of  Violation  of  Human  Rights.  (see

13.   In  Ankush  Shivaji  Gaikwad  vs.  State  of  Maharashtra[2],  it  was
"30. In Hari Singh v. Sukhbir Singh [(1988) 4 SCC 551 : 1998 SCC (Cri)  984]
this Court lamented the failure of the courts in  awarding  compensation  to
the victims in terms of Section 357(1) CrPC. The Court  recommended  to  all
courts to exercise the power available under Section 357 CrPC  liberally  so
as to meet the ends of justice. The Court said: (SCC pp. 557-58, para 10)

"10.  ...  Sub-section  (1)  of  Section  357  provides   power   to   award
compensation to victims of the offence out of the sentence of  fine  imposed
on accused. ... It is an important provision but courts have seldom  invoked
it. Perhaps due to ignorance of the object of it. It empowers the  court  to
award compensation to victims  while  passing  judgment  of  conviction.  In
addition to conviction, the court may order the accused to pay  some  amount
by way of compensation to victim who has suffered by the action of  accused.
It may be noted that this power of  courts  to  award  compensation  is  not
ancillary to other sentences but it is in addition thereto. This  power  was
intended to do something to reassure the  victim  that  he  or  she  is  not
forgotten in the criminal justice system. It  is  a  measure  of  responding
appropriately to crime as well of reconciling the victim with the  offender.
It is, to some extent, a constructive approach to crimes.  It  is  indeed  a
step forward in our criminal justice system.  We,  therefore,  recommend  to
all courts to exercise this power liberally  so  as  to  meet  the  ends  of
justice in a better way."
  (emphasis supplied)

31. The amount of compensation, observed this Court, was  to  be  determined
by the courts depending upon the facts and circumstances of each  case,  the
nature of the crime, the justness of the  claim  and  the  capacity  of  the
accused to pay.

32. In Sarwan Singh v. State of Punjab [(1978) 4 SCC 111 :  1978  SCC  (Cri)
549], Balraj v. State of U.P [(1994) 4 SCC 29 : 1994 SCC (Cri) 823],  Baldev
Singh v. State of Punjab [(1995) 6 SCC 593 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 1132], Dilip  S.
Dahanukar v. Kotak Mahindra Co. Ltd. [(2007) 6 SCC 528 : (2007) 3 SCC  (Cri)
209]  [pic]this  Court  held  that  the  power  of  the  courts   to   award
compensation to  victims  under  Section  357  is  not  ancillary  to  other
sentences but in addition thereto and that imposition of fine  and/or  grant
of compensation to a great extent must  depend  upon  the  relevant  factors
apart from such fine or compensation being just and reasonable. In Dilip  S.
Dahanukar case this Court even favoured an inquiry albeit summary in  nature
to determine the paying capacity of the offender. The Court  said:  (SCC  p.
545, para 38)

"38. The purpose of imposition of fine and/or grant  of  compensation  to  a
great extent must be considered having  the  relevant  factors  therefor  in
mind. It may be compensating the person in one way or the other. The  amount
of compensation sought to be imposed,  thus,  must  be  reasonable  and  not
arbitrary. Before issuing a direction to pay compensation, the  capacity  of
the accused to pay the same must be judged. A fortiori, an enquiry  in  this
behalf even in a summary way, may be necessary. Some reasons, which may  not
be very elaborate, may also have to be  assigned;  the  purpose  being  that
whereas  the  power  to  impose  fine  is  limited  and  direction  to   pay
compensation can be made for one or the other factors enumerated out of  the
same;  but  sub-section  (3)  of  Section  357  does  not  impose  any  such
limitation  and  thus,  power  thereunder  should  be  exercised   only   in
appropriate cases. Such a jurisdiction cannot be exercised at the whims  and
caprice of a Judge."

33. The long line of judicial pronouncements of this Court recognised in  no
uncertain terms a paradigm shift in the approach towards victims  of  crimes
who were held entitled to reparation, restitution or compensation  for  loss
or injury suffered by them.  This  shift  from  retribution  to  restitution
began in the mid-1960s and gained momentum in  the  decades  that  followed.
Interestingly the clock appears to have come full circle  by  the  lawmakers
and courts going back in a great  measure  to  what  was  in  ancient  times
common place. Harvard Law Review (1984) in an article on Victim  Restitution
in Criminal Law Process:  A  Procedural  Analysis  sums  up  the  historical
perspective of the concept of restitution in the following words:

"Far from being  a  novel  approach  to  sentencing,  restitution  has  been
employed as a punitive sanction throughout history.  In  ancient  societies,
before the conceptual separation of civil and criminal law, it was  standard
practice to require an offender to reimburse the victim or  his  family  for
any loss caused by the offense. The primary purpose of such restitution  was
not to compensate the victim, but  to  protect  the  offender  from  violent
retaliation by the victim or the community. It was  a  means  by  which  the
offender could buy back the peace he had  broken.  As  the  State  gradually
established a monopoly over the institution of punishment,  and  a  division
between civil and criminal law emerged, the victim's right  to  compensation
was incorporated into civil law."

46. The amendments to Cr.PC brought about in 2008  focused  heavily  on  the
rights of victims in a criminal trial, particularly in  trials  relating  to
sexual offences. Though the 2008  amendments  left  Section  357  unchanged,
they introduced Section 357-A under which the Court is empowered  to  direct
the State to pay compensation to the victim in such cases where

"the compensation awarded  under  Section  357  is  not  adequate  for  such
rehabilitation, or where the cases end in acquittal  or  discharge  and  the
victim has to be rehabilitated".

Under this provision, even if the accused is not tried but the victim  needs
to be rehabilitated, the victim may request  the  State  or  District  Legal
Services  Authority  to  award  him/her  compensation.  This  provision  was
introduced due to the recommendations made by the Law  Commission  of  India
in its 152nd and 154th Reports in 1994 and 1996 respectively.

48. The question then is whether the plenitude of the power  vested  in  the
courts under Sections 357 and 357-A, notwithstanding, the courts can  simply
ignore the provisions or neglect the exercise of a power that  is  primarily
meant to be exercised for the benefit of the victims of crimes that  are  so
often committed though less frequently punished  by  the  courts.  In  other
words, whether courts have a duty to advert  to  the  question  of  awarding
compensation to the victim and record reasons  while  granting  or  refusing
relief to them?

49. The language of Section 357 CrPC at a glance may not  suggest  that  any
obligation is cast upon a court  to  apply  its  mind  to  the  question  of
compensation. Sub-section (1) of Section 357 states  that  the  Court  "may"
order for the whole or any part of a fine recovered to  be  applied  towards
compensation in the following cases:

(i) To any person who has suffered loss or injury by the  offence,  when  in
the opinion of the court, such compensation would  be  recoverable  by  such
person in a civil court.

(ii) To a person  who  is  entitled  to  recover  damages  under  the  Fatal
Accidents Act, when there is a conviction  for  causing  death  or  abetment

(iii) To a bona fide purchaser of property, which has become the subject  of
theft, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach  of  trust,  cheating,  or
receiving or retaining  or  disposing  of  stolen  property,  and  which  is
ordered to be restored to its rightful owner.

50. Sub-section (3) of Section 357 further empowers  the  court  by  stating
that it "may" award compensation even  in  such  cases  where  the  sentence
imposed does not include a  fine.  The  legal  position  is,  however,  well
established that cases may arise where a provision is mandatory despite  the
use of language that makes it discretionary. We may at the outset, refer  to
the [pic]oft-quoted passage from Julius v. Lord Bishop of Oxford  [(1880)  5
AC 214 : (1874-80) All ER Rep 43 (HL)]  wherein  the  Court  summed  up  the
legal position thus: (AC pp. 222-23)

"... The words 'it shall be lawful' are not equivocal. They  are  plain  and
unambiguous. They are words merely making  that  legal  and  possible  which
there would otherwise be no right or authority to do. They confer a  faculty
or power, and they do not of themselves do more than  confer  a  faculty  or
power. But there may be something in the nature of the  thing  empowered  to
be done, something in the object for which it is to be  done,  something  in
the conditions under which it is to be done, something in the title  of  the
person or persons for whose benefit the power is to be exercised, which  may
couple the power with a duty, and make it the duty of  the  person  in  whom
the power is reposed, to exercise that power when called upon to do so."

54. Applying the tests which emerge from the above cases to Section 357,  it
appears to us that the provision confers a power coupled with a duty on  the
courts to apply its mind to the question of awarding compensation  in  every
criminal case. We say so because in the background and context in  which  it
was introduced, the power to award compensation  was  intended  to  reassure
the victim that he or she is not forgotten in the criminal  justice  system.
The victim would remain forgotten in the criminal justice system if  despite
the legislature having gone so far as to enact specific provisions  relating
to victim compensation, courts choose to ignore  the  provisions  altogether
and do not even apply  their  mind  to  the  question  of  compensation.  It
follows that unless Section 357 is read  to  confer  an  obligation  on  the
courts to apply their mind to the question of compensation, it would  defeat
the very object behind the introduction of the provision.

58. This Court has through a line of cases beginning with  Hari  Singh  case
held that  the  power  to  award  compensation  under  Section  357  is  not
ancillary to other sentences but in addition thereto. It  would  necessarily
follow that the court has a duty to  apply  its  mind  to  the  question  of
awarding compensation under Section 357 too. Reference may also be  made  to
the decision of this Court in State of A.P. v. Polamala Raju [(2000)  7  SCC
75 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 1284] wherein a three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court  set
aside a judgment of the High  Court  for  non-application  of  mind  to  the
question of sentencing. In that case, this Court reprimanded the High  Court
for having reduced the sentence of the accused convicted under  Section  376
IPC from 10 years' imprisonment to 5 years  without  recording  any  reasons
for the same. This Court said: (SCC pp. 78-79, paras 9 & 11)

"9. We are of the considered  opinion  that  it  is  an  obligation  of  the
sentencing court to consider all relevant facts  and  circumstances  bearing
on the question of sentence and impose  a  sentence  commensurate  with  the
gravity of the offence. ...
                                *     *     *
11. To say the least, the order contains no reasons, much less  'special  or
adequate reasons'. The sentence has been  reduced  in  a  rather  mechanical
manner without proper application of mind."

61. Section 357 Cr.PC confers a duty on the court to apply its mind  to  the
question of compensation in every  criminal  case.  It  necessarily  follows
that the court must disclose that it has applied its mind to  this  question
in every criminal case. In Maya Devi v. Raj Kumari Batra [(2010) 9  SCC  486
:  (2010)  3  SCC  (Civ)  842]  this  Court  held  that  the  disclosure  of
application of mind is best demonstrated by recording reasons in support  of
the order or conclusion. The Court observed: (SCC p. 495, paras 28-30)

"28. ... There is nothing like a power without any  limits  or  constraints.
That is so even when a court or other authority  may  be  vested  with  wide
discretionary power, for even discretion has  to  be  exercised  only  along
well recognised and sound juristic  principles  with  a  view  to  promoting
fairness, inducing transparency and aiding equity.

29. What then are the safeguards against an  arbitrary  exercise  of  power?
The first and the most effective check against  any  such  exercise  is  the
well-recognised legal principle that orders can be made only after  due  and
proper application of mind. Application of mind  brings  reasonableness  not
only to  the  exercise  of  power  but  to  the  ultimate  conclusion  also.
Application of mind in turn is best demonstrated by disclosure of the  mind.
And disclosure is best demonstrated by recording reasons in support  of  the
order or conclusion.

30. Recording of reasons in cases where the  order  is  subject  to  further
appeal is very important from yet another angle. An appellate court  or  the
authority ought  to  have  the  advantage  of  examining  the  reasons  that
prevailed with the court or the  authority  making  the  order.  Conversely,
absence of reasons in an appealable order deprives the  appellate  court  or
the authority of that advantage and casts an onerous responsibility upon  it
to examine and determine the question on its own."
                                                         (emphasis supplied)

66. To sum up: while the award or refusal of compensation  in  a  particular
case may be within the court's discretion, there exists a mandatory duty  on
the court to apply  its  mind  to  the  question  in  every  criminal  case.
Application of mind to the question is best disclosed by  recording  reasons
for awarding/refusing compensation. It is axiomatic that  for  any  exercise
involving application of  mind,  the  Court  ought  to  have  the  necessary
material which it  would  evaluate  to  arrive  at  a  fair  and  reasonable
conclusion. It is also beyond dispute that  the  occasion  to  consider  the
question of award of compensation  would  logically  arise  only  after  the
court records a conviction of the accused. Capacity of the  accused  to  pay
which constitutes an important aspect of any order under  Section  357  CrPC
would involve a certain enquiry albeit summary unless of  course  the  facts
as emerging in the  course  of  the  trial  are  so  clear  that  the  court
considers it unnecessary to do so. Such an enquiry can precede an  order  on
sentence to enable the court to  take  a  view,  both  on  the  question  of
sentence and compensation that it may in its wisdom decide to award  to  the
victim or his/her family."

14.   In Suresh and Anr. vs. State of Haryana, Criminal  Appeal  No.420/2012
decided on 28th November, 2014, it was observed:-
"14.     We are of the view that it is the duty of  the  Courts,  on  taking
cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain  whether  there  is  tangible
material to show commission of crime, whether  the  victim  is  identifiable
and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial relief.  On  being
satisfied on an application or on its own motion, the Court ought to  direct
grant  of  interim  compensation,  subject  to  final   compensation   being
determined later.  Such duty continues at every stage  of  a  criminal  case
where compensation ought to be given and has not  been  given,  irrespective
of the application by the victim.   At the stage  of  final  hearing  it  is
obligatory on the part of the Court to advert to the provision and record  a
finding whether a case for grant of compensation has been made out  and,  if
so,  who  is  entitled  to  compensation  and  how  much.   Award  of   such
compensation can be interim.  Gravity of offence  and  need  of  victim  are
some of the guiding factors to be  kept  in  mind,  apart  from  such  other
factors as may be found relevant  in  the  facts  and  circumstances  of  an
individual case.  We are also of the view that there  is  need  to  consider
upward  revision  in  the  scale   for   compensation   and   pending   such
consideration to adopt the scale notified by the  State  of  Kerala  in  its
scheme, unless the scale awarded by any other State or  Union  Territory  is
higher.  The  States  of  Andhra  Pradesh,  Madhya  Pradesh,  Meghalaya  and
Telangana are directed  to  notify  their  schemes  within  one  month  from
receipt of a copy of this order.   We  also  direct  that  a  copy  of  this
judgment be forwarded to National Judicial  Academy  so  that  all  judicial
officers in the country can be  imparted  requisite  training  to  make  the
provision operative and meaningful."

15.      In K.A. Abbas H.S.A. vs. Sabu Joseph and anr.[3], it was observed:-

 "26. From the above line of cases, it becomes very clear, that, a  sentence
of imprisonment can be  granted  for  default  in  payment  of  compensation
awarded under Section 357(3) CrPC. The whole purpose of the provision is  to
accommodate the interests of the victims in  the  criminal  justice  system.
Sometimes the situation becomes such that there  is  no  purpose  served  by
keeping a person behind bars.  Instead  directing  the  accused  to  pay  an
amount of compensation to the victim or affected party can  ensure  delivery
of total justice. Therefore, this grant  of  compensation  is  sometimes  in
lieu of sending a person  behind  bars  or  in  addition  to  a  very  light
sentence  of  imprisonment.  Hence   on   default   of   payment   of   this
[pic]compensation, there must be a just recourse. Not  imposing  a  sentence
of imprisonment would mean allowing the accused to get away  without  paying
the compensation and imposing another fine would be impractical as it  would
mean imposing a fine upon  another  fine  and  therefore  would  not  ensure
proper enforcement of the order of  compensation.  While  passing  an  order
under Section 357(3), it is  imperative  for  the  courts  to  look  at  the
ability and the capacity of the accused to pay the same amount as  has  been
laid down by the cases above, otherwise the  very  purpose  of  granting  an
order of compensation would stand defeated."

16.   In the present case, in the absence of any evidence about the  medical
expenses, loss of earning etc. and the financial capacity  of  the  accused,
we are of the view that the appellant needs to be paid a sum of  Rs.50,000/-
as compensation under Section 357(3) within  two  months  by  the  surviving
respondents.  In default the  surviving-respondents  will  undergo  rigorous
imprisonment for three months.  Since compensation is being directed  to  be
paid, we set aside the sentence of fine of Rs.5,000/-.

      Accordingly, the appeal is allowed in above terms.

                                          (T.S. THAKUR)

                                            (ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)

JANUARY 16, 2015

[1]    (1998) 7 SCC 392
[2]    (2013) 6 SCC 770
[3]    (2010) 6 SCC 230



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