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Saturday, January 10, 2015

reduce the sentence to one year for the offence under Section 454 IPC and 18 months for the offence under Section 380 IPC =CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2298 OF 2014 RATNA @ RATAN LAL AND ANOTHER …. Appellants Versus STATE OF RAJASTHAN …. Respondent

                                                              NON-REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2298 OF 2014


RATNA @ RATAN LAL AND ANOTHER           …. Appellants

                                   Versus

STATE OF RAJASTHAN                      …. Respondent


                               J U D G M E N T


Uday U. Lalit, J.


1.    This appeal by special leave to appeal arises out  of  final  judgment
and order dated 06.02.2014 passed  by  the  High  Court  of  Judicature  for
Rajasthan at Jodhpur in Criminal Revision Petition No.165 of 1995  by  which
the High Court was pleased to dismiss  the  revision  and  affirm  the  view
taken by the Special Judge SC/ST, Udaipur in Criminal Appeal No.84 of 1992.

2.    This matter arises out of FIR No.1 of 1988  registered  on  06.01.1988
under Section 454 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code  (for  short  “the  IPC”)
with Police Station, Fateh Nagar, pursuant to PW14 Rupa submitting a  report
regarding  theft  at  his  house  situate  in  village  Lakha  Ka  Kheda  on
31.12.1987.  It was reported that some unknown persons had  committed  theft
at his house by breaking open the lock and that some pieces  of  silver  and
gold jewellery were stolen.  In the further report  submitted  on  the  same
day it was stated that the value of the articles and cash which  was  stolen
were to the tune of Rs.64,000/-.  The complainant PW14 Rupa suspected  Ratna
who is appellant No.1 herein.  During the course of investigation  Appellant
Nos.1 and 2, namely, Ratna and Uda  were  arrested  and  pursuant  to  their
statements under Section 27 of the Evidence Act,  namely,  Ext.P15  and  P16
respectively, the stolen articles were recovered.

3.    In the trial the prosecution  examined  fourteen  witnesses  to  bring
home the charge under Section 454 and 380 of the IPC  against  –  Ratna  and
Uda.  Accepting the case of the prosecution and holding inter alia that  the
recovery of stolen articles stood proved, the learned trial court  convicted
both the accused under Sections 454  and  380  IPC  and  sentenced  them  to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for  3  years  and  7  years  respectively  on
aforesaid counts with imposition of fine of Rs.2500/- against  each  of  the
accused  on  both  counts,  with  further  sentence  of  six  months  simple
imprisonment in default of payment of fine.  It was ordered  that  both  the
sentences shall run concurrently.  In  the  appeal  preferred  by  both  the
accused,  the  learned  Special  Judge,  SC/ST  ANP,  Udaipur  affirmed  the
conviction on both counts but reduced the sentence to  two  years  and  five
years respectively on each of the aforesaid counts maintaining  the  quantum
of fine and sentence  in  default.   The  revision  preferred  by  both  the
accused before the High Court was dismissed maintaining the  conviction  and
sentence as recorded by the appellate court which led to the filing  of  the
present appeal by special leave.

4.    We have heard Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, learned counsel for the  appellants
and Mr. Rajeev Kr. Singh, learned counsel appearing  for  the  respondent  –
State.  Having gone through the record with the assistance  of  the  learned
Advocates, we are not persuaded to take a different view  on  the  issue  of
conviction of the appellants.  We, however,  deem  it  appropriate,  in  the
light of the facts of the case, including the length of time the matter  has
taken, to reduce the sentence to one year for the offence under Section  454
IPC and 18 months for the offence under Section  380  IPC,  maintaining  the
sentence of fine and default sentence, as  recorded  by  the  courts  below.
Substantive sentences on both counts shall  run  concurrently.   The  appeal
stands partly allowed in the aforesaid terms.



                                  ………………………..J.
                                  (Dipak Misra)




                 ………………………..J.
                                  (Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi,
November 14,  2014
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