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Sunday, March 20, 2016

After hearing the arguments of both the sides we are not persuaded to interfere with the conviction of the appellant under Section 395 IPC and hence his conviction is affirmed. However, for the same very reasons as recorded by the trial court and finding that nothing was recovered from him, we are persuaded to reduce the sentence of imprisonment. We have been informed on the basis of facts mentioned in the Surrender Certificate dated 19.02.2016 available on record that the appellant has now remained in jail for three years and two months on account of continuous incarceration since his surrender on 28.07.2008. The certificate further discloses that fine of Rs.100/- has also been paid. In the facts of the case and considering the period already undergone by the appellant, we reduce the period of sentence imposed upon the appellant to the period already undergone, i.e., three years and two months of actual imprisonment. In case he is not required to be kept in prison in connection with any other matter, he should be released in the present matter forthwith. The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent only.

                                                              NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.209 OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.1671 of 2016]

Pareshbhai Annabhai Sonvane                        …..Appellant

      Versus

State of Gujarat & Ors.                                   …..Respondents




                               J U D G M E N T



SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

The sole appellant was accused no.2 before  the  Sessions  Judge,  Surat  in
Sessions Case No.278/2008 along with three  other  co-accused  for  offences
under Sections 395,  397  and  504  of  the  IPC.   The  trial  court  found
sufficient evidence against accused nos.1 to  3  and  accordingly  convicted
them for the offence under  Section  395  of  the  IPC  while  holding  that
prosecution could not establish the other  charges.   Considering  that  the
value of the alleged loot including cash and  mobile  was  only  Rs.16,550/-
and the young age  of  the  accused,  the  trial  court  inflicted  rigorous
imprisonment of only one year along with fine of  Rs.100/-.   In  the  trial
court judgment dated 24.08.2011 the age of the appellant has  been  recorded
as 24 years and as such on the date of the alleged occurrence in  July  2008
he would be about 21-22 years of age.
The State of Gujarat opted to prefer Criminal Appeal No.1463 of  2011  under
Section 377 of the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure  to  seek  enhancement  of
sentence imposed on the three convicts  including  the  appellant.   By  the
impugned judgment and order under appeal dated  21.09.2015  the  High  Court
came to the view that the trial court had rightly convicted the accused  but
had erred in imposing a sentence of imprisonment which was  clearly  on  the
lower side.  The High Court allowed the appeal to the  extent  of  enhancing
the sentence to five years of rigorous  imprisonment  along  with  the  fine
imposed by the trial court.
After hearing the arguments of both  the  sides  we  are  not  persuaded  to
interfere with the conviction of the appellant under  Section  395  IPC  and
hence his conviction is affirmed.  However, for the  same  very  reasons  as
recorded by the trial court and finding  that  nothing  was  recovered  from
him, we are persuaded to reduce the sentence of imprisonment.  We have  been
informed on the basis of facts mentioned in the Surrender Certificate  dated
19.02.2016 available on record that the appellant has now remained  in  jail
for three years and two months on account of continuous incarceration  since
his surrender on 28.07.2008.  The certificate further  discloses  that  fine
of Rs.100/- has also been paid.  In the facts of the  case  and  considering
the period already undergone by the  appellant,  we  reduce  the  period  of
sentence imposed upon the appellant to the period already  undergone,  i.e.,
three years and two months of  actual  imprisonment.   In  case  he  is  not
required to be kept in prison  in  connection  with  any  other  matter,  he
should be released in the present matter forthwith.  The appeal  is  allowed
to the aforesaid extent only.

                       .…………………………………….J.
                             [DIPAK MISRA]


                       ……………………………………..J.
                       [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]

New Delhi.
March 18, 2016.


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