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Sunday, March 6, 2016

not even note down the six injuries on the complainant which included a grievous injury on the temporal part, a reddish blue mark on the upper side of right eye, another injury having blue mark on the forehead and another wound on the eyebrow on the right eye. There was hardly any mitigating circumstance to take such a lenient view as has been done by the High Court. The law on the principles governing proper sentencing has been elaborated by this Court in large number of cases. It is the duty of the Court awarding sentence to ensure justice to both the parties and therefore undue leniency in awarding sentence needs to be avoided because it does not have the necessary effect of being a deterrent for the accused and does not re-assure the society that the offender has been properly dealt with. It is not a very healthy situation to leave the injured and complainant side thoroughly dissatisfied with a very lenient punishment to the accused. In the present case the order of punishment imposed by the High Court suffers from the vice of being over-lenient even in absence of any mitigating circumstance.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 182 OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.8006 of 2012]

State of M.P.                                            …..Appellant

      Versus

Udaibhan                                            …..Respondent

                                   W I T H

                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 183  OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.8011 of 2012]

State of M.P.                                            …..Appellant

      Versus

Hakim Singh & Anr.                                  …..Respondents


                               J U D G M E N T



SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

These appeals by special leave  have  been  preferred  by  State  of  Madhya
Pradesh against  common  judgment  and  order  dated  14.12.2011  passed  in
Criminal Appeal Nos.92/2002 and 106/2002.
By the impugned judgment  and  order  the  High  Court  has  partly  allowed
criminal appeals preferred by the three accused, namely,  Rajaram,  Udaibhan
and Hakim Singh, respondents  in  these  appeals  so  as  to  convert  their
conviction under Section 307 of IPC for Rajaram and under Section  307  read
with Section 34 of the IPC for the  other  two  appellants  into  one  under
Section 326 for Rajaram and 326/34 for the other two.  The  High  Court  did
not interfere with the fine imposed  on  the  respondents  for  the  offence
noted above as well as for the offence under Section  323  IPC  but  reduced
the sentence for imprisonment which was R.I. for 10 years  for  the  offence
punishable under Section 307 as well as Section 307 read with Section 34  of
the IPC to a period already undergone by the respondents which  was  of  one
year and nine months only.
Since the High Court did not disbelieve the substratum  of  the  prosecution
case and has  maintained  the  conviction  of  respondents,  albeit  for  an
offence minor to one under Section 307 or Section 307 read with  Section  34
of IPC, the only material issue worth  consideration  in  these  appeals  is
whether the High Court in the matter of awarding of punishment  has  ignored
the relevant considerations and adopted an  erroneous  approach.   The  High
Court accepted the contention advanced on behalf of  the  accused  that  the
evidence on record did not establish  any  intention  on  the  part  of  the
accused persons to kill the complainant or his brother, the two  injured  in
this case.  The High Court did not doubt nor did the accused  persons  raise
any contention that the injury sustained by the complainant on head was  not
a grievous injury.  Being an incised wound on temporal region of  the  head,
it was clearly caused by a sharp cutting weapon and dangerous to life.   The
doctor held the aforesaid injury no.1 on the head  to  be  grievous  on  the
basis of X-ray which showed fracture of the skull bone.
The High Court in our considered opinion failed to keep under focus  various
relevant factors for a proper decision on  the  quantum  of  sentence  which
should have been imposed even for the altered conviction under  Section  326
or Section 326/34 of the IPC.  The prosecution case which has been  accepted
as true disclosed that the complainant  Kriparam  was  called  to  Panchayat
Bhawan  where  the  accused  persons  were  already  present  with  weapons.
Rajaram was having farsa whereas Hakim  was  armed  with  an  iron  rod  and
Udaibhan with lathi.  As soon as the complainant arrived he  was  threatened
and assaulted by all the  three  with  their  respective  weapons.   Rajaram
caused a farsa injury on the head, Hakim caused an injury with iron  bar  on
the eyebrow near the right eye.  Udaibhan gave more than  one  lathi  blows.
When complainant’s brother Prabhu came for  his  rescue  then  he  was  also
assaulted with lathi blows by Udaibhan.
The High Court did not even note down the six injuries  on  the  complainant
which included a grievous injury on the temporal part, a reddish  blue  mark
on the upper side of right eye, another  injury  having  blue  mark  on  the
forehead and another wound on the eyebrow  on  the  right  eye.   There  was
hardly any mitigating circumstance to take such a lenient view as  has  been
done by the  High  Court.   The  law  on  the  principles  governing  proper
sentencing has been elaborated by this Court in large number of  cases.   It
is the duty of the Court awarding sentence to ensure  justice  to  both  the
parties and therefore undue  leniency  in  awarding  sentence  needs  to  be
avoided because it does not have the necessary effect of being  a  deterrent
for the accused and does not re-assure the society  that  the  offender  has
been properly dealt with.  It is not a very healthy situation to  leave  the
injured and complainant side thoroughly dissatisfied  with  a  very  lenient
punishment to the accused.  In the present  case  the  order  of  punishment
imposed by the High Court suffers from the vice of being  over-lenient  even
in absence of any  mitigating circumstance.
In such a situation, the interest of justice requires interference with  the
punishment imposed by  the  High  Court.   The  ends  of  justice  would  be
satisfied by imposing on  all  the  three  accused  persons  a  sentence  of
rigorous imprisonment for three years in place of period already  undergone,
for the offence under Section 326 as well as  Section  326/34  of  the  IPC.
The other sentence which has been maintained  by  the  High  Court  is  left
intact.   However,  it  is  clarified  that  sentence  of  imprisonment  for
different offences against  the  respondents  shall  run  concurrently.  The
impugned judgment and order are modified accordingly. The Trial Court  shall
take all necessary steps to ensure  that  the  respondents  are  taken  into
custody forthwith to serve out  the  remainder  period  of  imprisonment  in
connection with  Sessions  Case  No.  16/2001,  tried  by  Third  Additional
Sessions Judge, Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh).  The  appeals  preferred  by  the
State are allowed to the aforesaid extent only.

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


                       ……………………………………..J.
                             [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]
New Delhi.
March 01, 2016.
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