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Thursday, August 2, 2018

enhancement of sentence=the victim has sustained a grievous injury on a vital portion of the body, i.e. the head, which was fractured. The doctor has opined that the injury was life threatening. Hence, in our considered opinion, the High Court was too lenient in imposing the sentence of six days only which was the period already undergone by the accused in confinement. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. The accused (respondent herein) is imposed with a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand) for the offences under Section 325, IPC. In case of default of payment of fine, the accused shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. In case the fine is deposited by the convicted accused, the same shall be disbursed in favour of the injured PW2, viz. Kapurchand as compensation. The accused/respondent be taken into custody forthwith to serve out the sentence. However, he is entitled to the benefit of set-off of the period already

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 NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 959 OF 2018
(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 3509 of 2016
The State of Rajasthan ..Appellant
Versus
Mohan Lal & Another ..Respondents
J U D G M E N T
MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR, J.
Leave granted.
2. Judgment dated 25.05.2015 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench in Appeal No.215 of
1992 is questioned in this appeal by the State with the
prayer for enhancement of sentence. By the impugned
judgment, the High Court has confirmed the judgment and
order of conviction passed by the Sessions Court,
Sambharlake in Sessions Case No.14/1992 for the offences
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under Sections 325 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),
but has reduced the sentence from 3 years’ rigorous
imprisonment and fine of Rs.1000/- for the offences under
Section 325, IPC and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and
fine of Rs. 250/- under Section 323, IPC to the period
already undergone.
3. The accused (respondent herein) was charged with and tried
for the offences punishable under Sections 307, 326, 447,
323 and 341, IPC. The learned Additional Sessions Judge,
Sambharlake, by the judgment dated 19.05.1992 in
Sessions Case No. 14/1992 convicted the accused for the
offences punishable under Sections 325 and 323, IPC. The
Sessions Court imposed a sentence of 3 years’ rigorous
imprisonment and fine of Rs.1000/- for the offences under
Section 325, IPC; and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and
fine of Rs. 250/- was imposed for the offence under Section
323, IPC. On appeal by the convicted accused, the High
Court of Judicature at Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench confirmed
the judgment of conviction but reduced the sentence to the
period of imprisonment already undergone by the accused.
By then, the accused had undergone 6 days’ imprisonment
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only. Being aggrieved by the meagre sentence, the State is
before us as an appellant praying for enhancement of
sentence.
4. The case of the prosecution in brief is that due to old enmity
relating to a land dispute, one Kapurchand was assaulted
by the accused; one Phoolchand who intervened in the fight
also sustained an injury because of the assault by the
accused. As mentioned supra, the accused was tried for the
offences under Sections 307 and 326, IPC apart from other
offences, but was convicted for the offences under Sections
325 and 323, IPC.
5. During the course of the trial, the informant (PW1), the
injured Kapurchand (PW2) and the second injured
Phoolchand (PW5) were examined, apart from other
witnesses, including the doctor who treated the injured. The
trial court has found the evidence of PWs 1, 2 and 5
consistent, cogent, reliable and trustworthy and proceeded
to convict the accused. The doctor fully supported the case
of the prosecution. The medical records, including the
evidence of the Doctor, conclusively prove that injury no.1
sustained by PW2-Kapurchand was a grievous injury, in as
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much as Kapurchand sustained a fracture of the right
parietal bone.
6. It is clear from the judgment of the High Court that though
the accused had filed an appeal questioning his conviction
and sentence before the High Court, during the course of
arguments he did not press the appeal filed against the
judgment of conviction, praying only for reduction of
sentence. The High Court decided the Criminal Appeal
accepting such request, and reduced the sentence to the
period already undergone. However, as a matter of fact, as
mentioned supra, the accused had, by then, been in
confinement only for 6 days.
7. Since the accused has not filed further appeal and as this
appeal has been filed by the State praying for enhancement
of sentence, we have decided this appeal confining ourselves
to the sentence to be imposed.
8. The Medical Officer of the authorized Primary Health
Centre, Kishangarh Renwal, examined the injuries
sustained by the two injured, viz. Kapurchand and
Phoolchand. While Phoolchand had sustained only one
injury of a simple nature, which was inflicted by a blunt
object, Kapurchand had sustained two injuries, out of
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which one was simple and the other was serious. Therefore,
Kapurchand was advised to undergo an X-ray. The X-ray
report (Exhibit-P4) revealed that his right parietal bone was
fractured. The medical report (Exhibit-P1) discloses the
injury no.1 as grievous in nature. The Medical Officer has
given his opinion in Exhibit-P5 that the injury no.1 was
life-threatening.
9. The High Court simply brushed aside the aforementioned
material facts and sentenced the accused to the period
already undergone by him, which is only 6 days in this case.
In our view, the Trial Court and the High Court have taken
a lenient view by convicting the accused for offences under
Sections 325 and 323, IPC. Absolutely no reasons, much
less valid reasons, are assigned by the High Court to impose
the meagre sentence of 6 days. Such imposition of sentence
by the High Court shocks the judicial conscience of this
Court.
10.Currently, India does not have structured sentencing
guidelines that have been issued either by the legislature or
the judiciary. However, the Courts have framed certain
guidelines in the matter of imposition of sentence. A Judge
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has wide discretion in awarding the sentence within the
statutory limits. Since in many offences only the maximum
punishment is prescribed and for some offences the
minimum punishment is prescribed, each Judge exercises
his discretion accordingly. There cannot, therefore, be any
uniformity. However, this Court has repeatedly held that
the Courts will have to take into account certain principles
while exercising their discretion in sentencing, such as
proportionality, deterrence and rehabilitation. In a
proportionality analysis, it is necessary to assess the
seriousness of an offence in order to determine the
commensurate punishment for the offender. The
seriousness of an offence depends, apart from other things,
also upon its harmfulness.

11.This Court in the case of Soman Vs. State of Kerala
[(2013) 11 SCC 382] observed thus:
“27.1. Courts ought to base sentencing
decisions on various different rationales – most
prominent amongst which would be
proportionality and deterrence.
27.2. The question of consequences of criminal
action can be relevant from both a
proportionality and deterrence standpoint.
27.3. Insofar as proportionality is concerned,
the sentence must be commensurate with the
seriousness or gravity of the offence.
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27.4. One of the factors relevant for judging
seriousness of the offence is the consequences
resulting from it.
27.5. Unintended consequences/harm may
still be properly attributed to the offender if
they were reasonably foreseeable. In case of
illicit and underground manufacture of liquor,
the chances of toxicity are so high that not only
its manufacturer but the distributor and the
retail vendor would know its likely risks to the
consumer. Hence, even though any harm to
the consumer might not be directly intended,
some aggravated culpability must attach if the
consumer suffers some grievous hurt or dies as
result of consuming the spurious liquor.”
12.The same is the verdict of this Court in Alister Anthony
Pareira Vs. State of Maharashtra [(2012) 2 SCC 648]
wherein it is observed thus:
“84. Sentencing is an important task in the
matters of crime. One of the prime objectives of
the criminal law is imposition of appropriate,
adequate, just and proportionate sentence
commensurate with the nature and gravity of
crime and the manner in which the crime is
done. There is no straitjacket formula for
sentencing an accused on proof of crime. The
courts have evolved certain principles: the twin
objective of the sentencing policy is deterrence
and correction. What sentence would meet the
ends of justice depends on the facts and
circumstances of each case and the court must
keep in mind the gravity of the crime, motive
for the crime, nature of the offence and all
other attendant circumstances.”
13.From the aforementioned observations, it is clear that the
principle governing the imposition of punishment will
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depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
However, the sentence should be appropriate, adequate,
just, proportionate and commensurate with the nature and
gravity of the crime and the manner in which the crime is
committed. The gravity of the crime, motive for the crime,
nature of the crime and all other attending circumstances
have to be borne in mind while imposing the sentence. The
Court cannot afford to be casual while imposing the
sentence, inasmuch as both the crime and the criminal are
equally important in the sentencing process. The Courts
must see that the public does not lose confidence in the
judicial system. Imposing inadequate sentences will do more
harm to the justice system and may lead to a state where
the victim loses confidence in the judicial system and
resorts to private vengeance.

14.In the matter at hand, it is proved that the victim has
sustained a grievous injury on a vital portion of the body,
i.e. the head, which was fractured. The doctor has opined
that the injury was life threatening. Hence, in our
considered opinion, the High Court was too lenient in
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imposing the sentence of six days only which was the period
already undergone by the accused in confinement.
15.Having regard to the totality of the facts and circumstances,
and as it is brought to our notice that the parties have
forgotten their differences and are living peacefully since 25
years, we impose a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous
imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty
Five Thousand) against the accused. While doing so, we
have taken into consideration the aggravating as well as
mitigating factors under the facts of this case.
16.Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. The accused (respondent
herein) is imposed with a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous
imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty
Five Thousand) for the offences under Section 325, IPC. In
case of default of payment of fine, the accused shall undergo
further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. In case the
fine is deposited by the convicted accused, the same shall
be disbursed in favour of the injured PW2, viz. Kapurchand
as compensation. The accused/respondent be taken into
custody forthwith to serve out the sentence. However, he is
entitled to the benefit of set-off of the period already
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undergone in confinement by him. The judgment of the High
Court is modified accordingly.
.................................................J.
(N. V. RAMANA)
.................................................J.
(MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR)
New Delhi;
August 01, 2018.

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