Quantum of Punishment: Relevant factors for deciding punishment even in Altered Sentence
Criminal Appeal No. 182 and 183 of 2016
Bench: Justices Dipak Misra; Shiva Kirti Singh
Brief: The present appeals were brought before the Apex Court by the State of Madhya Pradesh against the common judgement and order of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh which was passed in connection with the criminal appeals. And the High Court under its appellate jurisdiction had allowed the conversion of the convictions of three accused under section 307- for Accused- Rajaram and under section 304 r/w- section 34 of Indian Penal Code- for Accused Udaibhan and Hakim Singh, into the conviction under section 326- for Rajaram and under section 326 r/w- section 34- for other two. Thus, the period of their conviction was reduced by the High Court from 10 years to period already undergone by the accused(s), which was of 1 year and 9 months only. Thus, the present Court has decided to consider the only issue that whether the High Court in the matter of awarding of punishment has ignored the relevant considerations and adopted an erroneous approach. It was observed by this Court that the High Court found accepting the contentions preferred for accused that the intention on the part of accused persons to kill the complainant or his brother (who are injured in this case) was not established by the evidence on record. Moreover, there was no doubt and even no object as to the grievousness of the injuries. Court held that the High Court has failed to keep under focus the various relevant factors for a proper decision on the quantum of sentence, which much have been imposed even for the altered conviction. Moreover, it was also observed that the High Court did not noted down the 6 injuries which the complainant suffered, thus, it was seen that in hardly any mitigating circumstances, such lenient view could be adopted, which the High Court has adopted in this decision. Justice to both parties must be ensured by the Court which is awarding sentence, as its duty. Thus, Court held that the order of punishment by the High Court suffers from the vice of being over- lenient even in the absence of any mitigating circumstance. As such, by interfering in the punishment order of High Court, the Court has ordered the rigorous imprisonment of these three accused for Three years in place of period already undergone by them. Moreover, other sentence is left intact. Also, the concurrently running of the sentences against the accused for different offences is ordered.
Read the Judgement here