Not having criminal antecedent can lead to reduction in sentence of punishment
Criminal Appeal No. 234 of 2016
Bench: Justice Dipak Misra; Justice Shiva Kirti Singh
Case Brief: The present case is brought before this bench in the form of criminal appeal against the final judgment and order of the Kerala High Court. In the facts of the case, the appellant who was convicted and sentenced under the provisions of the Abkari Act moved to the High Court, in an appeal to challenge the decision of his conviction and sentence, however, the High Court of Kerala after considering the decision, held to confirm the conviction of the appellant for the offence under section 55 (a) of the Abkari Act, and thereby dismissed his appeal. However, the High Court in its impugned order decided the reduction of sentence of rigorous imprisonment for a period of 5 years to rigorous imprisonment for the period of 3 years. Moreover, the High Court also reduced his fine from 5 lakh rupees to 1 lakh rupees, with a default clause of 6 six month’s simple imprisonment. Thus, the appellant took the matter before this bench of Supreme Court, and this bench after hearing the counsels and having gone through the records, etc. observed that the confirmation of conviction sentence by the High Court was correct as there was from initial stage, when the appellant’s car was searched and recovered 450 litres of spirit which was examined and found to be 80.70 % by volume of Ethyl Alcohol. Moreover, court further observed that the prosecution had proved all other necessary ingredients. However, the bench sought to analyse the challenge of appellant par with High Court’s decision. It was high Court which had reduced his period of jail sentence, after pointing the fact of appellant’s not having criminal antecedents. Now the bench has considered the said ground which the High Court had followed, and also considered that fact that appellant had faced agony of criminal trial and pendency of appeal for more than fifteen years. Thus, the bench has decided to reduce the period of imprisonment from 3 years to rigorous imprisonment of 2 years. Moreover, the bench sought not to interfere in the amount of fine decided by the High court.
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