10 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Ravada Sasikala v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors.

MANU/SC/0207/2017

27.02.2017

Criminal

Social interest and conscience of the society is to be kept in mind while exercising the discretion pertaining to awarding of sentence

In present case, on basis of statement of injured, an FIR under Sections 448 and 307 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) was registered at police station. Accused abjured his guilt and expressed his desire to face the trial. Assistant Sessions Judge, held him guilty under Section 326 and 448 of IPC. At the time of hearing of sentence under Section 235(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. PC), convict pleaded for mercy. Trial Judge sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and directed to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- with a default clause under Section 326 of IPC and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- for offence under Section 448 of IPC with a default clause.

State preferred Criminal Appeal before High Court for enhancement of sentence. Being aggrieved by the judgment of conviction and order of sentence, Accused-Respondent had preferred Criminal Appeal before Sessions Judge, which was later on transferred to the High Court. While dealing with the quantum of sentence, the learned Judge opined that, sentence of imprisonment imposed by trial Court for offence under Section 326 of IPC is modified to the period which Accused has already undergone, while maintaining the sentence of fine for both the offences.

It has been established beyond a trace of doubt by ocular testimony and the medical evidence that some part of her body was disfigured and the disfiguration is due to the acid attack. Conviction under Section 326 of IPC stands established.

In State of Punjab v. Bawa Singh, this Court, after referring to the decisions in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bablu  and State of Madhya Pradesh v. Surendra Singh, reiterated the settled proposition of law that one of the prime objectives of criminal law is the imposition of adequate, just, proportionate punishment which is commensurate with the nature of crime regard being had to the manner in which the offence is committed. It has been further held that one should keep in mind the social interest and conscience of the society while considering the determinative factor of sentence with gravity of crime. The punishment should not be so lenient that it would shock the conscience of the society. Emphasis was laid on the solemn duty of the court to strike a proper balance while awarding the sentence as imposition of lesser sentence encourages a criminal and resultantly the society suffers.

In B.G. Goswami v. Delhi Administration, Court while delving into the issue of punishment had observed that punishment is designed to protect society by deterring potential offenders as also by preventing the guilty party from repeating the offence; it is also designed to reform the offender and reclaim him as a law abiding citizen for the good of the society as a whole. Reformatory, deterrent and punitive aspects of punishment thus play their due part in judicial thinking while determining the question of awarding appropriate sentence. Purpose of referring to precedents is that they are to be kept in mind and adequately weighed while exercising the discretion pertaining to awarding of sentence. Protection of society on the one hand and the reformation of an individual are the facets to be kept in view.

When there is medical evidence that there was an acid attack on the young girl and the circumstances having brought home by cogent evidence and the conviction is given stamp of approval, there was no justification to reduce the sentence to the period already undergone. Supreme Court set aside the sentence imposed by the High Court and restore that of the trial court. Accused-Respondent No. 2 is directed to pay a compensation of Rs. 50,000/- and State to pay a compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs.

Relevant

State of Punjab v. Bawa Singh : (2015) 3 SCC 441; MANU/SC/0039/2015
, State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bablu: (2014) 9 SCC 281; MANU/SC/0752/2014
and State of Madhya Pradesh v. Surendra Singh: (2015) 1 SCC 222; MANU/SC/1030/2014
  B.G. Goswami v. Delhi Administration: (1974) 3 SCC 85; MANU/SC/0081/1973

Tags : Conviction Sentence Quantum

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