HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
Court No. – 34
Case :- CRIMINAL REVISION No. – 1621 of 1995
Revisionist :- Bhikam Singh And Others
Opposite Party :- State of U.P.
Counsel for Revisionist :- A.K. Singh
Counsel for Opposite Party :- Govt. Advocate
Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal,J.
1. Heard Sri A.K. Singh, learned counsel for revisionists, learned A.G.A. for State and perused the record.
2. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Etah vide letter dated 23.10.2019 after making inquiry as per this Court’s circular dated 18.01.2017 has informed that Revisionist-2 has died about 4-5 years ago and Revisionist-4 died about 18 years ago. This revision, therefore, has abated qua aforesaid revisionists and is only surviving for Revisionists-1 and 3.
3. This criminal revision under Section 397/Section401 Cr.P.C., has been filed aggrieved by judgment and order dated 07.12.1995 passed by Smt. Sadhna Chaudhary, IVth Additional Sessions Judge, Etah, dismissing appeal and affirming judgement and order dated 27.06.1994 passed by Sri Kishor Kumar, IInd Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Etah, in Case No. 966 of 1991, convicting revisionists- 1 and 3 under Sections 498A and Section506 IPC and sentence to undergo three years rigorours imprisonment with fine of Rs. 2000/- to each accused for Section 498-A IPC and four years rigorous imprisonment with fine Rs. 2000/- to each accused for Section 506 IPC and in case of default of payment of fine, they shall further suffer six and eight months simple imprisonment to each accused for offence Sections 498-A and Section506 IPC. Being aggrieved, revisionists preferred present revision.
4. It is contended by learned counsel for revisionists that initially a non-cognizable report was lodged but thereafter complainant i.e. father of victim sent a letter to Superintendent of Police, Etah which is Ex.Ka-1 whereupon explanation of in-charge of Police Station concerned was called for and then report under Section 498-A, Section323, Section506 IPC was registered. Revisionists were tried and after considering the evidence of prosecution who adduced three witnesses, Trial Court found offence under Sections 498-A, Section323, Section504, Section506(2) IPC proved. He further contended that this is an old matter and accused-revisionists-1 and 3 are now attained advanced age, therefore, sentence of imprisonment awarded to them be reduced to the period already undergone.
5. However, I find no substance in the submission. Whether this Court as a rule of thumb should reduce sentence where offence committed by accused persons is fully proved by evidence, only on the ground of pendency of case in Court for a long time, is the only moot question need be considered in this revision.
6. A criminal offence is considered as a wrong against the State, and, society in particular, even though it is committed against individual(s). This Court in State of U.P. Vs. Babu and others 2007(9) ADJ, 107 (DB) has said:
“The duty of the Court of law is heavy in the sense that it should ensure that no innocent should be punished but simultaneously it is also under an obligation to see that no guilty person should escape from the clutches of law by taking advantage of so-called technicalities as this will not only lead to further serious threats to the entire society but may also shake the confidence of public at large in the system of dispensation of justice. Our experience has shown that exonerating a guilty person due to any reason whatsoever has caused more damage to the society since it has multiplied the occurrence of crime as well as has also produced more criminals attracting them to commit crime since easy acquittal has resulted in encouraging them to break law with impunity. It will be useful to remind with the words of caution as observed by the Hon’ble Apex Court (Krishna Ayer J.) in Shiva Ji Sahabrao Bobade (supra) emphasizing to keep balance between the individual liberty and evil of acquitting guilty persons. The Court observed that we should remind ourselves of necessary social perspective in criminal cases which suffers from insufficient forensic appreciation. The dangers of exaggerated devotion to the rule of benefit of doubt at the expense of social defence and to the soothing sentiment that all acquittals are always good regardless of justice to the victim and the community, demand special emphasis in the contemporary context of escalating crime and escape. The Courts having duty of judicial review owe the public accountability of such system. The golden thread of proof beyond reasonable doubt should not be stretched morbidly to embrace every hunch, hesitancy and degree of doubt. The excessive solicitude reflected in the attitude that a thousand guilty men may go but one innocent martyr shall not suffer is a false dilemma. Only reasonable doubts belong to the accused. Otherwise any practical system of justice will then break down and lose credibility with the community. The evil of acquitting a guilty person light-heartedly goes much beyond the simple fact that just one guilty person has gone unpunished. If unmerited acquittals become general, they tend to lead to a cynical disregard of the law, and this in turn leads to a public demand for harsher legal presumption against indicted persons and more severe punishment of those who are found guilty. Too frequent acquittals of the guilty may lead to a ferocious penal law, eventually eroding the judicial protection of the guiltless. Miscarriage of justice may arise from the acquittal of the guilty no less than from the conviction of innocent.”
7. The above observations were made on the question of conviction but, in my view, once the prosecution has succeeded to prove its case and conviction is upheld by all the Courts, if its consequence is allowed to be diluted by modifying punishment to the extent of having no consequence merely on the ground of time consumed in legal remedy, whatsoever, it would make a mockery of entire criminal system of justice since the victim and his family i.e. the real suffers as also the society has no control over such proceedings and delay occurred therein.
8. Commenting upon the sentencing policy, in State of U.P. Vs. Sanjay Kumar 2012 (8) SCC 537, the Court said that punishments should reflect the gravity of offence and also the criminal background of convict. The graver the offence and longer the criminal record, more severe is the punishment to be awarded. By laying emphasis on individualised justice, and shaping the result of crime to the circumstances of offender and needs of victim and community, restorative justice eschews uniformity of sentencing. In para 21 of the judgment, the Court further said:
“Undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the public system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and society could not long endure under serious threats”
9. The Court further said that it is the duty of Courts to award proper sentence, having regard to the nature of offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed, etc. The Courts should impose a punishment befitting the crime so that Courts are able to accurately reflect public abhorrence of the crime. It is the nature and gravity of crime, and not the criminal, which are germane for consideration of appropriate punishment in a criminal trial. Imposition of sentence without considering its effect on social order in many cases may be in reality, a futile exercise.
10. In Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik Vs. State of Maharashtra AIR 2012 SC 1377, Court said:
“Every punishment imposed is bound to have its effect not only on the accused alone, but also on the society as a whole.”
11. In Hazara Singh Vs. Raj Kumar and others (2013) 9 SCC 516, the Court referred to its earlier decision in Shailesh Jasvantbhai and another Vs. State of Gujarat and others (2006) 2 SCC 359 and quoted with approval the following passage:
“… undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and society could not long endure under such serious threats. It is, therefore, the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed etc.”
12. In Ahmed Hussein Vali Mohammed Saiyed and Anr. Vs. State of Gujarat 2009 (7) SCC 254, Court said:
“99. The object of awarding appropriate sentence should be to protect the society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object to law by imposing appropriate sentence. It is expected that the courts would operate the sentencing system so as to impose such sentence, which reflects the conscience of the society and the sentencing process has to be stern where it should be. ….
100. Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime. The court must not only keep in view the rights of the victim of the crime and the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment. The court will be failing in its duty if appropriate punishment is not awarded for a crime which has been committed not only against the individual victim but also against the society to which both the criminal and the victim belong.”
13. In Hazara Singh Vs. Raj Kumar and others (supra), Court in para 17 also said:
“We also reiterate that undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law. It is the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed. The Court must not only keep in view the rights of the victim of the crime but also the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment.”
14. In the matter of awarding punishment multiple factors have to be considered by this Court. Law regulates social interests, arbitrates conflicting claims and demands. Security of individuals as well as property of individuals is one of the essential functions of the State. The administration of criminal law justice is a mode to achieve this goal. The inherent cardinal principle of criminal administration of justice is that the punishment imposed on an offender should be adequate so as to serve the purpose of deterrence as well as reformation. It should reflect the crime, the offender has committed and should be proportionate to the gravity of offence. Sentencing process should be stern so as to give a message to the offender as well as the person like him, roaming free in the society, not to indulge in criminal activities but also to give a message to society that an offence if committed, would not go unpunished. The offender should be suitably punished so that society also get a message that if something wrong has been done, one will have to pay for it in proper manner, irrespective of time lag.
15. Further sentencing process should be stern but tampered with mercy where-ever it is so warranted. How and in what manner element of leniency shall prevail, will depend upon multifarious reasons including the facts and circumstances of individual case, nature of crime, the matter in which it was committed, whether preplanned or otherwise, the motive, conduct, nature of weapon used etc. But one cannot lose sight of the fact that undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to justice system as it is bound to undermine public confidence in the efficacy of law. The society cannot long endure such serious threats. It is duty of court to give adequate, proper and suitable sentence, having regard to various aspects, some of which, are noticed above.
16. In Ahmed Hussein Vali Mohammed Saiyed and another Vs. State of Gujrat (supra), Court confirmed that:
“any liberal attitude by imposing meager sentences or taking too sympathetic view merely on account of lapse of time in respect of such offences will be result-wise counter productive in the long run and against the interest of society which needs to be cared for and strengthened by string of deterrence inbuilt in the sentencing system”.
17. In Jameel Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2010 (12) SCC 532, Court held that:
“It is the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed. The sentencing courts are expected to consider all relevant facts and circumstances bearing on the question of sentence and proceed to impose a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the offence.”
18. In Guru Basavaraj @ Benne Settapa Vs. State of Karnataka, 2012 (8) SCC 734, the Court said that:
“The cry of the collective for justice, which includes adequate punishment cannot be lightly ignored.”
19. In Gopal Singh Vs. State of Uttarakhand, 2013 (3) JT 444, Court said that:
“Just punishment is the collective cry of the society. While the collective cry has to be kept uppermost in the mind, simultaneously the principle of proportionality between the crime and punishment cannot be totally brushed aside. The principle of just punishment is the bedrock of sentencing in respect of a criminal offence”
20. The revisionists have not shown that punishment, awarded by Courts below, is unjust, arbitrary or otherwise illegal. However, what he is trying is to take advantage of delay in Court. His endeavour is that the act of Court should come to his rescue inasmuch as it is this Court which has taken two decades and more in taking up this revision and this should come to his rescue for making reduction in punishment drastically though otherwise what has been done by court below cannot be said per-se illegal, unjust or improper.
21. It is well settled that the act of Court prejudices none. The failure of this Court in taking up these matters within a reasonable time should not become a hand tool to the offenders, like present one to claim reduction in punishment as a matter of right, ignoring the fact that society requires that an offender should be punished adequately, and, over the above, the victims, who has/have suffered, is waiting in its/their own rights for having offender punished suitably, even if the system of justice takes a long time. The delay in Courts cannot become a factor to convert an accused, a victim, ignoring all the rights of actual victim, who has suffered, his family and the society in general. Moreover, when finding of guilt and punishment imposed by court below is not found erroneous in any manner. I am of the view that such an order of Courts below cannot/shall and must not be interfered in exercise of revisional jurisdiction of this Court.
22. In the result, I have no hesitation in holding that this revision lacks merit. Dismissed.
23. Interim order, if any, stands vacated.
24. Certify this judgment to the lower Court immediately.
Order Date :- 15.11.2019