Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. allowed an application for release on probation filed by a convict suffering imprisonment for offence under Sections 411 and 482 IPC.

The appellant was alleged to have robbed a car by forcibly removing its keys and a sum of Rs 50,000 from the pocket of the complainant by threatening him with a pistol on his stomach. Based on the evidence adduced by the prosecution, the trial court convicted the appellant as mentioned above. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant preferred the present appeal. During the pendency of the appeal, an application under Section 360 CrPC and Section 4 of Probation of Offenders Act was filed.

The appellant who was represented by D.D. Pandey and Rohit Gupta, Advocates, submitted that he was the sole bread earner of the family; had the responsibility of six minor children, wife and aged parents. The High Court called the probation officer’s report. The report revealed that appellant was a responsible person with no legal history to except the present case.

The High Court relied upon Rattan Lal v. State of Punjab, AIR 1965 SC 444 wherein the Supreme Court discussed the philosophy behind grant of probation. Further reference was made to Sitaram Paswan v. State of Bihar, (2005) 13 SCC 110, observe, “Court has to consider the circumstances of the case, nature of offence and character of the offender while exercising the power which is discretionary. Powers under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act vest with the Court when any person is found guilty of the offence committed, not punishable with death or imprisonment for life. This power can be exercised by the Court even at the appellate or revisional stage.” In the present case, after considering the nature of the offence, the character of the offender and report of the probation officer, the court was of the view that this was a fit case to extend the benefit of Section to the appellant. Therefore, while confirming the conviction of the appellant, the Court directed him to be released on probation subject to the conditions imposed. The appeal was disposed of in terms above. [Dilshad Ahmad v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13081, dated 21-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Harsha Devani and A.S. Supehia, JJ. pronounced the order on quantum of sentence in the ‘Naroda Patiya Riot case’. The respondents who were earlier convicted for various offences of IPC were awarded 10 years imprisonment.

On a fateful day, as many as 93 persons were done to death by the unlawful assembly of which the respondents were a part. The High Court had already convicted the respondents in the case. The respondent-accused 24 moved an application seeking the benefit of the provisions of Probation of Offenders Act. On this point, the High Court noted that the respondents were convicted inter alia under Sections 326 and 436. Since the sections prescribe a punishment of life imprisonment, the Court relying on Jugal Kishore Prasad v. State of Bihar, (1972) 2 SCC 633, held that the benefit of Section 4 of Probation of Offenders Act was not available to the respondents.

Coming to the question of quantum of sentence to be awarded to the respondents, the Court referred to State of H.P. v. Nirmala Devi, (2017) 7 SCC 262, and observed that the punishment should be proportionate to the offence committed. While sentencing a person for a heinous crime, deterrence theory as a rationale for punishing the offender becomes more relevant. The Court considered the magnitude of destruction caused by the unlawful assembly; entire incident had serious communal overtones; properties of innocent victims were reduced to ashes. The offences committed were not against any individual but against the society at large. The Court was of the view that imposing too lenient a sentence would be a travesty of justice. Considering gravity of offence and agony of the victims, the Court awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for the offence under Section 436 IPC along with various sentences for other offences; sentences were directed to run concurrently. [Farzanabanu Ayubkhan Pathan v. Umeshbhai Surabhai Bharwad, 2018 SCC OnLine Guj 1194, decided on 25-06-2018]