enhancement of sentence=the victim has sustained a grievous injury on a vital portion of the body, i.e. the head, which was fractured. The doctor has opined that the injury was life threatening. Hence, in our considered opinion, the High Court was too lenient in imposing the sentence of six days only which was the period already undergone by the accused in confinement. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. The accused (respondent herein) is imposed with a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand) for the offences under Section 325, IPC. In case of default of payment of fine, the accused shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. In case the fine is deposited by the convicted accused, the same shall be disbursed in favour of the injured PW2, viz. Kapurchand as compensation. The accused/respondent be taken into custody forthwith to serve out the sentence. However, he is entitled to the benefit of set-off of the period already

1

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 959 OF 2018

(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 3509 of 2016

The State of Rajasthan ..Appellant

Versus

Mohan Lal & Another ..Respondents

J U D G M E N T

MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR, J.

Leave granted.

2. Judgment dated 25.05.2015 passed by the High Court of

Judicature at Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench in Appeal No.215 of

1992 is questioned in this appeal by the State with the

prayer for enhancement of sentence. By the impugned

judgment, the High Court has confirmed the judgment and

order of conviction passed by the Sessions Court,

Sambharlake in Sessions Case No.14/1992 for the offences

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under Sections 325 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),

but has reduced the sentence from 3 years’ rigorous

imprisonment and fine of Rs.1000/- for the offences under

Section 325, IPC and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and

fine of Rs. 250/- under Section 323, IPC to the period

already undergone.

3. The accused (respondent herein) was charged with and tried

for the offences punishable under Sections 307, 326, 447,

323 and 341, IPC. The learned Additional Sessions Judge,

Sambharlake, by the judgment dated 19.05.1992 in

Sessions Case No. 14/1992 convicted the accused for the

offences punishable under Sections 325 and 323, IPC. The

Sessions Court imposed a sentence of 3 years’ rigorous

imprisonment and fine of Rs.1000/- for the offences under

Section 325, IPC; and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and

fine of Rs. 250/- was imposed for the offence under Section

323, IPC. On appeal by the convicted accused, the High

Court of Judicature at Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench confirmed

the judgment of conviction but reduced the sentence to the

period of imprisonment already undergone by the accused.

By then, the accused had undergone 6 days’ imprisonment

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only. Being aggrieved by the meagre sentence, the State is

before us as an appellant praying for enhancement of

sentence.

4. The case of the prosecution in brief is that due to old enmity

relating to a land dispute, one Kapurchand was assaulted

by the accused; one Phoolchand who intervened in the fight

also sustained an injury because of the assault by the

accused. As mentioned supra, the accused was tried for the

offences under Sections 307 and 326, IPC apart from other

offences, but was convicted for the offences under Sections

325 and 323, IPC.

5. During the course of the trial, the informant (PW1), the

injured Kapurchand (PW2) and the second injured

Phoolchand (PW5) were examined, apart from other

witnesses, including the doctor who treated the injured. The

trial court has found the evidence of PWs 1, 2 and 5

consistent, cogent, reliable and trustworthy and proceeded

to convict the accused. The doctor fully supported the case

of the prosecution. The medical records, including the

evidence of the Doctor, conclusively prove that injury no.1

sustained by PW2-Kapurchand was a grievous injury, in as

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much as Kapurchand sustained a fracture of the right

parietal bone.

6. It is clear from the judgment of the High Court that though

the accused had filed an appeal questioning his conviction

and sentence before the High Court, during the course of

arguments he did not press the appeal filed against the

judgment of conviction, praying only for reduction of

sentence. The High Court decided the Criminal Appeal

accepting such request, and reduced the sentence to the

period already undergone. However, as a matter of fact, as

mentioned supra, the accused had, by then, been in

confinement only for 6 days.

7. Since the accused has not filed further appeal and as this

appeal has been filed by the State praying for enhancement

of sentence, we have decided this appeal confining ourselves

to the sentence to be imposed.

8. The Medical Officer of the authorized Primary Health

Centre, Kishangarh Renwal, examined the injuries

sustained by the two injured, viz. Kapurchand and

Phoolchand. While Phoolchand had sustained only one

injury of a simple nature, which was inflicted by a blunt

object, Kapurchand had sustained two injuries, out of

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which one was simple and the other was serious. Therefore,

Kapurchand was advised to undergo an X-ray. The X-ray

report (Exhibit-P4) revealed that his right parietal bone was

fractured. The medical report (Exhibit-P1) discloses the

injury no.1 as grievous in nature. The Medical Officer has

given his opinion in Exhibit-P5 that the injury no.1 was

life-threatening.

9. The High Court simply brushed aside the aforementioned

material facts and sentenced the accused to the period

already undergone by him, which is only 6 days in this case.

In our view, the Trial Court and the High Court have taken

a lenient view by convicting the accused for offences under

Sections 325 and 323, IPC. Absolutely no reasons, much

less valid reasons, are assigned by the High Court to impose

the meagre sentence of 6 days. Such imposition of sentence

by the High Court shocks the judicial conscience of this

Court.

10.Currently, India does not have structured sentencing

guidelines that have been issued either by the legislature or

the judiciary. However, the Courts have framed certain

guidelines in the matter of imposition of sentence. A Judge

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has wide discretion in awarding the sentence within the

statutory limits. Since in many offences only the maximum

punishment is prescribed and for some offences the

minimum punishment is prescribed, each Judge exercises

his discretion accordingly. There cannot, therefore, be any

uniformity. However, this Court has repeatedly held that

the Courts will have to take into account certain principles

while exercising their discretion in sentencing, such as

proportionality, deterrence and rehabilitation. In a

proportionality analysis, it is necessary to assess the

seriousness of an offence in order to determine the

commensurate punishment for the offender. The

seriousness of an offence depends, apart from other things,

also upon its harmfulness.

11.This Court in the case of Soman Vs. State of Kerala

[(2013) 11 SCC 382] observed thus:

“27.1. Courts ought to base sentencing

decisions on various different rationales – most

prominent amongst which would be

proportionality and deterrence.

27.2. The question of consequences of criminal

action can be relevant from both a

proportionality and deterrence standpoint.

27.3. Insofar as proportionality is concerned,

the sentence must be commensurate with the

seriousness or gravity of the offence.

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27.4. One of the factors relevant for judging

seriousness of the offence is the consequences

resulting from it.

27.5. Unintended consequences/harm may

still be properly attributed to the offender if

they were reasonably foreseeable. In case of

illicit and underground manufacture of liquor,

the chances of toxicity are so high that not only

its manufacturer but the distributor and the

retail vendor would know its likely risks to the

consumer. Hence, even though any harm to

the consumer might not be directly intended,

some aggravated culpability must attach if the

consumer suffers some grievous hurt or dies as

result of consuming the spurious liquor.”

12.The same is the verdict of this Court in Alister Anthony

Pareira Vs. State of Maharashtra [(2012) 2 SCC 648]

wherein it is observed thus:

“84. Sentencing is an important task in the

matters of crime. One of the prime objectives of

the criminal law is imposition of appropriate,

adequate, just and proportionate sentence

commensurate with the nature and gravity of

crime and the manner in which the crime is

done. There is no straitjacket formula for

sentencing an accused on proof of crime. The

courts have evolved certain principles: the twin

objective of the sentencing policy is deterrence

and correction. What sentence would meet the

ends of justice depends on the facts and

circumstances of each case and the court must

keep in mind the gravity of the crime, motive

for the crime, nature of the offence and all

other attendant circumstances.”

13.From the aforementioned observations, it is clear that the

principle governing the imposition of punishment will

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depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

However, the sentence should be appropriate, adequate,

just, proportionate and commensurate with the nature and

gravity of the crime and the manner in which the crime is

committed. The gravity of the crime, motive for the crime,

nature of the crime and all other attending circumstances

have to be borne in mind while imposing the sentence. The

Court cannot afford to be casual while imposing the

sentence, inasmuch as both the crime and the criminal are

equally important in the sentencing process. The Courts

must see that the public does not lose confidence in the

judicial system. Imposing inadequate sentences will do more

harm to the justice system and may lead to a state where

the victim loses confidence in the judicial system and

resorts to private vengeance.

14.In the matter at hand, it is proved that the victim has

sustained a grievous injury on a vital portion of the body,

i.e. the head, which was fractured. The doctor has opined

that the injury was life threatening. Hence, in our

considered opinion, the High Court was too lenient in

9

imposing the sentence of six days only which was the period

already undergone by the accused in confinement.

15.Having regard to the totality of the facts and circumstances,

and as it is brought to our notice that the parties have

forgotten their differences and are living peacefully since 25

years, we impose a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous

imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty

Five Thousand) against the accused. While doing so, we

have taken into consideration the aggravating as well as

mitigating factors under the facts of this case.

16.Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. The accused (respondent

herein) is imposed with a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous

imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty

Five Thousand) for the offences under Section 325, IPC. In

case of default of payment of fine, the accused shall undergo

further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. In case the

fine is deposited by the convicted accused, the same shall

be disbursed in favour of the injured PW2, viz. Kapurchand

as compensation. The accused/respondent be taken into

custody forthwith to serve out the sentence. However, he is

entitled to the benefit of set-off of the period already

10

undergone in confinement by him. The judgment of the High

Court is modified accordingly.

………………………………………….J.

(N. V. RAMANA)

………………………………………….J.

(MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR)

New Delhi;

August 01, 2018.