B.N. Sarma, J.
1. This is an application under Sections 435/561-A read with Section 397 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, for an order directing that the sentences imposed upon the petitioner in five cases be made to run concurrently.
2. The petitioner, who was the Pay Naik of 'D' Coy. 1st Bn. Manipur Rifles, was tried and convicted in five separate cases, viz., F.I.R. Case Nos. 418(A) (8) 1967-IPS., 418(B)(8} 1967-IPS., 418(C) (8) 1967-IPS., 418(D) (8) 1967-IPS., and 418(E) (8) 1967-IPS., under Sections 420 and 465 I.P.C. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year and also to pay a fine of Rs. 100/- in default to rigorous imprisonment for one month under Section 420 I.P.C. and to rigorous imprisonment for six months under Section 465 I. P. C. the sentences to run concurrently.
3. The case against him was that he destroyed five postal savings bank pass books as well as the savings account files and registers relating to five employees of the Battalion after drawal of approximately Rs. 7,588.44 P. by forging the withdrawal forms. All the five cases were tried by the same Magistrate, namely. Shri Y. Ibotombi Singh, Judicial Magistrate (I) of Manipur, and the judgments were delivered on the same day, that is, on 31.7.1970. There was however no order under Section 397 Cr.P.C. directing that the sentences will run concurrently. The petitioner did not prefer any appeal against the judgment and order of the Magistrate in any of the cases. On 17.2.1972 the present petition was filed by the petitioner from jail for an order directing the sentences to run concurrently. The State has opposed this petition.
4. The Power under Section 397 Cr.P.C. is normally to be exercised by the Court convicting and sentencing a person in a subsequent trial while such person is undergoing a sentence awarded in a previous case. It is also a settled law that this power can be exercised by the appellate Court hearing the appeal1 against the conviction and sentence in the subsequent case. The High Court in exercising its revisional jurisdiction under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can exercise any powers conferred on a Court of Appeal by Section 423 Cr.P.C. and as such it is competent, in my opinion, to pass an order under Section 397 Cr.P.C. by way of making an amendment or consequential, or incidental order that may be just and proper as provided in Clause (d) of Section 423 Cr.P.C.
5. In the present case, as I have already pointed out, the petitioner did not prefer any appeal against his conviction and sentence in any of the cases, although the sentences were appealable. That being so, I am afraid, Sub-section (5) of Section 439 Cr.P.C is a bar to treat the petition as a revision petition under Sections 435/439 Cr.P.C. Under the circumstances, the stage for passing an order under Section 397 Cr.P.C. has passed, in my opinion.
6. Shri Benoy Singh, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, has not challenged this legal position. His contention is that the High Court has wide powers under Section 561-A Cr.P.C., in such a case, to pass an order directing the sentence to run concurrently, to secure the ends of justice. In support of this contention he relied on the decisions in Baijnath Kurmi v. State : AIR1961Pat138 Venkanna v. State of Andhra Pradesh : AIR1964AP449 and Jainta Kumar Banerjee v. State. : AIR1955Cal632 . In all these cases it was held that the High Court can exercise its inherent powers under Section 561-A to secure the ends of justice and direct the subsequent sentences to run concurrently with the previous sentence.
7. Shri Th. Munindrakumar Singh the learned Assistant Public Prosecutor, appearing for the State, did not challenge the inherent power of the High Court under Section 561-A Cr.P.C. to pass such an order in appropriate cases, to secure the ends of justice. His only contention was that this extra-ordinary power of the High Court should be exercised very sparingly and only when the Court feels that the ends of justice requires it and not in a routine manner. The nature and gravity of the offences in the present case it was submitted by him, are such that the sentences awarded by the Magistrate, even if run consecutively cannot be said to be severe to admit of any interference by this Court in exercise of its inherent powers.
8. I find that there is sufficient force in the above contention of the learned Assistant Public Prosecutor. The accused has been convicted under Sections 420 and 465 I.P.C. in five cases in respect of offences committed in relation to five different persons. In each of the cases he has been sentenced to rigorous Imprisonment for one year under Section 420 I.P.C. and to rigorous imprisonment for six months under Section 465 I.P.C. and the sentences were ordered to run Concurrently. Thus, in all the five cases he is to suffer an imprisonment for a total period of five years. An offence Under Section 420 I.P.C. alone is punishable with imprisonment of either description for seven years.
Considering the nature and the number of offences committed by the petitioner the sum total of the sentences Imposed on the petitioner cannot be said to be so severe as to admit of any interference by this Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction under Section 561-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, even If this Court has got the power to order such sentences to run concurrently in appropriate cases under the said section. The Assistant Public Prosecutor is perfectly right in his submission that the Inherent power of the High Court under Section 561-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure is to be exercised sparingly to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court, or to secure the ends of justice. In the present case, I do not think that there will be any miscarriage of justice if the sentences of the petitioner in the five cases are not directed to run concurrently.
9. In this view of the case, I find that there is no force in the petition which is accordingly dismissed. The rule is discharged.