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State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Ratan Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 246 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1976SC1552; 1976CriLJ1192; (1976)3SCC470; [1976]SuppSCR552
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 - Sections 401, 401(1), 401(2), 401(4-A), 402, 402(3) and 433; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 57, 302 and 401
AppellantState of Madhya Pradesh
RespondentRatan Singh and ors.
Appellant Advocate Ram Panjwani,; H.S. Parihar and; I.N. Shroff, Advs
Respondent Advocate O.P. Sharma, ; M.S. Dhillon and ; S.K. Mehta, Advs.
Prior historyAppeal by special leave from the Judgment and Order dated May 13, 1971 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Criminal Original No. 61-M of 1971
Excerpt:
.....- appellant contended that in law it was madhya pradesh government alone which had power to remit sentence and release prisoner and high court was in error in holding that punjab government could pass order of release - test to determine appropriate government is to locate state where accused was convicted and sentenced - government of that state would be appropriate government within meaning of section 401 to exercise discretion for remission of sentence under section 401 (1) - since prisoner in instant case was tried, convicted and sentenced in state of madhya pradesh therefore state of madhya pradesh would be appropriate government to exercise discretion for remission of sentence - held, view taken by high court erroneous and cannot be supported in law - therefore impugned..........term.if so, the next question is whether there is any provision of law whereunder a sentence for life imprisonment, without any formal remission by appropriate government, can be automatically treated as one for a definite period. no such provision is found in the indian penal code, crpc or the prisons act.a sentence of transportation for life or imprisonment for life must prima facie be treated as transportation or imprisonment for the whole of the remaining period of the convicted person's natural life.but the prisons act does not confer on any authority a power to commute or remit sentences; it provides only for the regulation of prisons and for the treatment of prisoners confined therein. section 59 of the prisons act confers a power on the state government to make rules, inter.....
Judgment:

S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, J. 302

State of Madhya Pradesh

401

402

401

State of Maharashtra end Ors.

Under that section, a person transported for life or any other term before the enactment of the said section would be treated as a person sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life or for the said term.

If so, the next question is whether there is any provision of law whereunder a sentence for life imprisonment, without any formal remission by appropriate Government, can be automatically treated as one for a definite period. No such provision is found in the Indian Penal Code, CrPC or the Prisons Act.

A sentence of transportation for life or imprisonment for life must prima facie be treated as transportation or imprisonment for the whole of the remaining period of the convicted person's natural life.

But the Prisons Act does not confer on any authority a power to commute or remit sentences; it provides only for the regulation of prisons and for the treatment of prisoners confined therein. Section 59 of the Prisons Act confers a power on the State Government to make rules, inter alia for rewards for good conduct. Therefore, the rules made under the Act should be construed within the scope of the ambit of the Act. * * * Under the said rules the orders of an appropriate Government under Section 401, Criminal Procedure Code, are a pre-requisite for a release. No other rule has been brought to our notice which confers an indefeasible right on a prisoner sentenced to transportation for life to an unconditional release on the expiry of a particular term including remissions. The rules under the Prisons Act do not substitute a lesser sentence for a sentence of transportation for life.

The question of remission is exclusively within the province of the appropriate Government; and in this case it is admitted that, though the appropriate Government made certain remissions under Section 401 of the CrPC, it did not remit the entire sentence. We, therefore, hold that the petitioner has not yet acquired any right to release.

401

57

401

401

401

401. (1) When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the appropriate Government may at any time, without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced.

(2) Whenever an application is made to the appropriate Government for the suspension or remission of a sentence, the appropriate Government, may require the presiding Judge of the Court before or by which the conviction vas had or confirmed to state his opinion as to whether the application should be granted or refused, together with his reasons for such opinion and also to forward with the statement of such opinion a certified copy of the record of the trial or of such record thereof as exists.

401

401

401

401

401

401

401

402

In this section and in Section 401, the expression 'appropriate Government' shall mean --

(a) in cases where the sentence is for an offence against, or the order referred to in Sub-section (4A) of Section 401 is passed under, any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends, the Central Government; and

(b) in other cases, the State Government.

401

402(3)

(7) In this section and in section 433, the expression 'appropriate Government' means,--

(a) in cases where the sentence is for an offence against, or the order referred to in Sub-section (6) is passed under, any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends, the Central Government;

(b) in other cases, the Government of the State within which the offender is sentenced or the said order is passed.

402(3)There is, however, nothing to indicate that for the purposes of remission and suspension of sentences under Section 401, Criminal Procedure Code, the Legislature intended to adopt a different definition of 'appropriate Government'. In short, under Section 401, Criminal Procedure Code, the Government of the State of conviction and not the Punjab Government was competent to remit the balance of the sentence of these life convicts. All that the Punjab Government could do was to forward the cases of these life-convicts to the appropriate Government for remitting the remaining term of their life imprisonment, in exercise of the power under Section 401, Criminal Procedure Code. The Punjab Government has already made such a reference in favour of the petitioners to the Governments of the States of conviction. Neither the Punjab Government nor the Superintendent of Jail concerned can release the prisoners under any of the statutory rules contained in Punjab Jail Manual without receiving the necessary orders of the appropriate Government under Section 401. Pending the receipt of orders of the appropriate Government, therefore, the detention of the petitioners could not by any reasoning, be called illegal.401

2

401(1)(1) that a sentence of imprisonment for life does not automatically expire at the end of 20 years including the remissions, because the administrative rules framed under the various Jail Manuals or under the Prisons Act cannot supersede the statutory provisions of the Indian Penal Code, A sentence of imprisonment for life means a sentence for the entire life of the prisoner unless the appropriate Government chooses to exercise its discretion to remit either the whole or a part of the sentence under Section 401 of the CrPC;

(2) that the appropriate Government has the undoubted discretion to remit or refuse to remit the sentence

and where it refuses to remit the sentence no writ can be issued directing the State Government to release the prisoner;

(3) that the appropriate Government which is empowered to grant remission under Section 401 of the CrPC is the Government of the State where the prisoner has been convicted and sentenced, that is to say, the transferor State and not the transferee State where the prisoner may have been transferred at his instance under the Transfer of Prisoners Act; and

(4) that where the transferee State feels that the accused has completed a period of 20 years it has merely to forward the request of the prisoner to the concerned State Government, that is to say, the Government of the State where the prisoner was convicted and sentenced and even if this request is rejected by the State Government the order of the Government cannot be interfered with by a High Court in its writ jurisdiction.


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