G.T. Nanavati, J.
1. The petitioner is at present undergoing sentence at Sabarmati Central Prison, Ahmedabad. He has been convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 147,148,149,324 and 326 read with Section 149, Penal Code. For the offence punishable under Sections 147 and 148, Penal Code, he has been sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and two years respectively. For the offence punishable under Section 324 he has been sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year' and for the offences punishable under Sections 326 and 149, Penal Code, he is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five years each. All the substantive sentences have been ordered to run concurrently.
2. On Mar. 6,1984, the Home Department of the State of Gujarat issued a general order in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 432, Criminal P.C whereby remissions have been granted to certain categories of prisoners who have been sentenced in the State of Gujarat. As per the said Order, the prisoners with sentence above 4 years but up to 6 years are granted remission of 40 days; and the prisoners with sentence above 10 years are granted remission of 75 days. The case of the petitioner is that if all the sentences awarded to him are taken into consideration, then it can be said that he has been sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 14 years; and in that case, he is entitled to a remission of 75 days. It is also his case that in view of other remissions which he has earned so far, he ought to have been released on 23-11-1984. The respondents by not granting him full remission of 75 days have acted illegally; and, therefore, this Court by issuing a writ of mandamus should direct them to grant full remission of 75 days and to release him from jail forthwith.
3. The statements made in the petition with respect to the remissions earned by the petitioner are denied by the respondents. But really we are not concerned with those denials; and, therefore, we do not think it necessary to refer to them. Only question which arises for our consideration is whether the petitioner is entitled to a remission of 75 days or 40 days only. Relevant part of the aforesaid Order of the State Government reads as under:
Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 432 of Cri P.C., 1973 (Act No. 2 of 1974) (hereinafter referred to as 'The said Code') the Government of Gujarat hereby remits the punishment in the scale shown against each of the categories of prisoners specified below:Category Scale of remission.1. Prisoners with sentence up to 6 months.7 days.2. Prisoners with sentence above 6 months up to 1 year 15 days.3. Prisoners with sentence above 1 year up to 2 years 20 days.4. Prisoners with sentence above 2 years up to 4 years 30 days.5. Prisoners with sentence above 4 years up to 6 years 40 days.6. Prisoners with sentence above 6 years up to 8 years50 days.7. Prisoners with sentence above 8 years up to 10 years. 60 days.8. Prisoners with sentence above 10 years.75 days.
The purpose of the order is to grant remissions in the punishment. It is in this context that we have to interprete the expression 'prisoners with sentence above...up to....' What is urged on behalf of the petitioner is that in the present order, the Government has nowhere indicated that only the effective sentence should be taken into consideration and not the total punishment awarded to a prisoner. On the other hand, it is urged by the learned Additional Public Prosecutor that the scale of remission must be worked out with reference to the effective sentence or the actual period for which the prisoner has to remain in jail. He submitted that the petitioner has to undergo imprisonment for five years only; and, therefore, remission to which he is entitled according to the said order must be worked out on that basis only. In our opinion, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor appears to be right in his submission. Having regard to the object with which the order has been issued by the State Government and the language employed in the said order, it is not possible to say that the Government intended that total period of imprisonment awarded to a prisoner should be taken into account even though one or more sentences are ordered to run concurrently. If the said order is interpreted otherwise, it will lead to an unjust result. If the interpretation suggested by the learned advocate for the petitioner is accepted, it would mean that a prisoner who is sentenced to suffer imprisonment for ten years or more for only one offence will get remission of 75 days. So also, a prisoner who has been sentenced to suffer imprisonment for more than one offences and if the total period of imprisonment awarded to him comes to ten years, then he would also be entitled to a remission of 75 days, although because of the direction that substantive sentences should run concurrently, he will have to remain in jail for less than ten years. To take a concrete example, if a prisoner is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five years for one offence and 7 years for another offence, then according to the learned advocate for the petitioner, he will be entitled to remission of 75 days even though because of the direction of the Court that both the sentences should run concurrently, he will have to remain in jail only for a period of seven years. Such an interpretation would give an undue advantage to the prisoners who have committed more than one offences and who have to remain in jail for a shorter duration than a person who (has) committed only one offence but has been sentenced to a longer imprisonment. That could not have been the intention of the Government while issuing the said order. It is, therefore, not possible for us to accept the contention raised on behalf of the petitioner.
4. This being the only contention raised on behalf of the petitioner and as we do not find any substance therein, this petition fails and is dismissed. Rule is discharged with no order as to costs.