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Daulat Singh Vs. the State of Himachal Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1981CriLJ1347
AppellantDaulat Singh
RespondentThe State of Himachal Pradesh
Excerpt:
- .....j.1. the appellant shri daulat singh who is a young boy of 20 years has been convicted by the chief judicial magistrate kinnaur at kalpa under sections 380/457 read with section 75 of the indian penal code and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 5 years and to pay a fine of rs. 1,000/- on each count. the chief judicial magistrate has further directed that in default of payment of fine the appellant shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 6 months in each case and that both the sentences shall run consecutively. in other words the substantive sentence imposed on the appellant is rigorous imprisonment for 10 years with further rigrous imprisonment of 1 year in case of default of payment of fine.2. the appellant admitted the prosecution case and pleaded guilty to the.....
Judgment:

T.R. Handa, J.

1. The appellant Shri Daulat Singh who is a young boy of 20 years has been convicted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Kinnaur at Kalpa under Sections 380/457 read with Section 75 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 5 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/- on each count. The Chief Judicial Magistrate has further directed that in default of payment of fine the appellant shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 6 months in each case and that both the sentences shall run consecutively. In other words the substantive sentence imposed on the appellant is rigorous imprisonment for 10 years with further rigrous imprisonment of 1 year in case of default of payment of fine.

2. The appellant admitted the prosecution case and pleaded guilty to the charges under Sections 380/457 as well as to the charge under Section 75 I.P.C. since the conviction of the appellant was recorded on his own plea of guilt, the only question in this case is as to the propriety of the sentence imposed upon him by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate and in fact this appeal was admitted on this limited point.

3. That record shows that the appellant was convicted for the first time on 9-4-1979 for an offence under Section 380, I.P.C, the value of the subject matter of theft in that case being only Rs. 100/-. He was then released under Section 4(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act. Second time he was convicted on 19-12-1979 for the offences under Sections 380/454 I.P.C. and released after admonition under Section 3 of the Probation of Offenders Act. This time again the value of the stolen property was only Rs, 111.30 parse. Each time he was convicted on his own confession, Both the previous offences for which the appellant was convicted were thus of a petty nature.

4. The allegations on the basis of which the present conviction was recorded against the appellant are that on the night intervening 4th & 5th November, 1980 he committed lurking house-trespass and house breaking by night by entering into the Kuthar (a building) at Sangla, used for custody of property and after entering there into he committed theft of silver ornaments weighing 100 tolas and currency notes of the value of Rs. 190/-. The alleged stolen ornaments, however, do not appear to have been recovered though a sum of Rs, 2200/- in cash was recovered from the person of the appellant during the course of investigation. The appellant, however, as already stated pleaded guilty to the charges framed against him and pleaded for mercy on the assurance that he would not repeat such offences in future.

5. It is in the light of the aforesaid circumstances and the history of the appellant that we have to see if the sentence imposed on the appellant by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate is justified. At the very' outset I feel no hesitation in remarking that the sentence imposed on the appellant is far out of proportion to the merits of the case. The main object of inflicting punishment for offences of this type is twofold. (1) to deter the offender from repeating the offence and to reform him. Deterrent punishment is to be inflicted as a last resort and even while resorting to this kind of punishment it must be kept in view that the sentence should in no case be more harsh than is necessary to deter the offender from repeating the offence. The question as to what particular sentence or punishment shall have the requisite deterrent effect on the offender would depend upon the peculiar facts of each case. The age and antecedents of the offender, the unbar of previous convictions earned by him as also the interval during which the same Were earned, the nature and gravity of the offence for which the punishment is to be awarded and the circumstances in which the same was committed are some of the factors which need be taken into consideration while determining the quantum of punishment. Simply because the provisory of Section 75 of the Indian Penal Code are attracted in a particular case, is no ground for inflicting the extreme punishment provided in that section. The provisions; of this section are only per-mjssive and. not obligatory. They do conifer jurisdiction on the Courts to inflict enhanced punishment but then that jurisdiction, is to be exercised in a indicia mariner after taking into consideration the circumstances and the factors narrated above.

6. In the instant case, it is true that efforts made on two earlier occasions to reform the appellant yielded no result. if, therefore, the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate considered the advisability of inflicting a deterrent punishment on the appellant, no exception can be taken to his view. The question, however, is whether any lesser punishment could have achieved the same objective that is, of deterring the appellant from repealing the offence. Keeping in view the tire circumstances of this case I am of the positive opinion that a sentence of rigrous imprisonment of three years Would more than meet the aforesaid objective of deterring the appellant as also the ends of justice.

7. The sentence of imprisonment imposed by the Magistrate on the appellant is accordingly reduced to rigorous imprisonment for three years on each count and the sentence of fine is set aside. Both the sentences shall run concurrently.


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