Apex Court reduces sentence of POCSO convict to the period already undergone by him considering that he had already served more than 7 years of his sentence
Justices Vikram Nath & Satish Chandra Sharma [05-02-2024]
Read Order: RAJASEKAR v. THE STATE REP. BY THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE [SC- CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S). 756 OF 2024]
New Delhi, February 12, 2024: In a POCSO Act matter where the State Government was directed to pay Rs 1 lakh to the victim as compensation, the Supreme Court has partly allowed the appeal of the accused and reduced his sentence to the period already undergone by him as he had already suffered the minimum sentence prescribed under section 4 of the Act.
The Division Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma was considering an appeal challenging the High Court of Judicature at Madras confirming the judgement passed by the Sessions Court convicting the Appellant for offences u/S. 3(a) r/w Sec. 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
In an earlier order, this Court issued notice only on the quantum of sentence awarded to the Appellant and so only that limited question was required to be considered by this Court. Vide the judgement of the Sessions Court, the Appellant was sentenced to undergo ten years RI along with a fine of INR 5,000 with a default clause to undergo SI for three months. The State Government was also directed to pay INR 1,00,000 to the victim as compensation under Rule 7(2) of the POCSO Rules, 2012. The sentence imposed by the Sessions Court was confirmed by the High Court without any modification.
The appellant had put forth a case of leniency by urging that at the time of conviction, the minimum sentence prescribed u/s 4 of the POCSO Act was seven years and as on date, the Appellant had already served more than seven years of his sentence. It was also submitted that the Appellant was providing for the day-to-day expenses of the victim and her child and therefore, further imprisonment would impact not only his family but also the victim’s.
Considering the totality of the circumstances of the case, the Bench observed that the ends of justice would be met if the period of imprisonment awarded against the Appellant is reduced to the period already undergone by him.
Thus, allowing the appeal in part, the Bench confirmed the conviction of the Appellant u/s. u/S. 3(a) r/w Sec. 4 of the POCSO Act, 2012. However, the sentence imposed by the Sessions Court and confirmed by the High Court was hereby modified and reduced to the period already undergone by the Appellant.
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