Read Order: Sunil v. State of Haryana

LE Correspondent 

Chandigarh, June 18,2022: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has recently granted the concession of release on probation, to a 26-year old first time offender who was convicted for commission of offences under Sections 323 and 324 IPC and sentenced to undergo one year imprisonment out of which two-month imprisonment was already undergone by the convict-petitioner. 

The Bench of Justice Manoj Bajaj held, “He is the first time offender and no other case is pending against him. He has been facing the agony of criminal proceedings. Therefore, taking into account the young age of convict, protracted trial, antecedents of the convict as well as the period of his incarceration, this Court feels that the ends of justice would be met, if the sentence awarded to the petitioner is modified by extending the benefit of probation to the petitioners under The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.”

The petitioner in this case preferred a criminal revision to challenge the Appellate Court judgement whereby the judgement of conviction and order of sentence passed by the Trial Court was upheld. The prosecution of the petitioner arose from an FIR registered under Sections 323, 324 and 506 IPC.

Briefly, the facts of the case are such that the petitioner was physically assualted by the accused who gave him leg and fist blow and also inflicted knife cuts. The accused, before escaping from the scene of crime due to intervention by onlookers, gave death threats to the petitioner.

Therefore, the afore-said FIR was registered and after completion of investigation in the case, Challan was presented in the Court, and upon finding a prima-facie case, the accused was charge sheeted for the commission of offences punishable under Sections 323, 324 and 506 IPC, to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The Trial Court, while acquitting him for the offence punishable under Section 506 IPC, proceeded to convict him for other offences under Sections 323 and 324 IPC. Aggrieved, the petitioner filed an appeal which was dismissed. 

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that the petitioner, a 29-year old first time offender with no criminal antecedents, already underwent a sentence of almost two months out of the total awarded sentence of one year and therefore, the petitioner be extended the concession of probation.

On the contrary, the State Counsel argued that the sentence imposed by the trial Court was proportionate to his guilt.

On perusal of the judgments of both the Courts below, the Court was of the considered view that the trial Court rightly appreciated the evidence on record while holding the petitioner guilty. Further, the Court held that the appellate Court also examined the material on record carefully while upholding his conviction and thus, the Court did not find any illegality or perversity in the findings given by both the Courts below and accordingly, decides against interfering in the said judgement by invoking its revisional jurisdiction as well as conviction part of the petitioner.

Further, on the issue of quantum of sentence, the Court opined admittedly, the petitioner already underwent imprisonment for one month and twenty five days. It was also noted that the petitioner was the first time offender and no other case was pending against him and that he was facing the agony of criminal proceedings.

Therefore, taking into account the young age of convict, protracted trial, antecedents of the convict as well as the period of his incarceration, the Court felt that the ends of justice would be met, if the sentence awarded to the petitioner was modified by extending the benefit of probation to the petitioners under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958

Accordingly, the revision petition was partly allowed. The impugned judgment of conviction of the Trial Court as affirmed by the Lower Appellate Court was upheld by the Court however, the sentence part was modified to the extent that instead of undergoing actual sentence, the petitioner was directed to be released on probation on furnishing fresh surety bonds in the sum of Rs. 25,000/- with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate, Sonipat. 

He was also directed to give an undertaking to keep peace and good behaviour for a period of one year.

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