Read Order: Sajawal Singh v. State of Punjab 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 4, 2022: While dealing with a revision petition in the case rash and negligent driving, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reduced the sentence of rigorous imprisonment of one year imposed upon the accused to the period of seven month already undergone.

However, the Bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill this relief was made subject to the fulfilment of the following directions, “Apart from that, the petitioner is directed to pay a sum of Rs. 25,000/- as compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased, within a period of two months from today. It is made clear that in case the compensation amount is not paid within the time stipulated, the present revision petition shall be deemed to have been dismissed.”

In the instant case, the petitioner was tried in an FIR registered under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 IPC.  The Trial Court, by its judgment of conviction and order of sentence found the petitioner guilty of the offence punishable under Sections 279 and 304-A IPC and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a maximum period of one year, with fine.

Aggrieved, the petitioner preferred an appeal before the Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur, which was dismissed, hence the present revision petition was filed.

The Counsel for the petitioner limited his submissions on the quantum of sentence and no submissions qua the vires of the conviction order were made. 

While making submissions qua the quantum of sentence, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner was a first offender and no shady past. It was further his argument that the petitioner had been facing the agony of the trial since 2015 and that he was the only bread winning member of his family. 

Also, the Counsel submitted that the petitioner’s conduct during the trial was quite fair and bona fide and he did not ever obstruct the course of trial and the appeal.  The petitioner already underwent the actual sentence of 07 months and 17 days, including remission.

Under these circumstances, the sentence imposed upon the petitioner was prayed by the Counsel to be reduced to the one already undergone by him.

On the other hand, the State counsel, while opposing the submissions made by the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the sentence awarded to the petitioner was in proportion to the offence committed by him and thus, his case was that the petitioner did not deserve any leniency.

Having regard to the submissions of both the Counsels and after a lucid examination of the record, the Court found that both the Courts below rightly convicted and sentenced the petitioner under the relevant Sections. 

Justice Gill added that there was no manifest error in the concurrent findings recorded by the Courts below. Thus, in view of the evidence on record, the Court opined that there was no scope for any interference in the findings of the Courts below, so far as the conviction under the aforementioned Sections was concerned. Hence, the conviction of the petitioner under the said Sections was upheld.

Further to address the bone of contention on the quantum of sentence, the Court noted that the present FIR was registered in March of 2015 and by now, the petitioner already underwent the actual sentence of 07 months and 17 days, including remission, out of the total sentence of 01 year.

Reference in this regard was made to Supreme Court in State of Punjab Vs. Saurabh Bakshi, wherein, while setting aside the order of the High Court in which the sentence imposed upon the accused (one year) was reduced to the period already undergone by him (24 days), the Top Court awarded the sentence of six months to the accused-respondent therein. 

In view of the above, the prayer of the counsel for the petitioner for reducing the petitioner’s sentence to the period already undergone, was considered and allowed in by the Court in terms of the judgment above-mentioned.

Thus, while upholding the conviction of the petitioner under the aforementioned Sections, the substantive sentence imposed upon the petitioner was reduced to the one already undergone by him. 

The fine imposed upon the petitioner along with its default clause, under the aforesaid section was maintained.

Apart from that, the petitioner was directed to pay a sum of Rs. 25,000/- as compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased, in a time barred manner.

It was made clear that in case the compensation amount was not paid within the time stipulated, the present revision petition shall be deemed to have been dismissed. 

The petitioner was ordered to be released forthwith, if not required in any other case, and further subject to the payment of fine, if not already paid.

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