Read judgment: Samaul Sk. vs. The State of Jharkhand &Anr

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, September 2, 2021: While reducing the sentence of the appellant, the Supreme Court has ruled that the objective of Section 357 of the CrPC is to apply whole or any part of the fine recovered to be applied on payment to any person of compensation for any loss or injury caused by the offence.

Stating that the object of any criminal jurisprudence is reformative in character and to take care of the victim, the Division Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that present is a case where the amount has been offered voluntarily by the appellant albeit to seek a reduction of sentence.

The background of the case was that the respondent complainant (Hena Bibi), claimed to be the legally married wife of the appellant, as per Muslim customs & rites, alleged that the appellant was already married to one Mastra Bibi when he apparently had illicit relationship with the respondent.

It was the case of the respondent that on the instigation of the first wife, the appellant started mental and physical torture and made demands of dowry and the respondent had to ultimately go back to her parents’ house. This alleged demand of dowry resulted in lodging of complaint in the Court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Pakur for offences u/s 498A of IPC.

The case went to trial and the SDJM held the appellant guilty and sentenced him to three years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine. The appellant thereafter preferred the Special Leave Petition (SLP) before this Court and surrendered himself.

In the course of hearing of SLP, the appellant prayed for extension of the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, which was however declined.

However, this Court expressed the view that it was not averse to consideration of reduction of sentence subject to the condition that the petitioner gave adequate compensation to the respondent for herself and her children apart from whatever maintenance was being paid u/s 125 of the CrPC.

After considering the circumstances and prayers in the present case, the Division Bench said that it will not come in the way of an arrangement, which should be beneficial to the respondent and her children if the appellant is showing remorse and is willing to make arrangements for the respondent complainant and his two children born out of their wedlock.

On being informed that the appellant has now undergone about seven months of sentence, the Top Court reduced the sentence to the period undergone in case the appellant pays to respondent complainant for her benefit and her children’s benefit a sum of Rs.3 lakhs.

The Court however made it clear that if the amounts are not deposited, the appellant will have to undergo the remaining part of the sentence of 3 years.

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