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Apex court – leniency in sentence, considering the age of the first appellant Smt. Ashi Devi, in Criminal Appeal No.1022 of 2009. In the Memorandum of Appeal herein her age is mentioned as 88. As on date she is aged 93 years. The jail certificate dated 1.4.2009 states that she was admitted to Tihar Jail on 5.2.2009. This Court granted bail to her by order dated 13.5.2009. The above shows that she has undergone a part of the sentence. Considering her old age we are inclined to modify the sentence awarded to her= Ashi Devi & Ors. .. Appellant(s) versus State (NCT of Delhi) .. Respondent(s) =2014 (June .Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41571

Apex court – leniency in sentence, considering the age  of the first appellant Smt. Ashi Devi, in Criminal Appeal No.1022 of 2009. In the Memorandum of Appeal herein her age is mentioned as 88. As on date she is aged 93 years. The jail certificate dated 1.4.2009 states that she was admitted to Tihar Jail on 5.2.2009. This Court granted bail to her by order dated 13.5.2009. The above shows that she has undergone a part of the sentence. Considering her old age we are inclined to modify the sentence awarded to her=

 

 However, the 

learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants 

pleaded for leniency in sentence, considering the age 

of the first appellant Smt. Ashi Devi, in Criminal 

Appeal No.1022 of 2009. In the Memorandum of 

Appeal herein her age is mentioned as 88. As on date 

she is aged 93 years. The jail certificate dated 

1.4.2009 states that she was admitted to Tihar Jail on 

5.2.2009. This Court granted bail to her by order 

dated 13.5.2009. The above shows that she has 

undergone a part of the sentence. Considering her old 

age we are inclined to modify the sentence awarded 

to her

9.We accordingly direct that the sentence of 3 years rigorous 

imprisonment for the conviction under Section 379 IPC 

and one year rigorous imprisonment for the conviction 

under Section 448 IPC imposed on Appellant No.1 Smt. 

Ashi Devi shall stand reduced to the period already 10

undergone by her. The conviction and sentences 

imposed on other appellants shall remain unaltered. 

Criminal Appeal No.1022 of 2009 is thus allowed in part 

and to the extent indicated above. Criminal Appeal 

No.1023 of 2009 is dismissed.

2014 (June .Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41571

JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR, C. NAGAPPAN

1
NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1022 OF 2009
With
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1023 of 2009
Ashi Devi & Ors. .. Appellant(s)
versus
State (NCT of Delhi) .. Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
C. NAGAPPAN, J.
1Both the appeals have been preferred against the
judgment and final order dated 23.1.2009 passed by
the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Criminal
Appeal No.932 of 2004.2
2The appellants in Criminal Appeal No.1022 of 2009 Smt.
Ashi Devi, Smt. Munni Devi and Smt. Sheela @ Lali
were accused nos.4, 8 and 10 respectively and the
appellants in Criminal Appeal No.1023 of 2009 Uday
Ram, Om Prakash, Kishan and Kishori were accused
nos.2, 5, 6 and 9 respectively in the Sessions case in
SC No.54 of 2001 on the file of Additional Sessions
Judge, New Delhi. The appellants along with three
others were tried for the charges under Sections
147/395/448 read with Section 149 IPC and the Trial
Court found them guilty of the offence under Section
379 read with Section 34 IPC and Section 448 read
with Section 34 IPC and convicted and sentenced
them each to undergo 1 year rigorous imprisonment
for the offence under Section 448 IPC and to pay a fine
of Rs.1000/- each, in default to undergo simple
imprisonment for 3 months and further sentenced
each of them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 3
years for the offence under Section 379 IPC and to pay 3
a fine of Rs.25000/- each, in default to undergo simple
imprisonment for 1 year and directed the sentence to
run concurrently. Challenging the conviction and
sentence seven accused preferred appeal in Criminal
Appeal No.932 of 2004 and the High Court dismissed
the appeal by confirming the conviction and sentence
passed by the Trial Court. Aggrieved by the same they
have preferred the present appeals.
3The prosecution case in brief is that PW11 Smt. Prakash
Kaur and her son PW9 Jagjit Singh were running
crockery shops in premises nos. T-56 and T-57
Takriwalan, till two months prior to the riots of 1984
and the accused persons were residing in the
neighbourhood of the said shops and after the riots
they were informed that their shops had been looted
and some persons are occupying the same and on
20.11.1984 PW11 Smt. Prakash Kaur visited the shop
and found goods looted and the accused persons in
possession of the shops and despite her persistent 4
complaints police did not register any case and when
Jain Aggarwal Committee was constituted they filed
affidavits about the incident and on its direction a
F.I.R. was registered against accused persons in
January 1993 and charge sheet came to be filed. The
Trial Court found the accused guilty of the offences
and convicted and sentenced them as narrated above
and the appeal preferred came to be dismissed and
challenging the same the present appeals have been
filed.
4Shri Ashok Kumar Panda, learned senior counsel
appearing for the appellants in both the appeals,
contended that there was delay of nine years in
lodging the F.I.R. and there was no ocular testimony to
the occurrence and the prosecution has not proved
the charges and the conviction and sentence imposed
on the appellants are not sustainable and liable to be
set aside. Per contra, Shri K. Radhakrishnan, senior
counsel appearing for the respondent-State, 5
contended that the occurrence took place as
aftermath of unfortunate assassination of former
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own Sikh
bodyguards and Sikh community became the target of
assault and their houses and shops were ransacked
and looted and there was large scale violence and the
Riot Commission conducted enquiry and issued
direction for registering the cases and thereafter the
F.I.R. came to be registered in the present case and
the delay has been satisfactorily explained by the
prosecution and though there is no ocular testimony
the prosecution has proved the charges by adducing
circumstantial evidence and the conviction and
sentence imposed on the accused are sustainable and
needs no interference.
5It is known fact that there was large scale violence
targeting the Sikh community when the former Prime
Minister was assassinated by her own bodyguards in
1984. The crockery shops run by PW11 Smt. Prakash 6
Kaur and her son PW9 Jagjit Singh were also ransacked
and in spite of their complaints to the police no F.I.R.
was registered and only when Jain Aggarwal
Committee was constituted they got an opportunity to
file affidavits about the incident and direction came to
be issued for registering the F.I.R. and in the process
the delay of nine years has occurred. The Courts
below have held that the delay has been reasonably
and satisfactorily explained by the prosecution and
delay by itself cannot be a ground for disbelieving and
discarding the prosecution case. In our view also
there is satisfactory explanation which deserves
acceptance.
6The riots spearheaded at Delhi and during vandalism the
occurrence had taken place and there is no ocular
testimony. The premises no.T-56 and T-57 belonged to
PW10 Inder Singh and his wife PW11 Smt. Prakash
Kaur and their son PW9 Jagjit Singh. They have
testified about the running of the crockery shops in 7
the said premises. PW12 Prem Kumar and PW14 Raj
Pal Khurana were dealing with wholesale business of
crockery and they have testified about supply of
crockery to M/s. Jagjit Crockery House running in the
said premises and invoice copies have also been
marked. It stands established that PW9 Jagjit Singh
and his mother PW11 Smt. Prakash Kaur were running
crockery business in the said shops.
7It is the testimony of PW11 Smt. Prakash Kaur that she
visited the shop on 20.11.1984 and found accused
persons in occupation of the shops and when
questioned, they threatened her to go away otherwise
she would be killed. PWs 9 to 11 have filed individual
affidavits about the occurrence before the Jain
Aggarwal Committee and have also deposed in the
enquiry. Copies of the affidavits and statements are
marked as documents in the present case. Besides
PW10 Inder Singh also filed suit for possession of the
said premises against the accused and obtained a 8
decree. In fact the accused have squattered on the
property and the High Court passed order dated
8.12.2004 directing the S.H.O. to remove the accused
from the premises in terms of the order passed by the
Trial Court and after the decree of the Civil Court the
possession was handed over to the complainants. The
Trial Court found that the accused trespassed into the
premises by breaking open the locks and looted the
goods and held them guilty for the offences under
Section 379 and Section 448 IPC. The said finding is
based on proper appreciation of evidence on record as
rightly held by the High Court.
8Taking advantage of the riots the appellants broke open
the locks of the shops and looted the goods and
continued to be in illegal possession of the shops for
nearly two decades. The Trial Court observed that any
lenient view against the accused persons in
sentencing shall amount to putting premium on the
crime and the High Court has reiterated the same. In 9
our view the conviction and sencence imposed on the
appellants are correct and proper. However, the
learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants
pleaded for leniency in sentence, considering the age
of the first appellant Smt. Ashi Devi, in Criminal
Appeal No.1022 of 2009. In the Memorandum of
Appeal herein her age is mentioned as 88. As on date
she is aged 93 years. The jail certificate dated
1.4.2009 states that she was admitted to Tihar Jail on
5.2.2009. This Court granted bail to her by order
dated 13.5.2009. The above shows that she has
undergone a part of the sentence. Considering her old
age we are inclined to modify the sentence awarded
to her
9We accordingly direct that the sentence of 3 years rigorous
imprisonment for the conviction under Section 379 IPC
and one year rigorous imprisonment for the conviction
under Section 448 IPC imposed on Appellant No.1 Smt.
Ashi Devi shall stand reduced to the period already 10
undergone by her. The conviction and sentences
imposed on other appellants shall remain unaltered.
Criminal Appeal No.1022 of 2009 is thus allowed in part
and to the extent indicated above. Criminal Appeal
No.1023 of 2009 is dismissed.
…………………………….J.
(Jagdish Singh Khehar)
……………………………J.
(C. Nagappan)
New Delhi;
June 9, 2014

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