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Sec.376 (f)/302/201 I.P.C.- all sentences order to run consecutively – Sec. 31 (2) of Criminal Procedure Code – Apex court held that trial and High court committed error in view of Sec. 31(2) of Cr.P.C.- Section 31 of Cr.P.C. relates to sentence in cases of conviction of several offences at one trial. Proviso to Sub Section (2) to Section 31 lays down the embargo whether the aggregate punishment of prisoner is for a period of longer than 14 years. In view of the fact that life imprisonment means imprisonment for full and complete span of life, the question of consecutive sentences in case of conviction for several offences at one trial does not arise. Therefore, in case a person is sentenced of conviction of several offences, including one that of life imprisonment, the proviso to Section 31(2) shall come into play and no consecutive sentence can be imposed.=DURYODHAN ROUT … APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF ORISSA … RESPONDENT= 2014 – July. Part -http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41715

Sec.376 (f)/302/201 I.P.C.- all sentences order to run consecutively – Sec. 31 (2) of Criminal Procedure Code – Apex court held that trial and High court committed error in view of Sec. 31(2) of Cr.P.C.- Section 31 of Cr.P.C. relates to sentence in cases  of  conviction  of several offences at one trial. Proviso to Sub  Section  (2)  to  Section  31 lays down the embargo whether the aggregate punishment of prisoner is for  a period of longer than 14 years. In view of the fact that  life  imprisonment means imprisonment for full and complete  span  of  life,  the  question  of

consecutive sentences in case of conviction  for  several  offences  at  one trial  does  not  arise.  Therefore,  in  case  a  person  is  sentenced  of conviction of several offences, including one  that  of  life  imprisonment, the proviso to Section  31(2)  shall  come  into  play  and  no  consecutive

sentence can be imposed.=

 

whether the judgment passed by the Trial Court  as

affirmed  by  the  High   Court,   that   the   sentences   under   Sections

376(f)/302/201 IPC are to run consecutively is contrary to  the  proviso  to

sub Section (2) of Section 31  of  the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  1973

(hereinafter referred to as “Cr.P.C.”).=

 Section 31 of the Cr.P.C. relates to sentences in cases of  conviction

of several offences at one trial.  Under  proviso  to  Sub  Section  (2)  of

Section 31 of Cr.P.C. in no case a person can be sentenced  to  imprisonment

for a period longer than fourteen years and the aggregate  punishment  shall

not exceed twice the amount of punishment which the Court  is  competent  to

inflict for a single offence.

 Imprisonment for life is not confined to 14 years of  imprisonment.  A

reading of Section 55 IPC and Section 433 and 433A  Cr.P.C.  would  indicate

that  only  the  appropriate  Government  can  commute  the   sentence   for

imprisonment of life for a term not exceeding fourteen years or exceeds  the

release for such person unless he has served  at  least  fourteen  years  of

imprisonment.

      Section 57 of the Indian Penal  Code  merely  relates  to  calculating

fractions of terms of punishment by providing a numerical value of 20  years

to life imprisonment.

      Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code lists  the  punishments  to  which

offenders are liable under the Code which reads as follows:

“First-Death;

 Secondly-Imprisonment for life;

 Fourthly-Imprisonment, which is of two

          Descriptions, namely:-

 (1)Rigorous, that is, with hard labour;

 (2)Simple

 Fifty-Forfeiture of property;

 Sixthly-Fine.”

 

Therefore, a person sentenced to life imprisonment is  bound  to  serve  the

remainder of his life in prison unless  the  sentence  is  commuted  by  the

appropriate Government in terms of the Section 55, 433 and 433A of the  Code

of Criminal Procedure.

The question, however, came up for  consideration  in  Zulfiwar  Ali  v.

State of U.P.3 wherein it was held: (All LJ p. 1181, para 25)

 

“25. The opening words ‘In  the  case  of  consecutive  sentences’  in  sub-

section (2) of Section 31 make it clear that this sub-section  refers  to  a

case in which ‘consecutive sentences’ are ordered. After providing  that  in

such a case if an aggregate of punishment for several offences is  found  to

be in excess of punishment which the court is  competent  to  inflict  on  a

conviction of single offence, it shall not be necessary  for  the  court  to

send the offender for trial before a  higher  court.  After  making  such  a

provision, proviso (a) is added to this sub-section to limit  the  aggregate

of  sentences  which  such  a  court  pass  while   making   the   sentences

consecutive. That  is  this  proviso  has  provided  that  in  no  case  the

aggregate of consecutive sentences passed against an  accused  shall  exceed

14 years. In the instant case the aggregate  of  the  two  sentences  passed

against the appellant being 28 years clearly infringes  the  above  proviso.

It is accordingly not liable to be sustained.

 

11. In view of the proviso appended to Section 31 of the Criminal  Procedure

Code, we are of the opinion that the High Court committed a  manifest  error

in sentencing  the  appellant  for  20  years’  rigorous  imprisonment.  The

maximum sentence imposable being 14 years and  having  regard  to  the  fact

that the appellant is in custody for more than 12 years. Now, we are of  the

opinion that interest of justice would be  subserved  if  the  appellant  is

directed to be sentenced to the period already undergone.”

Section 31 of Cr.P.C. relates to sentence in cases  of  conviction  of

several offences at one trial. Proviso to Sub  Section  (2)  to  Section  31

lays down the embargo whether the aggregate punishment of prisoner is for  a

period of longer than 14 years. In view of the fact that  life  imprisonment

means imprisonment for full and complete  span  of  life,  the  question  of

consecutive sentences in case of conviction  for  several  offences  at  one

trial  does  not  arise.  Therefore,  in  case  a  person  is  sentenced  of

conviction of several offences, including one  that  of  life  imprisonment,

the proviso to Section  31(2)  shall  come  into  play  and  no  consecutive

sentence can be imposed.

2014 – July. Part -http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41715

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 2277-2278 OF 2009

DURYODHAN ROUT … APPELLANT

VERSUS

STATE OF ORISSA … RESPONDENT

 

J U D G M E N T
Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, J.

These appeals are directed against the common judgment dated 8th
January, 2008 passed by the High Court of Orissa at Cuttack in Death
Reference Case No.2 of 2007 and J. Crl. A.No.12 of 2007. By the impugned
judgment, the High Court upheld the conviction of the appellant for the
offence under Section 376, 302 and 201 IPC. However, taking into
consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, the age of the
appellant, his family background and the fact that the appellant had no
criminal antecedent, the capital sentence for the offence under Section 302
IPC has been commuted to life imprisonment; and rest of sentence remain
unaltered.
2. The case of the prosecution is that on 11th September, 2004, at about
3 p.m. accused Duryodhan Rout, on the pretext that the deceased, Subhasini,
a minor girl aged about 10 years would talk over phone with his brother,
Bamodev Bhoi took her on a bicycle. When the evening set in, the accused
alone returned to the village and on enquiry about Subhasini, by Mulia Bhoi
(PW-5), father of the deceased, he told that she had gone with a woman of
Ranibandha to her house. On the next day, as she did not return Mulia Boi
(PW-5) again questioned the accused regarding the where about of the
deceased. The accused confessed in presence of Rabi Biswal (PW-3),
Dasarathi Bhoi (PW-4) and Subashini Bhoi that he killed the deceased by
pressing her neck. With the help of these three witnesses, Mulia Bhoi (PW-
5) took the accused to Thakurgarh P.S. got the FIR scribed by one Laxman
Senapti and lodged it before Udit Narayan Pany, Officer-in-charge of the
said Police Station. A P.S. Case No.51 dated 12th September, 2004 under
Section 302/201 IPC was instituted. The accused was arrested, his statement
was recorded under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act on the basis of
which he went to the spot made recovery of the dead body of the deceased,
held inquest over it, seized the Chadi (underwear) of the victim lying near
the spot, prepared seizure list in respect thereof and sent the dead body
to Adhamalik Hospital for autopsy. He also seized the wearing apparels of
the accused, forwarded to the Court on 13th December, 2004 and handed over
charge of investigation of the case to the C.I. of Police. After completion
of investigation, Investigating Officer (I.O.) submitted charge sheet
against the accused under Sections 376/302/201 IPC.
3. Learned Session Judge secured the presence of the accused, framed
charges u/s 376/302/201 I.P.C. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed
to be tried.
4. In order to establish its case, the prosecution examined 8
witnesses. The accused examined himself as DW-1 besides examined DW-2, his
father to prove his stand. After assessing the evidence on record, the
Trial Court found the accused guilty for the offence under Sections
376(f)/302/201 IPC convicted him thereunder and sentenced him to death for
the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC. The Session Judge also
sentenced him to undergo RI for 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/-
for the offence punishable under Section 376(f)IPC and RI for one year and
to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 201
IPC. It was further ordered that in default of payment of fine, the convict
would suffer imprisonment for one year for the offence punishable under
Section 376(f) IPC and three months for the offence punishable under
Section 201 IPC and the substantive sentences would run consecutively.
5. The High Court, as noticed above in Reference, converted the capital
sentenced to life imprisonment but ordered that rest of the sentence remain
unaltered.
6. Admittedly, there was no eye-witness to the occurrence, the order of
conviction was based on the circumstantial evidence only. From the evidence
of Paramla Nahak (PW-1) and Pechi @ Bilas Bhoi (PW-2), it transpires that
on the date occurrence at about 4 p.m. while they were making chips by
braking boulders by the side of road, they saw the accused carrying the
deceased on a cycle and at about 5 p.m. they saw him returning alone. Mulia
Bhoi (PW-5) and Kalpana Bhoi (PW-6), the father and the mother of the
deceased respectively, stated that the accused took the deceased on a cycle
on the pretext that the later would talk to her brother, working at
Bargarh, over phone from the house of Bijaya Bhoi of village Anandpur.
While the accused was in Police custody, he confessed his guilt which was
recorded under Ext.7. The Ext.7 reflects that on 11th September, 2004
afternoon he took the deceased near Arakhkuda Salabani Jungle, undraped her
and then committed rape on her. When she cried. He strangulated her to
death and left the dead body covering it with branches of trees. On the
basis of statement of the accused the I.O recovered the dead body and the
Chadi (underwear) of the deceased lying nearby, from Arakhkuda Salabani
Jungle. The statement of the accused made before the Police Officer which
distinctly relates to the facts of recovery is admissible under the law.

7. Dr. Narayan Udgata (PW-9) stated that on 12th September, 2004 he was
attached to Sub-Divisional Hospital, Athamallik as a Specialist in O and G.
On that date at 5 p.m. on Police requisition, he conducted autopsy over the
dead body of the deceased-Subhasini Bhoi aged about 10 years and found as
follows:

“(i) Bleeding from nostrils and mouth and both the ears with small
clotting of blood.
(ii) Eyes were half opened.
(iii) Bloody froth present in the nostrils and mouth.
(iv) Stool had been discharged from anus.
(v) Thumb marks were present on the front of the neck.
(vi) Two linear abrasions of size 3” x 4” on the front of the neck due to
scratching by some sharp weapon like human nail.
(vii) Finger marks were present on both sides of the neck and back of the
neck.
(viii) Extravasation of blood in to the sub-cutaneous tissues under
the thumb and finger marks and adjacent muscles of the neck.
(ix) Muscles of neck corresponding to the thumb and finger marks were
mildly lacerated.
(x) Multiple abrasions (linear) of size varying from 2” and 3” on both
sides of scapular region. Most probably caused by weapon like human nails.
(xi) Multiple abrasions on the back of both buttocks due to friction on a
rough surface, like rough ground and the abrasions were associated with
very mild bleeding. The size of multiple abrasions varies from ½” x ½” to
¾” x ½”.
(xii) Laceration of the vagina with bleeding with clots, most probably
because of attempt to introduce the penis-forcibly. The penis most probably
was large in size and the vaginal orifice of the deceased girl, aged about
10 years was very narrow. The laceration appears to have been caused by
several attempts to introduce the penis into the vagine.
(xiii) All the injuries were ante mortem in nature. The throttling was
also ante mortem in nature. There was no evidence of seminal fluid in or
around vagina or on any part of the body of anywhere in the clothings of
the victim.

According to Dr. Narayan Udgata (PW-9), the cause of death was due to
throttling and probably homicidal in nature. He further stated that the
accused might have attempted three to four times to introduce his penis
into the vaginal orifice of the deceased. From his evidence, it further
transpires that on 13th September, 2004, he examined the accused and found
seminal fluid marks on his pant. He also found one linear abrasion of size
¼ on the postero-lateral aspect of the left elbow and another linear
abrasion of the same size on the medial aspect of his right knees.
According to him, those injuries might have been caused 12 hours earlier to
the alleged incident. Therefore, it is not safe to hold that in course of
rape and murder of deceased, the accused sustained those injuries. Dr.
Narayan Udgata (PW-9),however, could not notice any sign of recent sexual
intercourse on the private part of the accused.
8. Mulia Bhoi (PW-5), stated that the accused confessed before him and
Rabindra Biswal (PW-3) and Dasarathi Bhoi (PW-4) that he killed the
deceased. Rabindra Biswal (PW-3) and Dasarathi Bhoi (PW-4) turned hostile
and did not support the prosecution. However, Kalpana Bhoi (PW-6)
corroborated this part of evidence of Mulia Bhoi (PW-5). When asked by
Mulia Bhoi (PW-5) regarding the whereabout of the deceased, accused told
that she went with a woman of Ranibandha, which was found to be incorrect.
9. The Trial Court convicted the appellant on the basis of the chain of
circumstantial evidence available against the accused. It was found that
the accused carried on the deceased in his cycle at about 4 p.m. but
returned alone at 5 p.m. He confessed to have murdered the deceased before
Mulia Bhoi (PW-5). On the basis of the statement of the accused recorded
under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, the I.O. discovered the dead body;
the opion of the Doctor was that the deceased was raped and murdered. The
Doctor examined the accused and found seminal fluid marks on his pant. The
accused gave false statement that the deceased went with a woman of
Ranibandha. Paramla Nahak (PW-1) and Pechi @ Bilas Bhoi (PW-2)saw the
accused carried the deceased on a cycle at about 4 p.m. and returned alone
one hour thereafter. Thus, the accused was last seen with the deceased.
There is nothing to indicate that within one hour, there was any scope for
anybody else, other than the accused to commit rape and murder of the
deceased. The chain of circumstances of the case thereby leads to the
hypothesis that the accused and the accused alone was the author of the
crime, and therefore, the Trial Court rightly convicted the accused under
Sections 376(f)/302/201 IPC.
10. During the arguments, learned counsel for the appellant mainly argued
on the question of consecutive sentence as passed by the Trial Court and
upheld by the High Court. It was contended that Trial Court and the High
Court wrongly held that the sentences under Sections 376(f)/302/201 IPC to
run consecutively.
11. The question arises whether the judgment passed by the Trial Court as
affirmed by the High Court, that the sentences under Sections
376(f)/302/201 IPC are to run consecutively is contrary to the proviso to
sub Section (2) of Section 31 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
(hereinafter referred to as “Cr.P.C.”).
12. According to the learned Counsel for the respondent-State of Orissa
proviso to Sub Section (2) of Section 31 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be made
applicable to a conviction for life imprisonment under Section 302 IPC.
13. It was submitted that imprisonment can be rigorous or simple (Section
60 of the Indian Penal Code). As far as life imprisonment is concerned,
there is no such classification. The first classification was attempted by
the Law Commission of India through its 39th report to qualify it as
rigorous but the same was never translated into legislation. But such
submission is not based on any reasoning.
14. In order to fully appreciate the question involved in the present
case it is desirable to notice the relevant provisions of Criminal
Procedure Code and Indian Penal Code.
15. Section 31 of the Cr.P.C. relates to sentences in cases of conviction
of several offences at one trial. Under proviso to Sub Section (2) of
Section 31 of Cr.P.C. in no case a person can be sentenced to imprisonment
for a period longer than fourteen years and the aggregate punishment shall
not exceed twice the amount of punishment which the Court is competent to
inflict for a single offence. Section 31 of Cr.P.C. reads as follows:
“31. Sentences in cases of conviction of several offences at one trial.

(1) When a person is convicted at one trial of two or more offences, the
Court may, subject to the provisions of section 71 of the Indian Penal Code
(45 of 1860 ), sentence him for such offences, to the several punishments
prescribed therefor which such Court is competent to inflict; such
punishments when consisting of imprisonment to commence the one after
the expiration of the other in such order as the Court may direct, unless
the Court directs that such punishments shall run concurrently.

(2) In the case of consecutive sentences, it shall not be necessary for the
Court by reason only of the aggregate punishment for the several offences
being in excess of the punishment which it is competent to inflict on
conviction of a single offence, to send the offender for trial before a
higher Court:

Provided that-

(a) in no case shall such person be sentenced to imprisonment for longer
period than fourteen years;

(b) the aggregate punishment shall not exceed twice the amount of
punishment which the Court is competent to inflict for a single offence.

(3) For the purpose of appeal by a convicted person, the aggregate of the
consecutive sentences passed against him under this section shall be deemed
to be a single sentence.”

16. Section 45 of the Indian Penal Code defines life as “The word “life”
denotes the life of a human being, unless the contrary appears from the
context”.
The word “imprisonment” has not been defined either in the Code of
Criminal Procedure or in the Indian Penal Code.
As per the General Clauses Act, 1897 under Section 3(27) –
“imprisonment” shall mean imprisonment of either description as defined in
the Indian Penal Code. The definition of imprisonment under the General
Clauses Act would, therefore, in case of life imprisonment mean
imprisonment for life/imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s life.
We are not in agreement with submission made on behalf of the State
that imprisonment for life has not been included in the definition of term
‘imprisonment’ under Section 3(27) of the General Clauses Act, 1897.
17. Imprisonment for life is not confined to 14 years of imprisonment. A
reading of Section 55 IPC and Section 433 and 433A Cr.P.C. would indicate
that only the appropriate Government can commute the sentence for
imprisonment of life for a term not exceeding fourteen years or exceeds the
release for such person unless he has served at least fourteen years of
imprisonment.
Section 57 of the Indian Penal Code merely relates to calculating
fractions of terms of punishment by providing a numerical value of 20 years
to life imprisonment.
Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code lists the punishments to which
offenders are liable under the Code which reads as follows:
“First-Death;
Secondly-Imprisonment for life;
Fourthly-Imprisonment, which is of two
Descriptions, namely:-
(1)Rigorous, that is, with hard labour;
(2)Simple
Fifty-Forfeiture of property;
Sixthly-Fine.”

Therefore, a person sentenced to life imprisonment is bound to serve the
remainder of his life in prison unless the sentence is commuted by the
appropriate Government in terms of the Section 55, 433 and 433A of the Code
of Criminal Procedure.
18. In Gopal Vinayak Godse vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors., AIR 1961
SC 600, the Constitution Bench of this Court while dealing with the
question as to whether there is any provision of law whereunder a sentence
for life imprisonment, without any formal remission by the appropriate
Government can be automatically treated as one for a definite period. In
the said case this Court held:
“5. If so, the next question is whether there is any provision of law where
under a sentence for life imprisonment, without any formal remission by
appropriate Government, can be automatically treated as one for a definite
period. No such provision is found in the Indian Penal Code, Code of
Criminal Procedure or the Prisons Act. Though the Government of India
stated before the Judicial Committee in the case cited supra that, having
regard to Section 57 of the Indian Penal Code, 20 years’ imprisonment was
equivalent to a sentence of transportation for life, the Judicial Committee
did not express its final opinion on that question. The Judicial Committee
observed in that case thus at p. 10:

“Assuming that the sentence is to be regarded as one of twenty years, and
subject to remission for good conduct, he had not earned remission
sufficient to entitle him to discharge at the time of his application, and
it was therefore rightly dismissed, but in saying this, Their Lordships are
not to be taken as meaning that a life sentence must in all cases be
treated as one of not more than twenty years, or that the convict is
necessarily entitled to remission.”

Section 57 of the Indian Penal Code has no real bearing on the question
raised before us. For calculating fractions of terms of punishment the
section provides that transportation for life shall be regarded as
equivalent to imprisonment for twenty years. It does not say that
transportation for life shall be deemed to be transportation for twenty
years for all purposes; nor does the amended section which substitutes the
words “imprisonment for life” for “transportation for life” enable the
drawing of any such all embracing fiction. A sentence of transportation for
life or imprisonment for life must prima facie be treated as transportation
or imprisonment for the whole of the remaining period of the convicted
person’s natural life.”

19. In State of Madhya Pradesh vs. Ratan Singh & Ors., (1976) 3 SCC 470,
this Court held that sentence of imprisonment for life does not
automatically expire at the end of 20 years. This Court held:
“9. From a review of the authorities and the statutory provisions of the
Code of Criminal Procedure the following propositions emerge:
“(1) that a sentence of imprisonment for life does not automatically expire
at the end of 20 years including the remissions, because the administrative
rules framed under the various Jail Manuals or under the Prisons Act cannot
supersede the statutory provisions of the Indian Penal Code. A sentence of
imprisonment for life means a sentence for the entire life of the prisoner
unless the appropriate Government chooses to exercise its discretion to
remit either the whole or a part of the sentence under Section 401 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure;”

20. This Court in Naib Singh vs. State of Punbaj & Ors., (1983) 2 SCC
454, relying upon the judgment made by the Privy Council in ‘Kishor Lal’
and Constitution Bench decision of this Court in ‘Gopal Vinayak Godse’ held
that the appellant in the said case was liable to serve the sentence until
the remainder of his life in prison.
21. In Ashok Kumar vs. Union of India & Ors., (1991) 3 SCC 498, this
Court held that the expression “life imprisonment” must be read in the
context of Section 45 of the Indian Penal Code which would mean
imprisonment for the full or complete span of life. This Court further held
that the provisions in Section 57 that imprisonment for life shall be
reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for 20 years is for the purpose of
working out the fraction of the terms of punishment.
22. This Court endorsed the view taken by this Court in the case of Niab
Singh, the Privy Council judgment in Kishori Lal and the judgment in the
case of Gopal Vinayak Godse in Satpal vs. State of Haryana & Anr., (1992) 4
SCC 172.
23. In Subash Chander vs. Krishan Lal & Ors., (2001) 4 SCC 458, this
Court held that life imprisonment means imprisonment for the whole of the
remaining period of the convicted person’s natural life unless the
appropriate Government chooses to exercise its discretion to remit either
the whole or a part of the sentence under Section 401 Cr.P.C.
Similar was the view taken by this Court in Shri Bhagwan vs. State of
Rajasthan, (2001) 6 SCC 296.
24. This Court reiterated that life imprisonment was not equivalent to
imprisonment for 14 years or 20 years in Mohd. Munna vs. Union of India &
Ors., (2005) 7 SCC 417. The Court held that the life imprisonment means
imprisonment for whole of the remaining period of the convicted person’s
natural life. There is no provision either in the Indian Penal Code or in
the Criminal Procedure Code, whereby life imprisonment could be treated as
either 14 years or 20 years without there being of formal remission by the
appropriate Government.
25. In Swamy Shraddananda vs.State of Karnataka, (2008) 13 SCC 767, this
Court while substituting the sentence of death to life imprisonment held
that the prisoner shall not be released from prison till the rest of his
life.
Similar view was taken by this Court in Sangeet & Anr. vs. State of
Haryana, (2013) 2 SCC 452. In the said case this Court held that a prisoner
serving a life sentence has no indefeasible right to release on completion
of either 14 years or 20 years imprisonment. A convict undergoing life
imprisonment is expected to remain in custody till the end of his life
subject to any remission granted by the appropriate Government under
Section 432 Cr.P.C.
26. From the aforesaid decisions rendered by this Court, it is clear
that a sentence of imprisonment for life means a sentence for entire life
of the prisoner unless the appropriate Government chooses to exercise its
discretion to remit either the whole or a part of the sentence under the
provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.
27. Section 31 of Cr.P.C. relates to sentence in cases of conviction of
several offences at one trial. Proviso to Sub Section (2) to Section 31
lays down the embargo whether the aggregate punishment of prisoner is for a
period of longer than 14 years. In view of the fact that life imprisonment
means imprisonment for full and complete span of life, the question of
consecutive sentences in case of conviction for several offences at one
trial does not arise. Therefore, in case a person is sentenced of
conviction of several offences, including one that of life imprisonment,
the proviso to Section 31(2) shall come into play and no consecutive
sentence can be imposed.
28. In the case of Kamalanantha and others vs. State of T.N., (2005) 5
SCC 194, this Court held:
“75. Regarding the sentence, the trial court resorted to Section 31 CrPC
and ordered the sentence to run consecutively, subject to proviso (a) of
the said section.

76. The contention of Mr Jethmalani that the term “imprisonment” enjoined
in Section 31 CrPC does not include imprisonment for life is unacceptable.
The term “imprisonment” is not defined under the Code of Criminal
Procedure. Section 31 of the Code falls under Chapter III of the Code which
deals with power of courts. Section 28 of the Code empowers the High Court
to pass any sentence authorised by law. Similarly, the Sessions Judge and
Additional Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorised by law, except
the sentence of death which shall be subject to confirmation by the High
Court. In our opinion the term “imprisonment” would include the sentence of
imprisonment for life.”

29. The aforesaid judgment was relied upon by this Court in Chatar Singh
vs. State of M.P., (2006) 12 SCC 37, and held:
“9. Although, the power of the court to impose consecutive sentence under
Section 31 of the Criminal Procedure Code was also noticed by a
Constitution Bench of this Court in K. Prabhakaran v. P. Jayarajan2, but,
[pic]therein the question of construing proviso appended thereto did not
and could not have fallen for consideration.
10. The question, however, came up for consideration in Zulfiwar Ali v.
State of U.P.3 wherein it was held: (All LJ p. 1181, para 25)

“25. The opening words ‘In the case of consecutive sentences’ in sub-
section (2) of Section 31 make it clear that this sub-section refers to a
case in which ‘consecutive sentences’ are ordered. After providing that in
such a case if an aggregate of punishment for several offences is found to
be in excess of punishment which the court is competent to inflict on a
conviction of single offence, it shall not be necessary for the court to
send the offender for trial before a higher court. After making such a
provision, proviso (a) is added to this sub-section to limit the aggregate
of sentences which such a court pass while making the sentences
consecutive. That is this proviso has provided that in no case the
aggregate of consecutive sentences passed against an accused shall exceed
14 years. In the instant case the aggregate of the two sentences passed
against the appellant being 28 years clearly infringes the above proviso.
It is accordingly not liable to be sustained.”

11. In view of the proviso appended to Section 31 of the Criminal Procedure
Code, we are of the opinion that the High Court committed a manifest error
in sentencing the appellant for 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment. The
maximum sentence imposable being 14 years and having regard to the fact
that the appellant is in custody for more than 12 years. Now, we are of the
opinion that interest of justice would be subserved if the appellant is
directed to be sentenced to the period already undergone.”

30. In the recent judgment in Ramesh Chilwal alias Bambayya vs. State of
Uttarakhand, (2012) 11 SCC 629, this Court held:
“4. Since this Court issued notice only to clarify the sentence awarded by
the trial Judge, there is no need to go into all the factual details. We
are not inclined to modify the sentence. However, considering the fact that
the trial Judge has awarded life sentence for an offence under Section 302,
in view of Section 31 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, we make it
clear that all the sentences imposed under IPC, the Gangsters Act and the
Arms Act are to run concurrently.”

31. In view of the aforesaid discussions and decisions rendered by this
Court, we hold that the Trial Court was not justified in imposing the
sentence under Section 376(f)/302/201 IPC to run consecutively. The High
court failed to address the said issue.
32. For the reasons stated above, while we are not inclined to interfere
with the order of conviction and the sentence, considering the fact that
the accused has been awarded life imprisonment for the offence under
Section 302, we direct that all the sentences imposed under Indian Penal
Code are to run concurrently. The judgment passed by the Session Judge as
affirmed by the High Court stands modified to the extent above. The appeals
are allowed in part with the aforesaid observations.

……………………………………………………………………………J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)
……………………………………………………………………………J.
(DIPAK MISRA)

NEW DELHI,
JULY 01, 2014.

ITEM NO.1D COURT NO.6 SECTION IIB

(For Judgment)

 

S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

 

Criminal Appeal No(s). 2277-2278/2009

 

DURYODHAN ROUT Appellant(s)

 

VERSUS

 

STATE OF ORISSA Respondent(s)

 

 

Date : 01/07/2014 These appeals were called on for pronouncement
of Judgment today.

 

 

For Appellant(s) Mr. T. N. Singh ,Adv.

 

For Respondent(s) Mr. Shibashish Misra ,Adv.

 

 

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya pronounced the
reportable judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and Hon’ble Mr.
Justice Dipak Misra.

 

The appeals are allowed in terms of the signed reportable judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

(MEENAKSHI KOHLI) (USHA SHARMA)

COURT MASTER COURT MASTER

 

[Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file]

 

 

 

 

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