IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2298 OF 2014
RATNA @ RATAN LAL AND ANOTHER …. Appellants
STATE OF RAJASTHAN …. Respondent
J U D G M E N T
Uday U. Lalit, J.
1. This appeal by special leave to appeal arises out of final judgment
and order dated 06.02.2014 passed by the High Court of Judicature for
Rajasthan at Jodhpur in Criminal Revision Petition No.165 of 1995 by which
the High Court was pleased to dismiss the revision and affirm the view
taken by the Special Judge SC/ST, Udaipur in Criminal Appeal No.84 of 1992.
2. This matter arises out of FIR No.1 of 1988 registered on 06.01.1988
under Section 454 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code (for short “the IPC”)
with Police Station, Fateh Nagar, pursuant to PW14 Rupa submitting a report
regarding theft at his house situate in village Lakha Ka Kheda on
31.12.1987. It was reported that some unknown persons had committed theft
at his house by breaking open the lock and that some pieces of silver and
gold jewellery were stolen. In the further report submitted on the same
day it was stated that the value of the articles and cash which was stolen
were to the tune of Rs.64,000/-. The complainant PW14 Rupa suspected Ratna
who is appellant No.1 herein. During the course of investigation Appellant
Nos.1 and 2, namely, Ratna and Uda were arrested and pursuant to their
statements under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, namely, Ext.P15 and P16
respectively, the stolen articles were recovered.
3. In the trial the prosecution examined fourteen witnesses to bring
home the charge under Section 454 and 380 of the IPC against – Ratna and
Uda. Accepting the case of the prosecution and holding inter alia that the
recovery of stolen articles stood proved, the learned trial court convicted
both the accused under Sections 454 and 380 IPC and sentenced them to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and 7 years respectively on
aforesaid counts with imposition of fine of Rs.2500/- against each of the
accused on both counts, with further sentence of six months simple
imprisonment in default of payment of fine. It was ordered that both the
sentences shall run concurrently. In the appeal preferred by both the
accused, the learned Special Judge, SC/ST ANP, Udaipur affirmed the
conviction on both counts but reduced the sentence to two years and five
years respectively on each of the aforesaid counts maintaining the quantum
of fine and sentence in default. The revision preferred by both the
accused before the High Court was dismissed maintaining the conviction and
sentence as recorded by the appellate court which led to the filing of the
present appeal by special leave.
4. We have heard Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, learned counsel for the appellants
and Mr. Rajeev Kr. Singh, learned counsel appearing for the respondent –
State. Having gone through the record with the assistance of the learned
Advocates, we are not persuaded to take a different view on the issue of
conviction of the appellants. We, however, deem it appropriate, in the
light of the facts of the case, including the length of time the matter has
taken, to reduce the sentence to one year for the offence under Section 454
IPC and 18 months for the offence under Section 380 IPC, maintaining the
sentence of fine and default sentence, as recorded by the courts below.
Substantive sentences on both counts shall run concurrently. The appeal
stands partly allowed in the aforesaid terms.
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
November 14, 2014
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