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Section 357A Cr.P.C.= Section 304A and 337 IPC – The respondent accused had drawn electricity wire from the pole upto his field which was not visible in the darkness. Ram Charan got trapped in the wire and became unconscious. The deceased Sushila Bai received electric shock in the process of removing the wire. = This Court held : “14. We are of the view that it is the duty of the Courts, on taking cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain whether there is tangible material to show commission of crime, whether the victim is identifiable and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial relief. On being satisfied on an application or on its own motion, the Court ought to direct grant of interim compensation, subject to final compensation being determined later. Such duty continues at every stage of a criminal case where compensation ought to be given and has not been given, irrespective of the application by the victim. At the stage of final hearing it is obligatory on the part of the Court to advert to the provision and record a finding whether a case for grant of compensation has been made out and, if so, who is entitled to compensation and how much. Award of such compensation can be interim. Gravity of offence and need of victim are some of the guiding factors to be kept in mind, apart from such other factors as may be found relevant in the facts and circumstances of an individual case. We are also of the view that there is need to consider upward revision in the scale for compensation and pending such consideration to adopt the scale notified by the State of Kerala in its scheme, unless the scale awarded by any other State or Union Territory is higher. The States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Telangana are directed to notify their schemes within one month from receipt of a copy of this order. We also direct that a copy of this judgment be forwarded to National Judicial Academy so that all judicial officers in the country can be imparted requisite training to make the provision operative and meaningful.” 9. As per information furnished by learned counsel for the State, the accused Mehtaab has three sons and he owns 10-12 bighas of land and his annual income was Rs.35-40,000/-. Similarly his sons were earning Rs.25- 30,000/- per annum. The Court of Session has mentioned the age of the deceased to be thirty years at the time of her death in the year 1997. As per instructions of learned counsel for the State, deceased is survived by her husband Ram Charan, two sons Bundel Singh and Suraj Lal and two daughters Durgesh Bai and Babita Bai. 10. As already observed, the respondent having been found guilty of causing death by his negligence, the High Court was not justified in reducing the sentence of imprisonment to 10 days without awarding any compensation to the heirs of the deceased. We are of the view that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the order of the High Court can be upheld only with the modification that the accused will pay compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the heirs of the deceased within six months. In default, he will undergo RI for six months. The compensation of Rs.2 lakhs is being fixed having regard to the limited financial resources of the accused but the said compensation may not be adequate for the heirs of the deceased. In such situation, in addition to the compensation to be paid by the accused, the State can be required to pay compensation under Section 357-A. As per judgment of this Court in Suresh (supra), the scheme adopted by the State of Kerala is applicable to all the States and the said scheme provides for compensation upto Rs.5 lakhs in the case of death. In the present case, it will be appropriate, in the interests of justice, to award interim compensation of Rs.3 lakhs under Section 357-A payable out of the funds available/to be made available by the State of Madhya Pradesh with the District Legal Services, Authority, Guna. In case, the accused does not pay the compensation awarded as above, the State of Madhya Pradesh will pay the entire amount of compensation of Rs.5 lakhs within three months after expiry of the time granted to the accused.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.290 OF 2015
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL.) NO.5609 OF 2013)
STATE OF M.P. …APPELLANT

VERSUS

MEHTAAB …RESPONDENT
J U D G M E N T

ADARSH KUMAR GOEL J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal has been preferred by the State of Madhya Pradesh against
judgment and order dated 6th November, 2012 passed by the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh at Gwalior in Criminal Revision No.72 of 2007 reducing the
sentence awarded to the respondent under Section 304A of the Indian Penal
Code (“IPC”) from RI for one year and under Section 337 IPC from RI for
three months to RI for 10 days which was the period already undergone by
him.
3. On 22nd November, 1997, the deceased Sushila Bai wife of PW 4 Ram
Charan along with her husband was returning from Village Ragho Garh to
their home in village Kudhaidher. The respondent accused had drawn
electricity wire from the pole upto his field which was not visible in the
darkness. Ram Charan got trapped in the wire and became unconscious. The
deceased Sushila Bai received electric shock in the process of removing the
wire. On receiving the information PW 5 Mishrilal, brother of Sushila Bai
and PW 1 Kallu reached the site of the incident along with PW 3 Goverdhan
and PW 2 Somlal. It was found that Sushila Bai had died while Ram Charan
was injured but alive. He was taken to the hospital. FIR was lodged.
Post mortem
was conducted on the dead body and after investigation, the respondent
accused was sent up for trial under Section 304-A/337 IPC. The accused
denied the allegations and alleged that he was falsely implicated.
4. The prosecution examined PW 6 Dr. N.K. Sharma to the effect that the
deceased and Ram Charan received injuries by electric current and that
Sushila Bai had died due to shock of the current. PW 1 Kallu as well as PW
4 Ram Charan clearly deposed that the wire was laid by Mehtaab from the
pole to the field which was lying naked and resulted in the death of
Sushila Bai. This action clearly amounted to the offence alleged. The
said evidence was corroborated by the other witnesses. Accordingly, the
trial Court convicted the respondent-accused under Section 304A and 337 IPC
and sentenced him to undergo RI for one year and pay fine of Rs.500/- in
default to undergo further RI for one month under Section 304-A and to
undergo RI for three months under Section 337 IPC. The conviction and
sentence having been upheld by the Court of Session, the respondent
preferred a revision petition before the High Court. The respondent did
not challenge his conviction but only sought reduction in sentence of
imprisonment. The said prayer was accepted and the sentence was reduced to
the period already undergone.
5. Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the State of Madhya Pradesh
has preferred this appeal.
6. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
7. Learned counsel for the State submitted that the accused respondent
had installed a transformer in his field and left the electric wires naked
which was a negligent act. The deceased Sushila Bai died on account of the
said naked wire which had high voltage and was not visible in the dark.
The offence having been fully proved by the evidence on record, the High
Court was not justified in reducing the sentence to 10 days which was not
just and fair. Even if liberal view on sentence of imprisonment was to be
taken, the High Court ought to have enhanced the sentence of fine and
awarded a reasonable compensation as a condition for reduction of sentence.
8. We find force in the submission. It is the duty of the Court to
award just sentence to a convict against whom charge is proved. While
every mitigating or aggravating circumstance may be given due weight,
mechanical reduction of sentence to the period already undergone cannot be
appreciated. Sentence has to be fair not only to the accused but also to
the victim and the society. It is also the duty of the court to duly
consider the aspect of rehabilitating the victim. Unfortunately, these
factors are missing in the impugned order. No cogent reason has been
assigned for imposing only 10 days sentence when an innocent life has been
lost. Award of unreasonable compensation has also not been considered.
Apart from the sentence and fine/compensation to be paid by the accused,
the Court has to award compensation by the State under Section 357A when
the accused is not in a position to pay fair compensation as laid down by
this Court in Suresh vs. State of Haryana (Criminal Appeal No.420 of 2012
decided on 28th November, 2014). This Court held :
“14. We are of the view that it is the duty of the Courts, on taking
cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain whether there is tangible
material to show commission of crime, whether the victim is identifiable
and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial relief. On being
satisfied on an application or on its own motion, the Court ought to direct
grant of interim compensation, subject to final compensation being
determined later. Such duty continues at every stage of a criminal case
where compensation ought to be given and has not been given, irrespective
of the application by the victim. At the stage of final hearing it is
obligatory on the part of the Court to advert to the provision and record a
finding whether a case for grant of compensation has been made out and, if
so, who is entitled to compensation and how much. Award of such
compensation can be interim. Gravity of offence and need of victim are
some of the guiding factors to be kept in mind, apart from such other
factors as may be found relevant in the facts and circumstances of an
individual case. We are also of the view that there is need to consider
upward revision in the scale for compensation and pending such
consideration to adopt the scale notified by the State of Kerala in its
scheme, unless the scale awarded by any other State or Union Territory is
higher. The States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and
Telangana are directed to notify their schemes within one month from
receipt of a copy of this order. We also direct that a copy of this
judgment be forwarded to National Judicial Academy so that all judicial
officers in the country can be imparted requisite training to make the
provision operative and meaningful.”

9. As per information furnished by learned counsel for the State, the
accused Mehtaab has three sons and he owns 10-12 bighas of land and his
annual income was Rs.35-40,000/-. Similarly his sons were earning Rs.25-
30,000/- per annum. The Court of Session has mentioned the age of the
deceased to be thirty years at the time of her death in the year 1997. As
per instructions of learned counsel for the State, deceased is survived by
her husband Ram Charan, two sons Bundel Singh and Suraj Lal and two
daughters Durgesh Bai and Babita Bai.
10. As already observed, the respondent having been found guilty of
causing death by his negligence, the High Court was not justified in
reducing the sentence of imprisonment to 10 days without awarding any
compensation to the heirs of the deceased. We are of the view that in the
facts and circumstances of the case, the order of the High Court can be
upheld only with the modification that the accused will pay compensation of
Rs.2 lakhs to the heirs of the deceased within six months. In default, he
will undergo RI for six months. The compensation of Rs.2 lakhs is being
fixed having regard to the limited financial resources of the accused but
the said compensation may not be adequate for the heirs of the deceased.
In such situation, in addition to the compensation to be paid by the
accused, the State can be required to pay compensation under Section 357-A.
As per judgment of this Court in Suresh (supra), the scheme adopted by the
State of Kerala is applicable to all the States and the said scheme
provides for compensation upto Rs.5 lakhs in the case of death. In the
present case, it will be appropriate, in the interests of justice, to award
interim compensation of Rs.3 lakhs under Section 357-A payable out of the
funds available/to be made available by the State of Madhya Pradesh with
the District Legal Services, Authority, Guna. In case, the accused does
not pay the compensation awarded as above, the State of Madhya Pradesh will
pay the entire amount of compensation of Rs.5 lakhs within three months
after expiry of the time granted to the accused.
11. The appeal is accordingly allowed to the above extent.

……………………………………J.
[T.S. THAKUR]
…………………………………….J.
[ ADARSH KUMAR GOEL ]
NEW DELHI
FEBRUARY 13, 2015
———————–
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