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Punjab-Haryana High Court
Harjit Singh vs State Of Haryana on 2 November, 2000
Author: B Kaur
Bench: B Kaur


JUDGMENT

Bakhshish Kaur, J.

1. All the applicants who are seven in number were convicted and sentenced to undergo various sentences on different counts as under :-

“1. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 1 year under Section 148 IPC.

2. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 3 months and to pay fine for Rs. 500/- under Sections 323/149 IPC and in default of payment of fine to further undergo Rigorous Imprisonment of 15 days.

3. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for I year and to pay fine of Rs. 1000/- under Sections 324/149 IPC and in default of payment of fine to further undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for one month.

4. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 2 years and to pay fine of Rs. 1000/- under Sections 325/149 IPC and in default of payment of fine to further undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for one month.

5. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 6 months under Sections 506/149 IPC.

6. To undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 7 years and pay fine of Rs. 2000/- under Sections 307/149 IPC and in default of payment of fine to further undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for three months.

All the sentences shall run concurrently.”

2. The case was registered on the statement of Amrit Pal Singh son of Gian Singh on the allegations that the accused had allegedly caused injuries to him. As a prima facie case under Sections 323/325/506/307 read with Sections 148 and 149 IPC was made against the petitioners, they were charged under Sections 323/325/307/506 read with Sections 148/149 to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. On the conclusion of the trial, they were convicted and sentenced as above. Hence this appeal.

Mr. Ashit Malik, learned counsel for the appellants has stated at the Bar that the petitioners do not challenge the conviction recorded against them and he would address arguments on the quantum of sentence alone, mainly on the ground that the complaints Amrit Pal Singh has resolved the dispute with the petitioners and there is no enmity between the parties. The compromise deed arrived at between the complainant and the applicants has been placed on record. Therefore, it is prayed that the sentence of the appellants be reduced to the period already undergone by them for securinggood relations between the complainant and the petitioners so as to provide them an opportunity to live in peace in a congenial atmosphere, feeling no grudge against each other.

3. Since the conviction has not been challenged and otherwise also, the trial Court after appreciating the evidence has rightly convicted the appellants, their conviction is upheld.

On the quantum of sentence, the compromise arrived at between the parties itself is not a sufficient ground to accept this appeal, particularly when the offences complained of are not compoundable.

In Ram Lal v. State of Jammu & Kashmir, (SC) 2000(1) Cr 92, it is observed that considering the fact that parties have come to a settlement and the victims have no grievance now and considering the fact that first appellant has already undergone a period of imprisonment of about six months, a lenient view can be taken and the sentence can be reduced to the period which he had already undergone.

4. The occurrence had taken place on August 9, 1992 and since then the appellants have been facing the agony of protected trial. They were convicted on May 8, 2000 i.e. after eight long years. Right of speedy trial is a fundamental right of the accused. In Chhota Singh v. State of Punjab, 1998(1) RCR157, it has been observed as under :-

“Thar right of speedy justice is a fundamental right. It would bring within its sweep even the period spent in appeal. However, if an accused himself is delaying and adopting tactics in this’regard, he will not be entitled to take the advantage of his own wrong to play the tune of speedy trial. Olherwise, if there is an inordinate delay, it would be a mitigating circumstance.”

5. Similar view was taken by this Court in various judgments reported as Bikhar Singh v. State of Punjab, 2000(1) RCR (Cri.) 122 (P&H), Satwinder Singli v. State of Punjab, 2000(1) RCR (Crl.) 188 (PAH), Amur Chand v. State of Punjab, 2000(1) RCR (Crl.) 188 (P&H) and Jasbir Singh v. State of Punjab, 2000(1) RCR 217. In Chander Bhan v. State of Haryana, 1996(1) RCR 125, it has been held that although minimum sentence to be imposed upon a convict is prescribed by the statute yet keeping in view the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the interpretation thereof qua

the right of an accused to a speedy trial, judicial compassion can pay a role and a convict can be compensated for the mental agony which he undergoes on account of a protracted trial due to the fault of the prosecution by this Court in the exercise of its extra-ordinary jurisdiction.”

6. Keeping in view the proposition of law as above, the offences complained of are certainly non-compoundable and cannot be allowed to be compounded. But considering the fact that the trial continued for eight years and thereafter there has not been any untoward incident, therefore, the equity of justice demands that they should be given a chance to live in peace and harmony. Crime is a kind of sermon, it is a warning, a reminder of the existence of the evil and the necessity of the good to conquer it, as observed by this Court in Bahadur v. State of Haryana, 1999(3) All India Criminal Law Reporter 249. Petitioners have been undergoing the agony of protracted trial for all these eights years. They have undergone imprisonment of about six months. Since the parties have come to a settlement and the complainant has no more grievance against the petitioners, a lenient view can also be taken in this case qua the quantum of sentence.

7. In view of the above, this appeal is allowed to the extent that the sentence of imprisonment awarded to all the applicants is reduced to the period already undergone by them. There will be, however, no change as regards sentence of fine. The release order of the appellants be sent forthwith and the petitioners he set free in case they are not required to any other case.

8. This appeal is disposed of in the terms indicated above.

9. The Crl. Misc. Nos. 39616 and 39908 of 2000 seeking bail are disposed of as having become infructuous.

10. Appeal allowed.


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