of sentence nor have the Courts attempted to lay down the weight that each one of these considerations carry. That is because any such exercise is neither easy nor advisable given the myriad situations in which the question may fall for determination.
K.P. Singh Vs. State of N.C.T. of Delhi
[Criminal Appeal No. 1264 of 2015 arising out of SLP (CRL.) No. 444 of 2015]
Dated;September 28, 2015
V.GOPALA GOWDA, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. The present criminal appeal is directed against the impugned judgment and order dated 31.10.2014 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Crl. A. No. 758 of 2008, wherein it has affirmed the conviction against the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (hereinafter "the P.C. Act") and reduced sentence awarded from 2 years to 1 year retaining Rs.5000/- fine imposed with default sentence of 2 months after re-appreciation of evidence of the prosecution witnesses no.6, 9 and 13 and accepted their evidence as cogent to prove the charge levelled against him in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
Various legal contentions have been urged by the learned counsel on behalf of the appellant before this Court questioning the correctness of the judgment and order reducing the sentence of imprisonment imposed upon him from 2 years to 1 year with fine amount of Rs.5,000/- and in default sentence as mentioned above. This Court vide its order dated 02.02.2015 has issued notice to the respondent to re-consider the quantum of sentence subject to the condition that the appellant surrender to the Central Jail, Tihar to undergo sentence and file proof thereof within a week. Accordingly, he surrendered to the Central Jail, Tihar on 04.02.2015 in case FIR No. 29 of 1997.
3. Mr. Radha Shyam Jena, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant contends that both the Special Court and the High Court have erred in convicting the appellant despite the fact that the main accused Ms. Manju Mathur has been acquitted for the offence under Sections 7,8, 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the P.C. Act, on appreciation of evidence on record and that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt against her. She was acquitted from the charges, which order has attained finality.
The learned counsel has further contended that the courts below have erred in recording a finding of guilt on the charge as against the appellant despite the fact that there is no evidence on record to prove the same. The learned counsel has further contended that the High Court has erred in upholding the judgment and order of the Special Judge and did not consider the essential ingredients of Section 8 of the P.C. Act, which are that the accused should accept or agree to accept or even attempt to obtain gratification from someone, the gratification is for himself or for someone else and its motive or reward is to induce a public servant by corrupt or illegal means to do or forebear to do any official act or to show favour or disfavour to someone etc.
4. It is further contended by Mr. Radha Shyam Jena, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant that the prosecution has failed to prove the involvement of someone other than the appellant. Further, it is alternatively contended by him that the appellant had undergone agony and trauma since the litigation has been going on for the last 17 years. In this backdrop, the High Court ought to have imposed the minimum sentence of 6 months as provided under Section 8 of the P.C. Act in exercise of its discretionary power. Hence the present appeal urging various grounds.
5. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and have carefully examined the concurrent findings and reasons recorded by the appellate court in its judgment after re-appreciation of evidence in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. The High Court after adverting to the evidence of the prosecution witnesses has concurred with the findings of fact on the charge framed against the appellant under Section 8 of the P.C. Act. While concurring with the findings of fact on conviction of the charge framed against the appellant, the High Court has modified the sentence imposed upon him from 2 years to 1 year with no change in the fine amount and the default sentence as awarded by the learned Special Judge.
6. We have carefully examined the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court with a view to ascertain whether the sentence imposed on the appellant by the High Court can be modified to the minimum sentence of 6 months as provided under the provisions of Section 8 of the P.C. Act. It is an undisputed fact that the main accused No. 2 has been acquitted from the charges framed against her by the Special Court.
The learned Special Judge, on appreciation of evidence on record has held that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge against the accused No. 2, who is the public servant. Further, pursuant to our order dated 02.02.2015 the appellant surrendered to the Central Jail, Tihar on 04.02.2015 in FIR case No. 29 of 1997. He has served the sentence for more than 7.5 months as per the certificate dated 6.9.2015 issued by the Deputy Superintendent, Central Jail, Tihar and has paid the fine amount awarded by the Special Court which fine amount as sentence is affirmed by the High Court.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, particularly in the light of the fact that the main accused No. 2, against whom the charges were levelled under Sections 7, 8, 13 (1) (d) read with Section 13 (2) of the P.C. Act, was acquitted for want of evidence on record, we are of the view that justice would be met if the period of sentence already undergone by the appellant be treated as the sentence to be imposed for the conviction on the charge framed against him.
To that extent the impugned order of sentence imposed by the High Court is modified and we pass the following order :-
This criminal appeal is partly allowed and we modify the order impugned with regard to the period of sentence already undergone by the appellant is treated as sentence imposed upon him for the charge proved against him. To this extent the impugned order of sentence of 1 year imposed by the High Court is modified. In view of the above modified order of sentence, we direct the Superintendent of Central Jail, Tihar to release the appellant forthwith from the custody, if he is not required in any other criminal case.
................J. [T.S. THAKUR]
................J. [V. GOPALA GOWDA]
September 28, 2015