Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Whether sentences can run concurrently if conviction relates to two different transactions?

The above general rule that there cannot be concurrency of sentence if conviction relates to two different transactions, can be changed by an order of the Court. There is no strait jacket formula for the Court to follow in the matter of issue or refusal of a direction within the contemplation of Section 427(1) Cr.P.C. Depending on the special and peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, it is for the court to make the sentence of imprisonment in the subsequent trial run concurrently with the sentence in the previous one. In Benson v. State of Kerala (2016) 10 SCC 307, this Court directed the substantive sentences imposed on the appellant to run concurrently. In V.K. Bansal v. State of Haryana (2013) 7 SCC 211, some sentences were to run concurrently and some consecutively. In paras (14) and (16) in V.K. Bansal’s case, it was held as under:-
“14. We may at this stage refer to the decision of this Court in Mohd. Akhtar Hussain v. Collector of Customs (1988) 4 SCC 183 in which this Court recognised the basic rule of convictions arising out of a single transaction justifying concurrent running of the sentences. The following passage is in this regard apposite: (SCC p. 187, para 10)  CA NO.253 OF 2017 “10. The basic rule of thumb over the years has been the so-called single transaction rule for concurrent sentences. If a given transaction constitutes two offences under two enactments generally, it is wrong to have consecutive sentences. It is proper and legitimate to have concurrent sentences. But this rule has no application if the transaction relating to offences is not the same or the facts constituting the two offences are quite different.”
16. In conclusion, we may say that the legal position favours exercise of discretion to the benefit of the prisoner in cases where the prosecution is based on a single transaction no matter different complaints in relation thereto may have been filed as is the position in cases involving dishonour of cheques issued by the borrower towards repayment of a loan to the creditor.”
69. This instant case is one covered under Section 427 Cr.P.C. As noted earlier appellant Neera Yadav has been convicted in two different cases, one of abusing the official position in getting the plots allotted to herself and her daughters and other irregularities in making changes in the site plan and another one in abusing her position as CEO, Noida conspired with Rajiv Kumar in allotting plot to him. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and considering the nature of allegations, in our view, it is not justifiable to direct concurrency of sentence. Any unprincipled exercise of judicial discretion and casual direction made regarding concurrency would go against the express provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Criminal Procedure Code.
Supreme Court of India
Neera Yadav vs Central Bureau Of Investigation on 2 August, 2017
Read full judgment here: Click here

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