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Merely Because The Maximum Punishment For Offence Is Life Imprisonment Benefit Of Probation Cannot Be Denied: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

The Delhi High Court, in the case of State v Lucky, held that the benefit of probation cannot be denied to an accused who has been convicted for offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life but where the minimum sentence is not specified and the accused hasn’t been awarded the maximum sentence.

In the instant case, Lucky, convicted under Sections 394 and 411 read with Section 34 of the IPC, was let off on probation of good conduct. The probation was challenged by the State under Sections 4 and 6 of the Probation of Offenders Act.

The contention of the State was that as per the aforementioned provisions, the benefit of probation cannot be enjoyed by those convicted for offences punishable with death or life imprisonment. Section 394 of the IPC provides for punishment of life imprisonment or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 10 years.

The Court noted that Section 394 vests in the Court the jurisdiction to award a punishment lesser than the maximum prescribed sentence. Further, there exists no caveat as regards the minimum sentence which has to be awarded under the provision. The Court noted that merely because the maximum sentence could have been awarded, doesn’t take away the accused’s right to probation under the Probation of Offenders Act. The object of the Act is to achieve a reformation of the accused.

The Supreme Court, in a historic ruling earlier this year allowed for the compounding of offences under Section 394. Further, the Delhi High Court has recently ruled that the benefit of probation cannot be granted in cases where the minimum sentence is prescribed by the Statute.

Read the Judgment here.

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