The Delhi High Court, in the case of State v Sunil, set aside an order of probation given to an accused convicted under POCSO Act on the grounds that the minimum period of imprisonment was provided under the statute.
Justice Mukta Gupta, relying on the case of Shyam Lal Verma vs. Central Bureau of Investigation (2014 (15) SCC 340), noted that reliefs under the Probation of Offenders Act cannot be granted in cases where the minimum period of incarceration is prescribed by the Statute.
The Court further noted that the mitigating circumstances can be only considered to not award the maximum sentence prescribed by the Statue. However, these circumstances cannot be used by the Court to award a sentence which is less than the minimum prescribed by the Statute.
In this case, Sunil was convicted of offences under Section 8 of POCSO which provides for a minimum of 3 years of imprisonment. However, within two weeks of his conviction, he was released on probation for one year on account of his good behavior. Aggrieved, the State preferred an appeal against the order of probation. The appeal was allowed.
Read the Judgment here.