The Supreme Court bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, has held that the exercise of discretion under Section 427(1) Code of Criminal Procedure, in a given case, mandates that the substantive sentences imposed upon an accused in three separate prosecutions, are to run concurrently. This, of course, exempts the default sentence, if the fine by way of compensation as imposed has not been paid by the accused.
In the instant case, the appellant, P.N.Mohanan Nair, 68, who was a peon in the office of Sub Registrar, Vazhoor, Kerala, was convicted and sentenced under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code for three different cases, which were tried jointly and common evidence was recorded.
The Special Judge, Thrissur, by a common judgment sentenced the appellant to one year rigorous imprisonment under Sections 13(2) read with 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) of the Act in each one of the three cases, along with fine of Rs.15000, Rs.30000, and Rs.50000 respectively. The conviction was further under Section 409 IPC to one year RI in each, as also three months RI each, under Sections 465 and 471 IPC. The substantive sentences in each case were directed to run concurrently.
The Supreme Court held that the allegations against the appellant constituted a single transaction, between the same parties for a block period, split up by the prosecution, presumably for its convenience, into three different cases. The evidence also was common, and so is the conviction.
Section 427(1) Cr.P.C. stipulates that where a person undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment, it shall commence at the expiration of the imprisonment previously sentenced, unless the court directs that the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with such previous sentence.
It is in this context, the Supreme Court held that the jurisdiction being discretionary must be exercised on fair and just principles in the facts of a case. The Supreme Court, therefore, held that the appellant would naturally be entitled to all consequential reliefs for release from custody as available in law based the present discussion.
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