26 Sep 2022 10:45 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court sentenced a convict to one half of life imprisonment under the POCSO Act, who will have to undergo a sentence of 10-years.The court was seized with a query by the Superintendent of Kolhapur prison who sought interpretation of the High Court's 2018 order sentencing a convict to "one half life imprisonment" in a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case....
The Bombay High Court sentenced a convict to one half of life imprisonment under the POCSO Act, who will have to undergo a sentence of 10-years.
The court was seized with a query by the Superintendent of Kolhapur prison who sought interpretation of the High Court's 2018 order sentencing a convict to "one half life imprisonment" in a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case.
Justice Sarang Kotwal held that since life imprisonment was not defined under the POCSO Act, the definition of life imprisonment under section 57 of the Indian Penal Code would apply.
The section provides that for calculating a fraction or part of an entire sentence, life imprisonment would be equivalent to imprisonment for twenty years.
"Thus, half of life imprisonment in such cases would mean imprisonment for ten years," Justice Kotwal observed while disposing off the petition.
Justice Kotwal was assigned the case under an administrative order. In 2018, Justice AM Badar had modified the sentence of a convict. His conviction under section 376 of the IPC and section 6 of the POCSO Act was set aside.
He was directed to undergo one-half life imprisonment under Section 18 read with Section 6 of the POCSO as well as for the offence punishable under Section 511 read with Section 376(2) of the IPC.
The superintendent said he could not understand exactly how many years imprisonment did the accused have to undergo.
Justice Kotwal appointed advocate Drupad Patil as an amicus curiae. Patil submitted that that Section 2(2) of POCSO Act and Section 57 of IPC covers the issue completely. According to section 2(2) of POCSO Act, words and expressions used but not defined can be taken from IPC, Juvenile Justice Act, CrPC etc.
Also, the matter was settled through the case of Chandrakant Vithal Pawar vs State of Maharashtra, he said.
He submitted that the Superintendent should have approached the Law and Judiciary department instead of approaching the court.
"...for the words and expressions not defined under POCSO Act they will have to be given meaning in consonance with their meaning in IPC. The wording 'life imprisonment' is not defined under POCSO Act. However, those words are used under IPC and, therefore, reference will have to be made to IPC provisions and they will have to be relied on. In this particular question, the quantum of sentence is to be looked at," Justice Kotwal observed in his order.
The court stated that this explanation was reasonable enough to interpret the High Court's order.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 352
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