The Kerala High Court has held that the imprisonment in default of payment of fine awarded on an accused in a case cannot be directed to run concurrently with imprisonment in default of payment of fine awarded on him in other cases.
Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi observed that the imprisonment in default of payment of fine cannot be deemed to be a sentence and it is a penalty which is incurred on account of non- payment of fine.
In this case, the accused was convicted in three cheque bounce cases. In each case, he was sentenced to imprisonment till the rising of the court and to pay a fine and in default of payment of fine, to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of three months. He filed a petition before the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C praying that the imprisonment awarded to him in the three cases, in default of payment of fine, may be ordered to run concurrently.
The court noted that Section 427(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that, when a person already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment or imprisonment for life, such imprisonment or imprisonment for life shall commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he has been previously sentenced, unless the Court directs that the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with such previous sentence.
The issue in this case whether the provision contained in Section 427(1) of the Code has application to imprisonment in default of payment of fine awarded to an accused. Taking note of the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and CrPC, the court observed:
" Imprisonment in default of payment of fine cannot be deemed to be a sentence. It is a penalty which is incurred on account of non- payment of fine. A sentence is something which must be undergone unless it is set aside or remitted in part or in whole in appropriate proceedings. However, in case of imprisonment awarded in default of payment of fine, the accused may avoid it, by payment of the fine."
The court then dismissed the plea observing that, since imprisonment in default of payment fine is not a sentence, Section 427(1) of the Code can have no application to such imprisonment awarded on an accused.
Case name: C.T.K.CHANDRAN vs. STATE OF KERALACase no.: Crl.MC.No.2367 OF 2020Coram: Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi
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