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Not Pressing Criminal Appeal By Accused After Conviction By Lower Court Is Like Confession Of Offence: Allahabad High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
22 May 2022 11:11 AM GMT
Allahabad High Court, Pressing, Criminal Appeal, Accused, Conviction, Lower Court, Confession, Offence, Justice Suresh Kumar Gupta,
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"Not pressing the criminal appeal after the conviction of the accused by the court below is like the confession of the offence by the accused," the Allahabad High Court observed recently as it upheld the conviction of a man under Section 354 IPC [Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty].

The Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Gupta however reduced the sentence of the convict to the period of imprisonment already undergone by him (about 8 months).

It may be noted that the incident dates back to the year 2007 when an offence under Section 354 IPC entailed 2 years of imprisonment or a fine or both, however, subsequent to an amendment made in the IPC in the year 2013, now, this offence carries 5 years of imprisonment along with a fine.

Convict-Ramsagar moved to the High Court challenging the impugned judgment and order passed by Additional District & Sessions Judge/FTC Lakhimpur Kheri.

Initially, the Convict argued that the trial court, without appreciating the evidence available on record, wrongly convicted him. He also contended that both the witnesses examined by the prosecution is the interested witnesses and no independent witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecution.

However, his counsel later on submitted that the appellant does not want to argue the appeal on merits and he only wants to advance submission on the quantum of sentence imposed upon him.

In view of this submission, the Bench stressed that not pressing the criminal appeal after the conviction of the accused by the court below is like the confession of the offence by the accused. The Court further observed thus:

"Generally, the Courts take lenient view in the matter of awarding sentence to an accused in criminal trial, where he voluntarily confesses his guilt, unless the facts of the case warrants severe sentence"

The Court further underscored that appropriate sentence is the cry of the society and therefore, the Court added, the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the 6 nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed.

Against this backdrop, considering the entire possible conspectus of circumstances, the Court opined that sending the convict back to penitentiary, to serve out remaining part of his sentence wouldn't be in the interest of justice.

"Fear of being sending back to jail looming large for such long period must have tormented him enough for which he must have been penancing," the Court said as it upheld conviction under Section 354 IPC, but his sentence was reduced to the period of imprisonment already undergone by him.

In view of the above, the appeal on the point of conviction was dismissed and on the point of sentence, was partly allowed.

Case title - Ramsagar v. State of U.P. [CRIMINAL APPEAL No. - 465 of 2020]

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 252

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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