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Same Transaction, Separate Prosecution, Sentencing Can Be Concurrent: SC [Read Order]

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23 July 2017 8:44 AM GMT
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In PN Mohanan Nair vs State of Kerala, the Supreme Court reiterated the settled legal position with respect to subsequent conviction and its commencement, that courts have power to direct that subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with previous sentence.
In the instant case, separate cases of misappropriation were lodged, though they were tried jointly and evidence was also common. The trial court judge ordered that the substantive sentences would run concurrently. The high court disagreed with this view.
A bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha considered the contention that essentially the allegations 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 and the sentences awarded individually ought to be directed to run concurrently.
Among other judgments, the bench referred to recent judgment in Benson vs State of Kerala, wherein it was held that the normal rule in sub-section (1) of Section 427 of CrPC, that if a person already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment, such subsequent term of imprisonment would normally commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he was previously sentenced, is subject to a qualification and it is within the powers of the court to direct that the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with the previous sentence.
Referring to Section 427(1) CrPC, the bench observed 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.
The bench further observed: “The jurisdiction being discretionary must be exercised on fair and just principles in the facts of a case. Suffice it to observe that in the facts of the case, the exercise of discretion under Section 427(1) Code of Criminal Procedure, mandates that the substantive sentences imposed upon the appellant in the three separate prosecutions, are directed to run concurrently, except the default sentence, if the fine by way of compensation as imposed has not been paid by him.”


Read another version of the report on this Judgment Here

Read the Order Here

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