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Murali vs. State rep. by the Inspector of Police - (Supreme Court) (05 Jan 2021)

Court can reduce quantum of sentence on basis of amicable settlement



Present appeals have been preferred against the judgment of the High Court which upheld Appellant’s conviction under Sections 324 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) with a sentence of three months’ rigorous imprisonment, and another Appellant’s conviction under Sections 307 and 341 of IPC and sentence of five years’ rigorous imprisonment.

The convict¬-Appellants challenged the judgment before two forums, both of which unanimously upheld their conviction. The Additional District¬cum Sessions Judge dismissed the first appeal through an order and their criminal revision petition before the High Court also met with the same fate vide an order. Unsatisfied still, the Appellants have approached this Court seeking special leave to appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of their conviction. However, through an application filed, they have sought to implead the injured¬victim and get their offences compounded based on mutual resolution and peaceful settlement between the parties.

A perusal of the applications for impleadment and compounding makes it clear that, the parties have on the advice of their elders entered into an amicable settlement. The Appellants have admitted their fault, taken responsibility for their actions, and have maturely sought forgiveness from the victim. In turn, the victim has benevolently acknowledged the apology, and considering the young age of the Appellants at the time of the incident, has forgiven the Appellants and settled the dispute.

Present is a fit case to take a sympathetic view and reconsider the quantum of sentences awarded to the Appellants. The parties to the dispute have mutually buried their hatchet. There is no question of the settlement being as a result of any coercion or inducement. The Appellants are in their mid-thirties and present little chance of committing the same crime. The Appellants have no other criminal antecedents, no previous enmity. They are the sole bread earners of their family and have significant social obligations to tend to. In such circumstances, it might not serve the interests of society to keep them incarcerated any further.

Finally, both Appellants have served a significant portion of their sentences. In view of unique factors, including the compromise between the parties, present Court deems it appropriate to reduce the quantum of the sentence imposed on the Appellants. The appeals are, therefore, partly allowed and sentence of both the Appellants is reduced to the period already undergone by them.


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