The State Of Madhya Pradesh vs Nandu @ Nandua on 2 September, 2022


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Supreme Court of India

The State Of Madhya Pradesh vs Nandu @ Nandua on 2 September, 2022

Author: M.R. Shah

Bench: M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari

                                                                        REPORTABLE

                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                  CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1356 OF 2022

         The State of Madhya Pradesh                               …Appellant(s)

                                                 Versus

         Nandu @ Nandua                                            …Respondent(s)


                                             JUDGMENT

M.R. SHAH, J.

1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment

and order passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur in

Criminal Appeal No. 219 of 1995 by which the High Court has partly

allowed the said appeal preferred by the respondent – accused – Nandu

@ Nandua and has reduced the sentence from life imprisonment to the

sentence already undertone while maintaining his conviction for the

offences under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the Indian Penal

Code (IPC), the State has preferred the present appeal.

2. We have heard Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, learned Deputy Advocate

General appearing on behalf of the appellant – State.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
ASHA SUNDRIYAL
Date: 2022.09.02
17:17:26 IST
Reason:

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3. At the outset, it is required to be noted that the learned Trial Court

convicted the respondent – accused alongwith other accused for the

offence punishable under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the IPC

and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment. However, by the

impugned judgment and order, though the High Court has maintained

the conviction of the accused for the offence under Sections 147, 148,

323 and 302/34 of the IPC by giving benefit of right to private defence,

the High Court has thereafter interfered with the sentence and reduced

the same to the already undergone by him. At this stage, it is required to

be noted that by the time, the High Court passed the impugned

judgment and order reducing the sentence, the period of sentence

undergone by the respondent – accused was approximately seven years

and ten months.

4. Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, learned Deputy Advocate General

appearing on behalf of the State has vehemently submitted that when

the High Court has maintained the conviction of the accused for the

offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, the punishment which can be

imposed would be punishment with death or imprisonment for life and

also fine, but in any case, it shall not be less than the imprisonment for

life.

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4.1 It is vehemently submitted that once an accused is held to be guilty

for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, the minimum

sentence, which is imposable would be the imprisonment for life and,

therefore, any punishment/sentence less than the imprisonment for life

shall be contrary to Section 302 of the IPC. It is submitted that therefore

the High Court has committed a very serious error in reducing the

sentence to already undergone (seven years and ten months).

5. Having heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State

and considering the impugned judgment and order passed by the High

Court by which though the High Court has maintained the conviction of

the respondent – accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC, but the

High Court has reduced the sentence to already undergone, i.e., seven

years and ten months, we are of the firm view that the same is

impermissible and unsustainable. The punishment for murder under

Section 302 IPC shall be death or imprisonment for life and fine.

Therefore, the minimum sentence provided for the offence punishable

under Section 302 IPC would be imprisonment for life and fine. There

cannot be any sentence/punishment less than imprisonment for life, if an

accused is convicted for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

Any punishment less than the imprisonment for life for the offence

punishable under Section 302 would be contrary to Section 302 IPC. By

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the impugned judgment and order though the High Court has specifically

maintained the conviction of the accused for the offence under Sections

147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the IPC, but the High Court has reduced

the sentence to sentence already undergone which is less than

imprisonment for life, which shall be contrary to Section 302 IPC and is

unsustainable.

6. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, present

appeal succeeds. The impugned judgment and order passed by the

High Court reducing the sentence of the respondent – accused to the

sentence already undergone while maintaining the conviction of the

respondent – accused for the offence under Sections 147, 148, 323 and

302/34 of the IPC is hereby quashed and set aside. The judgment and

order passed by the learned Trial Court imposing the life imprisonment is

hereby restored. Now, the respondent – accused to be arrested and to

undergo life imprisonment for which we give eight weeks’ time to the

accused to surrender before the concerned Court/Jail Authority.

………………………………….J.

                                        [M.R. SHAH]



NEW DELHI;                              ………………………………….J.
SEPTEMBER 02, 2022.                     [KRISHNA MURARI]



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