Penalty imposed for offence should be proportionate: SC

New Delhi : The Supreme Court has said that it was incumbent upon courts to bear in mind the impact of the offence on the society including on the victim and there should be proportionality between the offence committed and the penalty imposed.

Holding that “sentencing for any offence has a social goal”, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant in a recent judgment said: “It is obligatory on the part of the Court to keep in mind the impact of the offence on the society, and its ramification including the repercussion on the victim.”

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“For the purpose of just and proper punishment, not only the accused must be made to realize that the crime was committed by him, but there should be proportionality between the offence committed and the penalty imposed,” said Justice Pant pronouncing the judgment.

“In each case, facts and circumstances of that case are always required to be taken into consideration,” the court said, while upholding the November 8, 2011 verdict of Punjab and Haryana High Court confirming the conviction of Assistant Sub-Inspector Sanjiv Kumar by a court in Punjab’s Kapurthala.

Posted in a police station in Phagwara city, he entered the premises of a foreign exchange dealer and took away Rs.6,64,576 in Indian currency and foreign currency of the value of Rs. 13,44,500.

Not only that, he used a part of this money to foist a case on the firm’s proprietor Sukhraj Singh, showing it as having been recovered from his car after it was intercepted at a checkpoint outside the town.

However, on investigation, this case was found to be false.

Thereafter Sukhraj Singh lodged a complaint with deputy inspector general of police, internal vigilance cell, recording the manner in which robbery was committed from the premises of his firm.

Sanjiv Kumar was convicted by the Kapurthala sessions court for offences under section 395 (Punishment for dacoity), section 450 (House trespass in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment for life) and section 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement) of Indian Penal Code.

While the trial court upon conviction sentenced him to varied terms of imprisonment and fines, the high court reduced the sentence to three years with enhanced fine.