Monday, February 26, 2024

Patna High Court detects blunder in a murder case order of Additional District & Sessions Judge-V, Bhagalpur

Patna High Court's order observes, that although the appellants have been convicted under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) "but surprisingly they have been sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for ten years and to pay a fine of Rs. 20,000/. There cannot be any sentence of less than life in a conviction under Section 302 of the IPC. We do not know whether it was an inadvertent mistake." The Court is examine the Trial Court Records and is likey to hear the matter March  4, 2024. 

Justice Kumar's order reads: "....we would consider the feasibility of issuing any notice of enhancement of sentence to the appellants or remitting the case to the Trial Court for writing out a fresh judgment with appropriate sentence."

It is apparent that  a very serious error has been committed in reducing the sentence from imprisonment for life to ten years.

A Criminal Appeal (Division Bench) was filed against conviction on October 5, 2023. It was registered on October 16, 2023 by Manoj Kumar Jha, the counsel for Santosh Yadav, the petitioner. Upon hearing the matter on January 15, 2024, the bench of Justices Ashutosh Kumar and Nani Tagia passed the order. The order authored by Justice Kumar called for the Trial Court Records in connection with S.T. No.973 of 2017/ Trial No.213 of 2022 arising out of Nathnagar (Lalmatia) P.S. case No.306/2017 from the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge-V, Bhagalpur because the order appears to be contrary to the punishment for murder under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC)

The provision reads: “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.” Supreme Court's bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Krishna Murari has held on September 2, 2022 that "any punishment/sentence less than the imprisonment for life shall be contrary to Section 302 of the IPC." The order was authored by Justice Shah. 

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