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Custodial violence is a crime against humanity and clear violation of rights guaranteed under Art.21

When the police is violator of the law whose primary responsibility is to protect the law, the punishment for such violation has to be proportionately stringent so as to have effective deterrent effect and instill confidence in the society. (Para 37)



CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 125 OF 2021 (arising out of SLP (Crl.)No.6174/2020) WITH

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 126 OF 2021 (arising out of SLP (Crl.)No.6224/2020)

Decided on 11th February, 2021

Counsel for Appellants: Shri R. Basant & Shri Yasobant Das

Counsel for Respondents: Shri Ravi Prakash Mehrotra

A two-judge bench consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Ajay Rastogi dismissed the appeal of the Appellants of compounding the offences under Section 324 IPC.

These two appeals by the accused have been filed against the common judgment of the Orissa High Court dated 09.11.2020 dismissing the Criminal Appeal Nos. 2 207 and 210 of 1988 filed by the appellants. Learned Sessions Judge convicted the accused Pratap Kumar Choudhury under Section 304 (Part II) IPC to undergo R.I (Rigorous Imprisonment). for eight years and accused Pravat Chandra Mohanty under Section 304 (Part II) to undergo R.I. for five years. Both the accused were further sentenced under Section 471 IPC read with Section 466 IPC to undergo R.I. for three years and R.I. for three months under Section 342 IPC and R.I. for one month under Section 323 IPC. Aggrieved by the judgment of the trial court the appellants, Pravat Chandra Mohanty filed Criminal Appeal No.207 of 1988 and Pratap Kumar Choudhury filed Criminal Appeal 3 No.210 of 1988 before the Orissa High Court.

Learned counsel for the appellants confined his submissions to the conviction under Section 324 IPC only. learned senior counsel also submits that (i) in pursuance of this Court’s order dated 17.12.2020, the appellants have already deposited the amount of Rs.3.5 lakhs each in the Registry of the Court. (ii) that learned counsel appearing for the legal representatives are also agreeable with the proposal made by the learned counsel for the appellants, hence, conviction under Section 324 IPC be compounded by this Court under Section 320(2) Cr.P.C. (iii) that on the date when the offences took place, i.e. 04.5.1985, offences under Section 324 IPC were compoundable which subsequently have been made non-compoundable. (iv) He submits that both the appellants are now more than 75 years of age and acting under the order of this Court dated 17.12.2020, the appellants having deposited amount for compensation to be paid to the legal heirs, the offences be compounded.

Learned counsel for the State referring to the affidavit filed on behalf of the State submits that with regard to the amount of compensation directed by the High Court to be given by the State Government, the State Government has completed necessary procedural formalities and would deposit or give the compensation amount as directed by the High Court to the legal representatives in the mode and manner as this Court would please direct.

Both the appellants have been convicted under Section 371/34 IPC by the courts below, finding offence of forging and fabrication of record to be proved. The reason for fabricating the false story that deceased, Kasinath Naik came to Police Station to lodge an FIR about the assault on him at 9 p.m. was only with a view to save the accused, with intent to explain injuries caused on the body of deceased which he received during his stay in the Police Station.

The question arises as to while granting leave of the Court for composition of offence, what is the guiding factor for the Court to grant or refuse the leave for composition of offence. The nature of offence, and its affect on society are relevant considerations while granting leave by the Court of compounding the offence. The offences which affect the public in general and create fear in the public in general are serious offences, nature of which offence may be relevant consideration for Court to grant or refuse the leave. When we look into the conclusion recorded by the trial court and the High Court after marshalling the evidence on record, it is established that both the accused have mercilessly beaten the deceased in the premises of the Police Station. Eleven injuries were caused on the body of the deceased by the accused. As per the evidence of PW-1, which has been believed by the Courts below, the victim was beaten mercilessly so that he passed on, stool, Urine and started bleeding. (Para 32)

This Court while relying to Provincial Government, Central Provinces and Berar vs. Bipin Singh Choudhary, AIR (1945) Nagpur, Oudh, Peshawar & Sind 104 agreed with the ratio of the judgment, that in event people holding public office abuse their position, it becomes a matter of great public concern. Present is a case where Police of State is protector of law and order to whom the people look forward to the Police to protect their life and property. When the protector of people and society himself instead of protecting the people adopts brutality and inhumanly beat the person who comes to the police station, it is a matter of great public concern. The beating of a person in the Police Station is the concern for all and causes a sense of fear in the entire society.

The observations as quoted above are fully attracted in the facts of the present case. We, thus, are of the considered opinion that present is a case where this Court is not to grant leave for compounding the offences under Section 324 IPC as prayed by the counsel for the appellants. The present is a case where the accused who were police officers, one of them being in-charge of Station and other Senior Inspector have themselves brutally beaten the deceased, who died the same night. Their offences cannot be compounded by the Court in exercise of Section 320(2) read with subsection (5). We, thus, reject the prayer of the appellants to compound the offence. (Para 38)

Looking to the facts that both the appellants are more than 75 years of age now, we are of the considered opinion that the ends of justice be served in reducing the sentence awarded for conviction under Section 324 IPC to six months instead of one year. Additionally the legal heirs of the deceased can be compensated by the compensation which has been offered and deposited by the appellant in this Court. Thus, sentence of one year is reduced to six months by awarding compensation of Rs.3.5 Lakhs each to the legal heir of the deceased in addition to the compensation awarded by the High Court. The compensation deposited in this Court shall be remitted to the trial court who may pay the same to the legal heirs of the deceased. The affidavit has been filed before us that the deceased had four sons, his wife is dead, the entire amount be disbursed equally to two sons who are alive and heirs of two deceased sons. (Para 43)

The appeals were partly allowed. The sentence awarded to the appellants under Section 324 IPC of one year is reduced to six months with enhancement of compensation to Rs.3.5 lacs each in addition to compensation awarded by the High Court to be paid to the legal heirs of the deceased.


Risikessh Dhanaki


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