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The courts shall exercise its power to award and compute compensation to victims under section 357 o

MANOHAR SINGH v. STATE OF RAJASTHAN Criminal Appeal No. 99/2015, SLP 1491/2012 –  16th January, 2015

CORAM: Two judge bench comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

Wherein in this case

“The Supreme Court had recommended to all the other lower hierarchy courts to exercise the powers conferred under S. 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in a very liberal manner so as to meet the ends of justice appropriately.”

The facts of this case are that on 29th October, 1980, around 2 PM, the accused was charged for injuring the Appellant, Manohar Singh, plus injuring three more people namely Devi Singh, Maan Singh and Karan Singh. The appellant suffered from several injnuries such as an incised wound in the parietal region by a sharp edged weapon, a deep muscle injury on the front of his left leg and a bone deep injury just above the front of the left leg. The intention behind injuring those four of them was with a view to disturb the possession of the complainant party on the agricultural land in question. As many as 13 accused were tried on the allegations for injuring those four. While tried in the trial court, the trial court convicted accused of ten respondents, and another one of name Mool Singh, son of Jaswant Singh, who passed away during the pendency of the proceedings. The respondents were either convicted under Sec. 323, 324 or 325 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, with an imprisonment sentence or fine or both. The victims had entered into a compromise and compounded the offence qua them but later the appellant filed a revision in the High Court which got dismissed. The appellant later on proceeded to file an appeal at the Supreme Court to get an order against the order given by High Court.

The questions of law that were being raised are

Whether compensation has been sufficiently granted to the appellant and the other victims or not?

Whether fines imposed on the accused was less or correct?

Whether the High Court of Rajasthan’s decision to dismiss the revision petition is correct or not?

The Appellants had contended that the Court had set aside the conviction for offences other than S.323 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which is quite erroneous. They also contended that the Court’s decision to give benefit of probation was also very erroneous in nature. The appellant also argued that he had suffered from several injuries and even though they are not grievous but of simple nature, still he should have been even more sufficiently be awarded compensation & the High Court has failed to do this by dismissing the revision petition.

The accused on the other hand argued that Devi Singh like Mool Singh had also died during the pendency of the proceedings in the Court so pursuing the case when a member or more related to the case has died is of no use. The accused also contended that it is no use of re pursuing the case when the appellant had suffered and healed from those injuries 35 years ago and due to the above two contentions it will not be an appropriate decision so as to award sentence of imprisonment to any of the accused. The accused finally contended saying that still if the entire problem still needs to be solved on the part of the accused, the best option would be for either the accused or the State to offer compensation to the appellant.

The Court after listening to what both the parties had to say observed that it would not be correct if they sentence the accused to imprisonment at that stage. But however it would be a good idea to duly compensate the appellant. They also observed that just as punishing the accused is important, to ensure rehabilitation of the victim is also equally important.

It was held and ordered by the Court that the appellant is entitled to a compensation sum of Rs. 50, 000 under Sec. 357(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

View/ Download the Judgment: MANOHAR SINGH v. STATE OF RAJASTHAN

–  Nardhana Ram

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