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Allahabad HC turns down victim’s appeal against inadequate sentence

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in an important decision has clarified that no appeal can be maintained by the victim under Section 372 CrPC on the ground of inadequacy of sentence.

A Single Bench of Justice Mohd Faiz Alam Khan heard the application under Section 378 filed by Smt Shireen.

The appeal has been filed by the victim under Section 372 CrPC against the order dated 07.03.2013 passed by the Judicial Magistrate, Ambedkar Nagar whereby the trial court has convicted the private respondents under Sections 323, 498-A, 506 IPC and Section 3/4 DP Act, however, the accused persons/private respondents instead of sentencing to undergo imprisonment were given the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 and released on probation and also against the judgment and order dated 30.09.2016 passed by the Appellate Court i.e Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court-II), Ambedkar Nagar, whereby the appeal preferred by the state against sentence was dismissed.

The Court noted,

The Section 372 of the CrPC, under which the instant appeal has been preferred, is reproduced for ready reference as under:-

“372. No appeal to lie unless otherwise provided.— No appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a criminal court except as provided for by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force: Provided that the victim shall have a right to prefer an appeal against any order passed by the court acquitting the accused or convicted for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation, and such appeal shall lie to the court to which an appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction of such court.”

The Court held,

Perusal of that the Section would reveal that the same is starting with a Non-Obstante Clause declaring that no appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a Criminal Court except as provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force.

Thus, it is clear that the appeal could only be preferred in accordance with the scheme provided in the CrPC or provided by any other law for the time being in force. The proviso to Section 372 CrPC provides a right to the victim of an offence to prefer an appeal and it says that the victim as defined under Section 2w (wa) of the CrPC may prefer an appeal against any judgment or order passed by the Court acquitting the accused or convicted for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation. Thus, the appeal under Section 372 CrPC could only be filed on the happening of three situations namel

(i) When the accused person(s) have been acquitted;

(ii) When the accused person(s0 have been convicted for a lesser offence;

(iii) Where inadequate compensation has been imposed by the Court (s).

The Court observed that the appeal has been preferred by the victim against the order of the trial court as well as of the first Appellate Court and it is evident that though the accused persons were convicted by the trial Court for the offence committed under Sections 323, 498-A, 506 IPC and Section 3/4 DP Act, however, instead of sentencing them to undergo imprisonment the trial Court has given them benefit of Section 4 of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 and released them on probation and the appeal preferred by the state against sentencing has also been dismissed by the appellate Court.

“The issue as to whether a victim of the crime may prefer an appeal under section 372 Crpc against inadequacy of sentence awarded to the accused persons is now no more res integra.

Above placed case laws makes it clear that no appeal can be maintained by the victim under Section 372 CrPC on the ground of inadequacy of sentence. Thus the appeal preferred by the victim of the crime against inadequacy of sentence is not maintainable,” the court said while dismissing the application.

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