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Allahabad High Court reduces sentence of convicted postal employee

The facts of the case are that the accused persons had got employment in the Postal Department by submitting forged and fabricated educational documents of their High School, Intermediate and Graduation and those fabricated documents were prepared by them.

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The Allahabad High Court has taken a soft stand in the case of a convicted appellant who lost his post office job due to fraud and conspiracy by making forged documents. The court held that the convict’s five years in jail would be sufficient punishment for his crime for which he was awarded a seven-year term.

A single bench of Justice Gautam Chowdhary passed this order while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Satya Dev Singh.

The criminal appeal is directed against the order dated 25.01.2017 passed by Rajesh Chaudhary, Special Judge, Anti-Corruption, CBI, Ghaziabad, convicting and sentencing the accused-appellant, Satya Dev Singh, in New Special Case under Sections 120-B, 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 I.P.C. and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, PS CBI, District- Dehradun.

The trial court convicted the appellant for offence under Section 120-B IPC read with Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, for 5 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fine and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment for 3 months; under Section 419 IPC, the appellant has been convicted for 2 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 1,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment of 1 months; under Section 420 IPC, the appellant has been convicted for 4 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 2,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment of 2 months; under Section 467 IPC, the appellant has been convicted for 7 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 7,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment of 6 months; under Section 468 IPC, the appellant has been convicted for 4 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 2,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment of 2 months; under Section 471 IPC, the appellant has been convicted for 1 year rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 1,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment of 1 month.

The facts of the case are that the accused persons had got employment in the Postal Department by submitting forged and fabricated educational documents of their High School, Intermediate and Graduation and those fabricated documents were prepared by them.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has investigated the matter and submitted a charge sheet against the accused and the other co-accused persons. The accused-appellant was tried for the alleged offence and has been convicted by the trial court by the impugned judgement and order.

The counsel for the appellant submitted that three accused persons were also convicted by the trial court along with appellant. Their criminal appeal has been disposed of by the Coordinate Bench of the Court and their sentences have been modified.

He further submitted that although the trial court has convicted the appellant on the basis of mere conjectures when he is absolutely innocent.

The counsel for the appellant has also submitted that offence was committed in the year 1992 and the accused had been removed from service and when he was removed from service he was a young man; that there is no bread earner in the family of the appellant. He next submitted that it was the first offence of the appellant and after conviction, he had not indulged in any other criminal activity.

The counsel for the appellant said that on the question of legality of conviction and merits of the case, he is not pressing this appeal and only pressing on the quantum of sentence and he has prayed for taking a lenient view considering the age of the appellant.

The counsel for the appellant further said that the accused-appellant has been in jail since 25.01.2017. The maximum sentence awarded to the appellant is 7 years and he has already spent more than 5 years in jail. Therefore, he has requested that keeping in view the period spent by the appellant in jail, a lenient view may be taken and his conviction may be converted into sentence undergone.

The counsel for the CBI and AGA opposed the prayer.

The Court observed that the accused had submitted forged and fabricated marksheets/certificates just to get employment in the Postal Department.

The Court said that, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the highest sentence which has been awarded by the trial court is of 7 years under Section 467 IPC. The remaining sentences are much less in comparison to it, therefore, the sentence awarded under Section 467 IPC if reduced by 2 years against the awarded sentence of 7 years, the ends of the justice will be served.

The Court further observed that the sentence in all other sections have been directed to run concurrently and it has also been directed that the period during which the accused persons were in jail shall be accommodated in their sentence, therefore, there is no necessity for disturbing the sentences which have been awarded in other sections. So far as the quantum of fine is concerned, it appears to be adequate and it is not required to be disturbed. However, the default sentence in lieu of fine may be reduced to some extent to serve the ends of justice.

Accordingly, the conviction by the trial court is upheld. The Court disposed of the appeal with the modification that the sentence of 7 years rigorous imprisonment for the offence under Section 467 IPC is reduced by 2 years and the default sentence in lieu of fine is reduced from 6 months to 2 months; the default sentence in lieu of fine under Section 120-B IPC read with Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is reduced from 3 months to 1 months; the default sentence in lieu of fine under Section 419 IPC is reduced from 1 month to 15 days; the default sentence in lieu of fine under Section 420 IPC is reduced from 2 months to 1 month; the default sentence in lieu of fine under Section 468 IPC is reduced from 2 months to 1 month and the default sentence in lieu of fine under Section 471 IPC is reduced from 1 month to 15 days.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the criminal appeal.

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