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Supreme Court allows reduction of sentence of dowry accused on payment of compensation for his children born out of wedlock, their mother

“In the present case, it is one of voluntarily offering the amount albeit to seek a reduction of sentence,” the Court noted.

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The Supreme Court has reiterated that the object of any criminal jurisprudence is reformative in character and to take care of the victim while allowing an application filed by a man seeking reduction of the sentence of three years of rigorous imprisonment for offence punishable under Section 498A IPC. 

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy further stated, “It is towards this objective that Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is enacted in the statute. The objective of which is to apply whole or any part of the fine recovered to be applied on payment to any person of compensation for any loss or injury caused by the offence.”

“In the present case, it is one of voluntarily offering the amount albeit to seek a reduction of sentence,” the Court noted. 

In present case, the Court had previously declined to give the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act to the appellant. However, the Court had said, if the petitioner/appellant shows remorse and willing to make arrangements for the respondent no 2/his legally married wife and her two children out of wedlock, then it will not come in a way of such agreement, which should be beneficial to respondent no 2 and her children. 

Mental torture at the instigation of first wife’

The respondent no. 2/Hena Bibi claimed to be legally married wife of the appellant and their marriage was solemnized on 8.02.2000 as per Muslim customs & rites. According to the facts of the case, the appellant was already married to one Mastra Bibi and he apparently had illicit relationship with respondent No.2, which culminated in their marriage. The two parties are stated to have lived as husband and wife in the house of the appellant for about a year-and-a-half and two children were born out of the said marriage. It was alleged by respondent that the appellant, on the instigation of first wife, started mental and physical torture and made demands of dowry which had forced her to go back to her parents’ house. Later the appellant was held guilty for offences under Section 498A IPC and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs 10,000 by SDJM Pakur. He preferred criminal appeal against the judgment which was dismissed by Principal District and Sessions Judge, Pakur. Thereafter, he preferred criminal revision which was dismissed too, against which he had filed a SLP. 

Arguments Raised 

In the course of the hearing, the appellant prayed for extension of the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, which was declined by the Court on 26.07.2021. However, the Court expressed the view that it was not averse to consideration of reduction of sentence subject to the condition that the petitioner gave adequate compensation to respondent No.2 for herself and her children apart from whatever maintenance was being paid under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. 

Later, the Counsel for the petitioner on 09.08.2021, submitted that he was willing to pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the respondent No 2 for herself and the children and requested for about six months’ time to raise the money. 

Also Read: Supreme Court allows reduction of sentence of dowry accused on payment of compensation for his children born out of wedlock, their mother

The counsel for the police submitted that authorities have verified from respondent No 2 and she was agreeable to receive the compensation of Rs 3 lakh. Further, on compensation being paid, she had agreed that if the sentence of the appellant is reduced and/or if he is granted the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act, she has no objection. 

Object of any criminal jurisprudence is reformative in character and to take care of the victim: Supreme Court

The Court observed that if the petitioner/appellant is showing remorse and is willing to make arrangements for respondent No.2 and his two children born out of wedlock, it would not come in the way of such an arrangement, which should be beneficial to respondent No.2 and her children.

The object of any criminal jurisprudence is reformative in character and to take care of the victim. It is towards this objective that Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is enacted in the statute, it said. 

Directions 

In view of the submission made by the petitioner on 09.08.2021 requesting for six months’ time to make arrangement to deposit/pay the amount, the Court directed that the appellant shall deposit with the trial court an amount of Rs 3 lakh on or before 28.2.2022 and subject to the deposit, the period of sentence undergone shall be treated as the sentence period. 

Also Read: Supreme Court grants bail to man in jail since 2018 but tells him not to enter Mumbai limits

Further, the Apex Court directed that on the deposit of the amount, the trial court will take steps to release an amount of Rs 2 lakh out of Rs 3 lakh to respondent No.2 for herself and for her children. An amount of Rs 50,000 each out of the remaining amount, would be kept in an FDR with a nationalised bank for the benefit of the children which will be released to them with accrued interest on attaining the age of 21 years.

The above-mentioned amount of Rs 3 lakh shall be apart from the requirement of paying fine of Rs 10,000 directed by the trial court, the Court said. The Court made it clear that if the amounts are not deposited, the appellant will have to undergo the remaining part of the sentence of 3 years.

Case Name- Samaul SK Vs Tue State of Jharkhand & Anr.

SAMAUL-SK.-Judgement-31-Aug-2021

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