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The Delhi High Court while observing an anomaly in the CrPC has said that it needs examination.

The Division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anu Malhotra has issued notice to the Centre and Ministry of Law and Justice to file a counter affidavit on the allegation that powers accorded to the Magistrate to try cases listed under Schedule I of CrPC is not only in contradiction with the provisions of CrPC itself as well as the IPC, but also violative of the provisions of Constitution of India.

Lawyer Amit Sahni has sought the Court’s intervention for issuing appropriate direction to authorities to amend the text of the law to: triable by the “Court of Sessions” instead of “Court of Judicial Magistrate of First Class” for securing the object of sentence for offences contained in Sections 326, 327, 363A, 377, 382, 386, 389, 392, 394, 409, 455, 458, 467, 493, 495 of the Indian Penal Code.

The said offences are triable by Magistrate for offences whose sentence is greater than the jurisdiction of a Magistrate. A Magistrate can award a 3-year sentence and a Chief Judicial Magistrate can award 7 years. When a Magistrate considers the need to award a sentence of 10 years, he can at most, award the convict 7 years, that too through the Chief Judicial Magistrate under Sec 325 CrPC. This inherent defect has been argued as not only unjust to the victims of the accused but also a total failure of the intent of law — deterrence effect on accused and society at large at being awarded the maximum sentence on the crime.

The offences of IPC whose sentencing is affected due to this anomaly are:

Sr. No. Section Offence Punishment
1.  326 Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means Imprisonment for life or for 10 Years and fine.
2. 327 Voluntarily causing hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal act. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
3. 363A Kidnapping or maiming a minor for purposes of begging. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
4. 377  Unnatural offences Imprisonment for life or for 10 Years and fine.
5 382 Theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
6. 386 Extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
7. 388 Extortion by threat of accusation of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, etc. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
8. 389 Putting person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
9. 392 Punishment for robbery Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
10. 394 Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery Imprisonment for life or imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
11. 409 Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent. Imprisonment for life or imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
12. 455 Lurking house-trespass or housebreaking after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
13. 458 Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night after preparation for hurt, assault, or wrongful restraint. Imprisonment for 14 Years and fine.
14. 467 Forgery of valuable security, will etc. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
15. 493 Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage. Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.
16. 495  Same offence with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted Imprisonment for 10 Years and fine.

 

The object of higher sentence is hence allegedly defeated when an accused is tried by a Magistrate instead of a Sessions Judge, the Court said

Court will next hear the matter on July 16, 2019.

—India Legal

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