SOM DUTT & ORS VS THE STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
SOM DUTT & ORS VS THE STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO……. OF 2022
(Arising Out of SLP (Crl) NO. 7831 OF 2021)
SOM DUTT & ORS. .......APPELLANTS
THE STATE OF HIMACHAL
J U D G M E N T
BELA M. TRIVEDI, J.
1. Special leave is granted.
2. The appellants (original accused) have assailed the order dated
06.08.2021 passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla in the
Criminal Revision Petition No. 149 of 2012 filed by the appellants, dismissing
3. The appellants – accused were convicted by the Judicial Magistrate First
Class, Karsog, District Mandi Himachal Pradesh for the offence under Section
379 read with Section 34 of IPC in the Criminal Case No. 381 of 2009, and
were directed to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of three months and
pay fine of Rs. 3000/- in default thereof, to undergo further simple
imprisonment for one month, vide the judgment and order dated 20.01.2012.
The said judgment was affirmed by the Additional District and Sessions Judge,
Mandi, camp at Karsog vide judgment and order dated 08.06.2012 passed in
Criminal Appeal No. 11 of 2012. Being aggrieved by the said order passed by
the appeallate Court, the appellants had preferred the Revision Petition being
No. 149 of 2012, which came to be dismissed by the High Court of Himachal
Pradesh vide the impugned order dated 06.08.2021
4. As per the case of prosecution, on 18.09.2008, a Police party was
patrolling at the place Dungru Nallah, when one red colour Indigo car came
from Phegal road without having any number plate. The car was stopped by the
Police party. It was driven by Manoj Kumar alias Manoj Kaushal (Accused no.
5 now deceased), and Bula Ram (Accused no.4) was sitting in the car. On being
asked they told the Police party that they were going to Sundernagar for
remoulding the tyres of the tractor which was being brought behind the car. A
tractor trolly also reached on the spot, which was being driven by Daleep
Kumar (Accused no. 2); and Som Dutt (Accused no. 1) and Ranjan Kumar
(Accused no. 3) were sitting on the tractor. The Accused no. 1 Som Dutt told
the Police that the tractor belonged to him and the documents of the tractor were
with Accused no. 4 Bula Ram. However, on checking the tractor and trolly
documents, it was found that the registration numbers were different. Hence an
FIR was registered against all the five accused for the offence under Section
379 read with Section 34 of IPC. After the investigation was over, the case was
tried against all the accused for the offence under Section 379 read with Section
34 of IPC and were convicted and sentenced as stated earlier.
5. Though the learned Advocate appearing for the appellants had sought to
challenge the impugned order passed by the High Court maintaining the
conviction and the sentence imposed on the appellants, we were not inclined to
interfere with the concurrent findings of facts recorded by the three courts
below holding the appellants guilty of the offence under Section 379 of Section
34. The learned Advocate for the appellants, however had submitted that the
courts below should have considered the case of the appellants for granting
them the benefit of releasing them on probation under Section 361 of the Cr.P.C
read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. We
therefore considering the said submission had issued the notice to the
respondent-State. Learned Advocate Mr. Satish Kumar for the respondent-State
though has filed the reply, has not much resisted to the submission of the
learned Advocate for releasing the appellants on probation.
6. Section 3 and 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act empower the courts to
release the offenders on probation of good conduct in the cases and
circumstances mentioned therein. Similarly, Sections 360 and 361 of the Cr.P.C
also empower the courts to release the offenders on probation of good conduct
in the cases and circumstances mentioned therein. Hence, having regard to
sentence imposed by the courts below on the appellants for the offence under
Section 379 read with Section 34 of IPC, and having regard to the fact there are
no criminal antecedents against the appellants, the court is inclined to give them
the benefit of releasing them on probation of good conduct. In that view of the
matter, while maintaining the conviction and sentence imposed on the
appellants, it is directed that the appellants shall be released on probation of
good conduct, on each of the appellants furnishing a personal bond of Rs.
25,000/- with surety of the like amount, and on further furnishing an
undertaking to keep the peace and good behaviour for a period of three years,
to the satisfaction of the concerned trial court. It is further directed that if the
appellants failed to comply with the said directions or commit breach of the
undertaking given by them, they shall be called upon to undergo the sentence
imposed by the trial court.
7. Subject to the aforesaid directions, the Appeal stands allowed.
NEW DELHI …..…………………J.
04.04.2022 (BELA M. TRIVEDI)