The State of Madhya Pradesh Versus Nandu @ Nandua

The State of Madhya Pradesh Versus Nandu @ Nandua

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1356 OF 2022
The State of Madhya Pradesh …Appellant(s)
Versus
Nandu @ Nandua …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment
and order passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur in
Criminal Appeal No. 219 of 1995 by which the High Court has partly
allowed the said appeal preferred by the respondent - accused – Nandu
@ Nandua and has reduced the sentence from life imprisonment to the
sentence already undertone while maintaining his conviction for the
offences under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the Indian Penal
Code (IPC), the State has preferred the present appeal.
2. We have heard Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, learned Deputy Advocate
General appearing on behalf of the appellant - State.
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3. At the outset, it is required to be noted that the learned Trial Court
convicted the respondent - accused alongwith other accused for the
offence punishable under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the IPC
and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment. However, by the
impugned judgment and order, though the High Court has maintained
the conviction of the accused for the offence under Sections 147, 148,
323 and 302/34 of the IPC by giving benefit of right to private defence,
the High Court has thereafter interfered with the sentence and reduced
the same to the already undergone by him. At this stage, it is required to
be noted that by the time, the High Court passed the impugned
judgment and order reducing the sentence, the period of sentence
undergone by the respondent - accused was approximately seven years
and ten months.
4. Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, learned Deputy Advocate General
appearing on behalf of the State has vehemently submitted that when
the High Court has maintained the conviction of the accused for the
offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, the punishment which can be
imposed would be punishment with death or imprisonment for life and
also fine, but in any case, it shall not be less than the imprisonment for
life.
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4.1 It is vehemently submitted that once an accused is held to be guilty
for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, the minimum
sentence, which is imposable would be the imprisonment for life and,
therefore, any punishment/sentence less than the imprisonment for life
shall be contrary to Section 302 of the IPC. It is submitted that therefore
the High Court has committed a very serious error in reducing the
sentence to already undergone (seven years and ten months).
5. Having heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State
and considering the impugned judgment and order passed by the High
Court by which though the High Court has maintained the conviction of
the respondent - accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC, but the
High Court has reduced the sentence to already undergone, i.e., seven
years and ten months, we are of the firm view that the same is
impermissible and unsustainable. The punishment for murder under
Section 302 IPC shall be death or imprisonment for life and fine.
Therefore, the minimum sentence provided for the offence punishable
under Section 302 IPC would be imprisonment for life and fine. There
cannot be any sentence/punishment less than imprisonment for life, if an
accused is convicted for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.
Any punishment less than the imprisonment for life for the offence
punishable under Section 302 would be contrary to Section 302 IPC. By
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the impugned judgment and order though the High Court has specifically
maintained the conviction of the accused for the offence under Sections
147, 148, 323 and 302/34 of the IPC, but the High Court has reduced
the sentence to sentence already undergone which is less than
imprisonment for life, which shall be contrary to Section 302 IPC and is
unsustainable.
6. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, present
appeal succeeds. The impugned judgment and order passed by the
High Court reducing the sentence of the respondent – accused to the
sentence already undergone while maintaining the conviction of the
respondent – accused for the offence under Sections 147, 148, 323 and
302/34 of the IPC is hereby quashed and set aside. The judgment and
order passed by the learned Trial Court imposing the life imprisonment is
hereby restored. Now, the respondent – accused to be arrested and to
undergo life imprisonment for which we give eight weeks’ time to the
accused to surrender before the concerned Court/Jail Authority.
………………………………….J.
 [M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; ………………………………….J.
 SEPTEMBER 02, 2022. [KRISHNA MURARI]
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