Allahabad High Court Judgement

Allahabad High Court Judgement

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JUDGEMENT HEADLINE : Sec.25 Arms Acft Sentence Below Minimum Prescribed U/s 25-B(1) Can Be Imposed In Suitable Cases.
JUDGEMENT TITLE : Laturi Vs. State Of U.P On 29/05/2007 By Allahabad High Court
CASE NO : CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 484 OF 1982
CORAM : Hon'ble Raghunath Kishore Rastogi,J.

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD

Court No.1
Crl. Appeal No. 484 Of 1982

Laturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appellant.
Versus
State Of U.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Respondent. ---

Hon'ble R.K. Rastogi,J.

This Is An Appeal Against The Judgment And Order Dated 12.2.1982 Passed By Sri V.S.Kulshrestha, Then II Addl. Sessions Judge, Aligarh In Sessions Trial No. 36 Of 1980, State Vs. Laturi.

The Facts Relevant For Disposal Of This Appeal Are That On 24.4.1979 A First Information Report Was Registered At Police Station Atrauli District Aligarh On The Dictation Of Sri Indrajeet Sharma, Station Officer Of Police Station Atrauli Against Accused Chandra Pal, Laturi, Bhudeo And Daya Ram Under Sections 147, 148, 149, 307 I.P.C. And Section 25, Arms Act, In Respect Of An Incident Which Had Allegedly Taken Place On 24.4.1979 At 3.30 A.M. The Allegations Against Accused Were That They Had Fired At The Police Party And On Search One Factory Made Single Barrel Gun And Four Live Cartridges Were Recovered From Chandra Pal, One Country Made Pistol And Three Live Cartridges Were Recovered From Laturi And One Country Made Pistol And Three Cartridges Were Recovered From Bhudeo. Accused Daya Ram Was Not Arrested On The Spot.

After Completion Of The Investigation The Police Submitted Charge Sheet Against Chandra Pal, Laturi And Bhudeo. Accused Bhudeo Died Before The Charge Could Be Framed Against Him. The Charges Against Accused Chandra Pal And Laturi Were Framed Under Sections 148 And 307/149 I.P.C. Accused Laturi Was Further Charged Under Section 25, Arms Act. Accused Chandra Pal Also Died During Pendency Of The Case And So The Case Proceeded Against Laturi Only.

After Trial Of The Case The Learned Addl. Sessions Judge Was Of The View That Charges Under Sections 148, &307/149 I.P.C. Were Not Proved Against Accused Laturi And So Laturi Was Acquitted Of These Charges. However, The Learned Addl. Sessions Judge Was Of The View That Charge Under Section 25, Arms Act Was Sufficiently Proved Against Accused Laturi. He, Therefore, Convicted Accused Laturi Under Section 25 Arms Act And Sentenced Him To Two Years Rigorous Imprisonment. Aggrieved With That Judgment And Order Accused Laturi Filed This Appeal.

Heard Learned Counsel For The Appellant And Learned A.G.A. For The State.

The Learned Counsel For The Appellant Made Only One Submission Before Me. He Did Not Challenge The Conviction Of Accused-appellant But Made Submissions In Respect Of The Order Of Sentence Only. He Contended That The Incident In Question Is Of The Year 1979. The Trial Of The Case Was Concluded In The Year 1982 And Accused Was Sentenced Two Years R.I. Under Section 25 Arms Act. He Submitted That A Period Of 25 Years Has Passed Since The Date Of Conviction. He Further Submitted That The Accused Remained In Jail For A Period Of 12 Days When He Was Arrested By The Police On 24.4.1979 And Thereafter He Again Remained In Jail For A Period Of 12 Days When He Was Convicted By The Trial Court. The Learned Counsel For The Appellant Submitted That During Pendency Of This Appeal Non-bailable Warrants Were Issued Against The Accused Appellant On 28.11.2006 And He Was Arrested By The Police On 15.1.2007 In Pursuance Of The Above Warrant And Then He Was Released On Bail On 27.2.2007. In This Way He Again Remained In Jail For A Period Of One Month And 12 Days. The Learned Counsel For The Appellant Submitted That In This Way The Accused Remained In Jail For A Period Of More Than Two Months And So Now After A Gap Of About 28 Years From The Date Of Incident He Should Not Be Sent To Jail And The Period Already Undergone By Him In Jail Should Be Considered To Be Sufficient Punishment For Him And For The Remaining Period Of Imprisonment Fine Should Be Imposed Upon Him.

The Learned A.G.A. Opposed This Prayer And Submitted That Though It Has Not Been Clearly Mentioned In The Charge As To Under Which Part Of Section 25, Arms Act, The Accused Was Being Charged And The Conviction Order Is Also Vague As There Is No Section 25 (a) In The Said Act, As Mentioned In The Judgment Of The Learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Yet It Is Clear From Perusal Of The Allegations Against The Appellant As Well As From Perusal Of The Contents Of The Charge Framed Against Him That He Was Actually Charged Under Section 25 (1-B) (a). He Submitted That Minimum Punishment Of One Year Sentence Has Been Provided For The Offence Under The Above Section Which May Extend Upto Three Years And So There Is No Question Of Awarding Any Punishment Of Less Than One Year And As Such The Above Prayer Of The Accused Appellant Cannot Be Accepted.

The Learned Counsel For The Appellant Has, However, Referred To The Proviso At The End Of Sub Section 1-B Of Section 25 Of The Arms Act In Which It Has Been Provided That The Court May For Any Adequate Or Special Reason Impose A Sentence Of Imprisonment For A Term Of Less Than One Year. He Submitted That Under This Proviso The Court Has Got Right To Impose Punishment Of Imprisonment For Less Than A Year And Taking Into Consideration The Facts And Circumstances Of This Case The Court Should Exercise Its Discretion In Favour Of The Appellant.

It Is To Be Seen That, As Already Stated Above, The Incident Is Of The Year 1979 And A Period Of 28 Years Has Passed Since Then. The Conviction Order Was Passed In The Year 1982 And A Period Of 25 Years Has Passed Since Then. The Applicant Was Found In Possession Of One Country Made Pistol And Three Cartridges Only.

Taking Into Consideration The Aforesaid Long Gap Of Time, I Am Of The View That At This Stage It Will Not Be Proper To Send The Accused To Jail To Undergo Remaining Part Of Imprisonment Which Is About One Year And Ten Months, And Keeping Into Consideration This Fact That The Period Of Imprisonment Of More Than Two Months Has Already Been Undergone By Him, I Am Of The View That Remaining Part Of Sentence Of Imprisonment Should Be Commuted To Fine.

I, Therefore, Impose A Fine Of Rs.2,500/- ( Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred Only ) Upon The Appellant In Lieu Of The Remaining Part Of Sentence Of Imprisonment And Order That This Amount Of Fine Shall Be Deposited By Him Before The Trial Court Within A Period Of Two Months From Today. In Case Of Default Of Payment Of The Aforesaid Amount Of Fine, The Accused Shall Have To Undergo Sentence Of Imprisonment As Already Ordered By The Trial Court.

The Appeal Is Accordingly Disposed Of Confirming The Order Of Conviction Under Section 25, Arms Act Against The Appellant And Modifying The Sentence, As Ordered Above.

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