The Supreme Court in the case Sahebrao Arjun Hon vs Raosaheb Kashinath Hon observed and has stated that the gravity of crime is the prime consideration for deciding what should be an appropriate punishment in a criminal case.
The bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and the Justice Abhay S. Oka observed that if undue sympathy is shown by reducing the sentence to the minimum, it may adversely affect the faith of people in efficacy of law.
In the present case, the accused were convicted under Section 326, Section 324 and Section 447 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Punishable for the offences under Section 326 read with Section 34 of IPC, the Trial Court sentenced the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three years and to pay fine of Rs.3,000/ each. However, finally, the High Court while disposing of the revision petitions, reduced this sentence to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
The Court stated that in an appeal filled by the complainant (one of the victims), it was noticed by the Apex Court that there is no finding recorded regarding the existence of any relevant mitigating circumstance which is to be in favour of the accused. Thus, it is always the duty of the Court to balance aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances at the time of imposing sentence.
The bench stated that there was no warrant for showing leniency, while taking note of the gravity of the offence.
The Court observed that as far as the sentencing is concerned, the judicial discretion is always guided by various considerations such as seriousness of the crime and the circumstances in which the crime was committed and also the antecedents of the accused. Further, the court is required to go by the principle of proportionality. If undue sympathy is being shown by reducing of the sentence to the minimum, it may adversely affect the faith of people in efficacy of law. Subsequently, it is the gravity of crime which is the prime consideration for deciding what should be the appropriate punishment.
Therefore, the court directed that (1) in addition to the substantive sentence imposed by the High Court for the offence punishable under section 326 read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, the accused shall undergo simple imprisonment for six months. (2) The total sum of Rs.40,000/ is to be deposited by the accused with the Trial Court within a period of one month (as additional compensation to the victims in addition to the compensation to be made payable by the High Court).