Courts Update SC expresses displeasure over lenient approach of Madras HC...

SC expresses displeasure over lenient approach of Madras HC in decreasing sentence of murder accused

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New Delhi, May 25 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today expressed displeasure on the verdict of Madras High Court, wherein a lenient approach was taken in remission of sentence from six to three years in a case of death due to negligence.

The Bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose, while dismissing of the petition of Elayraja, said that though the accused got acquitted under Section 279 of IPC, it did not give him benefit under Section 304-A of IPC.

The Counsel of the petitioner stated that the petitioner has an infant child, a wife and a daily wage labour, and he was the sole bread earner of the family. Thereof, Justice Maheshwari asked the petitioner to talk on merits and not try to gain on empathy from the court.

Elayraja had challenged the order of Madras High Court, wherein the conviction of offences under Section 304-A IPC and Section 3(1) r/w 181 of the Motor Vehicles Act passed by the Trial court, affirmed by the High Court.

The High Court partly allowed the Criminal Revision case by reducing the sentence from two to one year of Rigorous Imprisonment under Section 304-A IPC, further it directed to secure the petitioner and commit him to prison to undergo remaining sentence.

As per the case of prosecution, Indumathi (deceased ) and her sister Praveena had gone to school, on the way they were hit by a tractor from behind. It is averred that the tractor was being driven by Elayraja and he ran over Indumathi , which led to her death on the spot , and Praveena sustained injuries. Upon a complaint of their father, a case was registered. Inquest was conducted on body of deceased Indumathi and inquest report was prepared. Thereafter, opinion regarding the cause of death of deceased came out due to crush injuries on chest and abdomen. Elayraja did not have valid driving license.

The issue arose that whether in exercising revisional jurisdiction which involves concurrent finding of fact , arrived by two courts, can the High act as second appellate court. Dealing with the issue ,the High Courtemphasised upon the judgment of Bir Singh vs. Mukesh Kumar (2019) 4 SCC 197 held as under:

“17.As held by this Court in Southern Sales & Services v. Sauermilch Design and Handels GmbH [Southern Sales & Services v. Sauermilch Design and Handels GmbH, (2008) 14 SCC 457] , it is a well-established principle of law that the Revisional Court will not interfere even if a wrong order is passed by a court having jurisdiction, in the absence of a jurisdictional error.”

The trial court found Elayraja guilty under Sections 279, 304-A, IPC and under Sections 3(1) r/w 181 of Motor Vehicle Act vide order dated August 21, 2012, Elayraja was awarded conviction and sentence under 279 IPC, six months rigorous imprisonment and also to pay a fine of Rs.500/-, in default, to undergo simple imprisonment for one month, section 304 –A, Two years rigorous imprisonment and also to pay a fine of Rs 9,000, in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three months, Section 3(1) r/w. 181 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Fine of Rs.500/-, in default, to undergo simple imprisonment for one week .

Elyaraja filed criminal revision against conviction and sentence before Principal District and Sessions Judge,Vellore. The Principal District and Sessions Judge, Vellore by judgement and order dated September 11, 2013, acquitted the petitioner of the offence under Section 279 IPC, but confirmed the conviction and sentence with regard to the other offences. ILNS/KY/RJ

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