The Bombay High Court has observed that sentencing must always be commensurate with the gravity of the offence, and only in deserving cases, considering the nature of crimes, age and mitigating circumstances, powers can be exercised by appellate courts to lower the sentence.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S Waghwase observed that,"Sentence always commensurate with the gravity of offence. Prayers are made before us that excessive sentence has been awarded and the same should be lowered. Needless to say, here, offences of highway dacoity, robbery, rape has been committed and as such, grave offences have been committed. Only in deserving cases, considering the nature of crimes, age and mitigating circumstances, powers can be exercised by appellate courts to lower the sentence. However, having taken into account the list of cases registered against each of the above appellants, it is abundantly clear that they are hardened criminals. Repeatedly they have committed grave offences of which record has been accumulated and therefore, we are doubtful whether they at all could be reformed even if given a chance. They are involved in serious offences like under MCOC Act and it is only upon sufficiency of material, they are indicted for such serious charges. Multi-layered enquiry confirms their involvement. Therefore, we are not inclined to interfere in the sentencing policy adopted by learned trial Judge."

Counsel Abhaykumar D Ostwal appeared for the appellant, while APP VS Choudhari appeared for the respondent State.

In this case, it was alleged that the accused were involved in several offences under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999. The accused appealed against the judgment of conviction by the Special Judge, Aurangabad. The prosecution's case unfolded when the accused, after hiring a cab, stole it and later intercepted another vehicle, abducting a woman and subjecting her to sexual assault.

The victim's husband, the informant, reported the incident after the accused fled. The police investigation led to the arrest of the accused, and the recovery of the stolen vehicle and ornaments. The trial court convicted the accused under various sections, including the MCOC Act, sentencing them accordingly.

The High Court observed that the appellants could not point out that there was false implication and that there was sufficient material against the accused persons to face charge under MCOC Act. In that context, it was said that, "Police machinery has gathered sufficient material which has been meticulously considered and studied by higher police officers reflecting application of mind while granting sanction. There is nothing brought to our notice regarding deviation or non compliance of mandatory procedure. Even learned trial court has extensively dealt and appreciated available evidence adduced by prosecution. Therefore, no fault can be found for guilt recorded by learned trial court for such offence."

In light of the same, it was found that there was no fault with the sentence awarded by the Trial Judge.

Cause Title: Abhay vs The State of Maharashtra

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