Man Approaches MP HC Seeking ₹10 Lakh Compensation For Serving Excessive Sentence, Court Finds He Has 4 More Years To Serve
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed the petition by a man seeking the relief of Rs 10 Lakh compensation for suffering excessive sentence as the Court found that he was required to undergo further 4 years of imprisonment.
"…the petition seeking the relief of compensation is dismissed because the petitioner is yet to undergo the remaining sentence of 4 years in lieu of default of fine amount.", the Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra noted while directing the petitioner to surrender.
The case of the petitioner was that he was convicted for the offence punishable under Sections 21 (c) and 18 (c) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10-10 years with fine of Rs.2 lakhs, in default of payment of fine he had to undergo simple imprisonment for 2-2 years.
He was again convicted for the offence punishable under Section 307 of Indian Penal Code and sentenced to undergo 3 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.300/-, in default of payment of fine he had to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment for 3 months.
He was also convicted for the offence punishable under Section 8/21 of the N.D.P.S Act and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years with fine of Rs.1 lakhs, in default of payment of fine he had to undergo additional imprisonment for 1 year.
His sentence for the offence punishable under Sections 21 (c) and 18 (c) of the N.D.P.S. Act was over in 2013 and his sentence for the offence punishable under Section 307 of Indian Penal Code was over in 2014.
Thereafter, his sentence for the offence punishable under Section 8/21 of the N.D.P.S Act was started in 2014 and he was suffering the jail sentence.
He preferred an appeal and during the hearing of the case the High Court found that his sentences are found running concurrently from 2006 and therefore, he had completed the jail sentence so also the default sentence. Vide order dated December 14, 2021 the High Court directed the petitioner to be released from jail.
However, he was not released. The petitioner preferred a petition filed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure before the High Court for releasing him from jail as he had completed the jail sentence.
Subsequently, on the report submitted by the Jail Authorities with respect to sentence of the petitioner that he has not deposited the fine amount of Rs.2 lakhs therefore, he has to undergo 4 years additional simple imprisonment for the offence punishable under Sections 21 (c) and 18 (c) of the N.D.P.S. Act.
Considering the aforesaid the petition was disposed of with the observation that if the petitioner deposited the remaining fine amount, then the authorities are directed to release him with immediate effect.
The petitioner preferred a writ petition pointing out that he has already completed the jail sentence, therefore, he could not remain in jail.
The writ petition was dismissed with the liberty to avail the remedy before the appropriate forum.
The petitioner again filed a petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. which was allowed while holding that as petitioner has completed default sentence in first case, therefore, he cannot be kept in jail.
Accordingly, the petitioner was released from Jail.
The Petitioner submitted that he had suffered an excessive sentence without there being any order of conviction, therefore, it was in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Hence, he claimed Rs. 10 Lakh compensation.
Advocate Narendra Kumar Sharma appeared for the petitioner whereas Government Advocate Rohit Jain appeared for the State.
The Court questioned how the second petition under Section 482, Cr.P.C. claiming same relief is maintainable.
"Granting liberty to approach appropriate forum does not mean that the petitioner can again file a petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. praying for same relief, which was rejected by this Court in earlier round of litigation. It is seen from the record that the learned Single Judge has considered the aspect that while exercising the inherent powers the orders can be passed. But the fact remains that second petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. for the same relief was itself not maintainable.", the Court observed.
The Court further noted that "…for offence registered under Sections 21 (c) and 18 (c) of the N.D.P.S. Act the petitioner was convicted on 16.09.2003 and he was required to undergo 10-10 years R.I. along with Rs.1+Rs.1 = Rs.2 lakhs fine for each offence and in lieu of the fine amount he suppose to undergo 2-2 years simple imprisonment. The report shows that in default of depositing the fine amount his jail sentence for remaining four years starts from 17.12.2021. Virtually there is no challenge to the report dated 13.02.2022. In such circumstances, on the basis of an order which has been passed by the learned Single Judge without any jurisdiction to entertain the petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. as the same is void ab initio and in pursuance to the same the petitioner has been released by the learned trial court, no relief regarding compensation claimed by the petitioner can be granted to him."
Therefore, the Court directed the petitioner to surrender before the Trial Court or before the concerning Jail Authorities with immediate effect. The Court further directed the Trial Court to issue warrant of arrest against the petitioner if he failed to surrender.
"In case, the petitioner deposits the fine amount as imposed by the learned trial court in Special Case No.40 of 2022 within a period of 1 month from the date of this order, the order passed by this Court may not be given effect regarding issuance of arrest warrant to the petitioner. Petitioner if willing to deposit the fine amount, he is required to appear before the concerning court and file an undertaking to the aforesaid effect within a period of seven days from the date of receiving the copy of this order. After depositing the fine amount the entire sentence of the petitioner stands undergone by him.", the Court added further.
Cause Title- Ganesh Ram Vishwakarma v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.