Reduced sentence due to ill health and advance age

Considerations for sentence:

Conviction under Prevention of Corruption Act:

On thorough examination of the entire evidence on record and after considering the submissions made by the prosecution and the defence, the trial court convicted the Appellant and the other two accused under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Sections 13 (1)(c) and (d) of the PC Act. The Appellant was sentenced to undergo three years rigorous imprisonment for the offences punishable under the IPC and two years imprisonment for the offences punishable under the PC Act to run concurrently by taking note of the fact that the Appellant had already retired from service. The trial court further took notice of the age of the Petitioner and his ill-health while imposing the sentence. The Appellant along with the other two accused filed an Appeal in the High Court. The High Court scrutinised the entire evidence on record. After examining the submissions made by the counsel of both sides, the High Court found no fault with the judgment of the trial court and affirmed the same.

We have examined the judgments of the courts below and we are of the opinion that there is no error committed in holding the Appellant guilty of the offences alleged. Both the courts below have thoroughly examined the oral as well as documentary evidence on record and dealt with the submissions made on behalf of the defence in a detailed manner. It is settled law that this Court need not re-appreciate evidence while affirming the judgments of the courts below in criminal cases.

To satisfy our conscience, we have examined the judgments and found that there is sufficient material on record to show that the Appellant had indulged in acts of misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds by unauthorizedly processing bills which he received not through proper channel. We do not consider it necessary to repeat the reasons that have been assigned by the courts below while convicting and sentencing the Appellant. We, accordingly, confirm the conviction of the Appellant.

Sentence:

While considering the question of sentence, the trial court in the year 2002 observed that the Appellant was 60 years old and was suffering from ill-health. We are informed that the Appellant has undergone 20 months out of the sentence of 36 months, that he is 75 years old now and is suffering from several ailments. Considering the aforementioned, we are of the view that the sentence imposed on the Appellant by the trial court and affirmed by the High Court be modified to the period already undergone by the Appellant. The Appellant is on bail. His bail bonds stand discharged.

[Source: Naresh Choubey vs Central Bureau Of Investigation, decided by SC on on 16 November, 2017]
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