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Reforming the character and care of Victim – a basic object of Criminal Jurisprudence

Judgement Name –  Samaul Sk. vs The State Of Jharkhand (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.894 OF 2021)

Judgement date –  31 August, 2021

Judges/bench – Sanjay Kishan Kaul J., Hrishikesh Roy J. , C.T. Ravikumar J.

Brief facts of the Case –

The facts which have come to the force during the course of hearing clearly highlight the problem of maintenance, dowry and harassment that several women face in the contemporary society. It is irrefutable that the appellant married the respondent after an illicit relationship and subsequently started mental and physical torture and made demands of dowry.

Contentions of the Plaintiff/s

  1. Hena Bibi, the respondent, claimed to be the legally married wife of the appellant, the marriage having been solemnised on 8.2.2000 as per Muslim customs & rites. The appellant, however, was already married to one Mastra Bibi at that time and he apparently had illicit relationship with respondent, which ultimately culminated in their marriage. The two parties were stated to have lived as husband and wife and two children were born out of the said marriage.
  2. As per the respondent, upon the instigation of the appellant’s first wife, the appellant started to mentally and physically torture the respondent and started to make demands of dowry following which, the respondent had to go back to her parents’ house. It was during this period that respondent conceived a second child. Consequently, the alleged demand of dowry resulted in PCR No.310 of 2006 being lodged in the Court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (for short ‘SDJM’) for offences under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Contentions of the Defendant/s –

  1. The appellant was found to be guilty of the alleged offences and was sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.10,000/-. The appellant preferred Criminal Appeal No. 07/2014 against the judgment of the SDJM but it was dismissed by the court. The appellant then preferred a Criminal Revision against the given order. The same was, however, dismissed by the court. The appellant finally preferred the Special Leave Petition (for short ‘SLP’) before this Court where he duly surrendered.
  2. The Court, during the course of hearing, expressed that it could consider reducing sentence subject to the condition that the petitioner gave adequate compensation to respondent for herself and her children apart from the maintenance that was being paid to her.
  3. On 09.08.2021, the counsel, on behalf of the appellant, submitted that the appellant was now willing to pay a compensation of Rs.3.00 lakhs to respondent and he had requested for a period of six months’ time in order to raise the money. The respondent agreed to receive the compensation and stated that if the sentence of the appellant is reduced and/or if he is granted the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act, she has no objection.

Principles and observations of the Court –

  1. In the given matter, the court stated that earlier the court had declined the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act to the appellant, keeping in mind the nature of the offence. Now, however, since the appellant has shown guilt and stated that he would like to make amends for the same, the court would not like to intervene in between of any such arrangement.
  2. The court also stated the basic objective of criminal jurisprudence: To reform the character and take care of the victim.

Judgement held- 

  1. The court held that under the given facts and circumstances, it is inclined to reduce the sentence in case the appellant pays to respondent. It further directed the appellant to deposit with the trial court the amount of Rs.3.00 lakh on or before 28.2.2022 and also ordered the appellant to pay a fees of Rs 10,000/- to the trial court.
  2. The court stated that it will then take steps to release an amount of Rs.2.00 lakhs out of Rs.3.00 lakhs to respondent and the remaining amount would be kept in an FDR with a nationalised bank for the benefit of the children which will be released to them with the interest so accrued on attaining the age of 21 years.

My Opinion

In my opinion the present case is a welcome decision by the court in order to facilitate a better understanding between parties in the family court while keeping in mind the main aim of the criminal jurisprudence.

Written By: Utkarsh, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (2nd Year/3rd Semester)

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