In the Instant Matter at Hand Chandrakanta Mohapatra v. State of Odisha a criminal appeal was filed against the judgement and order of the Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Jajpur Road, where the prisoner was given a seven-year sentence of harsh imprisonment for violating section 376(1) of the Penal Code, 1860. For the offence under section 376(1) of the IPC, the defendant received a sentence of seven years of hard labour and a fine of Rs. 10,000 for the offence under section 450 of the IPC, the defendant received a sentence of three years of hard labour and a fine of Rs. 5,000.
Conclusion of the Court
In accordance with Section 376(1) of the IPC, the convict was sentenced to a punishment that was less severe than that required for the offence. The Single Judge Bench of the Orissa High Court Justice S.K. Sahoo requested an explanation from the Presiding Officer in question as to how he sentenced the convict to rigorous imprisonment for seven years when the minimum term required for the offence is ten years.
The court determined that between March 15 and March 16, 2020, the defendant received a sentence that was less severe than the one required by Section 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, of 2018, which changed the prior rule of seven years, was mentioned by the court. The new Act included a ten-year sentence that may be increased to life in prison, along with a fine. The Court emphasised that it is not within its purview to decrease the penalty below the minimum stipulated term. The Supreme Court has often ruled that judges cannot impose a punishment that is less severe than the minimum time mandated by a statute, particularly if the clause does not provide a shorter term of imprisonment.
The Court requested an explanation from the presiding officer in question on how he was able to sentence the defendant to seven years of harsh imprisonment since the minimum penalty set down for the offence was ten years. The Court ordered that the explanation be provided in the sealed cover on or before July 19, 2023, and directed the Registrar (Judicial) to email the aforementioned order to the relevant Presiding Officer. The issue was also scheduled for a hearing on July 24, 2023.
CASE NAME – Chandrakanta Mohapatra v. State of Odisha, Criminal Appeal No. 1010 of 2022