Gujarat High Court Suspends the Substantive Sentence of the Applicant, as Imposed by the Learned Trial Court

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The Court directed that in light of the prevailing pandemic situation and considering the ratio in the case of Bhagwan Rama Shinde V/s. In the state of Gujarat, it would be apt that the execution of the sentence imposed by the learned Additional Senior Civil Judge, Surat be suspended, pending the final decision of the revision application.

Background

In the present case, it was by way of a revision application, that the order of conviction and sentence as passed by the Learned Additional Senior Civil Judge and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in a Private Criminal Case had been challenged by the applicant. It was the case in which the Learned Trial Court was pleased to convict the applicant for an offense committed and punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, had also sentenced the applicant for six months and imposed a fine of Rs.3,50,000/-. The said judgment and order were challenged before the Learned Appellate Court, Surat by the applicant, but vide judgment and order dated 19.12.2020, the learned Appellate Court had confirmed the said judgment and order.

Hence, by way of the present application, the applicant- appellant had prayed that the substantive sentence imposed by the learned Trial Court and confirmed by the learned Appellate Court might be stayed by this Court, pending a final decision of the revision application. 

Submissions before the Court

Applicant’s Submissions

Learned Advocate for the applicant Shri Gadhvi submitted that the learned Appellate Court had granted a period of ten days to the applicant to surrender and the said period of ten days had expired on 30.12.2020. He further submitted that since revision application and accompanying application for suspension of the applicant’s sentence were preferred on 20.12.2020, i.e., immediately after the order was passed by the learned Appellate Court. Therefore, the lenient view might be taken, further, the substantive sentence imposed by the learned Trial Court may be suspended by this Court.

Learned Advocate Shri Gadhvi further contended that the applicant had already deposited Rs. 1,00,000/- before the learned Trial Court and he was ready and willing to deposit further Rs. 75,000/-, but he sought for a reasonable time from this Court to deposit the said amount. It was further submitted that since the sentence was a short sentence of six months only, therefore this Court may suspend the pending final decision of the revision application. Moreover, he submitted that both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court had committed an error in convicting and sentencing the applicant and that he may be able to convince the Court to set it aside during the final hearing of the revision application.

Respondent’s Submissions

Learned APP for the respondent had submitted that since in this case, the judgment and order passed by the learned Trial Court was confirmed by the learned Appellate Court, therefore this Court might not interfere with it but also if this Court will be inclined to interfere, then appropriate conditions may be imposed upon him.

Consideration by Court

As far as the sentence was concerned, the applicant was sentenced for a period of six months. Hence, the Court considered the ratio laid down in the case of Bhagwan Rama Shinde V/s. The State of Gujarat, and was inclined to suspend the substantive sentence imposed by the learned Trial Court. Moreover, the fact that the revision application had been preferred immediately after the judgment and order passed by the learned Appellate Court was considered. The Court considered that first directing the applicant to surrender, then taking him into custody, and then releasing him on bail in the prevailing pandemic situation would be purposeless and be counterproductive. 

Court’s Directions

The applicant was directed to deposit Rs. 75,000/- before the Learned Trial Court within the coming six weeks. The substantive sentence imposed by the learned Appellate Court confirming the order passed by the learned Trial Court was directed to be suspended with effect from 30.12.2020 i.e., on the date when the period of ten days granted by the learned Appellate Court expired.

Given the above, it was also directed that the execution of the sentence imposed by the learned Additional Senior Civil Judge and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat and confirmed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Surat shall remain suspended and that the applicant-appellant shall be released on bail, pending the final decision of the revision application, subjected to the conditions that the applicant shall furnish the bond of Rs.10,000/- and surety of the like amount. The applicant shall also deposit his passport before the concerned Sessions Court.

Click here to read the Judgment.


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