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Rigorous imprisonment imposed by the court can be reduced in exceptional cases considering the facts and circumstances: Supreme Court of India

The ends of justice would be met if the sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment imposed by the Special Court and confirmed by the High Court is reduced considering the facts and circumstances of the case. This was held in the case of S Sundara Kumar v. State represented by the Inspector of Police, Vigilance and Anti- Corruption, Thoothukudi District, Tamil Nadu, [Criminal Appeal No. 5832/2019], by the Hon’ble Justice Shah in the Supreme Court of India.  

The appellant was accused of the offenses under Sections 7, 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and by which the learned Special Judge sentenced the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years with fine of Rs.5,000/­. The same was confirmed by the High Court. The petition filed before the Supreme Court was to reduce the quantum of sentence. The counsel for the appellant submitted that the appellant has undergone approximately one month and one-year rigorous imprisonment and was dismissed from service on being convicted for the above-mentioned offenses. The appellant is a senior citizen aged  70 and prayed to reduce the sentence to the sentence already undergone. Counsel for the respondent submitted that the appellant has been convicted for the offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act and therefore no leniency may be shown in favor of the accused. 

The court opinioned that considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the fact that out of two years sentence imposed by the Special Court, confirmed by the High Court, the appellant had undergone approximately one year and one month and considering the age of the appellant and his dismissal from the service, it is to be noted that the ends of justice would be met if the sentence of two-year rigorous imprisonment is reduced to that period which he had already undergone. The Court ordered that “The sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment imposed by the learned Special Court while convicting the accused of the offenses under Section 7, 13(2)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 confirmed by the High court is hereby reduced to one year and one-month rigorous imprisonment. The order of fine is not upset. The appellant is ordered to be released on the completion of one-year one-month imprisonment, if not required in any other case.

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