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Sentences awarded in default of payment of fine/compensation cannot be directed to run concurrently: High Court of Karnataka

It is not in dispute that the petitioner has not paid the amount as directed by the Court, but he has committed a default in payment of the fine amount. When such being the case, the sentence awarded in default of payment of fine/compensation cannot be directed to run concurrently. this was held in M/S M.M.FABS AND TOOLS v. SRI. NARASIMHA MURTHY and Ors [CRIMINAL PETITION No.6459 OF 2020] in the High Court of Karnataka by the single bench consisting of MR. JUSTICE H.P. SANDESH.

Facts are that respondents had filed three different complaints against the petitioner for the offenses punishable U/S138 NI Act. Learned Magistrate, after the trial, convicted and sentenced. The orders were challenged in three separate Criminal Revision Petitions wherein the sentence was modified and the petitioner was directed in default of making the payment, to undergo imprisonment for a period of one year. This petition has been filed praying for the orders to run concurrently.

The counsel for the petitioner urged that the petitioner in spite of serving the sentence for a period of one year in view of the order passed by this Court is still detained in jail, which is erroneous, arbitrary, and unconstitutional. In all passed by the learned Magistrate, there are no specific directions that the sentences shall run consecutively, thus it is just and necessary to hold the sentence passed against the petitioner to run concurrently.

The counsel appearing for the respondent submitted that the cheques were issued in respect of different transactions. However, three criminal cases are filed against the petitioner. He contended that the transactions are not a single transaction but different transactions and the complainants are also different.

The Court also made reference to the judgment of Apex court inV.K.Bansal v. the State of Haryana and Another, and made the observation that “We make it clear that the direction regarding the concurrent running of sentence shall be limited to the substantive sentence only. The sentence which the appellant has been directed to undergo in default of payment of fine/compensation shall not be affected by this direction. We do so because the provisions of Section 427 CrPC do not, in our opinion, permit a direction for the concurrent running of the substantive sentences with sentences awarded in default of payment of fine/compensation.”

Considering the precedents and the facts of the case the court held that, the petitioner had not paid the amount and he has committed default of payment of fine/compensation amount, considering that the Apex Court held that Section 427 of Cr.P.C. does not permit to issue a direction for the concurrent running of the substantive sentences with sentences awarded in default of payment of fine/compensation, the court dismissed the petition.

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