Nadella Venkata Krishna Rao Vs. State of
Andhra Pradesh  INSC 236 (15 December 1977)
CITATION: 1978 AIR 480 1978 SCR (2) 403 1978
SCC (1) 208
Sentencing-Purpose and justification of a sentence.
Appellant accused No. 2 was charged along
with Al and A3 u/ss. 489A and 489D I.P.C., but found guilty and convicted u/ss.
489C and 489D, and sentenced to ten years and seven years under the said
counts, the sentences to run concurrently. The Andhra Pradesh High Court
dismissed the appeal preferred against it and confirmed the sentence.
Dismissing the appeal by special leave and
reducing the sentence to five years on each count, the Court
HELD : Harsh and prolonged incarceration may
sometimes be self-defeating. The most hurtful part of imprisonment is the
initial stage when a person is confined in person.
Thereafter he gets sufficiently 'hardened and
callous with the result that by the time he is processed through the years
inside the prison he becomes dehumanized. The accent must therefore be more and
more on rehabilitation rather than retributive punitively inside the prison.
[403 G-H] U.N. Document A/COF/76/1 Annex I.A. Items 38 and 59 quoted with
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal
Appeal No. 505 of 1977.
Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and
Order dated 25-2-77 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Crl. A. No. 14 of 1976.
Frank Anthony and B. Kanta Rao for the
P. P. Rao, G. N. Rao and L. J. Vadakara for
The Order of the Court was delivered by
KRISHNA IYER, J.-Leave is granted on the question of sentence only.
This is a case Where the accused have been
acquitted of counterfeiting but have been convicted of possession of materials for
counterfeiting. It makes little difference from the point of view of guilt and
injury to. society. The trial court awarded a sentence of 10 years rigorous
imprisonment and that has been affirmed by the High Court.
We think that health and prolonged incarceration
may sometimes be self-defeating. The most hurtful part of imprisonment is the
initial stage when a person is confined in prison. Thereafter he gets
sufficiently hardened and callous with the result that by the time he is
processed through the years inside the prison he becomes more de- humanised.
The whole goal of punishment being curative is thereby defeated. The accent
must therefore be more and more on rehabilitation, rather than retributive
punitivity inside the prison. In this context, it is helpful to remember items
58 & 59 in the rules applicable to prisoners under sentence framed as the
Standard Minimum Rules 404 of the Treatment. of Prisoners (U.N. Document
A/COF/76/1, Annex. I.A.)
58. The purpose and justification of a
sentence of imprisonment or a similar measure derivative of liberty is
ultimately to protect society against crime. This end can only be achieved if
the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so-far as possible, that upon his
return to society the offender is not only willing but able to lead a
law-abiding and self-supporting life..
59. To this end, the institution should
utilize all the remedial, educational, moral, spiritual and other forces and
forms of assistance which are appropriate and available, and should seek to
apply them according to the individual, treatment needs of the prisoners.,
Giving anxious consideration to the need for rehabilitation and deterrence we
consider that the prisoner in this case, who is the appellant before us may
serve a sentence of five years which may be long enough for correctional
treatment, at the same time not unduly lone to be regarded as repugnantly
harsh. We dare say that during this period the State jail authorities will take
care to subject the appellant to humanising treatment so that when he comes out
he will desist from criminality and turn a new leaf.
We reduce the sentence awarded by the courts
below to five years rigorous imprisonment on both counts which are to run
concurrently, Subject to the above, the appeal is dismissed.