Shukla Vs. State of Uttaranchal  INSC 1425 (11 August 2009)
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1477 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(Crl)
No.9525 of 2008) Amar Nath Shukla ...Appellant Versus State of Uttaranchal
In this appeal by special leave the appellant Amar Nath Shukla had
challenged his conviction under Section 436 of the Indian Penal Code
(hereinafter referred to as "IPC"). He was tried by First Upper
Sessions Judge, Nainital in S.T. No. 355 of 2 1989 of the charge of having
committed the offences punishable under Sections 436 and 147 IPC. The trial
court by its judgment and order dated 29.7.1991 found the appellant guilty of
the offence punishable under Section 436 IPC and acquitted him of the charge
under Section 147 IPC. He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for
three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 500/-. On appeal, the High Court by its
impugned judgment and order dated 21.8.2008 in Criminal Appeal No. 775 of 2001
(Old No. 1529/91) dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellant.
The occurrence giving rise to the present appeal is said to have
occurred on 26.2.1989 at about 1.00 P.M. The case of the prosecution, as
deposed to by the complainant-Sita Ram (PW-3) is that he was living along with
his wife and children in a hut near Nagla Shiv Temple, P.S. Lalkuan for the
last three years preceding the date of occurrence. It is alleged that the
appellant along with his brother-in-law and uncle came to the place where the
complainant was residing and started beating 3 him and thereafter set fire to
the hut. On account of commission of offence of mischief by fire the entire hut
along with the household articles were burnt and reduced into ashes.
appellant along with other persons ran away from the spot. It is the further
case of the prosecution that Sitaram reported the details of the incident vide
Exhibit KA-1 on the same day at about 16.00 P.M.. Based on Exhibit KA-I the
Police Station Lalkuan, District Nainital registered a case under Sections 436
and 323 IPC against the appellant.
The police having completed the investigation, filed charge sheet
against the appellant. The prosecution in order to establish its case against
the appellant and another altogether examined 5 witnesses (PW-1 to PW-5). The
statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. of the appellant was recorded in which he
stated that due to prior enmity he has been falsely implicated in the case.
In this appeal, Shri M.N. Rao, learned senior counsel appearing on
behalf of the appellant did not challenge, nor make any submission as regards
the conviction of the appellant under Section 436 IPC. His submission was
confined only to the sentence imposed upon the appellant by the courts below.
It is brought to our notice that during the pendency of the appeal
in the High Court complainant - Sitaram died in the year 2005. That because of
initiation of criminal case against the appellant there were some ill-feelings
between the appellant and the widow of the complainant - Malti Devi aged 61
years. In order to live in peace and tranquility the appellant and Malti Devi
entered into a compromise at the intervention of local elders whereunder an
amount of Rs. 1 lakh was given by the appellant to the widow as a solatium.
That ever since the compromise, parties are living in peace and maintaining
very cordial relations with each other.
The wife of deceased Sitaram filed Crl. M.P No. 12467 of 2009 to
implead herself as party respondent in this appeal in which the facts stated
above are depicted for consideration of this Court. The learned counsel
submitted that in view of the subsequent developments the sentence imposed upon
the appellant may be reduced to that of the sentence already undergone. Be that
as it may, we cannot compound the offence on the basis of the said compromise
inasmuch as the offence punishable under Section 436 IPC is non- compoundable
nor we can direct the courts below to compound the offence based on the
It is evident from the record that the appellant is a young
married man having small kids and he is the only earning member of his family.
The incident is of the year 1989. He was in jail for a period of more than 7
months. Considering the nature of allegations leveled against the appellant and
considering the period of sentence already undergone and the subsequent
developments referred to herein above, we are of the considered opinion that
interest of justice would be met by 6 maintaining the conviction of the
appellant under Section 436 IPC and reducing the sentence to that of the period
already undergone by him. He shall be forthwith released unless required in any
The appeal is accordingly partly allowed.
..........................................J. ( R.V. Raveendran)
..........................................J. (B. Sudershan Reddy)