N.Naveen Kumar &
Ors Vs. State of A.P  INSC 1766 (17 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 Arising
out of SLP (Crl) No. 5252 of 2006 N. Naveen Kumar and Ors. ....Appellants Versus
State of A.P. ....Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J
in this appeal is to the order passed by a learned Single Judge of the Andhra
Pradesh High Court dismissing the application filed by the appellants.
facts in a nutshell are as follows;
The appellants are
the sons and daughters of the accused N. Ramakrishnaiah in C.C. No.64 of 1992
on the file of the Principal Special Judge, for SPE & ACB Cases, Hyderabad.
He was charged for the offence under Section 5 (1)(e) read with Section 5 (2)
of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (in short the `Old Act') possessing
the pecuniary resources disproportionate to the known sources of income. The
accused worked as Executive Engineer as on the date of search of his house and
other properties. Evidence was adduced and the Special Judge found the accused
guilty, convicted him for the above mentioned offence and sentenced him to
undergo simple imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs.20,000/- in
default to suffer simple imprisonment for three months. The Special Judge also
directed that item No 1 to 4 of the assets shall be sold in public auction and
the sale proceeds shall be confiscated to the State. The accused, being
aggrieved by the conviction and the sentence imposed by the Special Judge
preferred Criminal Appeal No.1524 of 1998.
The High Court
dismissed the appeal. As noted above, during the pendency of the appeal before
the High Court, the appellant died, therefore, the sentence of imprisonment
stood abated against the appellant.
Prayer before the
High Court was that the appellants may be permitted to deposit entire amount of
Rs.6,37,850.92 on such sum as may be considered appropriate in lieu of the
confiscation of Item Nos.1 to 4 of the assets possessed by the accused in the
case. It was pointed out that Item No.1 was a house property. The appellants
had sentimental attachment to the properties. Stand of the State was that since
Criminal Appeal was dismissed there was no scope for passing the order as the
Court had become functus officio. The appellants' stand was that Section 482 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short `Cr.P.C.') permitted the course
to be adopted. The High Court did not find any substance in the plea and it was
held that Section 482 Cr.P.C. did not empower the Court to review its own
judgment by exercising inherent powers.
counsel for the appellants submitted that since the appellants are willing to
deposit money there is no reason as to why the High Court should not permit release
of the properties in favour of the legal heir of deceased accused.
Undisputedly, when the offence was committed Section 5(2) of the Old Act was in
force which reads as follows:
public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may
extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine:
Provided that the
Court may, for any special reasons recorded in writing, impose a sentence of
imprisonment of less than one year."
corresponding Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (in short
the `Act') reads as follows:
servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment
for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to seven
years and shall also be liable to fine."
to the appellants in an appropriate case the fine amount as imposed can be
enhanced and the custodial sentence can be reduced. We need not go into that
question because Section 16 of the Act reads as follows:
4 "Matters to
be taken into consideration for fixing fine- Where a sentence of fine is
imposed under sub-section (2) of Section 13 or Section 14, the court fixing the
amount of the fine shall take into consideration the amount or the value of the
property, if any, which the accused person has obtained by committing the
offence or where the conviction is for an offence referred to in clause (c) of
sub-section (1) of section 13, the pecuniary resources or property referred to
in that clause for which the accused person is unable to account
High Court has rightly noted that it is the present value of the properties
which is of relevance and not the value of the assets at the relevant point of
time of seizure. We find no substance in the plea of the appellants as
canvassed in this appeal. It is open to the appellants to participate in the
auction for sale of the properties in question as and when held.
appeal is dismissed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
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