Report No. 47
7.21. Mandatory imprisonment and minimum term of imprisonment.-
The next important question of general significance is of mandatory imprisonment and minimum term of imprisonment.
7.22. Some aspects of judicial attitudes in sentencing.-
During recent times, thinking about sentencing has assumed significance, and, though thought in this respect has been devoted mainly to the traditional crimes, yet expression of views about social and economic offences is not totally wanting. Realisation of the fact that these crimes affect the welfare of the entire community, and though veiled under the garb of respectability, in truth reflect a dangerous mentality, is met with in the judgement of some of the appellate courts.
7.23. Importance of reform and rehabilitation in traditional crimes.-
So far as traditional crimes are concerned, the values of reform and rehabilitation are gathering increased importance. With the acceptance of the view that environmental pressures or disordered states of mind might impede the offender's ability to calculate rationally the risks of pleasures and pain involved in criminal conduct, the judiciary has come to recognise varying degrees of guilt for the same offence.
7.24. Importance of deterrence aspect in anti-social crimes.-
But, in the field of anti-social crimes, the deterrent aspect has been given its due importance. The objective sought need not be the same in the case of all offences,-this is the assumption made by those who emphasise that the protection of society requires an assertion of the deterrent value of punishment. As Judge William J. Campbell, an American federal court judge, has pointed out,1 where rehabilitation is the prime concern, the treatment should be tailored to the individual; in extreme cases of anti-social offenders, prolonged confinement assures the protection of society.
Where, however, the violation of law is a matter of principle, "there is no question of rehabilitation they (offenders) must be sentenced as examples; otherwise, human nature being what it is, we would most assuredly be faced with great number of less stable citizens seeking ways and means to avoid military service." Even retribution is allowed as an objective of sentencing where the crime is "revolting and incomprehensible to the group."2
1. Judge William J. Campbell Developing Systematic Sentencing Procedures (September 1954), 18, Federal Probation, pp. 3 to 9, cited in Green, Judicial Attitudes to sentencing (1961), P. 2.
2. Judge William J. Campbell Developing Systematic Sentencing Procedures, (September 1954), 18, Federal Probation, pp. 3 to 9, cited in Green, Judicial Attitudes to sentencing.
7.25. Each case dependent on its facts.-
At the same time, one has to bear in mind that each case depends on its own facts. There may be cases requiring heavy punishment; there may be cases where a light punishment is enough. And there may be cases where practically no punishment is merited.
7.26. Recent English case as to false statement to defraud the revenue.-
Reported cases furnish examples of each category. To notice a very recent English case,1 the convicted person, aged 67, had pleaded guilty to five counts for making false statements with intent to defraud the revenue. He was a travelling salesman, and had over a period of ten years, misrepresented his travelling expenses. He had underpaid £420 of tax. Now he had paid this tax, and had no previous convictions. He was in poor health, and had been supporting an aged mother, and an invalid sister. Sentence of nine months' imprisonment was upheld, and it was also determined that suspension was not necessary.
1. R. v. Richardes, 1971 Cr LR 176, cited in (1971) March Current Law, under "Criminal Law" (Item 62).
7.27. English case as to export of currency.-
In another English case,1 the accused was convicted of attempting to export Bank of England Notes with intend to evade the prohibition on exportation imposed by section 22 of the Exchange Control Act, 1947, contrary to section 56(2), of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952. He had been caught while attempting to export 30,000 pounds; and previously also he had smuggled one lakh twenty thousand pounds out of the country. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment such as would result in his immediate discharge, and to a fine of 25,000 pounds or 12 months' imprisonment in default.
The Court of Appeal, refusing the application for leave to appeal against sentence, concluded "This court has paid the greatest attention to all these matters which have been so persuasively urged by counsel on behalf of the applicant. When all is said and done, however, the offences to which this man pleaded guilty are very grave offences carried out on a very large scale. He must have known the risks which he was running when he agreed to smuggle and did smuggle large quantities of currency out of England.
He must have known that offences of this kind are particularly grave from the public point of view, because of the injury which they do to this country's economy, affecting every man, woman and child living there. It is said that a large part of the money found its way back. That may be so. £20,000 never left the country, because he was caught. That may well be so. £68,750 of the amount that he did take out has, however, never returned. These offences where carried out over a long period and were all part of a carefully prepared and daringly executed plan. In sentencing the accused, the learned judge, after imposing the fine of £25,000 said:
"This is done not only to hurt you, but as an example to others who may be attempting to do the same thing and who may well be doing the same thing, in an attempt to dissuade them. The learned judge imposed this sentence obviously as a deterrent sentence. It seems to the court that no one can criticise the learned judge for considering that offences of this kind ought to be deterred by the severe sentences which, in the view of this court, they richly merit."
1. R. v. Goswami, (1962) 2 All ER 24 (30).
7.28. English case as to traffic in forged notes.-
In another English case1, it was held that four years' imprisonment was not an excessive sentence for a trafficker in forged notes, nor was imprisonment for 18 months to two years excessive for a person who utters one or two forged notes.
1. R. v. Caugie, (1969) 3 All ER 950.
7.29. Need for deterrent sentences where mass of people affected.-
Borrowing what the Court of appeal,1 said in a case relating to an offence under the Official Secrets Act, one can state that a person who commits many offences in pursuance of a system or policy, deserves greater punishment than one who commits only one offence. And further, as the dangers of mass destruction increase, so does the need for sentences of deterrent length.
1. R. g. Britten, (1968) 1 All ER 517 (CA).
7.30. Andhra case under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.-
In an Andhra case,1 the High Court, while allowing the appeal against acquittal and finding the accused guilty under section 16(1)(a)(i) and section 7 read with section 2(i)(a)(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, noted the contention of the advocate for the accused that the accused was a very poor man having only one buffalo, and was a petty milk vendor who had no previous conviction. The High Court sentenced him only to Rs. 100 fine (in default, two months' rigorous imprisonment).
1. Public Prosecutor v. K.N. Raut Matha Sashya, 1970 Cr LJ 393 (396), para. 10 (Annanthanarayana Ayyar, J.).