Tag Archives: punishment

Bail – In Case of Economic Offences

Economic Offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with different approach in the matter of bail. In Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy v. CBI, (2013) 7 SCC 439, it was held as under:

        “Economic Offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail. The economic offences having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.         While granting bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, the character of the accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, the larger interests of the public/State and other similar considerations.” P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement, (2019) 9 SCC 24.

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Imposition of Death Sentence – Circumstances Therefor

It is clearly well settled that normal punishment for the offence under Section 302 IPC is life imprisonment but in a case where the incident is of “rarest of rare cases”, death sentence is to be imposed. It is equally well settled that only special facts and circumstances will warrant passing of death sentence and a just balance has to be struck between aggravating and mitigating circumstances, before the option is exercised. While referring to the earlier cases in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684 and Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab, (1983) 3 SCC 470, further guidelines are summarised in the judgment in Sushil Murmu v. State of Jharkhand, (2004) 2 SCC 338 as under:

“The following guidelines which emerge from Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684 will have to be applied to the facts of each individual case where the question of imposition of death sentence arises:

(i) The extreme penalty of death need not be inflicted except in gravest cases of extreme culpability.

(ii) Before opting for the death penalty the circumstances of the “offender” also require to be taken into consideration along with the circumstances of the “crime”.

(iii) Life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is an exception. Death sentence must be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inadequate punishment having regard to the relevant circumstances of the crime, and provided, and only provided, the option to impose sentence of imprisonment for life cannot be conscientiously exercised having regard to the nature and circumstances of the crime and all the relevant circumstances.

(iv) A balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating circumstances has to be drawn up and in doing so the mitigating circumstances have to be accorded full weightage and a just balance has to be struck between the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances before the option is exercised.

In rarest of rare cases when the collective conscience of the community is so shocked that it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining death penalty, death sentence can be awarded. The community may entertain such sentiment in the following circumstances:

(1) When the murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation of the community.

(2) When the murder is committed for a motive which evinces total depravity and meanness e.g. murder by a hired assassin for money or reward or a cold-blooded murder for gains of a person vis-à-vis whom the murderer is in a dominating position or in a position of trust, or murder is committed in the course of betrayal of the motherland.

(3) When murder of a member of a Scheduled Caste or minority community, etc. is committed not for personal reasons but in circumstances which arouse social wrath, or in cases of “bride-burning” or “dowry deaths” or when murder is committed in order to remarry for the sake of extracting dowry once again or to marry another woman on account of infatuation.

(4) When the crime is enormous in proportion. For instance when multiple murders, say of all or almost all the members of a family or a large number of persons of a particular caste, community, or locality, are committed. (5) When the victim of the murder is an innocent child, or a helpless woman or an old or infirm person or a person vis-à-vis whom the murderer is in a dominating position or a public figure generally loved and respected by the community.” Ishwari Lal Yadav v. State of Chhatisgarh, (2019) 10 SCC 423.

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No Bar To Trial – Under Two Different Enactments

In State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan, the accused was prosecuted under Sections 26 and 30 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as well as Sections 188,272,273 and 328 IPC for transportation and sale of prohibited gutka/pan masala. The Hon’ble Bombay High Court in Ganesh Pandurang Jadho v. State of Maharashtra, 2016 CrLJ 2401 held that Section 55 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 being a specific provision made in a special enactment, Section 188 IPC was inapplicable. The Hon’ble Supreme Court remanded the matter to the High Court and held as under:

        “There is no bar to a trial or conviction of an offender twice for the offence. Where an act or an omission constitutes an offence under two enactments, the offender may be prosecuted and punished under either or both enactments but shall not be liable to be punished twice for the same offence. The same set of facts, in conceivable cases, can constitute offences under two different laws. An act or an omission can amount to and constitute an offence under Indian Penal Code and at the same time, an offence under any other law.”         In State of Rajasthan v. Hat Singh, (2003) 2 SCC 152, the Hon’ble Supreme Court discussed the doctrine of double jeopardy and Section 26 of the General Clauses Act to observe that prosecution under two different Acts is permissible if the ingredients of the provisions are satisfied on the same facts. State of Arunachal Pradesh v. Ramchandra Rabidas, (2019) 10 SCC 75.

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Termination Order – Superseded by a less severe punishment

When the termination order is superseded by a less severe punishment, the said punishment should come into effect from the date of original order of termination. As held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Deepali Gundu Surwase v. Kranti Junior Adhyapak Mahavidyalaya (D. Ed.) and others, (2013) 10 SCC 324, ‘reinstatement’ would mean putting the workman back to the stage when he was terminated. On such reinstatement, the punishment of removal gets substituted by the punishment of withholding of three annual increments for three years with cumulative effect.
As per shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 2, 3rd Edition, the word reinstate means to reinstall or re-establish (a person or thing in a place, station, condition, etc.); to restore to its proper or original state; to reinstate afresh and the word “reinstatement” means the action of reinstating; re-establishment. As per Law Lexicon, 2nd Edition, the word “reinstate” means to reinstall; to re-establish; to place again in a former state, condition or office; to restore to a state or position from which the object or person had been removed and the word “reinstatement” means establishing in a former condition, position or authority (as) reinstatement of a deposed prince. As per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “reinstate” means to place again (as in possession or in a former position), to restore to a previous effective state.
As per Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, “reinstatement” means: “The very idea of restoring an employee to the position which he held before dismissal or removal or termination of service implies that the employee will be put in the same position in which he would have been but for the illegal action taken by the employer”. B.S. Raju v. A.P.S.R.T.C., 2017 (152) FLR 832.

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Enquiry – Reasonable Practicability of Holding

Words “reasonably practicable” does not mean “impracticable”. Practicable means “capable of being put into practice, carried out in action, effected, accomplished, or done, feasible”. Whether it was practicable to hold enquiry or not must be judged in the context of whether it was reasonably practicable to do so. It is not a total or absolute impracticability which is required by clause (b) of Article 311(2), proviso. It should be looked into point of view, by an ordinary concerned, as he would have thought or opined and take a reasonable view of prevailing situations. The reasonable practicability of holding an enquiry is a matter of assessment to be made by the disciplinary authority who is competent to do so at present and available on the spot knowing each and every aspect of the facts and circumstances necessary for knowing whether an enquiry is reasonably practicable or not. A disciplinary authority however is not expected to dispense with a disciplinary enquiry lightly or arbitrarily or out of ulterior motives or merely in order to avoid the holding of an enquiry since the case of Department is weak or must fail if conducted. The statutory provisions also require the disciplinary authority to record its reasons for arriving at the satisfaction that the enquiry is not reasonably practicable. Ram Gopal v. Union of India, 2017 (152) FLR 822.

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Disciplinary Proceedings – Against a Retired Employee

In Anant R. Kulkarni v. Y.P. Education Society, 2013 (138) FLR 168 (SC), the Hon’ble Apex Court considered the question as to whether continuation of departmental enquiry is permissible against a retired employee, wherein it was held that enquiry against a retired employee is subject to the statutory rules, which governs the terms and conditions of his service. If the inquiry was initiated while the delinquent employee was in service, it would continue even after his retirement but, nature of punishment would be limited to certain extent and accordingly, punishment of dismissal or removal of the employee from service cannot be imposed on the retired employee. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has categorically ruled that in the absence of any statutory power conferred on the management, to hold a fresh enquiry after the retirement, no such enquiry against the employee could be conducted. In the aforesaid decision, the Apex Court has decided the issue thus:
“Thus, it is evident from the above, that the relevant rules governing the service conditions of an employee are the determining factors as to whether and in what manner the domestic enquiry can be held against an employee who stood retired after reaching the age of superannuation. Generally, if the enquiry has been initiated while the delinquent employee was in service, it would continue even after his retirement, but nature of punishment would change. The punishment of dismissal/removal from service would not be imposed. S. Andiyannan v. Joint Registrar, Co-operative Societies, 2015 (146) FLR 1079 (FB).

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Departmental Enquiry-Reasonable Opportunity

In cases where there is no oral evidence adduced and documentary evidence is not proved or exhibited by witnesses, it cannot be read into evidence for proving guilt of the employee. It is for this reason that many unscrupulous employer/establishment/department fabricate documents for proving charge against innocent employee and punish him without proving the same, thus denying a reasonable opportunity to him to defend himself. Sita Ram v. State of U.P., 2015 (1) ESC 178.

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Loss of Pay – Based on Principle of “No Pay No Work”

Loss of pay is based on the principle of “no pay no work”. It is an action quite separate and distinct from a disciplinary proceeding, which may visit an employee for such misconduct. In State of U.P. v. Madhav Prasad Sharma, 2011 (2) SCC 212, the Apex Court was considering the question whether the employer who had already sanctioned the leave, albeit without pay, was justified in terminating the service for the same charge and whether such an action is hit by the doctrine of double jeopardy. The Apex court after noticing the relevant statutory service rules concluded by holding that leave without pay is not a punishment prescribed under the rules and thus, denial of salary on the ground of “no pay now work” cannot be treated as a penalty nor the doctrine of double jeopardy would be attracted in case the employee is inflicted with the punishment of dismissal for the same charge. Purvanchal Bank v. Umesh Prasad Gupta, 2015 (3) ESC 1317.

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Residual Doubt

“Residual Doubt” is a mitigating circumstance, sometimes used and urged before the jury in the United States and, generally, not found favour by the various courts in the United States. In Franklin v. Lynaugh, 101 L Ed 2d 155: 487 US 164 (1988), while dealing with the death sentence, the Court held as follows:
“The petitioner also contends that the sentencing procedures followed in his case prevented the jury from considering, in mitigation of sentence, any ‘residual doubts’ it might have had about his guilt. The petitioner uses the phrase ‘residual doubts’ to refer to doubts that may have lingered in the minds of jurors who were convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but who were not absolutely certain of his guilt.”
In California v. Brown, 93 L Ed 2d 934 : 479 US 538 (1987), and other cases, the US courts took the view, “residual doubt” is not a fact about the defendant or the circumstances of the crime, but a lingering uncertainty about facts, a state of mind that exists somewhere between “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “absolute certainty”. Ashok Debbarma v. State of Tripura, (2014) 4 SCC 747.

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Departmental Enquiry against a Retired Employee

In a recent Judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court it was held as under:
“A retired employee who is no longer in service cannot be inflicted any punishment of dismissal or removal from service, reversion or reduction in rank and stoppage of increments etc. It is only by virtue of specific rule permitting imposition of punishment after retirement that the appointing authority can do so and if necessary after taking leave of the authority concerned. This logically means that when a retired employee cannot be punished as aforesaid there is no point in continuing a departmental enquiry against him once he has been superannuated.” Shiv Ram Verma v. U.P. Co-operative Union Ltd., 2013 (6) AWC 5908.

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