Sentences Can Be Made Concurrent Only If Offences Arise Out Of A Single Transaction : Karnataka High Court

27th Mar,2021

Sentences Can Be Made Concurrent Only If Offences Arise Out Of A Single Transaction : Karnataka High Court


Only substantive sentences may be rendered concurrent if they are part of a single transaction, according to the Karnataka High Court. The said concession cannot be granted to the accused if the transaction is different. There can't be a sequence of consecutive sentences in the case of default sentences. "I would like to make it clear that the default sentences cannot be made concurrent and the same should run consecutively in respect of the substantive sentence," Justice H P Sandesh said in dismissing a petition.

PETITIONER SUBMISSION:
Petitioner C Bharati had approached the court, demanding that the Chief Superintendent of Central Prison release her immediately from custody in the following cases, in which the petitioner was convicted of an offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, and was serving a substantive sentence and a default sentence. It was reported that the petitioner began serving his sentence on February 8, 2017, and had already completed more than 27 months of his sentence when the petitions were filed. According to the sentences in all cases, the petitioner must complete a total of 60 months in jail. Though the Trial Court has handed down convictions in a variety of cases, the offences are all identical in nature, with the exception that the complainants are different parties but the convicted party is the same, and multiple checks are given in a single transaction. As a result, the Trial Court should have sentenced the petitioner in both cases by imposing concurrent rather than consecutive sentences. It was argued that where the complainants are different but the same, the transaction cannot be referred to as a single transaction, as the Apex Court held. The complainants are numerous, as are the transactions and the motives for their conduct. If this is the case, there can't be an order for concurrent sentences; only consecutive sentences should be used. It is often argued that the default penalty is for a persistent offence and cannot be served concurrently. The learned counsel contends that Section 427 of the Cr.P.C. does not apply, and that the complainant in this case was defrauded of more than Rs.3.5 crores.

OBSERVATION MADE BY THE COURT:
"Considering the principles laid down in the judgments referred supra, it is clear that if it is a single transaction, then the petitioner is entitled to the order to run the sentence concurrently; if it is not a single transaction, then the petitioner is not entitled to the gain," the bench said. The court also noted that, in each of the ten cases, a fine of Rs.3,11,10,000/- was levied in addition to imprisonment and a default sentence for non-payment. As a result, the petitioner cannot argue that she is entitled to a gain under Section 427 of the Cr.P.C. based on the facts and circumstances of the case for having owed such a large amount of liability. It went on to say "In cases where the indictment is focused on a single transaction, even though separate charges have been filed in relation to it, the legal situation favours the exercise of discretion to the advantage of the prisoners. The concession cannot be applied to transactions that are clearly different, independent, and unrelated to one another, or to transactions in which the parties are not the same." Accordingly, it dismissed the petition.