SC anguished over HCs taking lenient view in heinous crimes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday expressed anguish over the manner in which the high courts are taking “extremely lenient” view towards the offenders of heinous crimes in certain cases, saying it should not be done as it “shocks the conscience”.
“Before parting with the case, we are obliged, nay, painfully constrained to state that it has come to the notice of this court that in certain heinous crimes or crimes committed in a brutal manner, the High Courts, in exercise of the appellate jurisdiction, have imposed extremely lenient sentences which shock the conscience. It should not be so,” a bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and Dipak Misra said.
Justice Misra, who wrote the judgement, made the observation and modified the order of the Rajasthan High Court which had converted the charge of attempt to murder into culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The high court had reduced the five years sentence to seven days of imprisonment.
The apex court enhanced the jail term of one Surajbhan Singh from seven days to two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 which was imposed on him by the trial court.
Surajbhan was awarded five years imprisonment by the trial court for attempting to murder one Sumer Singh whose hand was chopped off from the wrist after the accused had attacked him with a sword.
The court allowed the appeal of victim Sumer Singh while the state had not preferred to file an appeal against the high court order.
“Consequently, the appeal is allowed in part, the conviction recorded by the trial court as well as by the High Court is maintained and the sentence imposed by the trial judge and that by the High Court is modified to the extent indicated hereinabove,” the bench said.
The incident dates back to July, 1982 when Sumer Singh, along with others, was carrying on agricultural work in their field and Surajbhan Singh and his associates came there with their weapons and attacked the victims.