The Supreme Court has held that a compromise if entered at the later stage of the incident or even after conviction, can indeed be one of the factors in interfering with the sentence awarded but it cannot be taken to be a solitary basis.
A bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Abhay S Oka noted, "the compromise cannot be taken to be a solitary basis until the other aggravating and mitigating factors also support and are favourable to the accused for molding the sentence which always has to be examined in the facts and circumstances of the case on hand."
The observation has been made in plea challenging order of the Bombay High Court upholding the conviction under Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code stating that a compromise has been entered between the appellant and the injured victim.
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani appearing for the Petitioner submitted that the victim has no desire to make the appellant undergo the remaining sentence and keeping in view the peace and harmony between the families, it had been requested by the complainant victim to compound the offence, submitting that the appellant be released on the sentence undergone.
Whereas, Advocate Sachin Patil appearing for the State contended that the ultimate object of the criminal justice system is to protect the society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object of law by imposing appropriate sentence.
"It is always expected that the courts would operate the sentencing system so as to impose such sentence which reflects the conscience of the society and the sentencing process has to be stern where it should be," Patil added.
However, the bench noted, "the sentence awarded to commensurate with the nature of offence being committed to avoid bitterness in the families of the accused and the victim and it will always be better to restore their relation, if possible, but the compromise cannot be taken to be a solitary basis until the other aggravating and mitigating factors also support and are favourable to the accused for molding the sentence which always has to be examined in the facts and circumstances of the case on hand."
The bench while upholding the order of the High Court further noted, "the sufferings which the victim has suffered for such a long time and being crippled for life and the leg and arm of the victim are amputated in the alleged incident dated 13th December, 1993 and since then he has been fighting for life and is pursuing his daily chores with a prosthetic arm and leg and has lost his vital organs of his body and became permanently disabled and such act of the appellant is unpardonable."
Case Title: Bhagwan Narayan Gaikwad Vs. The State of Maharashtra and Ors.
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