Supreme Court of India
Sanjiv Kumar @ Gora vs State Of Punjab on 19 March, 2015Author: P C Pant

Bench: Dipak Misra, Prafulla C. Pant




Sanjiv Kumar @ Gora … Appellant


State of Punjab … Respondent

Arising out of SLP(Crl) No……Crl.M.P.No. 7170 OF 2007)


Prafulla C. Pant, J.

These appeals are directed against judgment and order dated
8.11.2006 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Criminal
Appeal No. 1746-SB/2005 whereby the appeal of Sanjiv Kumar @ Gora has
been dismissed, thereby affirming conviction recorded by Sessions
Judge, Kapurthala in Sessions Case No. 18 of 2003 under Sections 395,
450 and 342 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, the sentence has
been reduced by the High Court from 10 years imprisonment to 3 years
imprisonment with enhancement in the quantum of fine from Rs.2,000/-
to Rs.1,00,000/- under Section 395 IPC, and from imprisonment of 7
years to imprisonment of 3 years with enhancement of fine from
Rs.1000/-to Rs. 20,000/-under Section 450 IPC, without interfering in
the quantum of sentence awarded by the trial court in respect of
offence punishable under Section 342 IPC.

2. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the papers
on record.

3. Prosecution story, in brief, is that appellant Sanjiv Kumar @ Gora was
posted as Assistant Sub Inspector at Police Station, City Phagwara.
On 23.02.2002 at about 7.30 p.m., he along with some others committed
trespass in the premises of M/s. Wadhawan Forex (P) Ltd., and
committed robbery of Indian Currency of Rs.6,64,576/- and foreign
currency of value of Rs.13,44,500/-. PW-1 Sukhraj Singh (complainant)
was wrongfully confined, showing recovery of Rs.10,09,076/- of Indian
and Foreign exchange recovered from him, and FIR No. 19 dated
23.02.2002 was lodged against him relating to offence punishable under
Sections 411 and 414 IPC and under Section 3(B) and 3(C) of Foreign
Exchange Management Act at the police station. On investigation, the
said case filed against PW 1 Sukhraj Singh, Director of M/s. Wadhawan
Forex (P) Ltd., was found to be false, and the FIR was cancelled.
Complainant (PW1) Sukhraj Singh lodged a complaint with Deputy
Inspector General of Police (Internal Vigilance Cell), Chandigarh,
alleging as to the manner robbery was committed from premises of the
above firm, and the amount of Indian and foreign currency, as
mentioned above, was taken away even though the aforesaid firm M/s.
Wadhawan Forex (P) Ltd. had a licence from Reserve Bank of India valid
up to 28.05.2002 for sale and purchase of foreign currency. On the
complaint of PW 1 Sukhraj Singh, enquiry was conducted, and thereafter
First Information Report No. 147 (Ex.PB/1) was registered on
10.10.2002 against the appellant Sanjiv Kumar and he was arrested on
22.02.2003. After investigation, sanction (Ex.PF) for prosecution was
sought and chargesheet was filed against him in respect of offences
punishable under Sections 450,395 and 342 IPC.

4. It appears that necessary copies were given to the accused and the
case was committed by the Magistrate to the Court of Sessions for
trial. The trial court, after hearing the parties, framed charge of
offences punishable under Sections 450, 395 and 342 IPC against
accused Sanjiv Kumar, to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed to be

5. On this, prosecution got examined, PW-1 Sukhraj Singh (Complainant),
PW-2 Satwant Singh (neighbouring shopkeeper), PW-3 Gurdayal Singh, who
proved sanction of prosecution, PW-4 Rajinder Singh, PW-5 Kartar
Singh, PW-6 Gurwinder Singh, PW-7 Darshan Lal (Accountant of M/s.
Wadhawan Forex (P) Ltd.), PW-8 Surinder Singh Atwal, (Superintendent
of Police, who enquired into the matter on the complaint of Sukhraj
Singh), and PW-9 S.I. Amrik Singh (who inspected the crime).
6. In reply to oral and documentary evidence put to him under Section 313
Cr.P.C, accused Sanjiv Kumar pleaded that he acted under instructions
of Station House Officer Inspector Gurmej Singh. He pleaded that at
‘naka’ on Hoshiyarpur Road, Phagwara, the team of Police men
intercepted a Maruti Car from which Indian and foreign currency was
recovered, on the basis of which FIR No. 19 dated 23.2.2002 was lodged
against Sukhraj Singh, who was arrested for said offence. Appellant
Sanjiv Kumar also took the plea that Additional Director General of
Police, Punjab, was inimical against him. In defence, the accused got
examined DW-1 Inspector Gurmej Singh, DW-2 SSP Arun Pal, and DW-3
Reader Jaswant Singh.

7. The trial court, after hearing the parties, came to the conclusion
that the First Information Report No. 19 dated 23.02.2002 which was
got lodged, in respect of offences punishable under Sections 411 and
414 I.P.C and Section 3(B) and 3(C) of Foreign Exchange Management
Act, against Sukhraj Singh, at the instance of the appellant Sanjiv
Kumar, was false. The trial court believed the statement of
prosecution witnesses and found that the offence for which accused
Sanjiv Kumar was charged, stood proved. Accordingly, he was convicted
and sentenced vide judgment and order dated 8.2.2005/11.2.2005 passed
in sessions case no. 18 of 2003.

8. Aggrieved by said judgment, the convict preferred Criminal Appeal no.
1746-SB of 2005 before the High Court. The High Court, after hearing
the parties, affirmed the conviction of appellant Sanjiv Kumar under
Sections 395, 450 and 342 IPC. However, the sentence was reduced by
the High Court, as mentioned earlier. Hence, this appeal (Criminal
Appeal No. 1424 of 2009) through special leave.

9. Also, Sukhraj Singh (complainant) has filed connected criminal appeal
for enhancement of the sentence awarded by the High Court.

10. On behalf of the appellant Sanjiv Kumar, it is argued before us that
Inspector Gurmej Singh, who actually lodged First Information Report
No. 19 dated 23.2.2002 against Sukhraj Singh (PW1) has not been
punished. It is contended that the appellant Sanjiv Kumar has been
made scape goat. In this connection, our attention is drawn to the
fact that vide order dated 28.4.2009 in Criminal Appeal No. 992 of
2009 (arising out of SLP (Crl) No. 6705 of 2006 Gurmej Singh vs. State
of Punjab & Anr), this Court has already granted relief to him, as
such the conviction recorded against the present appellant Sanjiv
Kumar cannot be sustained.

11. We have carefully gone through the order passed in Criminal Appeal No.
992 of 2009. What has been held in said appeal, filed by Gurmej
Singh, is that the High Court erred in law in issuing directions
while hearing the appeal of appellant Sanjiv Kumar, pending before
it, qua Gurmej Singh, without adhering to principles of natural
justice. We think it relevant to mention here that Gurmej Singh was
not the co-accused in the trial, nor this Court has made any
observation as to innocence of present appellant Sanjiv Kumar. As
such, the decision given in Criminal Appeal No. 992 of 2009 is of
little help to the present appellant Sanjiv Kumar before us.

12. Both the Courts below, after discussing the prosecution evidence as
well as defence evidence have come to the categorical finding that PW
1 Sukhraj Singh was wrongfully arrested after the Indian and foreign
currency was robbed by the appellant Sanjiv Kumar, who came with fire
arm in the shop and premises of M/s. Wadhawan Forex (P) Ltd., and out
of the robbed sum, part of it was falsely shown recovered from Sukhraj
Singh by ‘naka’ party of police officers. The case registered against
Sukhraj Singh was found false after the senior police officer, who
held enquiry on the complaint of PW-1 Sukhraj Singh. It is relevant
to mention here that after investigation, no charge sheet was filed
against complainant Sukhraj Singh (PW-1). We have perused the
evidence of prosecution witnesses, which include that of the
neighbouring shopkeepers, in the light of the report dated 8.7.2002 of
Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Phagwara (copy of which is annexed
as annexure P-5) to the appeal filed by Sanjiv Kumar. We have also
considered the fact that the foreign currency consisting Euros 1850,
Pounds U.K. 150, Canadian Dollars 500, Australian Dollars 500 and U.S.
Dollars 895 shown to have been recovered from Sukhraj Singh were
actually validly held by him with other currencies as he had a valid
licence, to deal with foreign exchange, issued by Reserve Bank of
13. Having re-assessed the entire evidence on record, we do not find any
illegality committed by the trial court in convicting the accused
Sanjiv Kumar under Sections 395, 450 and 342 IPC, which is rightly
affirmed, with modification of sentence, by the High Court.

14. Next, learned counsel for the appellant Sanjiv Kumar drew our
attention to the case of C. Muniappan and others vs. State of Tamil
Nadu[1] and it is submitted that since more than 10 years have passed
after the incident as such the sentence against the appellant should
be further reduced to the period already undergone. However, above
submission is vehemently opposed by the learned counsel for the
complainant, who relied upon the principle of law laid down by this
Court in the case of Shyam Narain vs. State (NCT of Delhi)[2].
15. We have considered the rival submissions of the parties, and we are of
the view that sentencing for any offence has a social goal. In each
case, facts and circumstances of that case are always required to be
taken into consideration. For the purpose of just and proper
punishment, not only the accused must be made to realize that the
crime was committed by him, but there should be proportionality
between the offence committed and the penalty imposed. It is
obligatory on the part of the Court to keep in mind the impact of the
offence on the society, and its ramifications including the
repercussion on the victim.

16. Therefore, for the reasons, as discussed above, we are not inclined to
interfere with the impugned order passed by the High Court.
Accordingly, both the appeals are dismissed.

[Dipak Misra]

[Prafulla C. Pant]
New Delhi;
March 19, 2015.
[1] (2010) 9 SCC 567
[2] (2013) 7 SCC 77


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