In the Allahabad High Court Equivalent Citation: AIR 1960 All 387, 1960 CriLJ 857 Appellants Rajendra Singh And Anr. Respondent State of Uttar Pradesh Decided on 29th August, 1959 Bench M.C. Desai
The petitioners were two brothers who were convicted under § 406 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the trial court for criminal breach of trust and dishonestly misappropriating the property. The applicants were of the view that trial court unjustifiably convicted them under § 406 and it must be altered now with § 420 of Indian Penal Code.
So, aggrieved by the decision of the subordinate court applicants filed an appeal to the Honorable High Court to alter the charge from § 406 to § 420 of I.P.C. and to reduce the sentence for only misappropriating and not for breach of contract or legal provisions.
Statutes and Provisions involved:
- Section 403, 406, and 420 of Indian Penal Code.
- Section 236, 237 and 238 of Criminal Procedure Code.
1. Whether the trial court was justified in making conviction under Section 406 of I.P.C. or not?
2. Whether the sentence could be altered from Section 406 to Section 420 of I.P.C. or not?
Facts of the Case:
Shyamendra and Rajendra are two brothers who are appellants in the present case. They both went to Hansraj, a goldsmith of their area and misappropriated him that their mother wanted to see a necklace, so that she could purchase a necklace of the same design for the wife of Shyamendra. Hansraj acting in a good faith allowed gave a piece of ornament to them on a condition that they will return it to him by the evening. The appellants also promised him to return the necklace by the evening, but they refused to give him when he demanded and denied of the fact that they have taken any necklace from him.
When the trial was going on in the Sessions court it was established that appellant’s mother had died long ago and one among them is even not married. It was proved by the prosecution that appellants falsely represented themselves and were having mala fide intentions against the goldsmith.
However, subordinate court rejecting the entire defense made by appellants convicted under the charges of § 406 of I.P.C. and aggrieved by this decision of subordinate court the appellants filed an appeal to the Honorable court to alter the impugned judgment and charges from § 406 to § 420 of I.P.C.
Contentions of both the Parties:
It was contended by the petitioners that from the above stated facts no offence has been made out under § 406 as it talks about criminal breach of trust and violation of any legal contract express or implied and in the present case appellants have only misappropriated the goldsmith and thus are punishable under § 420 and not under § 406 of I.P.C.
It was also argued by them that contract of entrustment is a must for conviction under § 406 and in the present case there was no contract of entrustment between the parties. Hence, the judgment needs to be altered and charges must be shifted from § 406 to § 420 of I.P.C.
It was contended by the respondents that it would be really pathetic if the law allowed this appeal because Hansraj totally acted in good faith and he was neither receiving any price nor reward for giving him necklace. There was contract of entrustment between him and them and it would be a loophole in the legislation if they are allowed to take advantage in the present case.
They also argued that it was clearly established in the trail court that appellants were playing with Hansraj, and despite knowing the fact that there mother was dead they misappropriated him and induced him to give them necklace. They were of the opinion that subordinate court was totally correct in making sentence under § 406 of I.P.C.
The Honorable Court dismissed the appeal of altering the sentence from § 406 to § 420, but the conviction was altered to § 403 of I.P.C. It was interpreted by the court that alteration under § 273 of Cr. P.C. can only take place if the trial court had any doubt during the time of judgment and in the present case it can be clearly observed that trial court was having no issue to make conviction under § 406 of I.P.C.
However, the court stated that on the basis of some facts proved by accused in defense it is justifiable enough to alter the charges to § 403. The court believed that by proving that accused was having dishonest intention at the time of delivery of goods is establishing the offence under § 403 and the court also held that by altering the charge to § 403 the court is not changing the basic nature of offence.
Concepts Highlighted in the present Case:
It was highlighted in the present case that it would be totally unjustifiable if the conviction is altered in the present case as it would give appellants an undue advantage over the party who has actually suffered by acting in good faith. It was also highlighted in the present case that Higher Courts can alter the judgment only when it founds some substantial doubts in the order of trial court.
It can be concluded from the present case that High Court doesn’t altered the charges from § 406 to § 420 as it would be against the general principles of law to see an innocent struggling for proving his actions in a good faith and to allow accused to escape through loopholes. The court was absolutely correct in dismissing the appeal as by altering it to § 420 the nature of offence could be changed.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje