Satish Ragade v. State Of Maharashtra Through Police Station Officer, Gittikhandan, Nagpur
This Blog is written by Ravikiran M. Shukre | Column Editor
Court: Hon’ble Bombay High Court, Bench at Nagpur
Citation: Criminal Appeal no. 161 of 2020
Delivered On: 19th January 2021
Bench: Pushpa V. Ganediwala, J.
Relevant Sections/Articles: Sec. 354, 363, 342 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sec. 7, 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
FACTS OF THE CASE:
1. On 14th December 2020, the mother of the prosecutrix lodged a report at police station gittikhadan, Nagpur asserting that the appellant took her daughter of age 12 years on the excuse of giving her guava, in the house and pressed her breast and tried to remove her salwar. At this point, her mother reached the spot and rescued her daughter.
2. Immediately first information report was lodged and crime came to be registered against the appellant vide crime no. 405/2016 for the offense punishable under sections 354, 363, 342 of the Indian Penal Code and section 8 of the POCSO Act.
3. Police had started the investigation and after the investigation, the charge-sheet is filed in the special court, Nagpur.
4. Special Court framed the charge under sections 354, 363, 342, and 309 of the Indian Penal Code and section 8 of the POCSO Act and the plea of the accused was recorded and thereafter the studying the case; the judgment and order dated 05.02.2020 was passed by the Extra Joint Additional Sessions Judge, Nagpur, by which appellant is convicted for the offenses punishable under sections 354, 363, 342 of the Indian Penal Code and section 8 of the POCSO Act.
5. The appeal was preferred by the appellant against this order.
• Whether the accused is liable for the punishment provided under Sections 354, 342, 363 of IPC and Section 8 of the POCSO Act?
RULE OF LAW WHICH APPLIES:
1) Section 354: Assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty –
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
2) Section 342: Punishment for Wrongful Confinement –
Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
3) Section 363: Punishment for Kidnapping –
Whoever kidnaps any person from India or from lawful guardianship, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
4) Section 8: Punishment for sexual assault –
Whoever commits sexual assault, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
STATING THE APPLICATION OF RULE OF LAW WHICH APPLIES:
The object of the penal statutes is to provide penalties and make a person liable for punishment for the disobedience of the law. Creating deterrence in the mind of people for disobeying law so that others will not commit and attempt to commit the crime. A penal statute defines an offense or enacts a new offense and provides a punishment thereof.
For an instance let’s consider Sec. 299 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines Culpable Homicide, and Sec. 304 provides punishment for the Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder. Similarly, every penal statute defines the offense first and then provides punishment for that offense.
In the case of Thomson v. His Honour Judge Byrne Hon’ble Court has held that “the duty of the court is to give effect to the purpose as expressed in clear and unambiguous language and “that the obligation is not altered because the Act is penal in character.”” So, the application of the rule does not permit the court to restrain the comprehensive language used by the legislature, the wide meaning of which is in accord with the object of the statute.
The principle of Strict Construction of penal statutes was accurately formulated by LORD JUSTICE JAMES who speaking for the Privy Council stated: “No doubt all penal statutes are to be construed strictly, that is to say, the court must see the thing charged as an offense is within the plain meaning of the words used, and must not strain the words on any notion that there has been a slip; that there has been a casus omnisus; that the thing is so clearly within the mischief that it must have been included if the thought of. On the other hand, that person charged has a right to say that thing charged although within the words, is not within the spirit of the enactment. But where the thing is brought within the words, and within the spirit, there a penal enactment is to be construed, like any other instrument, according to the fair commonsense meaning of the language used, and the court is not to find or make any doubt or ambiguity in the language of a penal statute, where such doubt or ambiguity would clearly not be found or made in the same language in any other enactment.”
From above, we can see that penal statutes to be interpreted with regard to the subject matter of the offense and the object sought to be achieved by that particular law. In the case of Balaram Kumawat v. Union of India Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that “Penal statutes to be interpreted having regard to the subject matter of the offense and the object of the law it seeks to achieve. The purpose of the law is not to allow the offender to sneak out of the meshes of the law. Criminal jurisprudence does not say so.”
India has adopted the adversarial system. Punishment is provided when the alleged offense done by the accused person is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Penal laws in India are stringent and are enacted to create deterrence in the minds of people.
Strict construction of the penal statute is one of the important aspects when it comes to interpreting the law enacted by the legislature. Judiciary must understand the intention of the legislature for enacting the provision and must construe it in that sense only.
 [(1999) 73 ALJR 642 p. 648 (para 19)]
 State of Kerala v. Mathai Verghese [(1986) 4 SCC 746]
 Dyke v. Elliot [(1872) LR 4 PC 184, p. 19]
 [(2003) 7 SCC 628]