Mohd Zahid v. State through NCB

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Section 427 Whether the subsequent sentence should run concurrently or consecutively Principles of Law.

1. If a person already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment, such subsequent term of imprisonment would normally commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he was previously sentenced.

2. Ordinarily the subsequent sentence would commence at the expiration of the first term of imprisonment unless the court directs the subsequent sentence to run concurrently with the previous sentence.

3. The general rule is that where there are different transactions, different crime numbers and cases have been decided by the different judgments, concurrent sentence cannot be awarded under Section 427 of Cr.P.C.

4. Under Section 427 (1) of Cr.PC the court has the power and discretion to issue a direction that all the subsequent sentences run concurrently with the previous sentence, however discretion has to be exercised judiciously depending upon the nature of the offence or the offences committed and the facts in situation. However, there must be a specific direction or order by the court that the subsequent sentence to run concurrently with the previous sentence.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Section 427 Sentence on offender already sentenced for another offence Whether, the sentences imposed against the accused by two different courts in two different trials but against the same accused / person should run concurrently or consecutively ?

On a fair reading of Section 427 of Cr.PC, when a person who is already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment or imprisonment for life, such imprisonment or imprisonment for life shall commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he has been previously sentenced. Meaning thereby the sentences in both the conviction shall run consecutively. However, there is an exception to that, namely unless the Court directs that the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with such previous sentence. There is one another exception. As per Sub­section (2) of Section 427 of Cr.PC when a person already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for life is sentenced on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment for a term or imprisonment for life, the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with such previous sentence. Therefore, in aforesaid two cases only the subsequent sentence shall run concurrently with previous sentence. Otherwise the subsequent sentence shall run consecutively and the imprisonment in subsequent sentence shall commence at the expiration of the imprisonment to which he has been previously sentenced. [Para 8.2]

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985No leniency should be shown to an accused who is found to be guilty for the offence under the NDPS Act.

Those persons who are dealing in narcotic drugs are instruments in causing death or in inflicting death blow to a number of innocent young victims who are vulnerable. Such accused causes deleterious effects and deadly impact on the society. They are hazard to the society. Such organized activities of clandestine smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances into this country and illegal trafficking in such drugs and substances have a deadly impact on the society as a whole. Therefore, while awarding the sentence or punishment in case of NDPS Act, the interest of the society as a whole is required to be taken into consideration. Therefore, even while applying discretion under Section 427 of Cr.PC, the discretion shall not be in favour of the accused who is found to be indulging in illegal trafficking in the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Facts of the Case

In the present case the appellant has been convicted with respect to two different transactions, there are different crime numbers and the cases have been decided by the different judgments. Therefore, the appellant is not entitled to any benefit of concurrent sentence under Section 427 of Cr.PC. There is no specific order or direction issued by the court while imposing the subsequent sentence that the subsequent sentence to run concurrently with the previous sentence. even while exercising discretion under Section 427 of Cr.PC to run subsequent sentence concurrently with the previous sentence, the discretion is to be exercised judiciously and depending upon the offence/offences committed. Therefore, considering the offences under the NDPS Act which are very serious in nature and against the society at large, no discretion shall be exercised in favour of such accused who is indulging into the offence under the NDPS Act.

Case Law Reference

  1. Gurdev Singh v. State of Punjab, (2021) 6 SCC 558
  2. Vicky @ Vikas v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 11 SCC 540
  3. Rajpal v. Om Prakash, (2019) 17 SCC 809
  4. Sharad Hiru Kolambe v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 18 SCC 718
  5. Gulam Mohammad Malik v. State of Gujarat, (2018) 14 SCC 473
  6. Neera Yadav v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2017) 8 SCC 757
  7. V.K. Bansal v. State of Haryana, (2013) 7 SCC 211
  8. Ranjit Singh v. Union Territory of Chandigarh, (1991) 4 SCC 304
  9. Mohd. Akhtar Hussain v. Assistant Collector of Customs (Prevention), (1988) 4 SCC 183