Highlighting the legal principle that punishment is designed not just to deter potential offenders but also to reform and reclaim them as law-abiding citizens, the Delhi High Court has modified the sentence of five years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) awarded to a 32-year-old man for being involved in a chain-snatching case. Noor Mohammed was arrested in August last year in connection with a chain-snatching case in Vishwas Nagar. After a chargesheet was filed, a trial court sentenced Noor to five years’ RI, besides charging him a fine of Rs 5,000 under sections 392 (robbery), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
Noor then filed an appeal in the High Court against the conviction. But instead of challenging the trial court’s verdict, Noor’s counsel requested the High Court to modify his sentence by taking into account the period of incarceration already undergone by him. The additional public prosecutor did not object to the court’s consideration of mitigating circumstances.
“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, and the substantive period (three years, nine months and 13 days) already undergone… and the fact that he is a young man… who is the sole breadwinner of the family… who has realised his mistake… and is remorseful… and now he wants to transform himself… I am of the considered opinion that he should be given a chance to reform himself for his better contribution to the society,” said Justice I S Mehta, modifying the sentence to the period of imprisonment already undergone.
Underlining an observation of the Supreme Court while dealing with the quantum of sentence, Justice Mehta said that the apex court had said: “In modern societies, however, reformatory aspect is being given somewhat greater importance. Too lenient as well as too harsh sentences lose their efficacy. One does not deter and the other may frustrate, thereby making the offender a hardened criminal.”