Sanil James v. State of Kerala &Anr.
Facts of the case
The Revision Petition was filed to contest the revision petitioner's conviction and sentence in a case brought against him under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The complainant claimed that the accused took out a loan of Rs. 3,50,00,000 from the complainant and issued a check for that amount with the promise that it would be cashed. However, the check was not honoured as there weren't enough funds when it was given for collection. Despite receiving legal notification of the dishonour and a demand for payment, the accused refused to comply.
The trial court then found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to one year of simple imprisonment as well as Section 357(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code-mandated compensation of Rs. 3,50,000 to the complainant, and a further year of simple imprisonment if the compensation wasn't paid. The Sessions Judge also upheld the conviction and punishment on appeal.
The lawyers for the revision petitioners, Advocates Biju C. Abraham and Thomas C. Abraham, asked for the sentence to be changed to one day of jail time followed by the payment of damages, as well as an extension of eight months for the compensation to be paid.
The Court noted that under Section 357(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code, when a court sentences a person to a fine or a sentence in which a fine is a component, the court may, in its judgement, order payment of all or a portion of the fine as compensation for any loss or harm caused by the offence, if the court determines that such compensation is recoverable by the victim in a civil court.
Regarding the High Court's revisional jurisdiction under Section 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code when read in conjunction with Section 397, the Court noted that only the power of revision would be available if any pertinent materials were not taken into consideration or if a fundamental legal principle was broken.
By changing the punishment to a day of simple imprisonment until the court rises and a fine of Rs. 3,50,00,000, to be provided to the complainant as compensation under Section 357(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C., the Court partially granted the Revision Petition.