New Delhi: In an unusual punishment, a former DSP and a constable of Punjab Police have been sentenced to 35 years each by the Supreme Court for abducting seven persons of a family in 1991 when terrorism was at its peak in the state.
Though the court set aside the conviction of the then Deputy Superintendent of Police Baldev Singh and constable Balwinder Singh for the offence of conspiracy and murder of the seven abducted persons, they were held guilty for trespass and abduction for which they were awarded five years jail term for each of the seven abductions.
The apex court said the five year sentence for abducting seven persons will run consequently, thus, making it a total of 35 years in jail for the two police personnel.
"But so far as the sentence and fine under Section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) IPC is concerned, we find from illustration (h) under Section 220 of the CrPC that where an accused commits the same offence against three persons, then he can be charged with three offences.
"As seven persons had been abducted by the appellants (Baldev and Balwinder), the appellants were guilty of seven offences under Section 364 IPC and they should be punished for each of these offences under Section 364 IPC," a bench of justices A K Patnaik and Gyan Sudha Misra said.
The bench also said the period of rigorous imprisonment will be five years for each of the seven offences of abduction and they will run consecutively and not concurrently.
Generally, a convict is not punished separately for each of the offences arising out of the same incident.
The bench upheld the conviction of the two police officers for the offence of trespass and also imposed a fine of Rs 31,000 each on the two convicts.