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Razia Khan vs State of M.P. Criminal Appeal No. 2259 of 2023

The legal case involving Razia Khan as the appellant and the State of M.P. as the respondent, filed as Criminal Appeal No. 2259 of 2023, has been under the public gaze for quite some time now. The case came to a conclusion on August 3, 2023, as Justice Abhay S. Oka delivered the court’s final verdict.

A Rundown of the Events

Razia Khan had been convicted for offences under Sections 333, 353 and 451 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The sessions court had initially handed down a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for one year each for offences under Sections 451 and 353 of the IPC, along with two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2,000/- for the offence under Section 333 of the IPC. However, the High Court altered this judgement, maintaining the conviction but reducing the sentences to six months of rigorous imprisonment for each offence.

Appeal and Counterarguments

The appellant’s counsel argued for granting the appellant the benefit of probation under Section 360 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) and/or the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, considering the specific circumstances of the case. The case dates back to an incident that occurred on 1st December 1992 and throughout the subsequent trial and appeal process, which extended over thirty and a half years, Razia Khan remained on bail. As a 62-year-old woman who hasn’t been involved in any objectionable activity during this period, her counsel argued that she deserves leniency.

In opposition, the Additional Advocate General representing the State of M.P., Mr. D.S. Parmar, argued that the appellant’s behaviour towards the public servant PW-1 and her obstruction of PW-1 and PW-6’s official duties call for a stringent punishment.

The Court’s Perspective

The court, after a comprehensive review, noted that the appellant’s offence was serious but also took into account certain mitigating factors. These include the appellant’s age, her behaviour throughout the trial period, and the fact that the incident in question occurred over thirty years ago.

After weighing these factors against the seriousness of the offences, the court decided to show leniency in terms of the substantive sentence. For the offence under Section 333 of IPC, the appellant was sentenced to one month of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 30,000/-. For the offence under Section 353, the sentence was reduced to a fine of Rs. 20,000/-. For the offence under Section 451, the appellant was sentenced to one month of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/-.

If the appellant fails to pay the fines, she will be required to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days. The fine amounts must be paid to the trial court, with Rs. 25,000/- from the fines going to the injured witness, Ms. Sajni Batra, as compensation, while the rest will go to the State.

A Partial Victory

Razia Khan’s appeal thus resulted in a partial victory, with her conviction upheld but her sentences reduced significantly. The verdict allows her a month to surrender before the trial court to undergo the punishment, signaling the end of a lengthy legal battle and underlining the importance of weighing all factors when passing a judgement.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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