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Benefit Of Probation (PO Act) Is Not Excluded By Mandatory Minimum Sentences Prescribed For IPC Offences: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has observed that the benefit of probation under Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 is not excluded by the provisions of the mandatory minimum sentence prescribed for offences under Indian Penal Code. In this case, the accused were convicted under Section 397 IPC and were sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment of 7 years each. When the case reached the Apex Court, it was submitted that the dispute had been amicably resolved. Opposing the accused prayer seeking benefit under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, the state contended that the minimum sentence provided by the statute under Section 397 is 7 years and the same cannot be reduced below that period. The Court observed that Section 4 of the Act could come to the aid of the accused as the offence committed, of which they have been found guilty, is not punishable with death or imprisonment for life. The court also added that since they were under 21 years of age on the date of the offence and not on the date of conviction, Section 6 would not come to their aid.

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