New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking that various jail terms awarded to a convict under special laws on corruption and terrorism should run consecutively, as in countries like the US, and not concurrently.
The plea, filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, said that the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provision, which provides that a convict can serve varying jail terms simultaneously for several offences, be not made applicable to the convicts in heinous cases.
The section 31 of the CrPC should not apply to special laws such as “the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act,” said the PIL, which may come up for hearing within some week.
“Extorting money by spreading terrorism in society is the aim of organized criminals. The money is not spent on just causes but to derail state economy. It is therefore, essential to provide for strictest punishment. Punishment envisaged in the Maharashtra Control Organised Crime Act was three to 10 years of imprisonment which can be extended to life imprisonment,” it said.
Section 31 of CrPc says that in cases of conviction of several offences at one trial, the court may sentence him to the several punishments where one jail term would commence after expiration of the other, unless the court directed that such punishments shall run concurrently.
The plea sought directions to the Law Commission to examine anti-corruption, anti-separatism and anti-terrorism laws and policies of America, Australia, Israel and Spain and make a report within three months.
It also sought directions to the central government to ascertain the feasibility of adopting the best laws and policies of these countries against corruption, separatism and terrorism.
The plea said the country does not have a policy of consecutive and concurrent sentence and the apex court had indicated the need of consecutive sentence in its past judgements.
“However, the successive government failed to take appropriate steps in this regard,” it said.
The plea said that the punishment for white collar crimes is not sufficient as can be seen in the coal scam where the case was of 185,591 crores but the maximum punishment awarded was three years with a fine of Rs 50,00,000.
“CWG scam was a 70,000 Crore, which not only affected our economy but also the integrity of the nation. The accused was charged with conspiracy, forgery, misconduct and under provisions of PC Act. This clearly shows that not only the sentence under the PCA should be increased but also it should be consecutive,” it said.
The plea further said that though there were recommendations to confiscate property, increase the sentence and to run sentence consecutively as offences form a part of several dependent or parallel transactions, the current law was not sufficient.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.