Supreme Court steps up to protect the fundamental rights of a person sentenced for 18 years of electricity theft

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The Supreme Court of India on 16th December 2022  held that appropriate actions should be taken regarding the protection of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty inherent in every citizen. The intervention by the Supreme Court is to protect the liberty of citizens founded on sound constitutional principles embodied in Part III of the Constitution. While hearing to the Iqram vs State of Uttar Pradesh case, there were nine cases of electricity theft against the appellant where the trial Court had awarded two years imprisonment as those nine orders were passed on the same day and no specific directions regarding the concurrent running of sentences were issued. The appellant would have to serve 18 years in prison since the jail authorities treated sentences as being served consecutively, not concurrently. Nine FIRs related to incidents such as theft of electricity equipment that belongs to the electricity department of the State of Uttar Pradesh were filed against the appellant. The division bench of the High Court stated that “On the basis of Section 427 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, each subsequent term of conviction has to commence at the expiration of the imprisonment currently being undergone by the appellant.” The Supreme Court set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and the appeal was allowed highlighting that the sentences imposed on the appellant in the nine-session trials were to be run concurrently.