A single bench of the Manipur High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar on Saturday directed the authorities to release three convicts who had been sentenced to life-term imprisonment in a gangrape case.
The court directed the authorities to release the three convicts namely Ch Ibomcha, Ksh Kennedy, Salam Bijen and Ch Samu, citing “the benefit of set-off under section 428 Cr.P.C in relation to their sentence of imprisonment pursuant to the common judgement and order dated July 17, 2017.
"The July 17, 2017 order was passed by this court in Criminal (Jail) appeal No 2 of 2013 and batch, arising out of the Judgment of Conviction dated August 12, 2013 and the Order of Sentence dated June 28, 2013 of the learned session judge, Manipur East, in Sessions trial case No 8 of 2012, unless their incarceration is lawfully required in connection with any other case".
The District and Session Judge, Imphal West had sentenced four convicts, namely Lukhram Rojit (25), son of L Tomba of Porompat JNIMS Road has been convicted under 367, 376, 392 Indian Penal Code and 25 Arms Act and the three others namely Havaldar (1st IRB) Chungkham Ibomcha alias Eigya (37), son of Shamu of Thongju Boroi Makhong; Rifleman (1st IRB) Ksh Kennedy (37), son of Achou of Kongpal Chanam Leikai and Salam Bijen (34), son of Gourababu of Uripok Sorbon Thingel.
The three were convicted under 367, 376, 392 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 34 of Common Intention in 2013, for gang rape of a 42-year-old woman from Khupan Lungli village in Tamenglong district on the intervening night of March 21 and 22 near Kakyai Primary School in Irom Meijrao.
The HC observed that the convicts were arrested on March 22, 2012 and, therefore, they have completed 10 years of imprisonment by March 22, 2022.
The period of rigorous imprisonment suffered by them began from June 25, 2013 but in the light of Section 428 Cr.P.C., the ‘period of detention’ undergone by them till that day would be liable to be set-off against the total period of imprisonment to be undergone.
The convicts were convicted of offences under Sections 367, 376(2)(g) and 392 IPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life, along with payment of fine by the Sessions Judge, Manipur East in Sessions Trial No 8 of 2012, vide Judgment of June 12, 2013 and sentence of June 25, 2013.
However, the HC reduced the sentence imposed upon them to 10-year rigorous imprisonment. They are presently lodged in Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa. They approached the HC for releasing them under 428 CrPC, stating that they completed the requisite incarceration on March 22, 2022, after reduction of the set-off period claimed by them. It is stated that the fine amount imposed upon them has already been paid.