Illustrations: punishment. Where the offences are committed

Illustrations: (i) A gives Z fifty strokes with a stick. Here A may have committed the offence of voluntarily causing hurt to Z by the whole beating, and also by each of the blows which make up the whole beating. If A were liable to punishment for every blow, he might be imprisoned for 50 years, one for each blow. But he is liable to one punishment for the whole beating. (ii) But if while A is beating Z, Y interferes, and A intentionally strikes Y, here as the blow given to Y, is not part of the act whereby A voluntarily causes hurt to Z, A is liable to separate punishment.

Where the offences are committed under two separate enactments, Section 71, I.P.C. is not to be helpful and as such the sentences cannot be questioned by involving Section 71.

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Assessment of punishment: How punishment shall be regulated where an offence falls within two or more definitions of the law. The offender in such case shall not be punished with a more severe punishment than the court which tries him could award for anyone of such offences but there is no restraint on sentence for more than one offence. He may be sentenced for more than one offence but the total punishment must not exceed that applicable to the graver offence. The same principle of the law also applies to cases in which there are several acts of which one or more than one would by itself or themselves constitute an offence which when combined to constitute a different offence.

Punishment in these two cases is determined not only by the maximum punishment prescribed for the graver offence but also by the maximum punishment the trying Court is competent to award (Section 71). Section 71 of the Code is not applicable to a case where the charge is only under an offence. It also does not restrict the extent of the punishment to the lower limit provided for either of the two offences. It merely protects an accused against the multiplicity of punishment and if, his act falls within two or more separate definitions of any law in force, it limits the punishment to the maximum term which could be awarded to him for any single offence.

This means that if his conduct amounts to an offence within the meaning of two different penal laws, one of which is punishable upto five years and the other upto seven years, he cannot be awarded a punishment of more than seven years, for then it would amount to punishing him twice over for the same offence. The above principle may be illustrated in a tabular form as follows: Particulars of Offence: (i) When an offence is made up of several offences or: (ii) Where an offence falls within two or more definitions, or (iii) Where several acts, one or more of which constitute an offence, constitute, when combined, a different offence.


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