Running of Sentence – Concurrent or Consecutive ? 

A Note on SC judgment in V.K.Bansal v. State of Haryana, (2013) 7 SCC 211.

General Rule – Sentences  should run consecutively (that is, one after the other)  (S.427 CrPC) Court has the discretion to direct sentences to run concurrently – As to when that discretion should be exercised depends on facts and circumstances – Court should exercise its discretion judicially and not mechanically in each case, having regard to nature of offence and particular fact situation. No straitjacket approach can be laid down.

However, this should be read with the caveat that only substantive sentences can be directed to run concurrently and sentences awarded in default of payment of fine/compensation cannot be directed to run concurrently.

The Single transaction Rule – Where there was a single transaction constituting  different offences, even if different complaints were filed in relation thereto, sentences can be directed to run concurrently.

For instance, where different cheques were issued by a borrower (accused) for discharge of same loan and different cheque dishonour cases are filed w.r.t each dishonor – the same justifies concurrent running of sentences as per the judgment in V.K.Bansal (supra)

*For further reading : Students may refer to S.427, 31 of the CrPC.

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