Legal heirs of a deceased convict are liable to pay the fine and compensation imposed by the trial court from the properties of the deceased, the Bombay high court has held.
The death of the convict does not discharge him from the liability of paying fine and compensation imposed by the court, and his property, which goes to his legal heirs after his death, is legally liable for the same, said justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, while dismissing a petition filed by a 56-year-old Shamim Sarkhot, a resident of Shrivardhan in Raigad district.
Shamim’s husband Saifuddin had been convicted by a magistrate court at Shrivardhan for failing to honour a cheque issued by him to a local businessman, Jugraj Jain, in 2008. The magistrate had ordered Saifuddin to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 to the state government and a compensation of Rs 2.85 lakh to Jain.
Saifuddin, however, expired during pendency of appeal filed by him challenging the magisterial order. In 2010, Jain again approached the magistrate court for recovery of the compensation in terms of the magistrate court’s order, and acting on his plea, the magistrate had in December 2015, ordered Shamim to pay the dues within 30 days.
Shamim had approached the high court challenging the December 2015 order contending that she was merely a legal heir of the deceased convict and had been holding properties of the deceased under a will, and therefore she could not have been ordered to pay the fine and the amount of compensation.
The high court rejected her contention holding that if a convict fails to pay a fine imposed by a court, under sections 421 and 431 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the amount can be recovered by auctioning properties of the accused.
Justice Phansalkar-Joshi further observed that under Section 70 of the Indian Penal Code even death of the convict does not discharge him from such payments and such amounts can be recovered from his property.
The judge said the property of Saifuddin, which came in the hands of his widow, Shamim, naturally came with all the liabilities of her deceased husband, and therefore there was nothing wrong in the order of the magistrate court directing the widow to the pay the amounts of fine and compensation.