Delhi High Court Denies Ex MLA Kuldeep Senger’s Plea Seeking Suspension Of Sentence

The Delhi High Court, recently, denied an appeal filed by former Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger seeking suspension of the sentence awarded to him. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison by a trial court in a custodial death case of the father of the Unnao rape case victim. 

The bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma held, “This Court also remains conscious of the fact that the period undergone by a convict is only one of the several factors which are to be taken into consideration while adjudicating an application seeking suspension of sentence, and other factors such as gravity of offence, nature of the crime, criminal antecedents of the convict, impact on public confidence in court, et al. are also to be appreciated and kept in mind by the Courts”. 

Previously, in December 2022, Senger was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a minor girl in Unnao District, Uttar Pradesh in 2017 and had applied for interim bail for two-month for his daughter’s marriage. The application for interim bail was approved by a division bench led by Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Poonam A Bamba.

Advocate Kanhaiya Singhal representing Senger, argued that Senger had been in jail since April of 2018, except for a brief period when he was granted interim relief for his daughter’s marriage, during which he did not misuse the liberty granted. It was further argued that Senger had already served almost six years of the ten-year sentence. Advocate Singhal noted that all other co-accused individuals who had served more than half of their sentences were granted suspension of sentence. 

Furthermore, Advocate Singhal contended that the prosecution’s case against the appellant relied solely on circumstantial evidence, specifically a phone call made by Senger to the Superintendent of Police, who was not accused in this case. The call detail records and mobile phone locations allegedly demonstrated the prosecution’s case’s falsity. 

Advocate Singhal also asserted that the prosecution also failed to establish a link between the alleged assault and the subsequent death of the victim, arguing that the appellant should not be held responsible for the victim’s death due to insufficient evidence and the case not being proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, he requested that the application for suspension of the sentence should be granted.

Special Public Prosecutor Ravi Sharma representing the CBI, opposing the application, noted that Senger played a central role in committing the offence. Senger was convicted in this case for causing the death of a witness in a brutal rape case. Importantly, Senger was convicted of rape in another case linked to the same First Information Report (FIR). SPP Sharma further highlighted the court’s observations about Senger’s role in the crime and emphasized the seriousness of the offence committed.

The court noted that on June 4, 2017, the minor daughter of the deceased was lured under false pretenses of a job and raped at the residence of Senger. On April 3, 2018, during a court hearing in Unnao, the victim’s father, Surendra, was brutally assaulted in broad daylight by Senger. The following day, Surendra was arrested by the police on charges of illegal possession of firearms and subsequently died due to injuries sustained in police custody on April 9, 2018.

The court outlined Senger’s role in the offence, noting “The sequence of events thereafter clearly established that under the patronage of the appellant Kuldeep Singh Senger and his brother Jaideep Singh Senger, the other accused persons in this case had assaulted the victim with leg and fist blows and then hit him with the barrel of a rifle”. 

The court further observed the trial court’s order regarding Senger’s strong motive stemming from negative publicity and messages against him, affecting his personal and political life. Despite being in Delhi, Senger’s calls and recorded conversations indicated his awareness and involvement in the events in Unnao.

The court further rejected Senger’s argument about discrepancies in the prosecution’s case, emphasizing that the assessment of the evidence did not support accepting such an argument by Senger.

The court reiterated “Once the accused has been held guilty, the presumption of innocence gets erased and the Courts will have to consider the application for suspension of sentence by taking only a prima facie view of the role of the accused, gravity of offence, etc. as recorded in the judgment of conviction”. 

Despite Senger having served more than half of his sentence, which amounts to about six years out of ten, the court noted that it must consider various factors beyond the duration served, including the gravity of the offence, the nature of the crime, his criminal history, and its impact on public confidence in the judiciary.

Given these considerations and applying the established principles, the court denied the application of Senger for suspension of his sentence. 

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