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Friday, February 20, 2015

It is settled principle of law that, to establish commission of murder by an accused, motive is not required to be proved. Motive is something which prompts a man to form an intention. The intention can be formed even at the place of incident at the time of commission of crime. It is only either intention or knowledge on the part of the accused which is required to be seen in respect of the offence of culpable homicide. In order to read either intention or knowledge, the courts have to examine the circumstances, as there cannot be any direct evidence as to the state of mind of the accused.

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1149  OF 2013

      Sanjeev                                            ... Appellant


      State of Haryana                                ... Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T


   1. This appeal is directed against judgment  and  order  dated  24.5.2011
      passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Criminal Appeal  No.
      827-DB of  2002  whereby  conviction  and  sentence  recorded  by  the
      Additional Sessions Judge (FTC), Sonepat against the  appellant  under
      Section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been affirmed.

   2. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

   3. Prosecution story, in brief, is  that  PW-9  Raj  Singh,  resident  of
      Village Hassanpur, had three brothers.  Raj Pal @ Pale (deceased)  was
      younger to him.  All the four brothers used to  live  separately.   On
      11.1.2000, Raj Singh had gone to Sonepat with his brother Raj Pal  for
      some personal work.  Raj Singh got held up in  Sonepat,  and  Raj  Pal
      left for the Village.  Later,  he  (Raj  Singh)  also  proceeded  from
      Sonepat.  At about 10.00 p.m., when Raj Singh on his  way  to  Village
      Hassanpur, alighted from three-wheeler,  at  G.T.  Road  crossing,  he
      noticed Sanjeev @ Gaja (appellant) with blood stained clothes  fleeing
      from the side of Government tubewell towards Murthal  bus  stand.   He
      (Raj Singh) could identify Sanjeev in the headlights of the  vehicles,
      but did not have an idea that his brother (Raj Pal) had been murdered.
       After meals he went to bed.  In the next morning, Shakuntala (wife of
      Raj Pal) came to him and told that Raj Pal had not reached  home.   On
      this, a search was made by Raj Singh and his another brother Ram Kumar
      regarding their missing brother.  At about  9.00  a.m.,  they  reached
      near water supply tubewell and noticed a man lying only with trousers.
       They went near to see the person and realized that their brother  Raj
      Pal has been killed who was lying in the pool of  blood.   There  were
      wounds on the forehead, nose  and  eye  brows  of  the  body.   Shirt,
      sweater, slippers, etc. were lying at some distance.  Suspecting  that
      Sanjeev @ Gaja might have killed or helped someone killing Raj Pal, he
      went to the police post and gave First Information Report  (Ex.  PG/1)
      on 12.1.2000 at 10.40 a.m.

   4. PW-6 A.S.I. Jagat Singh recorded the above  First  Information  Report
      relating to offence punishable under Section 302 IPC at  Police  Post,
      Sadar, Sonepat.  Police team headed by PW-14 S.I. Yashpal  Singh  with
      PW-8 H.C. Mahinder  Singh  and  Constable  Rajeev  Singh,  along  with
      informant, proceeded towards the place where the dead body was  lying.
      The body of the deceased was taken into possession  and  sealed.   The
      inquest report (Ex. PE/2) was  prepared.   Shirt,  sweater,  slippers,
      etc. and a blood stained brick were also taken into possession by  the
      police and a memorandum was prepared.  Sealed dead body of Raj Pal was
      handed over to   PW 8 H.C. Mahinder Singh, and sent  for  post  mortem
      examination through Constable Ramesh Kumar and Rajbir.  PW-11 S.I. Ram
      Chander took up investigation.

   5. PW-3, Dr. Purnima Ahuja of Government Hospital, conducted post  mortem
      examination on the very day, i.e., 12.1.2000, on the dead body of  Raj
      Pal, with  her  colleague  Dr.  R.N.  Tehlan.   Following  ante-mortem
      injuries were recorded by the team of medical  officers  who  prepared
      autopsy report (Ex PA/1/2000): -
           "1.   Multiple contusion of varying sizes 5 x 1  cm,  4x3,  2x1,
                 3x1, 3x1 and 1x1 cms, present on whole of back about 10  to
                 12 in number.  On cut sections blood was found on  the  sub
                 coetaneous tissue.

           2.    Defused swelling was present on the front and left side of
                 chest of size  20x10  cms.   On  examination  crepitus  was
                 found.  On exploration, there was massive presence of blood
                 in the sub coetaneous tissue deep to  the  chest  wall  and
                 pericardium and pleura.  No. 3rd to  9th  ribs  were  found
                 fractured at multiple paces.  Left thoracic cavity was full
                 of blood (about 2 liters) left lung was badly lacerated  on
                 right side.  The 3rd and 6th ribs were  fractured  medially
                 and thoracic cavity  was  full  of  blood.   The  lung  was

           3.    Lacerated wounds 5x2 cms present  on  the  middle  of  the
                 forehead vertically placed.  Underlines bone was fractured.
                  C.V. was present.

           4.    Lacerated wound 3x2 cms. present on the  right  side  just
                 above the right eye.  C.V. was present.

           5.    Defused swelling were present on the left cheek 6x5 cms.

           6.    Defused swelling on the left eye.

           7.    Contusion  6x5  cms  present  on  the  back  of  the  left

      It  was  opined  by  the  two  doctors,  who  conducted  post   mortem
      examination, that  the  above  mentioned  ante  mortem  injuries  were
      sufficient to cause death.

   6. Mean while, accused Sanjeev who had gone to Government Hospital in the
      intervening night of  11.1.2000  and  12.1.2000,  was  also  medically
      examined by PW-13, Dr. C.P. Arora of  General  Hospital,  Sonepat,  at
      about 1.30 a.m. (12.1.2000), and following injury  was  found  on  his
      person: -
           "22 x 0.2 x 2 to 0.5 cm incised wound on the  posterior  surface
           of the left fore-arm.  It was superficial in depth and skin deep
           only.  There was a corresponding cut on the shirt."

   7.  After  examination  of  the  witnesses  and  on  completion  of   the
      investigation,  the  Investigating  Officer  submitted  charge   sheet
      against accused Sanjeev  (appellant)  for  his  trial  in  respect  of
      offence  punishable  under  Section  302  IPC.   The  forensic  report
      regarding blood group of the blood stains  found  on  the  clothes  of
      accused and  that  of  deceased  was  also  obtained.   The  case  was
      committed by the Magistrate to the Court  of  Sessions  and  necessary
      copies were provided to the accused as required under Section  207  of
      the Criminal Procedure Code.  After hearing on charge, Sessions  Judge
      framed charge of offence punishable  under  Section  302  IPC  against
      accused Sanjeev on 23.5.2000  to  which  he  pleaded  not  guilty  and
      claimed to be tried.

   8. Thereafter, prosecution got examined fifteen witnesses, namely,  PW-1,
      A.S.I. Rajiv Kumar (witness of disclosure as to the recovery of  blood
      stained clothes of accused), PW-2, Constable Mahesh Chander (in  whose
      presence blood  stained  clothes  of  the  deceased  were  taken  into
      possession and recovery memo Ex. PB prepared), PW-3, Dr. Purnima Ahuja
      (who conducted  post  mortem  examination),  PW-4,  Jaipal  (who  took
      photographs of dead body of Raj Pal before the body was sealed), PW-5,
      Rampal Patwari (who prepared site plan  Ex.-PF),  PW-6,  A.S.I.  Jagat
      Singh (who recorded the  First  Information  Report  Ex.-PG/1),  PW-7,
      Inspector Ram Kala (who arrested the  accused),  PW-8,  H.C.  Mahinder
      Singh (to whom the dead body  was  handed  over  after  the  same  was
      sealed), PW-9, Raj Singh (informant and brother of the deceased),  PW-
      10, Balwan Singh (another brother of the deceased),  PW-11,  S.I.  Ram
      Chander (who sent a letter Ex.-PO/1 requesting the Government Hospital
      for post mortem examination), PW-12,  Om  Prakash  (witness  of  extra
      judicial confession), PW-13, Dr. C.P. Arora (who examined  the  injury
      on person of the accused), PW-14, S.I. Yashpal Singh (who went to  the
      place of incident along with other  police  officials  and  informant,
      after First  Information  Report  was  registered,  and  prepared  the
      inquest report), and PW-15,  Azad  Singh  (another  witness  of  extra
      judicial confession).

   9. The oral and documentary evidence was put to the accused under Section
      313 of the  Criminal  Procedure  Code  on  16.1.2000  by  the  learned
      Sessions Judge, in response to which the accused pleaded that the same
      was incorrect, and stated that he was falsely implicated.

  10. The Additional  Sessions  Judge,  Fast  Track  Court,  Sonepat,  after
      hearing the parties, found accused Sanjeev guilty of charge of offence
      punishable under Section 302 IPC  and  convicted  him  accordingly  on
      3.10.2002.  The parties were heard on sentence on  5.10.2002  and  the
      convict (Sanjeev) was sentenced to imprisonment for life and  directed
      to pay fine of Rs.5000/-,  in  default  of  payment  of  fine  he  was
      directed to undergo further imprisonment for a period of two months.

  11. Aggrieved by the judgment and order dated  3.10.2002/  5.10.2002,  the
      convict preferred appeal before the High Court of Punjab and  Haryana,
      which was registered as Criminal Appeal No. 827-DB of 2002.  The  High
      Court, after hearing the parties, concurred with the view taken by the
      trial court and dismissed the appeal.  Hence, this appeal  by  way  of
      special leave.

  12. Learned counsel for the appellant argued before us that it is  a  case
      of  circumstantial  evidence  and  no  one  has  seen  the   appellant
      committing the crime.  It is further  argued  that  the  circumstances
      shown by the prosecution in the  present  case  do  not  complete  the
      chain, and the courts below have erred in law in holding the appellant
      guilty of the charge of murder.  To appreciate above argument, we have
      to see the circumstances which  are  brought  on  record  against  the
      appellant.  The prosecution has established following  facts  in  this
      case against the accused: -

            i) PW-9, Raj Singh, informant, saw the accused running away  on
               11.1.2000 at about 10.00 p.m. and his clothes  were  stained
               with blood.

            ii)  On  12.1.2000,  when  PW-13,  Dr.  C.P.  Chopra  medically
                examined the accused Sanjeev in the wee hours, it was found
                that the accused had suffered incised wound measuring 22  x
                0.2 x 2 to 0.5 cm. on the posterior surface of  left  fore-
                arm, and there was cut in the shirt.  This witness  (PW-13)
                sent Ruka (memorandum) Ex. PP/1 to  the  in-charge,  Police
                Post, General Hospital (even before F.I.R. was lodged).

           iii)  PW-12,  Om  Prakash,  has  stated  that  accused   Sanjeev
                disclosed him on 14.1.2000, that on 11.1.2000, he (accused)
                had  altercation  with  Raj  Pal  after  consuming   liquor
                whereafter he assaulted the deceased with the brick.

            iv) PW-1, A.S.I. Rajiv Kumar, and  PW-7,  Inspector  Ram  Kala,
                have adduced the evidence that on 15.1.2000  on  disclosure
                (Ex.-PA)  from  the  accused  Sanjeev,  his  blood  stained
                clothes which were concealed by him in a wooden box in  his
                house, were recovered.

             v) From the forensic laboratory report, it is established that
                same blood group was found in  the  blood  stained  clothes
                recovered i.e. blood group 'O'.

  13. The above circumstances, read together, make us belief that it is only
      the  appellant  who  could  have  caused  death  of  Raj  Pal  in  the
      intervening night of 11.1.2000 and 12.1.2000.   When  the  prosecution
      has successfully proved that accused Sanjeev suffered the  injury,  as
      mentioned above, almost  at  the  same  time  when  the  deceased  had
      suffered the injuries, there should have been some explanation on  the
      record from the side of the defence as to how  he  (accused)  received
      the injury and went  to  Government  Hospital  where  his  injury  was
      recorded  by  PW-13,  Dr.  C.P.  Arora,  before  giving  him   medical
      treatment.  In absence thereof, the courts  below  had  no  reason  to
      disbelieve the evidence relating to above chain of  circumstances  and
      they rightly recorded the finding that it was accused Sanjeev only who
      could have caused death with the knowledge that act committed  by  him
      is likely to result in death of the person assaulted.

  14. On behalf of the appellant it is submitted that there was no motive on
      the part of the appellant to commit murder of Raj  Pal,  as  such,  in
      absence of motive, it cannot be said that it was  only  the  appellant
      who could have committed the crime.

  15. It is settled principle of law that, to establish commission of murder
      by an accused, motive  is  not  required  to  be  proved.   Motive  is
      something which prompts a man to form an intention. The intention  can
      be formed even at the place of incident at the time of  commission  of
      crime.  It is only either intention or knowledge on the  part  of  the
      accused which is required to be seen in  respect  of  the  offence  of
      culpable homicide. In order to read either intention or knowledge, the
      courts have to examine the  circumstances,  as  there  cannot  be  any
      direct evidence as to the state of mind of the accused.

  16. In the present case,  from  the  evidence  of  PW-12  Om  Prakash,  it
      reflects that while making extra judicial  confession,  the  appellant
      narrated that after both he and Raj Pal got drunk, they  engaged  into
      an altercation whereafter scuffle took place, and the appellant caused
      injuries on the forehead and chest of the deceased.   This  fact  gets
      corroborated from the statement of PW-13, Dr. C.P. Arora, who recorded
      wound measuring 22 x 02 x 2 to .5 cm in the medical report soon  after
      the time of the incident, on the person of the appellant.

  17. Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC provides that culpable homicide is  not
      murder if it is committed without pre-meditation in a sudden fight  in
      the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel  and  without  the  offender
      having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel  or  unusual  manner.
      Explanation to Exception 4 to the Section further provides that it  is
      immaterial in such cases which party offers provocation or commits the
      first assault.

  18. In our opinion,  when  the  prosecution  evidence  relating  to  extra
      judicial confession made before PW-12, Om Prakash, is believed by  the
      courts below to examine as to whether act  committed  by  the  accused
      constitutes culpable homicide amounting to murder or not, they  should
      have read the statement as a whole, and the  circumstances,  in  which
      the injuries were caused by the appellant to the deceased, should  not
      have been ignored.  Having gone through the  evidence  on  record  and
      considering the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties, we
      are of the view that the act committed by the appellant in the present
      case is covered by Exception 4 to  Section  300  IPC,  i.e.,  culpable
      homicide not amounting to murder, as  such  the  same  is,  punishable
      under Section 304 Part I, IPC.

  19. For the reasons,  as  discussed  above,  we  are  inclined  to  partly
      interfere with the  impugned  orders.   The  conviction  and  sentence
      recorded by the trial court and affirmed by the High Court in  respect
      of offence punishable under Section 302 IPC against the appellant,  is
      set aside.  Instead, the appellant is convicted under Section 304 Part
      I, IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for a period of ten years
      and to pay fine of Rs.5000/-, in default of which the appellant  shall
      undergo imprisonment for a further period of  two  months.  Amount  of
      fine if deposited in compliance of orders of  courts  below  shall  be
      treated to have been deposited in  compliance  of  direction  of  this
      Court as above.  The appellant is said to be  in  jail  and  he  shall
      complete the sentence, as awarded by this Court.

  20. The appeal, accordingly, stands disposed of.

                                                               [T.S. Thakur]

                                                     [Rohinton Fali Nariman]

                                                          [Prafulla C. Pant]

      New Delhi;
      February 19, 2015.

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