Act/Law wise: Judgment of Supreme Court of India


Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section/Order/Article/Rule/Regulation Head Note

Common intention–
Section 34 IPC, it must be established that the criminal act was done by more than one person in furtherance of common intention of all. It must, therefore, be proved that:- (i) there was common intention on the part of several persons to commit a particular crime and (ii) the crime was actually committed by them in furtherance of that common intention. Common intention implies pre-arranged plan. Under Section 34 IPC. .....Sudip KR. Sen =VS= State of West Bengal (Criminal), 2016-[1 LM (SC) 605] ....View Full Judgment

Section 34

Each criminal trial is but a quest for search of the truth. The duty of a judge presiding over a criminal trial is not merely to see that no innocent person is punished, but also to see that a guilty person does not escape. One is as important as the other. Both are public duties which the Judge has to perform. The trail court had erred and misappreciated the evidence to arrive at an erroneous conclusion. In any event the High Court has not ascribed any special reasons for the same. We are therefore unable to sustain the direction for denial of remission to the appellant for twentyfive years and set aside the judgement to that extent only. Consequentially we find no merit in the appeal except to the extent indicated. The appeal is allowed only to the extent indicated. .....Smt. Shamim =VS= State (Gnct of Delhi), (Criminal), 2018 (2) [5 LM (SC) 107] ....View Full Judgment

Section 34 & 307

The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 34 & 307 read with
The Constitution of India
Article 136
Undue sympathy leading to imposition of inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system and would undermine public confidence in the efficacy of law–
Prosecution has to establish (i) the intention to commit murder; and (ii) the act done by the accused. The burden is on the prosecution that the accused had attempted to commit the murder of the prosecution witness. Whether the accused person intended to commit murder of another person would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. To justify a conviction under Section 307 IPC. Undue sympathy leading to imposition of inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system and would undermine public confidence in the efficacy of law. The appellant appears to have got off lightly, we see no reason to interfere in the concurrent Judgments under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. .....Chhanga =VS= State of M.P., (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 58] ....View Full Judgment

Section 148 & 307 read with 149

Motive does not have to be established where there is direct evidence–
The High Court has not at all dealt with the direct evidence of PW-1 and given the fact that such evidence has stood the test of cross-examination, we are constrained to observe that the view taken by the High Court is not a possible view and we therefore set aside the acquittal of the five accused persons and restore the conviction and sentence imposed upon them by the Trial Court. The respondents are directed to surrender before the concerned Court within a period of two weeks from today to serve out the remainder of sentence imposed by the Trial Court. .....Rajagopal =VS= Muthupandi, (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 77] ....View Full Judgment

Section 182, 195

An accused for an offence punishable under Section 182 IPC, it is mandatory to follow the procedure prescribed under Section 195 of the Code else such action is rendered void ab initio–
Laid down by this Court in the case of Daulat Ram vs. State of Punjab, (AIR 1962 SC 1206) that in order to prosecute an accused for an offence punishable under Section 182 IPC, it is mandatory to follow the procedure prescribed under Section 195 of the Code else such action is rendered void ab initio. The prosecution while initiating the action against the appellant did not take recourse to the procedure prescribed under Section 195 of the Code. It is for this reason, in our considered opinion, the action taken by the prosecution against the appellant insofar as it relates to the offence under Section 182 IPC is concerned, is rendered void ab initio being against the law laid down in the case of Daulat Ram (supra) quoted above. The appeals succeed and are allowed. Impugned orders stand set aside. .....Saloni Arora =VS= State of NCT of Delhi, (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 80] ....View Full Judgment

Section 302/34

The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 302/34 read with
The Arms Act, 1959
Section 25
The charge of offence not proved beyond reasonable doubt–
We find that the trial court as well as the High Court has erred in law in holding that the charge against the two accused stood proved. We are of the opinion that the prosecution has failed to prove the charge of offence punishable under Section 302/34 IPC against the two accused. We further hold that the charge of offence punishable under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 against accused Ajit @ Dara Singh is also not proved beyond reasonable doubt. .....Pawan =VS= State of Haryana, (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 71] ....View Full Judgment

Section 302 & 392

The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 302 & 392 read with
The Evidence Act
Section 114 [Illustration (a)]
The charge of murder cannot be brought home unless there is some evidence to show that the robbery and the murder occurred at the same time–
The charge against the accused/appellant under Section 302 IPC can be held to be proved. The learned trial court as well as the High Court, therefore, seems to be erred in holding the accused guilty for the said offence. However, on the basis of the presumption permissible under Illustration (a) of Section 114 of the Evidence Act, it has to be held that the conviction of the accused appellant under Section 392 IPC is well founded. Consequently, we hold that the prosecution has failed to bring home the charge under Section 302 IPC against the accused and he is acquitted of the said offence. The conviction under Section 392 IPC is upheld. .....Raj Kumar =VS= State (NCT of Delhi), (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 74] ....View Full Judgment


We direct the Sessions Judge, who is seized of the trial of the respondents’ case in question, to ensure that the trial is completed on merits within one year from the date of this order strictly in accordance with law. Depending upon the evidence adduced by the prosecution, the Sessions Judge has ample power to alter/amend/add any charge by taking recourse to powers under Section 216 of the Cr.P.C. notwithstanding the High Court altering the charge at this stage. The appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed. The order granting interim stay is recalled. .....State of Haryana =VS= Rajesh Aggarwal, (Criminal), 2018 (2) [5 LM (SC) 99] ....View Full Judgment

Section 302

The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 302 read with
The Code of Criminal Procedure of India
Section 354(3)
Death Sentence: Indian Context–
Since the eclipse of the British suzerainty in 1947, Indian law and practice on death sentence went through periodic evolution.
While Section 302 of the substantive law, i.e., the Penal Code has remained static in allowing discretion in imposing either death sentence or life imprisonment, the abjective law, i.e., the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) made all the differences.
Uptil 1955, death sentence was the rule while life imprisonment stood as exception, because the British made Cr.P.C. of 1898, required the Court concerned to assign reason when it opted not to pass death sentence.
During the period between 1955 and April 1974, the amended Cr.P.C. removed the requirement of assigning reason in either case, leaving it to the Court’s discretion, and the judicial view was that death sentence remained the Rule while life term, an exception.
In 1973, Indian Parliament resolved to deface the made in UK Cr.P.C. and instead go for a home baked one. Under the new Cr.P.C. (of 1973) regime a Court in passing a death sentence is obliged to assign “special reason” (Section 354(3).
Indian Supreme Court maintains that the implication of the new regime is that life imprisonment is now the rule and death sentence exception (Abraham-v-State of MP, AIR 1976 S.C. 2196).
Indian Parliament, however, found no reason to abolish death penalty, and tacitly lent support to the view, Lord Macaulay’s team expressed, when they inserted Section 302 in the draft Penal Code in 1860, which was in following terms;
“First among the punishment provided for offences by this case stands death. No argument that has been brought to our notice has satisfied us that it would be desirable wholly to dispense with this punishment. But we are convinced that it ought to be very sparingly inflicted; and we propose to employ it only in cases where either murder or the highest offence against the state has been committed”.
Indian Supreme Court also rejected the contention more than once that death sentence is ultravires the Constitution (in Jagmohan-v-State, AIR 1973 S.C. 947, before 1973 Cr.P.C. and in Bachan Singh-v-State of Punjab, AIR 1980 S.C. 898, Alauddin Miah-v-State of Bihar, AIR 1989 S.C. 1456, Swami Sharddananda (2)-v-State of Karnataka, (2008) 13 S.C.C. 767, (post 1973 Cr.P.c.)
In interpreting Section 354(3) of the new Cr.P.C. Indian Supreme Court ordained in Bachan Singh-v-State of Punjab (1980) 2 S.C.C. 684 that the new Cr.P.C. means that death sentence can only be imposed in “rarest of the rare cases”.
Until 01.04.1974 the law as regards sentencing a person found guilty of murder, was no different from ours. v In propounding the “rarest of rare” theory a Constitution Bench of the Indian Supreme Court, rejecting however the plea that the law allowing death sentence was repugnant to constitutional mandate, expressed in Bachan Singh – V-State of Punjab (1980 2 SCC 684) that legislative policy in Section 354(3) of the 1973 Code is that for a person convicted of murder, life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence, an exception, and mitigating circumstances must be given due consideration. The Supreme Court also ordained that a balance between aggravating and mitigating circumstances must be struck.
“Rarest of rare” theory came up for Supreme Court’s holistic scrutiny shortly after that Court innovated this principle in Bachan Singh in 1980. It was the hall mark case of Manchi Singh-V-State of Punjab (1983 3 SCC 470). In elaborating this theory the Supreme Court surmoned that for practical application the “rarest of rare” principle must be read and understood in the background of the five categories of murder cases enumerated in it, and thus finally standardised and classified the cases, from which two Constitution Benches, (in Jagmohan and Bachi Singh) resolutely refrained from in the past.
In quick succession Machhi Singh-V-State of Punjab came up before the Indian Supreme Court with an inundation of onerous task of penological dissection on sentencing in murder cases. Unlike Bachan Singh, vires of death sentencing provision was not challenged, it was a normal appeal case.
In Manchi Singh, affirming capital punishment, the Supreme Court put itself in the position of the community and observed that though the community revered and protected life because the very humanistic edifice is constructed on the foundation of reverence for life principle, it may yet withdraw the protection and demand death penalty (page 487-89, para 32-37), keeping, nevertheless, in mind, the “rarest of rare matrix propounded in Bachan Singh. The Apex Court observed,
“32. It may do so in rarest of rare cases when its collective conscience is so shocked that it will expect the holders of the Judicial Power Centre to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining death penalty. The community may entertain such a sentiment when the crime is viewed from the platform of the motive for, or the manner of commission of the crime, or the anti social or abhorrent nature of the crime, such as, for instance: 1. Manner of commission of murder.
33. When the murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diobolical, revolting or dastardly manner so as to arose intense and extreme indignation of the community. For instance,
i) when the house of the victim is set aflame with the end in view to roast him alive in the house,
ii) when the victim is subjected to inhuman acts of torture or cruelty in order to bring about his or her death, iii) when the body of the victim is cut into pieces or his body is dismembered in a fiendish manner.
11. Motive for commission of murder
34. when the murder is committed for a motive which evinces total depravity and meanness. For instance when (a) a hired assassin commits murder for the sake of money or reward, (b) a cold blooded murder is committed with a deliberate design in order to inherit property or to gain control over property of a ward or a person under the control of the murderer or vis-a-avis whom the murderer is in a dominating position or position of trust, or (c) a murder is committed in the course of betrayal of the motherland.
111. Anti Social or socially abhorrent nature of the crime.
35. (a) when murder of a member of a schedule cast or minority community etc is committed not for personal reasons but in circumstances which arouse social wrath. For instance when such a crime is committed in order to terrorise such persons and frighten them into fleeing from a place or in order to deprive them of, or make them surrender lands or benefits conferred on them with a view to reverse past injustices and in order to restore the social balance.
(b) In cases of “bride burning” and what are known as “dowry deaths” or when murder is committed in order to remarry for the sake of extracting dowry once again or to marry another woman on account of infatuation. IV) Magnitute of Crime.
36. when the crime is enormouse in proportion. For instance when multiple murders, say all or almost all the members of a family or large number of persons of a particular caste, community or locality are committed. V. Personality of victim of murder;
37. when the victim of murder is (a) an innocent child who could not have, as has not provided even an excuse, much less, a provocation for murder (b) a helpless woman or a person rendered helpless by old age or infirmity (c) when the victim is a person vis-à-vis whom the murderer is in a position of domination or trust (d) when the victim is a public figure generally loved and respected by the community for the services rendered by him and the murder is committed for political or similar reasons other than personal reasons”.
It will emerge from the following discussions that the number of “rarest of rare’ case have by no means remained in shallow captivity. The list is quite a flared one. (Paras:1010-1022); .....Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee =VS= Government of Bangladesh, (Criminal), 2017 (1)-[2 LM (AD) 76] ....View Full Judgment

Section 302

Culpable homicide is not murder– If the stipulations contained in that provision are fulfilled. They are : (i) that the act was committed without pre-meditation; (ii) that there was a sudden fight; (iii) the act must be in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel; and (iv) the offender should not have taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner–
The High Court has evidently ignored the evidence, bearing upon the nature of the incident. The death was attributable to the assault by the respondent on the deceased, during the course of the incident. Having regard to the above facts and circumstances of the case, it is evident that the injury which was caused to the deceased was [within the meaning of Section 300 (Fourthly)] of a nature that the person committing the act knew that it was so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
We are affirmatively of the view that the judgment of the High Court is manifestly perverse and is totally contrary to the evidence on the record. The interference of this Court is warranted to obviate a complete failure or miscarriage of justice.
We allow the appeal and while setting aside the judgment of the High Court, restore the conviction of the respondent by the Trial Court under Section 302 of the Penal Code. The respondent is sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life. The respondent shall forthwith surrender to his sentence. ...State of Rajasthan =VS= Leela Ram @ Leela Dhar, (Criminal), 2019 (1) [6 LM (SC) 118] ....View Full Judgment

Section 304

There are some exceptions when culpable homicide is not murder–
We are satisfied that the ingredients of murder as explained in Section 300 of the IPC are missing in this case. The intention of Tularam was to cause bodily injury to Bhadri Lodhi and piercing the chest of Bhadri Lodhi with a spear was such an injury that could possibly cause his death. This knowledge must be attributed to Tularam. Under the circumstances, the conviction of Tularam of an offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC is set aside but he is convicted of an offence punishable under the second part of Section 304 of the IPC. The appellant has been behind bars for almost 14 years. His sentence is altered to the period of incarceration he has already undergone. He be released forthwith. .....Tularam =VS= State of Madhya Pradesh, (Criminal), 2018 (2) [5 LM (SC) 101] ....View Full Judgment

Section 304 (Part I)

Though the accused No.1 was not having intention to commit murder of the deceased but the act was to cause bodily injury which was likely to cause death. Therefore, the High Court found that he would be responsible for commission of culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under Section 304 (Part I) of IPC. The High Court after scanning the entire evidence also held that the respondents were not having an intention to commit murder of the deceased Rajesh. We do not find any infirmity in the judgment of the High Court. .....State of Madhya Pradesh =VS= Gangabishan, (Criminal), 2018(2) [5 LM (SC) 104] ....View Full Judgment

Section 304B read with 34

No common intention–
Both the courts below have erred in law in holding that the charge under Section 304B read with Section 34 IPC stood proved as against the present appellants. In our opinion, in view of the evidence discussed above, it cannot be said that it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the present appellants, who are sister-in-law and brother-in-law of the deceased, tortured the victim for any demand of dowry. In our opinion, in the present case which is based on circumstantial evidence it cannot be said that appellants had any common intention with the husband of the deceased in commission of the crime. It is sufficiently shown on the record that they used to live in a different village. Therefore, we are inclined to allow the present appeal. .....Bibi Parwana Khatoon =VS= State of Bihar, (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 55] ....View Full Judgment

Section 304(Part-I), 307 & 323

Dispute between the parties regarding land–
The trial Court went on to state that, after going through the entire evidence, the incident itself was doubtful, and also commented on the fact that there was some semi-digested food in the stomach of the deceased. The medical evidence shows that it was 2 to 3 hours in the stomach before the deceased was fired upon, and this showed that the incident could not have taken place at 6.00 a.m. at all, the trial Court acquitted all the three accused before it. In an appeal filed by the State, the High Court convicted the accused No.3, the SLP petitioner before us under Section 304 Part-I of the Indian Penal Code for the death of Umesh Shukla; Section 307 for the unsuccessful murder attempt on Savitri Devi PW-3, who is the appellant before us under Section 323 and sentenced the accused to 10 years rigorous imprisonment under Section 304 Part-I, three years rigorous imprisonment under Section 307 and six months rigorous imprisonment under Section 323 together with fine. The other two accused, with whom we are not concerned, were sentenced under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code for six months. The appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 1159 of 2007 is on bail. His bail bonds shall stand cancelled. The appellant shall be taken into custody forthwith to serve out the remaining sentence. .....Hari Shankar Shukla =VS= State of Uttar Pradesh, (Criminal), 2017 (2)– [3 LM (SC) 61] ....View Full Judgment

Sections 304B and 498A

The father-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased, one Shanti Devi, have been convicted under Sections 304B and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short, ‘the IPC’). They have been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years for the offence under Section 304B IPC and for a period of one year for the offence under Section 498A IPC–
Demands for dowry by the accusedappellants as well as the husband and illtreatment/ cruelty on failure to meet the said demands is evident from the evidence of PW6. From the evidence of PW1, it is clear that the death was on account of burn injuries suffered by the deceased which injuries were caused by use of kerosene. In the light of the aforesaid evidence, this Court has no hesitation in holding that all the three ingredients necessary to draw the presumption of commission of the offence under Section 304B IPC have been proved and established by the prosecution. The offence under Section 498A must also be held to be proved against the accused persons. We, therefore, have no hesitation in dismissing the appeal and in affirming the conviction and sentence imposed by the High Court. ...Jagdish Chand =VS= State of Haryana, (Criminal), 2019 (1) [6 LM (SC) 133] ....View Full Judgment

Section 325 read with Section 34

The awarding of sentence for an offence punishable under Section 325 read with Section 34 IPC is concerned, the High Court was of the opinion that the respondents have already undergone some reasonable length of jail sentence as under-trials and the same, in our opinion, appears to be sufficient. It is more so because, in addition, a fine of Rs.50,000/- was also awarded. This would meet the ends of justice. We find no reason to interfere on this issue too for the following reasons. .....Subhash Chander Bansal =VS= Gian Chand, (Criminal), 2018 (1) [4 LM (SC) 121] ....View Full Judgment

Section 376

Committed rape–
It is fairly well-settled that in the absence of external injury on the person of the prosecutrix, it cannot be concluded that the incident had taken place with the consent of the prosecutrix. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The impugned judgment of the High Court reversing the conviction of the respondent to acquittal, cannot be sustained and the same is liable to be set aside and the judgment of the trial court convicting the respondent under Section 376 I.P.C. is to be restored. The trial court has sentenced the respondent-accused to undergo imprisonment for a period of seven years. Accordingly the appeal preferred by the State is allowed and the conviction of the respondent-accused under Section 376 I.P.C. as passed by the trial court is restored. However, the period of sentence of seven years, as noted above, is reduced to four years. In case the respondent has not already undergone the sentence of imprisonment of four years, he is to surrender to custody within a period of fours weeks from today to serve the remaining sentence failing which he shall be taken to custody. .....State of Madhya Pradesh =VS= Preetam,(Criminal), 2018 (2) [5 LM (SC) 96] ....View Full Judgment

Section 376

Sex after obtaining consent by false promise to marry is rape– Rape is a crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of the victim–
The accused had marriage with Priyanka Soni on 10.06.2013 and even the prosecutrix has also married and, therefore, the accused may not be convicted is concerned, the same cannot be accepted. The prosecution has been successful by leading cogent evidence that from the very inspection the accused had no intention to marry the victim and that he had mala fide motives and had made false promise only to satisfy the lust. But for the false promise by the accused to marry the prosecutrix, the prosecutrix would not have given the consent to have the physical relationship. It was a clear case of cheating and deception. As observed hereinabove, the consent given by the prosecutrix was on misconception of fact. Such incidents are on increase nowadays. Such offences are against the society. Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the victim. As observed by this Court in a catena of decisions, while a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female. Rape reduces a woman to an animal, as it shakes the very core of her life. By no means can a rape victim be called an accomplice. Rape leaves a permanent scar on the life of the victim. Rape is a crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of the victim. Being the most hated crime, the rape tantamounts to a serious blow to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends both her esteem and dignity. Therefore, merely because the accused had married with another lady and/or even the prosecutrix has subsequently married, is no ground not to convict the appellantaccused for the offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC. The appellantaccused must face the consequences of the crime committed by him. We are of the opinion that both the Courts below have rightly convicted the appellantaccused under Section 376 of the IPC. We also maintain the conviction of the appellantaccused under Section 376 of the IPC. The sentence of 10 years’ RI awarded by the courts below is hereby reduced to seven years RI, the minimum which was prescribed at the relevant time of commission of offence under Section 376 of the IPC. The present appeal is partly allowed to the aforesaid modification in the sentence only. ...Anurag Soni =VS= State of Chhattisgarh, (Criminal), 2019 (1) [6 LM (SC) 77] ....View Full Judgment

Sections– 384, 511, 420 and 120B

Voice sample for the purpose of comparison–
The Appellants demanded a sum of money to refrain from telecasting programmes on a television channel pertaining to the alleged involvement of a corporate entity in a wrongful activity pertaining to the allocation of coal blocks. The FIR was registered against the Appellants for offences under Sections 384, 511, 420 and 120B of the Penal code.
Our directions ensure that the text which the Appellants would be called upon to read out for the purpose of drawing their voice samples will not have sentences from the inculpatory text. Similarly, permitting the text to contain words drawn from the disputed conversation would meet the legitimate concern of the investigating authorities for making a fair comparison. .....Sudhir Chaudhary =VS= State (NCT of Delhi) (Criminal), 2016-[1 LM (SC) 615] ....View Full Judgment

Section 396

We are also of the view that the offence under Section 396 IPC is to be viewed with seriousness, especially, when the dacoits are armed. But in the case in hand, the accused were not armed. Accused Babu @ Nawab Sahib is alleged to have sat on deceased Muthukrishnan and pressed his nose and mouth and is alleged to have tightened his neck with the rope. The occurrence was of the year 2002. Considering the long lapse of time and the facts and circumstances of the case, the sentence of imprisonment for life is modified as ten years as directed by the trial court. .....Shajahan =VS= State Rep. By Inspector of Police, (Criminal), 2018 (1) [4 LM (SC) 115] ....View Full Judgment