State of U.P. vs Jai Dutt

State of U.P. vs Jai Dutt - Supreme Court Case 2022

[REPORTABLE]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 37 OF 2022
State of U.P. …Appellant
                                                                                       
Versus
Jai Dutt and Anr.            …Respondents
J U D G M E N T
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
judgment and order dated 18.09.2019 passed by the High
Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Criminal Appeal No.870
of 1987, by which the High Court has allowed the said
appeal   in   part   and   has   converted   the   conviction   of   the
accused from that of Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC
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to Section 326 IPC, the State of Uttar Pradesh had preferred
the present appeal.
2. As per the case of the prosecution when the deceased
was working in his agricultural field all the accused persons
reached there and started abusing him.  That the deceased
was   beaten   by   the   accused   persons.     All   the   accused
persons were having different weapons with them.   All of
them started beating the deceased resulting in a number of
injuries and later considering his serious condition, he was
taken to hospital at Lucknow where after about six days, he
succumbed to the injuries.   All the accused persons were
charged and tried for the offences under Section 302 read
with Section 34 of the IPC except accused no.1 Jai Dutt who
was  charged and  tried for the  offence punishable  under
Section 302 IPC.  To prove the charge against the accused,
the prosecution examined a number of witnesses of which,
PW1 and PW2 were the eye­witnesses to the incident.  By
examining PW8 ­ Dr. P.R. Mishra who conducted the postmortem   on   the   body   of   the   deceased,   the   prosecution
brought on record the post­mortem report.  The trial Court
convicted Jai Dutt for the offence under Section 302 IPC
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and   sentenced   him   to   undergo   life   imprisonment.     The
learned   trial   Court   also   convicted   other   accused   Lal
Bahadur, Sher Singh and Shastri for the offences under
Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC and sentenced
them to undergo life imprisonment.  
2.1 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment
and order of conviction passed by the learned trial Court, all
the accused preferred the criminal appeal before the High
Court.   During the pendency of the appeal, accused Lal
Bahadur and Sher Singh expired.   Therefore, appeal qua
those persons abated.   That by impugned judgment and
order the High Court has partly allowed the said appeal qua
rest of the accused Jai Dutt and Shastri and has converted
the conviction from that of Section 302 read with Section 34
IPC  to  Section  326  IPC, mainly on  the  ground that  the
deceased   died   after   six   days   from   the   incident   and   no
fracture of head was found.  The High Court has imposed
the sentence of two years only for the offence under Section
326 IPC solely on the ground that incident occurred about
36 years back and therefore imposing two years sentence
would be sufficient to meet the ends of justice.
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2.2 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court converting
the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC, the
State has preferred the present appeal.
3. Shri   Rana   Mukherjee,   learned   Senior   Advocate
appearing on behalf of the appellant – State has vehemently
submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case
the   High   Court   has   materially   erred   in   converting   the
conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC. 
3.1 It   is   submitted   by   Shri   Mukherjee,   learned   Senior
Advocate that as such the High Court has specifically held
against the accused as they went to the field of the deceased
and started the quarrel and used weapons and caused the
injuries.     It   is   submitted   that   the   High   Court   has   also
observed and held that PW1 and PW2 – eye witnesses are
wholly trustworthy but there is no reason to disbelieve their
statements.  It is submitted that despite the above when the
deceased succumbed to the injuries and died because of the
head  injury,  a  clear  case  of  murder  was  made  out  and
therefore, the High Court ought not to have converted the
conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC.
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3.2 It is submitted that merely because the deceased died
after six days could not have been the ground to convert the
conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC.   It is
submitted that the High Court has not at all appreciated
and/or   considered   the   injuries   mentioned   in   the   postmortem report and the cause of death.  It is submitted that
merely because no fracture on the head was found cannot
be a ground, not to convict the accused for the offence
under Section 302 IPC.  It is submitted that in a given case
a person might have died because of the internal injuries
like in the present case.  It is submitted that therefore, the
reasoning   given   by   the   High   Court   while   converting   the
conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC can be
said to be perverse.
4. Present appeal is vehemently opposed by Shri Salman
Khurshid,   learned   Senior   Advocate   appearing   for   the
respondents – accused.  
4.1 It is vehemently submitted by Shri Khurshid, learned
Senior Advocate appearing for the accused that in the facts
and circumstances of the case and having found no fracture
on the head of the deceased and he died after six days of the
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incident and also, considering the fact that the injuries were
not so serious and/or grave, the High Court has rightly
acquitted the accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC
and has rightly converted the same to Section 326 IPC.  It is
submitted by Shri Khurshid, learned Senior Advocate that
when the deceased was first taken to the PHC, PW6 Dr. B.L.
Katiyar   who   did   MLC   of   injured   Ram   Autar   (who
subsequently died) noticed nine injuries which were simple
in nature.  It is submitted therefore that the case would not
fall under Section 302 IPC as observed and held by the High
Court.
4.2 It   is   submitted   by   Shri   Khurshid   learned   Counsel
appearing on behalf of the accused that in fact the incident
occurred on the spur of the moment and the quarrel took
place   because   of   the   minor   dispute   and   there   was   no
intention to kill the deceased, therefore, the case would not
fall under Section 302 IPC.
5. Making the above submissions it is prayed to dismiss 
the present appeal more particularly when the High Court 
has already passed an order to pay compensation of Rs.2 
lakhs to the objector Raman Babu.
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6. We   have   heard   learned   counsel   appearing   for   the
respective parties at length.
7. At   the   outset,   it   is   required   to   be   noted   that   on
appreciation   of   evidence   the   trial   Court   convicted   the
accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC and Section
302 read with Section 34 of the IPC respectively, having
killed/committed   the   murder   of   deceased   Ram   Autar,
relying upon the medical evidence on record as well as the
evidence of eye­witnesses of PW1 and PW2.  However, in an
appeal   preferred   by   the   accused,   the   High   Court   has
observed that PW1 and PW2 – eye witnesses are wholly
trustworthy   and   there   is   no   reason   to   disbelieve   their
statements.  Though the High Court has accepted the case
on   behalf   of   the   prosecution   that   on   20.12.1983   in   the
evening all the four accused persons entered the field of the
complainant and started abusing deceased Ram Autar and
all the accused persons were having different weapons with
them and all of them started beating the deceased resulting
in a number of injuries on his body and thereafter when the
Ram Autar was taken to the hospital and later succumbed
to injuries and died, the High Court has converted Section
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302 IPC to Section 326 IPC on the ground that the deceased
died after six days of the incident and no facture on his
head was found.   However, the High Court has not at all
considered   the   injuries   mentioned   in   the   post   mortem
report.  As per the post mortem report following antemortem
injuries on the dead body of the Ram Autar were found:
“1. Scabbed abraded contusion 8 cm x 6 cm on
the left side of head above the left eye brow.
2. Scabbed abraded contusion 9 cm x 5 on the left
scapular region.
3. Scabbed abraded contusion 6 cm x 5 cm on the
left side of buttock.
4. Abraded contusion 4 cm x 4 cm on the 5th
lumber spine.
5. Infected wound 1.5 cm x 0.5c, x muscle deep on
the front of mid of left leg.
6. Multiple scabbed abraded contusion in an area
of 18 cm x 2 cm on the upper half of left leg.
7. Scabbed abrasion on an area of 22 cm 2 cm on
the front of right leg.”
  
7.1 As per the deposition of Dr. P.R. Mishra – PW8 who
conducted   the   post   mortem,   on   opening   of   the   brain
menages, found brain congested, subdural hematoma over
both temporal lobes.  As per the doctor the deceased died
due   to   head   injury   no.1.     The   aforesaid   injuries   more
particularly head injury no.1 was fatal and because of said
injuries the deceased died.   Merely because the deceased
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died after six days could not have been the ground to set
aside the conviction for the offence under Section 302 IPC
and to convert it to Section 326 IPC.  The deceased was first
taken to the PHC, however his condition was found to be
serious   and   therefore,   he   was   taken   to   the   Lucknow
Hospital   on   20.12.1983   and   thereafter   while   under
treatment he died on 26.12.1983 and the main cause of
death is found to be the head injury no.1.  At this stage, it is
required to be noted that though the High Court has noticed
the nine injuries as noticed by Dr. B.L. Katiyar of Medical
Officer at PHC, the High Court has not at all noticed and/or
considered at all the antemortem injuries on the dead body
of Ram Autar mentioned in the post­mortem report.   As
observed hereinabove and as per the medical evidence the
cause of death was due to head injury no.1.  The weapon
was used on the head ­ vital part of the body and ultimately
the same proved to be fatal and the deceased died due to
head injury no.1.   Therefore, by no stretch of imagination
the case would fall under Section 326 IPC.
7.2. One another reason given by the High Court to convert
the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC is
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that no fracture on the head was found.   However, it is
required to be noted that the deceased died because of the
internal injuries.   As per the post­mortem report and the
medical evidence head injury is found.  Head injury no.1 is
reproduced hereinabove.  As per the deposition of Dr. P.R.
Mishra – PW8, who conducted the post­mortem, on opening
of the brain menages, he found brain congested, subdural
hematoma   over   both   temporal   lobes.  Therefore,   merely
because no fracture was noticed and/or found cannot take
the case out of Section 302 IPC when the deceased died due
to   head   injury   no.1.     As   observed   hereinabove   causing
injury on the head can be said to be causing injury on the
vital part of the body and therefore a clear case of Section
302 IPC has been established and proved.   Therefore, the
learned trial Court rightly convicted the accused for the
offences under Section 302 IPC and Section 302/34 IPC
respectively.
7.3 Even otherwise considering Section 326 IPC, we fail to
appreciate how the case would fall under Section 326 IPC
when the deceased actually died due to grievous hurt and
the injuries were on the vital part of the body – head.  At
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this stage, it is required to be noted that in fact the accused
went   to   the   field   of   the   complainant   where   his   father
deceased Ram Autar was also working.   All of them went
with the deadly weapons and had beaten the deceased Ram
Autar   and   caused   serious   injuries   and   immediately   the
deceased   Ram   Autar   was   required   to   be   taken   to   the
hospital and he was first taken to PHC and thereafter to
Lucknow, Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.  For
the reasons stated above also the High Court has committed
grave error in convicting the accused for the offence under
Section 326 IPC by acquitting the accused for the offence
under Section 302 IPC.  The impugned judgment and order
passed by the High Court acquitting the accused for the
offence Section 302 IPC and to convict the accused for the
offence   under   Section   326   IPC   is   unsustainable   and
deserves to be quashed and set aside and the judgment and
order passed by the trial Court is required to be restored.
8. In   view   of   the   above   and   for   the   reasons   stated
hereinabove the present appeal succeeds.   The impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court acquitting the
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accused – respondents Jai Dutt and Shastri for the offence
under Section 302 IPC and Section 302/34 IPC respectively
and convicting them for the offence under Section 326 IPC
is hereby quashed and set aside.  The judgment and order
of the learned trial Court convicting the accused Jai Dutt for
the   offence   punishable   under   Section   302   IPC   and
convicting the accused ­ Shastri for the offence punishable
under   Section   302/34   IPC   is   hereby   restored.   The
respondents   –   accused   are   sentenced   to   undergo   life
imprisonment with the fine as imposed by the learned trial
Court.
Now both the accused be taken into custody forthwith
to undergo the life imprisonment. Present appeal is allowed
accordingly.
……………………………….J.
     [M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI;            ……………………………….J.
JANUARY 19, 2022.     [B.V. NAGARATHNA]
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