IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1149 OF 2013
Sanjeev … Appellant
State of Haryana … Respondent
J U D G M E N T
PRAFULLA C. PANT, J.
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, 4×3, 2×1,
3×1, 3×1 and 1×1 cms, present on whole of back about 10 to
12 in number. On cut sections blood was found on the sub
2. Defused swelling was present on the front and left side of
chest of size 20×10 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 5×2 cms present on the middle of the
forehead vertically placed. Underlines bone was fractured.
C.V. was present.
4. Lacerated wound 3×2 cms. present on the right side just
above the right eye. C.V. was present.
5. Defused swelling were present on the left cheek 6×5 cms.
6. Defused swelling on the left eye.
7. Contusion 6×5 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
“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
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
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
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
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.
[Rohinton Fali Nariman]
[Prafulla C. Pant]
February 19, 2015.