U. P. Vs. Dr. Sanjay Singh  INSC
62 (27 January 1994)
S.R. (J) Pandian, S.R. (J) Punchhi, M.M.
1994 SCC Supl. (2) 707
SLP is filed by the State of U.P. represented by the Central Bureau of
Investigation, C.G.O. Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi, against the judgment dated
9-2-1992 of the High Court of Allahabad, Lucknow Bench rendered in Criminal
Revision Application No. 339 of 1990 dismissing the revision and affirming the
order of the learned Sessions Judge, Lucknow, made in Session Trial No. 293 of
1989 discharging Respondents 1 and 2 herein who were arrayed as accused 1 and 2
before the said trial court.
brief facts of the case which led to the filing of this petition are as
deceased herein, namely, Shri Syed Modi was a National Badminton Champion for 8
years and he represented India in various international
championships. He was promoted as Sports Superintendent in 1984 at Lucknow and was subsequently promoted as
Senior Welfare Superintendent in North Eastern Railways, Lucknow which post he held at the time of
his murder on 28-7-1987.
1st respondent, namely, Shri Sanjay Singh was a Minister in Uttar Pradesh from 22-7-1982 to 22-8-1987
holding the portfolio of Forests, Dairy, Fisheries, Transport etc. In 1984 the
portfolio of Sports was also allotted to him from 9-2-1984 to 12-3-1985. Besides, he was the Chairman of
the Cooperative Dairy Federation Ltd., at Lucknow during 1984 to 1987.
second respondent, Smt Amita Kulkarni Modi did her B.A. (Final) privately as a
teacher candidate from Lucknow University in the year 1983-84 although she was in government service
in the Central Railways, Bombay holding the post of Senior Clerk.
In February 1984 the second respondent came to Lucknow for appearing in B.A. Examination conducted by Lucknow University and since then she continued to stay at Lucknow after resigning her job in
she was appointed as Marketing Manager in Lucknow against a post in the Sports quota created at the behest of the first
deceased and the second respondent came into contact with each other when both
of them had gone to Beijing (China) for participating in the Third International Asian
Invitation Championship in 1978. Thereafter, the 709 deceased who fell in love
with the second respondent married the second respondent on 14-5-1984 under the Special Marriage Act. It is said that even
before the marriage, second respondent was having positive leanings towards the
first respondent from the beginning of 1984, in spite of her engagement with Syed
Modi. This intimacy and the extramarital relationship of the second respondent
with the first respondent, according to the prosecution, was well within the
knowledge of the deceased.
is a case of the prosecution that some time thereafter the deceased did not
like this relationship and repeatedly asked the second respondent to give up
her association with the first respondent, who was also a Badminton champion.
But, the second respondent did not accede to the advice of the deceased
husband. It is the further case of the prosecution that on account of this
resentment on the part of the deceased, these two respondents along with
accused 3 to 7 (of whom A-4 Aman Bahadur Singh and
A-7 Balai Singh were subsequently murdered) hatched the conspiracy to put an
end to the life of the deceased.
time between June 1988 and 20-7-1988 all the accused inclusive of the
respondents entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit the murder of the
deceased and in pursuance of the said conspiracy the deceased was shot dead on
28-7-1988 while he was emerging out of the Stadium at Lucknow. On the above
allegations, the prosecution sought to prosecute A-1 to A-7 for an offence
under Section 120-B read with Section 302 IPC, besides prosecuting A-3 to A-7
under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and A-4 (before the trial court)
under Section 25 read with Section 27 of the Indian Arms Act and A-6 (before
the trial court) under Section 302 read with Section 34 and A-7 (before the
trial court) under Section 27 of the Arms Act.
two respondents challenging the prosecution approached the trial court for
discharging them under Section 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The trial
court after scrutinising the entire documents, placed on record has concluded
in paragraph 110 of its judgment pertaining to the case of second respondent as
material on record does not, prima facie, establish any physical manifestation
on the part of A-2 in any part of the conspiracy or its execution.
Consequently, it may be said that there is no sufficient ground to put A-2 on
trial, in connection with the murder of Syed Modi. She is, therefore, liable to
be discharged." Thereafter the trial court has held thus:
has already been found in para 101 above, that the prosecution has failed to
make out a prima facie case of motive on the part of A-1 and A-2, or either of
them to liquidate Modi."
With regard to the case of the first respondent, the trial court found thus:
association among A-1, A-2 and A-3 is not adequate to prove conspiracy among
ought to be material on record to indicate tacit understanding among them as to
what had to be done. In this connection, it may be pertinent to observe that
relative acts or conduct of A-1 and A-2 do not appear to be conscientious and
clear to mark their concurrence with regard to the liquidation of Syed Modi.
Such concurrence could not be inferred by a group of innocuous circumstances,
artfully 710 arranged, so as to give an appearance of coherence. On a broad
view of the entire facts, circumstances and the material placed before this
Court, it does not appear that A-1 can, reasonably, be connected with the crime
in question. Accordingly, A-1 is also liable to be discharged."
The result was the trial court discharged both the respondents.
State on being aggrieved by the order of the trial court preferred a revision
before the High Court. The High Court by its well-considered judgment has
affirmed the order of discharge of Respondents 1 and 2 observing thus:
view of the above discussion, it will be apparent that the learned Sessions
Judge has considered every aspect of the case in his order while discharging
two opposite parties.
doing so he has not committed any illegality or irregularity and the finding of
the learned Sessions Judge cannot be said to be perverse or against the weight
of evidence on record. Therefore, in the revisional jurisdiction this Court
cannot appraise the evidence again. As the finding of the learned Sessions
Judge is based on the evidence available on the record the same does not
deserve to be set aside. The result is that the revision petitions deserve to
be dismissed." 13.Again the State on being dissatisfied with the order of
the High Court confirming the order of discharge of the respondents by the
trial court, has filed this SLP.
have perused the records and heard learned Additional Solicitor General
appearing on behalf of the petitioner and the learned Senior Counsel, Mr Shanti
Bhushan appearing for the first respondent and Mr Ram Jethmalani appearing on
behalf of the second respondent in extenso.
there is no direct evidence to prove the conspiracy except by circumstantial
evidence. The learned Additional Solicitor General has frankly admitted to the
query from the Court that an attempt on the side of the prosecution to record a
statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure from any one of
the accused, was not fruitful. Therefore, we have to find out whether the
circumstantial evidence placed on record makes sufficient ground for proceeding
against the respondents/accused for the offence with which they were indicted.
the threshold, we may state that the circumstances placed on record are not at
all sufficient to make out a case of conspiracy. The submission made by the
learned Solicitor General that the circumstances surrounding the case make out
a case of conspiracy is not acceptable. The decisions cited in support of the
above submission cannot be availed of since on the facts the case of conspiracy
has to fail for lack of sufficient evidence.
circumstantial evidence even if accepted in its entirety, as pointed out by the
courts below creates only a suspicion of motive. Needless to point Out that the
motive which induces a man to do any particular act is known to him and to him
the highest, the prosecution can only suggest from the circumstances what is or
may be the motive for any particular act. However, motive is not a sine qua non
for bringing the offence of murder or of any crime home to the accused. At the
same time the absence of ascertainable motive comes to nothing, if the crime is
proved to have been committed by a sane pet-son but to eke Out a case by proof
of a motive alone that too Suspicion of motive 711 apparently tending towards
any possible crime, is not only a very unsatisfactory but also a dangerous
process, because circumstances do not always lead to particular and definite
inferences and the inferences themselves may sometimes be erroneous.
we scrutinise the entire material placed on record, even if unrebuked or
totally accepted, we are of the view that they do not make out a case for
conviction and the mere suspicion of motive cannot serve as a sufficient ground
for framing the charges in the absence of any material, prima facie showing
that the particular motive has passed into action and that the accused is
connected with that action in question.
Court in Century Spinning & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra1 while examining the scope of
Section 251(A) sub-sections (2) and (3) of the old Code corresponding to
Sections 239 and 240 of the new Code has made the following observation: (SCC
p. 291, para 17: AIR p. 552, para 16) "...
this material, the Court comes to the conclusion that there is no ground for
presuming that the accused has committed an offence, then it can appropriately
consider the charge to be groundless and discharge the accused. The argument
that the Court at the stage of framing the charges has not to apply its
judicial mind for considering whether or not there is a ground for presuming
the commission of the offence by the accused is not supportable either on the
plain language of the section or on its judicial interpretation or on any other
recognised principle of law. The order framing the charges does substantially
affect the person's liberty and it is not possible to countenance the view that
the Court must automatically frame the charge merely because the prosecution
authorities, by relying on the documents referred to in Section 173, consider
it proper to institute the case. The responsibility of framing the charges is
that of the Court and it has to judicially consider the question of doing so.
Without fully adverting to the material on the record it must not blindly adopt
the decision of the prosecution."
Chandrachud, J. (as the learned Chief Justice then was) speaking for the
three-Judge Bench in State of Karnataka v. L. Muniswamy2 in which the State
challenged the order of discharge made by the trial court in exercise of its
powers under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has ruled
thus:(AIR p. 1492, para 7) "This section is contained in Chapter XVIII
called 'Trial before a Court of Sessions'. It is clear from the provision that
the Sessions Court has the power to discharge an accused if after perusing the
record and hearing the parties he comes to the conclusion, for reason to be
recorded that there is not sufficient ground for proceeding against the
object of the provision which requires the Sessions Judge to record his reasons
is to enable the superior court to examine the correctness of the reasons for
which the Sessions Judge has held that there is or is not sufficient ground for
proceeding against the accused." 22.Thereafter referring the decision of
Century Spinning & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra', the
learned Judge has observed: 1 (1972) 3 SCC 282: 1972 SCC (Cri) 495: AIR 1972 SC
545 2 (1977) 2 SCC 699: 1977 SCC (Cri) 404: AIR 1977 SC 1489 712 "For the
purpose of determining whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding
against an accused the Court possesses a comparatively wider discretion in the
exercise of which it can determine the question whether the material on the
record, if unrebutted, is such on the basis of which a conviction can be said
reasonably to be possible." 23.From whichever angle, we examine the entire
material placed on record, we feel that the prosecution has not made out a case
of conspiracy against these two respondents or any of them, as rightly
concluded by the courts below.
we do not see any reason much less compelling reason to interfere with the
well-reasoned and considered judgments of the courts below.
the result, the SLP is dismissed.