Panda Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh  INSC 334 (28 February 1996)
K. (J) Venkataswami K. (J) Anand, A.S. (J) K. Venkataswami.J.
JT 1996 (2) 747 1996 SCALE (2)563
appellant who is in Central Jail, Indore has sent through superintendent a Petition to set aside the impugned
judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Bench at Indore confirming the death sentence
imposed by the First Additional Sessions Judge, Ujjain. The said Petition was taken on file as Special leave
Petition and this Court after granting leave called for the records from the
High Court was also requested to transmit to this Court the copies each of the
judgment of the High Court as well as the trial court.
appeal is directed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court, Bench at Indore in
Death Reference No.2/95 and Criminal Appeal No.173/95. The appellant accused
was convicted under Section 302 I.P.C. for having committed murder of his wife
Krishna Bai, daughter Jyoti aged 10 years, daughter Rekha aged 16 years and
under Section 307 I.P.C. for attempt to commit murder of his daughter Komal
aged 10 years, son Balakrishan aged 12 years and another Son Sonu aged 7 years
on the intervening night of 20th and 21st February, 1994 in Village Laxmipura,
Police Station Kayatha District Ujjain. The prosecution case is as follows :
intervening night of 20th and 21st February.1994, the accused committed murder
of his wife and two daughters and they died on the spot. The further caused
injuries to Komal (daughter) and two sons Balakrishna and Sonu with intent to
commit murder. However, these three survived even after sustaining grievious
injuries. P.W.13, Satnam Singh. Station House Officer received an annonymous
telephonic information that many persons have sustained injuries and some of
them have died at the residence of the accused. On receiving such information,
the Police Officer reached the spot and found Balakrishna, Sonu and Komal in seriously
injured condition. Krishna Bai, Rekha and Jyoti were found to be dead by that
time. The accused was no. found inside the house. The said Police Officer sent
all the injured to hospital for treatment and registered case No.1/94, 2/94 and
3/94 regarding the death of the persons referred to above. He recovered blood
stained sword on the spot. that clothes, lock and chappal were also found with.
blood stains and they were also seized. Stained and unstained earth were also
collected from the spot. Site map was prepared. An inquest was held and various
injuries were noticed on the bodies of the different persons. The accused was
arrested on the same day and Panchnama was prepared and on questioning, the
accused gave information about sword which he had kept. in the wheat field
belonging to Radheshyam. The clothes of the accused. Kurta and Pajama With
blood stains were also recovered from a trunk. During investigation, it was
found that the accused made extra judicial confession of having committed
murder of his wife and children before Prahlad (P.W.6) and Rora (P.W.7).
autopsy on the body of Rekha aged about 16, years was conducted by Dr. Arvind Dashottar
(P.W.3) on, 21.2.1994 and the following injuries were found on the body of the
deceased Rekha :
big incised wound extending in four direction from left pinna as following:
4"x 2" over left tempero occipital region cut Piece of occipital bone
measuring 1/4"x 1/4" present in the wound. Dura matter exposed.
4"x 2" from angle of the left eye towards left pinna. Mandible bone
Incised wound 2"x1" from angle of left mandible upto left pinna.
Incised wound 2"x1" from back of back of neck towards(L) pinna .
Incised wound 3"x1/2" below injury No.1 over accipital region.
Incised wound over skull (L) parietal region 3"x1/2".
Incised wound over front parietal region 5 1/2"x1". Parietal bone
incised. 5 1/2" membrane cut at the middle with brain matter incised
1/2" below membrance parietal lobe of brain.
Incised wound over (L) shoulder on top 1/2"x1/2" muscle deep.
Incised wound over (L) base of (R) Thumb 1"x1/2".
Incised wound (L) Dorsal aspect of hand 2"x1/2".
Incised wound (L) fore arm dorsal aspect 2"x1/2".
Incised wound Palmar aspect of (L) hand 3"x1/2" below little and Ring
finger. All these injuries were antemortem in nature.
opinion of the doctor, these injuries were sufficient to cause death.
the autopsy on the body of Krishnabai was conducted by P.W.3 with Dr. M.D.
Sharma on 21.2.1994 and they found the following injuries:
Incised wound over nose extending upto (L) frontal region 5 1/2"x2"
from Rt. to (L) obliquely upwards, muscle deep. ends lapering.
Incised wound over (L) parietal region 3"x1/2", bone exposed.
Incised wound near injury No. 2 over vertex 2"x1/4" bone exposed.
Incised wound 3"x1" over (R) parietal region bone exposed.
Incised wound behind (L) ear 1"x1/2".
Incised wound on left side face from (L) eye-brow extending backward and
downwards towards tragus of ear 5 1/2" slicing effect, skin held out.
Incised wound 3"x/1/2" (L) side of neck at the base on pest aspect
Incised wound 1/2"x4" back of chest in between scapular skin deep.
Incised wound 1/4"x1/2" lataral aspect of (R) arm mid position.
Incised wound dorsum of Hand (R) extending towards forearm from knunles upwards
tenders and muscles cut. Radious and ulna bones exposed and cut at the distal
Incised wound 3"x1/2" (R) forearm dorsal aspect above injury no.
Incised wound 4"x1/2" over palmar aspect of (L) hand extending over
Incised wound over dorsal aspect (L) forearm 3"x1" mid position.
Incised wound (L) forearm 4"x 1 1/2" muscle and vessels cu Radious
bone cut at mid.
Incised wound over (L) shoulder 1/2"x1" muscle deep.
Incised wound (L) Arm 1/4" skin deep mid position.
Incised wound 3"x1/2" palmar aspect of (L) hand metacarpel cut thumb
extending upto wrist.
Incised wound 3"x1/4" over ulnar border of (L) hand: metacarpal bone
cut below little finger.
Incised wound 3"x1" over (L) thigh and knee joint.
wound over knee joint (R) 2 1/2"x1/2" muscle deep.
Incised wound over (R) heel attached with a Lag of skin posteriorly complete
tissue and calcaneous bone cut 3"x around the heel.
21.2.94 P.W.3 conducted Post-mortem of the dead body of Jyoti and found the
following injuries on the person of the deceased:
Incised wound 2"x1/2" over skull right frontal region, skin deep,
Incised wound 5 1/2"x1 1/2" over skull Top bone exposed.
Incised wound 3"x1/2" over vertex of skull.
Incised wound 3"x1" (L) side of neck from left border of mandible
horizontal muscle, vessels cut.
Incised wound below injury no.iv. 3"x1" tapering towards (L) angle of
mouth. There was only a Tag of skin between injury no. iv and v vessels cut.
Incised wound Left hand palmar aspect extending from 2" over wrist towards
palm 4th metacarpal and carpel bones cut.
Incised wound L side 3 1/2"x1/2" dorsum of hand extending from base
of index finger arose hand 5th metacarpal bone cut.
Incised wound over elbow 1/2"x1/2".
Incised wound over (4) scapular region 1"x1/2".
Liner abrasion 5" with incised wound at 2 1/2" from start 1/4"
below (L) scapular.
Dr. R. S. Dangad found the following injuries while admitting Sonu in the
Incised wound 6"x1" deep and bone-cutting on the right parietal
Incised wound 6"x1" bone deep on the right fronte parietal region.
Incised wound 5"x1" bone deep exposing bone left parietal region.
Incised wound 1 3/4x 1/4"x1/2" on the right nendible.
(P.W.12) examined Komal and found the following injuries.
Incised wound 3"x1" bone deep on the L cheek.
Incised wound 5"x1" on the neck.
Incised wound 4"x1" bone deep on the right knee muscles and vessels
Incised wound 1"x1/2"x1/2" on the proximal of finger middle
Ring finger was cut upto PIB joint.
Incised wound 1"x1/2"x1/2" on the index finger of left hand.
Incised wound 2"x1/2"x1/2" on the back of left hand.
Incised wound 4"x1/2"x1/2" on the back of left wrist hand
Incised wound 1 1/2"x1/2"x1/4" on Rt. wrist dorsal surface.
Incised wound 2"x1/2"x1/2" on L hand dorsal surface.
wound 2"x1/2"x1/2" oblique wrist dorsal surface.
Incised wound 1 1/2"x1/2"x1/2" oblique Lt. P.A. dorsal surface
Dr. Nagar examined Balakrishna on the same day and found following injuries:
fingers amputed from M.P. joint excepting thump.
Incised wound on right face extending upto right eye.
Incised wound on the left next 3" x 2"x2".
Incised wound 2"x1"x1" on Rt. chin.
materials seized were sent for serologist examination and it was found that it
contained human blood.
completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed against the accused. The
case was committed to the court of sessions. The accused pleaded not guilty.
The learned Trial judge convicted and sentenced the accused as mentioned above.
learned trial judge has given special reasons for awarding death sentence. The
accused preferred an appeal to the High Court. It was taken up for hearing with
Death Reference. The High Court in its elaborate judgment found that the fact
of commission of murder, by causing grievious injuries, to Balakrishna, Sonu
and Komal had been proved beyond reasonable doubt and accused was rightly found
guilty for the same. Regarding the sentence, the learned Judges after referring
to several judgments of this Court and also a Division Bench of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court found that the case of the accused fell within the cases of
the 'rarest of rare cases' and there were no mitigating circumstances
whatsoever for commission of gruesome murder of wife and two children. Accordingly
while dismissing the appeal filed by the accused accepted the reference made by
the learned Additional sessions Judge.
under these circumstances, the present appeal was filed by the accused who is
in jail. Mr. Vimal Dave, learned counsel for the accused appellant finding the
fool proof case of the prosecution did not attempt to challenge the conviction
recorded by the learned Sessions Judge and confirmed by the High Court.
However, he strenuously argued that there is a case for reducing the death
sentence to one of life imprisonment in the peculiar facts and circumstances of
this case. According to the learned counsel, the murder was not a pre-planned
one and having regard to the time and place of the incident it must be taken
that it was on account of sudden provocation and as suggested by the defence in
the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses, that the suspicion
entertained by the accused regarding the fidelity of his wife and answer said
to have been given by her led to the incident. According to the learned counsel
there was no mensrea and no motive was suggested by the prosecution for
committing the there murders and causing injuries to the children.
counsel appearing for the respondent, however, submitted that the findings
rendered by the trial court as well as by the High Court on appreciation of
oral evidence will go to show that the appellant has committed the murder in a
gruesome manner without any provocation and against helpless dependents. As per
the decided cases of this Court, the death sentence awarded to the accused does
not call for any interference.
have considered the rival submissions. Before going into the facts of this case
as found by the trial court and the High Court, it will be useful to set out the
principles laid down by this Court in several cases for awarding death
and others vs. state of Karnataka (1994)4 SCC 381, a two Judge bench of this
Court presided over by one of us (Anand, J.) has observed as follows"
"Courts are expected to exhibit sensitiveness in the matter of sward of
sentence particularly, the sentence of death because life once lost cannot be
brought back. This Court has in cases more than one emphasised that for
determining the proper sentence in a case like this while the court should take
into account the aggravating circumstances it should not overlook or ignore the
mitigating circumstances. The manner in which the crime was committed, the
weapons used and the brutality or the lack of it are some of the considerations
which must be present to the mind of the court.
course, the High Court has the power and jurisdiction to enhance the sentence
of life imprisonment to death but that power has to be sparingly exercised, in
"rarest of the rare cases" for 'special reasons' to be recorded. The
courts must be alive to the legislative changes introduced in 1973 through
Section 354 (3) CrPC. Death sentence, being an exception to the general rule,
should be awarded in the "rarest of the rare cases" for 'Special
reasons' to be recorded after balancing the aggravating and the mitigating
circumstances, in the facts and circumstances of a given case. The number of
persons murdered is a consideration but that is not the only consideration for
imposing death penalty unless the case falls in the category of "rarest of
the rare cases". The courts must keep in view the nature of the crime, the
brutality with which it was executed, the antecedents of the criminal, the
weapons used etc. It is neither possible nor desirable to catalogue all such
factors and they depend upon case to case." Gujarat (1994) 4 SCC 358, this Court has observed as follows in
paragraph 12 of the judgment:
is needless for us to go into the principles laid down by this Court regarding
the enhancement of sentence as also about the award of sentence of death, as
the law on both these subjects in now well settled. There is undoubtedly power
of enhancement available with the High Court which, however, has to be
sparingly exercised. No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to in which case
the High Court may enhance the sentence from life imprisonment to death. Each
case depends on its own facts and on a variety of factors. The courts are
constantly faced with the situation were they are required to answer to new
challenges and mould the sentencing system to challenges and mould the
sentencing system to meet those challenges. Protection of society and deterring
the criminal is the avowed object of law and that is required to be achieved by
imposing appropriate sentence. The change in the legislative intendment
relating to award of capital punishment notwithstanding, the opposition by the
protagonist of abolition of capital sentence, shows that it is expected of the
courts to so operate the sentencing system as to impose such sentence which
reflects the social conscience of the society. The sentencing process has to be
stern where it should be." Again in paragraph 14 of the same judgment it
was observed that it is only after giving due weight to the mitigating as well
as the aggravating circumstances, that it must proceed to impose the
Chandra Bahri vs. state of Punjab 1995
supp.(1) SCC 80, in paragraph 105, this Court observed as follows:
cold-blooded cruel murder of the innocent children by none else but by their
own real father shows the enormous proportion with which it was committed
eliminating almost all members of the family. WE have given our serious
thoughts and consideration and posed the question to ourselves whether there
could be still a worse case than this where a husband could hatch a conspiracy
and kill his wife in a most callous and ghastly fashion as in the present case
only on a trifling matter which could have been sorted out in an amicable
manner for which to effort appears to have been made by suresh. Not only this
but the appellant suresh became thirsty of the blood of his own children for
absolutely no fault of theirs. in the facts and circumstances discussed above,
in our opinion, so far as suresh bahari is concerned, the rule of the rarest of
rare cases has to be applied as the present case falls within the category of
the rarest of rare cases and for the perpetration of the crime of the nature
discussed above there could be no other proper and adequate sentence except the
sentence of death as there are no mitigating circumstances what so ever. Having
regard to all the facts and circumstances of the present case as far as suresh Bahri
is concerned there is no cause for any interference in the vies taken by the
two courts below in awarding the death sentence to him. We, therefore, affirm
the conviction and sentence of death awarded to Suresh by the High Court. In
the event of the execution of death sentence, the sentence awarded under
Sentence awarded under section 201 of the IPC shall remain only of academic
interest." As the commission of the crime has been established beyond
reasonable doubt and as the counsel for the appellant also fairly pleaded only
for the reduction of sentence, we need not probe into the conviction aspect
once again. We, therefore, proceed on the footing that the accused/appellant
has committed murder of his wife and two children and attempted to kill the
remaining three children, but (to the surprise of the accused) they escaped
with grievous injuries. Our concern in the present appeal is about the manner
of committing the murder, weapons used, the position of the victims and the
circumstances under which the crime was committed and to find out whether the
case falls under the category of "rarest of the rare cases" in the
light of principles already noticed through the judgments of this Court.
that, we may also point out that we have independently and carefully gone
through the evidence both oral and documentary and we are convinced that the
convictions of the appellant for offences under Sections 302 and 307 I.P.C.
awarded by the learned Sessions Judge and confirmed by the learned Judges of
the High Court are unassailable and are quite in accord with oral, documentary
and medical evidence.
let us look into the way the accused had carried out the murder of his wife and
two children and caused grievous injuries to the rest of his children in the
course of his attempt to liquidate them also. From the evidence which has been
accepted by the trial court and the High Court, the following emerges :
On 20th February, 1994, the accused, his wife and all the
five children took their dinner together before going to the bed and had also
viewed the programme on the television.
accused along with his family members slept in a room.
about 12-1 on the intervening night of 20th and 21st February, 1994, the accused started to kill his wife with the help
of a sword and on hearing the shoutings the children woke up. The wife
questioned the accused why he was trying to kill her and the accused without
giving any answer inflicted more injuries on her head, hand and foot. By that
time, the eldest daughter Rekha tried to save her mother and instead of leaving
his wife from attack, he started inflicting wounds on his first daughter Rekha
with the same sword. Not satisfied with that, he also inflicted injuries with
the same sword to another daughter and finding that the sword he had used had
been bent, he left that sword and took out another big sword, kept in a box in
the room, and with the help of the second sword, he inflicted injuries to the
other children. All the injured persons fell down and as seen earlier, the wife
and two children succumbed to the injuries and the other three children succumbed
to the injuries and the other three children escaped death. It is also in the
evidence of P.W.7 Rora that the accused after committing the crime, confessed
to him (PW 7) stating "I had slaughtered all of them, how the three left
alive". The above attitude of the accused clearly reveals that he had
caused injuries with a view to liquidate all the members of his family and he
was not happy to find that inspite of his act his three children had escaped
have already given the injuries inflicted on the deceased persons as well as on
the children who escaped death. We find that the accused had accused in all 64
sword injuries to all the six persons including the three deceased persons and
those injuries speak for themselve about the gruesome nature of the crime
committed by the accused. Be it noted that there was no provocation and there
is nothing to suggested that there was any quarrel between the accused and his
wife or among any one of the family members. The way in which the crime was
executed clearly shows that it was a premeditated one and not on account of
sudden provocation or any 'mental-derange'. The motive suggested in the course
of cross examination of the prosecution witnesses is also not helpful to the
accused inasmuch as he had pleaded alibi in his statement (under Section 313
Cr. P.C.) and that has also been taken note of by the trial court as well as by
the High Court. As pointed out earlier, both the Sessions Judge and the High
Court have given special reasons for awarding death sentence and we are also of
the opinion that the crime indulged by the accused is undoubtedly gruesome,
cold blooded, heinous, atrocious and cruel. We are also satisfied that on the
facts established on the record, there ap[pear so to be mitigating circumstance
whatsoever, but only aggravating circumstance which justify the imposition of
death sentence. If we look into the manner in which the crime was committed,
the weapon used, the brutality of the crime, number of persons murdered, the
helplessness of the victims, we cannot come to any other conclusion except the
one, the Sessions Judge and the High court arrived at to award the capital
sentence to the appellant.
result, the appeal fails and it is dismissed consequently.