of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Kedar
Yadav  Insc 882
(30 November 2006)
Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia Arijit Pasayat, J.
in this appeal is to the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court. By the impugned judgment learned Single Judge while
upholding the conviction of the respondent for an offence punishable under
Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the 'IPC') reduced the
sentence to the period already undergone which was about 1 year and three months.
The trial court had found the respondent guilty and had imposed sentence of ten
years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.1,000/- with default stipulation.
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
respondent allegedly assaulted the complainant- Parvat Singh by an axe causing
several grievous injuries.
Parvat Singh (PW 10) lodged a report at the police station to the effect that
while he was doing night duty at Dr. Ajay Lal Christian Hospital, the accused
hit him on his head by the sharp edge of an axe and other parts of the body.
persons were present there, who witnessed the incident.
carried the complainant to the hospital for treatment.
was lodged at the Police Station and investigation was undertaken. The
informant was treated at the hospital for multiple injuries sustained by him.
After completion of investigation, charge sheet was filed and the matter was
taken up for trial. Accused took the plea of false implication.
to the medical report and the statement of the doctor, there was a cut wound on
the upper part of partial bone which was straight cut and there was a parallel
straight cut below said injury and there was a cross cut wound on the left acromiyo
caviculas wound and the doctor had advised to get x-ray of head, chest and left
shoulder. According to statement of witnesses and doctors and medical report on
the day of incident there were injuries on the body of complainant caused by
sharp edged weapon. Therefore, there was no dispute as to presence of injuries
on the body of the complainant.
reliance on the evidence of the victim and others, the trial court found the
accused guilty and convicted him and imposed sentence as afore-noted. The trial
court took note of the evidence of the Doctor who had first examined the
informant. The trial court noted that in the opinion of the doctor all the
injuries were caused by sharp axe or another sharp-edged weapon and was enough
to cause death of the victim. The doctor had advised to get X-ray of head,
chest and left shoulder of the victim. Several fractures were also noticed.
note of the serious nature of the injuries inflicted and the weapon used, the
trial court held the accused-respondent guilty and imposed sentence as
preferred an appeal before the High Court.
counsel appearing before the High Court for the accused-respondent did not
question the finding of conviction.
only prayer related to sentence. The High Court without any discussion merely
observed that the accused had undergone sentence of about one year and 3=
months, at the commission of offence was aged about 20 years and an uneducated labourer
coming from rural area. Accordingly, the period of sentence of imprisonment was
reduced to the period already undergone.
counsel for the appellant-State submitted that the sentence imposed by the High
Court is very much on the lenient side. In a case of this nature no leniency
should have been shown.
perusal of the doctor's evidence shows that the accused in a merciless and
cruel manner attacked the victim on his head and shoulder causing grievous
injuries. Therefore, the reduction of sentence was uncalled for.
counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that though confession
appears to have been made before the High Court about conviction that was
really not called for. In any event, the occurrence took place nearly two
decades back. Even if prosecution version is accepted in its totality, the
offence punishable under Section 307 IPC is not made out and at the most it is
one under Section 324 IPC.
to a judgment of this Court in Kundan Singh v. State of Punjab (1982 (3) SCC 213) it is submitted
that the High Court has rightly reduced the period of sentence.
it is not necessary to examine whether Section 307 IPC had any application, in
view of the stand of the respondent that in reality that Section 307 IPC had no
application, we have considered that plea.
sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system
to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and society could not
long endure under such serious threats. It is, therefore, the duty of every
court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and
the manner in which it was executed or committed etc. This position was
illuminatingly stated by this Court in Sevaka Perumal etc. v. State of Tamil Naidu (AIR 1991 SC 1463).
giving due consideration to the facts and circumstances of each case, for
deciding just and appropriate sentence to be awarded for an offence, the
aggravating and mitigating factors and circumstances in which a crime has been
committed are to be delicately balanced on the basis of really relevant circumstances
in a dispassionate manner by the Court. Such act of balancing is indeed a
difficult task. It has been very aptly indicated in Dennis Councle MCGDautha v.
State of Callifornia: 402 US 183: 28 L.D. 2d 711 that no formula of a foolproof
nature is possible that would provide a reasonable criterion in determining a
just and appropriate punishment in the infinite variety of circumstances that
may affect the gravity of the crime. In the absence of any foolproof formula
which may provide any basis for reasonable criteria to correctly assess various
circumstances germane to the consideration of gravity of crime, the
discretionary judgment in the facts of each case, is the only way in which such
judgment may be equitably distinguished.
object should be to protect the society and to deter the criminal in achieving
the avowed object of law by imposing appropriate sentence. It is expected that
the Courts would operate the sentencing system so as to impose such sentence
which reflects the conscience of the society and the sentencing process has to
be stern where it should be.
of sentence without considering its effect on the social order in many cases
may be in reality a futile exercise. The social impact of the crime, e.g. where
it relates to offences against women, dacoity, kidnapping, misappropriation of
public money, treason and other offences involving moral turpitude or moral
delinquency which have great impact on social order, and public interest,
cannot be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment. Any liberal
attitude by imposing meager sentences or taking too sympathetic view merely on
account of lapse of time in respect of such offences will be result-wise
counter productive in the long run and against societal interest which needs to
be cared for and strengthened by string of deterrence inbuilt in the sentencing
Court will be failing in its duty if appropriate punishment is not awarded for
a crime which has been committed not only against the individual victim but
also against the society to which the criminal and victim belong.
punishment to be awarded for a crime must not be irrelevant but it should
conform to and be consistent with the atrocity and brutality with which the
crime has been perpetrated, the enormity of the crime warranting public
abhorrence and it should "respond to the society's cry for justice against
to be noted that the alleged offence was of very serious nature. Section 307
relates to attempt to murder. It reads as follows:
does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such circumstances
that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of murder, shall be
punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to
ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and, if hurt is caused to any
person by such act, the offender shall be liable either to (imprisonment for
life), or to such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned." To justify a
conviction under this Section, it is not essential that bodily injury capable
of causing death should have been inflicted. Although the nature of injury
actually caused may often give considerable assistance in coming to a finding
as to the intention of the accused, such intention may also be deduced from
other circumstances, and may even, in some cases, be ascertained without any
reference at all to actual wounds. The Section makes a distinction between an
act of the accused and its result, if any. Such an act may not be attended by
any result so far as the person assaulted is concerned, but still there may be
cases in which the culprit would be liable under this Section. It is not
necessary that the injury actually caused to the victim of the assault should
be sufficient under ordinary circumstances to cause the death of the person
assaulted. What the Court has to see is whether the act, irrespective of its
result, was done with the intention or knowledge and under circumstances
mentioned in the Section. An attempt in order to be criminal need not be the
penultimate act. It is sufficient in law, if there is present an intent coupled
with some overt act in execution thereof.
sufficient to justify a conviction under Section 307 if there is present an
intent coupled with some overt act in execution thereof. It is not essential
that bodily injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted. The
Section makes a distinction between the act of the accused and its result, if
any. The Court has to see whether the act, irrespective of its result, was done
with the intention or knowledge and under circumstances mentioned in the
an accused charged under Section 307 IPC cannot be acquitted merely because the
injuries inflicted on the victim were in the nature of a simple hurt.
position was highlighted in State of Maharashtra v. Balram Bama Patil and Ors. (1983 (2) SCC 28), Girija Shanker
v. State of Uttar
Pradesh (2004 (3) SCC
793) and R. Parkash v. State of Karnataka (JT 2004 (2) SC 348).
Prasad v. State of Bihar (AIR 1965 SC 843) it was observed
in para 6 that mere fact that the injury actually inflicted by the accused did
not cut any vital organ of the victim, is not by itself sufficient to take the
act out of the purview of Section 307.
there was intention to kill or knowledge that death will be caused is a
question of fact and would depend on the facts of a given case. The
circumstances that the injury inflicted by the accused was simple or minor will
not by itself rule out application of Section 307 IPC. The determinative
question is intention or knowledge, as the case may be, and not nature of the
307 deals with two situations so far as the sentence is concerned. Firstly,
whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such
circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of
murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and secondly
if hurt is caused to any person by such act the offender shall be liable either
to imprisonment for life or to such punishment as indicated in the first part
i.e. 10 years.
nature of the injuries sustained, the weapon used and the opinion of the
doctors as noted above to the effect that the injuries were enough to cause death,
the trial court had rightly convicted the accused-respondent for offence
punishable under Section 307 IPC. The decision In Kundan Singh's Case (supra)
has no application to the facts of the present case. The decision was rendered
in the background of the factual position as noticed in the judgment.
the principles indicated above, the inevitable conclusion is that the High
Court was not justified in reducing the sentence to the period already
undergone. Taking into account all relevant aspects including long passage of
time which per se is not a ground for reduction in sentence, order of the High
Court, so far as it relates to the reduction of period of sentence, is set
aside. The respondent shall undergo custodial sentence for three years subject
to such remissions as may be available in law. Additionally, he shall pay a
fine of Rs.10,000/-. Deposit of the amount shall be made within three months
from today. If the amount is not deposited the default sentence will be one
year rigorous imprisonment. In case the amount is deposited, a sum of Rs.8,000/-
shall be paid to the victim-Parvat Singh.
is allowed to the aforesaid extent.