Mangoo @ Mangal Singh
Vs. State of M.P.  INSC 1214 (24 July 2008)
DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT
& P. SATHASIVAM
The Judgment of the
Court was delivered by Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
the petition was filed as a writ petition and was numbered as WP (Crl.) No.192
of 2005, by order dated 1.4.2005 it was noted that in the notice it shall be
indicated that the writ petition shall be treated as a Special Leave Petition
against the judgment of the High Court and shall be disposed of in the light of
this Court's judgment in Ghapoo Yadav and Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh (JT
2003 (3) SC 474).
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
Five persons faced
trial for alleged commission of offence punishable under Section 302 read with
Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC'). The trial
Court convicted all the five accused persons including the appellant in this
Writ Petition and sentenced him to undergo RI for life. All the accused persons
preferred appeal which was numbered as Criminal Appeal No.718 of 1989 before
the Madhya Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur. The High Court by its judgment dated
18.4.2001 dismissed the appeal. Three of the accused persons filed Special
Leave Petition No.4782 of 2002 which was admitted and registered as Criminal
Appeal No.229 of 2003. The appellant admittedly did not file any Special Leave
Petition. By judgment dated 17.2.2003 in the aforesaid Criminal Appeal, a Bench
of this Court held that Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC was applicable to the
facts of the case and altered the conviction to Section 304 Part I IPC and held
that custodial sentence of 10 years and fine as was imposed by the High Court
would meet the ends of justice. The petition be numbered as Special Leave
Petition and consequently as a criminal appeal on grant of leave.
counsel for the respondent-State submitted that since the appellant had not
filed any special leave petition in time, he is not entitled to the benefit of
Vajrapu Sambayya Naidu and Ors. v. State of A.P. and Ors. (JT 2003 (7) SC 558)
the benefit of the judgment was extended even to other accused persons who had
not approached this Court.
Harbans Singh v. State of UP. & Ors. (1982 (2) SCC 101), four accused were
convicted and sentenced to death. The order was confirmed by the High Court.
One of the accused died in police encounter. Separate Special Leave Petitions
of remaining three accused came up for consideration before different Benches
in this Court. SLP of one of them was dismissed and he was hanged, SLP of
another accused was partly allowed by the Court and death sentence was commuted
to imprisonment for life. SLP of the remaining accused thereafter was
dismissed, review petition was also dismissed and his prayer for clemency came
to be rejected by the President. When the date for execution of death penalty
was fixed, he again approached this Court.
Court noted that the course which the case had taken made a `sad reading'. It
was observed that it would be a sheer travesty of justice, if for the very same
offence; one had to pay the extreme penalty of death whereas the other accused
was to get life-imprisonment. In view of the fact, however, that the `mercy
petition' of the appellant was rejected by the President, the Court thought in
the interest of comity to refer the matter to the President with a
recommendation to be so good as to exercise his power to commute death sentence
into imprisonment for life.
In a concurring
judgment, A.N. Sen, J. stated: "Very wide powers have been conferred on this
Court for due and proper administration of justice. Apart from the jurisdiction
and powers conferred on this Court under Articles 32 and 136 of the
Constitution, I am of the opinion that this Court retains and must retain, an
inherent power and jurisdiction for dealing with any extraordinary situation in
the larger interests of administration of justice and for preventing manifest
injustice being done. This power must necessarily be sparingly used only in
exceptional circumstances for furthering the ends of justice".
exercising suo motu power, this Court has granted the benefit of acquittal,
conviction for a lesser offence or reduction of sentence to non*-appealing
accused in several cases. (See Hardyal v. State of Rajasthan (1991 Supp (1) SCC
148), Pyare Singh v. State of M.P., (1992 Supp (3) SCC 45); Jashubha v. State
of Gujarat (1994) 4 SCC 353); Dandu v. State of A.P., (1999) 7 SCC 69), Bijoy
Singh v. State of Bihar, (2002) 9 SCC 147), Rajaram v. State of M.P., (1994
Supp (2) SCC 153), Gurucharan v. State of Rajasthan, (2003) 2 SCC 698), Akhil
Ali v. State of Maharashtra, (2003).2 SCC 708), Bansi Lal v. State of M.P.
((1982 (3) SCC 370), Rattan Singh v.State of Punjab (1988 Supp SCC 456), Hari
Nath v. State of U.P., (1988)1 SCC 14), Jayantibhai v. State of Gujarat, (2002)
8 SCC 165), Suresh v.State of Bihar, (2003) 4 SCC 128), Apren Joseph v. State
of Kerala, (1973) 2 SCR 16); Hira Lal v. Delhi Administration, (1973) 3 SCC
398), Uma Shankar v. State of Bihar, (2005) 10 SCC 336).
our view, similar course needs to be adopted. In the circumstances, by applying
the decision in Vajrapu's case (supra), the conviction of the appellant is
altered to Section 304 Part I, IPC and 10 years' custodial sentence with fine
as was imposed by the High Court would meet the ends of justice, since the
accused appellant stands on similar footing with the other accused persons who
were the appellants in Criminal Appeal No.229 of 2003.
appeal is allowed.