Ramesh Kumar Vs. Ram Kumar & Ors
 INSC 92 (26 April 1984)
REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA (J) REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA
(J) SEN, A.P. (J) VENKATARAMIAH, E.S. (J)
CITATION: 1984 AIR 1029 1984 SCR (3) 640 1984
SCC (3) 90 1984 SCALE (1)650
Indian Penal Code-S. 302 read with S.
34-Accused convicted and sentenced u/s. 302/34-Accused made gift of land to
widow for loss of life of her husband-High Court acquitted one accused and
converted conviction of other to one under s. 304. High Court Judgment-Whether
The two respondents were convicted under s.
302 read with s. 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment
by the sessions Judge. On appeal, the High Court was informed that both the
parties were closely related and they had come to some sort of arrangement
under which one accused had made a gift of some land to the widow as
compensation for the loss of life of her husband. The High Court acquitted one
of the accused and converted the conviction of the other from one under s. 302
to one under s. 304 and reduced the sentence to two years. The so called
arrangement between the parties was the only reason for what the High Court
Setting aside the judgment of the High Court
and remanding the matter for rehearing, this Court,
HELD: The entire system of administration of
Criminal justice is reduced to a mockery by the judgment of the High Court. If
it is upheld, it is as if a person who can afford to make gifts of land or
money to the heirs of the victim may get away even with a charge of murder.
Courts are to dispense justice, not to dispense with justice. And, justice to
be dispensed is not palm-tree justice or idiosyncratic justice. The judgment of
the High Court cannot stand a second's scrutiny. [641 H; 642 A-B]
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal
1012 of 1984.
(Appeals by Special leave from the Judgment
and Order dated the 1st September, 1983 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in
Crl. Appeal No. 291 DB of 1983, DB of 1983 & Crl.
Rev. No. 627 of 1983.) Gopal Subramanium and
S.K. Sabarwal for the Appellant.
641 Kawaljit Kochar and J.D. Kain for the
Respondent No. 1.
Miss Lily Thomas, for Respondent No. 2.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
CHINNAPPA REDDY, J. We are very unhappy about the judgment of the High Court.
Both the respondents were convicted by the learned First Additional Sessions
Judge of Kurukshetra under s. 302 read with s. 34 of the Indian Penal Code and
each of them was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life. On appeal, for
very strange reasons, the High Court acquitted the first respondent and
converted the conviction of the second respondent to one under s 304-A.I.
P. C. and reduced the sentence to two years'
rigorous imprisonment. What the High Court said speaks for itself.
This is what the High Court said:
"However, we are told by the learned
counsel for the parties that they being closely related some members of the
village have intervened and have brought about some sort of arrangement under
which Ram Kumar appellant has already made a gift of three acres of land in
favour of Smt. Maya Devi widow of Chander Shekhar as compensation on account of
the loss of life of her husband. Though this is not a matter which can be taken
notice of by this Court, yet it has always been our desire to see that enmity
between close relations should be encouraged to come to an end. Since the
father of Ramesh Kumar (P.W. 6) had lost his life, he could possibly have
indulged in some exaggeration to magnify the nature of the offence. In the
circumstances, we give benefit of doubt to Ram Kumar appellant and acquit him.
We convert the conviction of Ratna appellant from one under section 302 to one
under section 304-A, Indian Penal Code and Sentence him to undergo to years
rigorous imprisonment Ram Kumar appellant is on bail. His bail bond shall stand
discharged." We can only say that the judgment of the High Court has left
us shocked and perplexed. We are at a total loss to understand it. The entire
system of administration of Criminal justice is reduced to a mockery. If the
judgment of the High Court is upheld, it is as if a person who can afford to
make gifts of land or money to the heirs of the victim may get away even with a
charge of murder.
642 Courts are to dispense justice, not to dispense
with justice. And, justice to be dispensed is not palm-tree justice or
idiosyncratic justice. The judgment cannot stand a second's scrutiny. It is
accordingly set aside and the matter is remanded to the High Court so that the
Criminal appeals and revision may be reheard. On behalf of the accused a very
curious request was made, that the land gifted by the father of the accused to
the widow of the deceased may be directed to be returned to the father of the
accused. We take no notice of the gift and we reject the request.
H.S.K. Appeals allowed.