& Anr Vs. Sukhbir Singh & Ors  INSC 242 (25 August 1988)
K.J. (J) Shetty, K.J. (J) Oza, G.L. (J)
1988 AIR 2127 1988 SCR Supl. (2) 571 1988 SCC (4) 551 JT 1988 (3) 711 1988
Procedure Code, 1973: Section 357-order to pay compensation-All Courts to
exercise this power liberally to meet ends of justice-Reasonable period for
payment may be given-If necessary payment by installments.
of Offenders Act, 1958: Many offenders-Not dangerous criminals- Weak characters
who have surrendered to temptation or provocation-Court placing such offenders
on probation-Protects them from possible contamination by prison.
persons were convicted under sections 307/149, 325/l49, 3231/149 and 148 IPC
and sentenced to undergo R.Z. from one year to three years. The High Court
acquitted two of all charges, and five of the offence under s. 307/149 while
maintaining their conviction and sentence under s. 325/149,
s. 323/149 and s. 148. They were however released on probation of good conduct.
Each one of them was ordered to pay compensation of Rs. 2,500 to Joginder who
was seriously injured and whose power of speech was permanently impaired.
this Court the appellant contended that the intention of the five accused was
obviously to commit murder of Joginder and their acquittal under s. 3O7 IPC was
of the appeal, it was,
(1) Under s. 307 IPC 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 that section. The intention or knowledge must be such as is
necessary to constitute murder. Without this ingredient being established there
can be no offence of"attempt to murder". Under s. 307 the intention
precedes the act attributed to accused. Therefore, the intention is to be
gathered from all circumstances, and not merely from the consequences that
ensue. In this case, the respondents had no intention to commit murder. They had
no motive either. [575F-G] PG NO 571 PG NO 572
Many offenders are not dangerous criminals but are weak characters or who have
surrendered to temptation or provocation. In placing such type of offenders on
probation the Court encourages their own sense of responsibility for their
future and protects them from the stigma and possible contamination of prison.
this case, the High Court has observed that there was no previous history of
enmity between the parties and the occurrence was an outcome of a sudden flare
up. The accused had no intention to commit murder of any person.
the extension of benefit of the beneficial legislation applicable to first
offenders cannot be said to be inappropriate. l576D-E]
Section 357 empowers the Court to award compensation to victims while passing
judgment of conviction. This power of Courts to award compensation to victims
is not ancillary to other sentences but it is in addition thereto. This power
is intended to do something to reassure the victim that he or she is not
forgotten in the criminal justice system. It is recommended to all Courts to
exercise this power liberally so as to meet the ends of justice in a better
The payment by way of compensation must be reasonable. What is reasonable may
depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, e.g. the nature of crime,
the justness of claim by the victim and the ability of the accused to pay etc.
On these considerations the Court enhanced the compensation to Rs. 50,000.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 74 & 75 of 1986.
the Judgment and Order dated 13.11.1984 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Crl. Appeal No. 128-SP of 1984.
R.C. Kohli and D.D. Sharma for the Appellant in Crl. A. No. 74 of 1984.
and Mahabir Singh for the appellant in Crl. A. No. 75 of 1984.
R.S. Yadav and H.M. Singh for the Respondents.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by PG NO 573 JAGANNATH SHETTY, J. These two
appeals, by special leave, are directed against a judgment of the High Court of
Punjab & Haryana in Criminal Appeal No. 128-SP of 1984. The common
respondents in the appeals. were prosecuted for various offenses in the court
of Additional Sessions judge, Faridkot. By judgment dated February 28,1984 learned Judge convicted and
sentenced the accused as follows:
in view the circumstances of the case and the part played by each of them I,
hereby sentence Sukhbir, Sukhpal and Surat Singh accused to undergo R.I. for
four years u/s 307/149 IPC. Each of Om Pal, Dhan Pal, Mannu and Siri Chand are
ordered to undergo R.I. for three year. u/s 307/149 IPC.
of the seven accused are further ordered to undergo R.I. for one year 148 IPC,
two years R.I. u/s 325 149 IPC and one year R. I. s/u 323/149 IPC.
in view the circumstances of the case. all the sentences shall run
concurrently. '' The accused appealed t the High Court challenging the
conviction and sentence. The High Court by the judgment under appeals acquitted
Sukhpal Singh and Surat singh of all charges by giving them
the benefit of doubt. The other accused who are respondents herein are also
acquitted of the offence under s. 307/149 and s. 148 IPC. There conviction and
sentence under s. 325/149, 323/149 and s. 148 IPC are however. maintained. They
are released on probation of good conduct. Each one of them, is ordered to pay
compensation of Rs. 2,500 to Joginder who was seriously injured in the
incident. In default to pay the compensation they are directed to serve their
sentence. The operative portion of the judgment runs like this:
is no previous history of enmity between to parties. The occurrence is the
outcome of a sudden flare up.
think, these five appellants namely Sukhbir Singh Dhanpal, Mannu, Siri Chand
and Om Pal are entitled their benefit under s. 360 Cr. P.C. Consequently, I
suspend their sentence under s. 325/149, 323/149 and s. 148 IPC and order that
the appellants namely Sukhbir Singh, Dhan Pal Mannu. Siri Chand and Om Pal be
released on probation on their entering into bonds of Rs.3,000 each with one
surety in the like amount for a period of one year, to the satisfaction of the
trial PG NO 574 court, undertaking to appear in the court to receive the
sentence during the said period whenever called upon to do so and in the
meantime to keep peace and be of good behavior. However, each one of the
appellant would pay Rs.2,500 as compensation payable to Joginder injured.
if not paid within two months, the appellants namely Sukhbir Singh, Dhanpal. Mannu,
Siri Chand and Om Pal would be called upon to serve their sentence. But for
this modification, appeal fails and is hereby dismissed.
view of s. 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, no disqualification would attach
to the appellants due to this conviction.
Judge" Dt. November 13, l984 In these appeals, there is no serious dispute
with regard to acquittal of Sukhpal Singh and Surat Singh. The prosecution case
that they were armed with Barchha has not been proved. There was no incised
injury on the victim or any of the prosecution witnesses. Their participation
in the commission of crime therefore appears to be doubtful. The High Court was
justified in acquitting them.
for the appellants are, however, vary critical of the order of High Court with
regard to the remaining accused. It is urged that the High Court was too much
charitable to, them. The intention of accused was obviously to commit murder of
joginder. Their acquittal under s. 307 IPC is characterised as perverse. At any
rate, it is said that they ought not have been put on probation. It is an abuse
of the process of Court. They should have been properly sentenced by term of
imprisonment and fine. It is also urged that Joginder has sustained permanent
disability due to head injury and no amount of compensation would be adequate
for him except severe punishment to the accused as a general deterrence.
Counsel for the accused on the other hand, seeks to support the order of the
High Court in every respect.
light of the submissions, three questions arise consideration (i) whether the
respondents are not guilty of the offence under s. 307/149 IPC; (ii) whether
the High Court was justified in extending the benefit of s. 360 Cr.P.C. and
releasing the accused on probation of good conduct; and (iii) whether the
compensation awarded to PG NO 575 Joginder could be legally sustained, and if
so, what should be the proper compensation ? For a proper consideration of
these questions, we may summarise briefly the factual background: The rival
parties in this case are collaterals. On September 28, 1982 at about 8/9 a.m. they had an
altercation near the tubewell belonging to Hari Kishan. Joginder is the son of Hari
Kishan. Virender another injured in this case is nephew of Hari Kishan. Hari Kishan
was sitting near his tubewell. Virender and Joginder were sowing Berseem crop. The
accused carne from the side of the tubewell. They were armed with Ballams and Dangas.
One of them raised a Lalkara at which the accused attacked Virender and Joginder.
In the brawl that followed some of the accused were also injured. The injured
were removed to Civil Hospital, Ballabgarh. The Medical Officer there referred
them to Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. Finally., they landed themselves at the
AIIMS, New Delhi. They were examined by the Doctors. Virender was found to have
two injuries caused by blunt weapons. Joginder was found to have head injury.
Amongst the accused Siri Chand, Dhan Pal, Om Pal and Sukhbir Singh were
injured. They were medically examined in AIIMS or Safdarjung Hospital, New
Delhi. Siri Chand had four injuries including a fracture caused by blunt
weapon. that has been proved by Dr. Rita Sood (DW1). Dhan Pal and Om Pal each
had four injuries but simple. They were also, caused by blunt weapons. Dr. V.K.
Dhingra (DW 2) has spoken to that. Sukhbir singh had one incised wound on his
person. Dr.Anurag Saxena (DW 3) has testified.
first question as to acquittal of the accused under s.3O7/149 IPC, some
significant aspects may be borne in mind. Under s.307 IPC 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 that section. The intention
or knowledge or the accused must be such as is necessary constitute' murder.
Without this ingredient being established, there can be no offence of
"attempt to murder". Under s. 307 the intention precedes the act
attributed to accused. Therefore, the intention is to be gathered from all
circumstances, and not merely from the consequences that ensue. The nature of
the weapon used, manner in which it is used. motive for the crime,severity of
the blow, the part of the body where the injury is inflicted are some of the
factors that may be taken into consideration it,determine the intention. In
this case, two parties in the course of a fight inflicted on each other
injuries both serious and minor. The accused though armed with ballam never
used the sharp edge of it.
576 They used only the blunt side of it despite they being attacked by the
other side. They suffered injuries but not provoked or tempted to use the
cutting edge of the weapon.
very very significant. It seems to us that they had no intention to commit murder.
They had no motive either. The fight as the High Court has observed, might have
been a sudden flare up. Where the fight is accidental owing to a sudden
quarrel, the conviction under s. 307 is generally not called for. We,
therefore, see no reason to disturb the acquittal of accused under s. 307 IPC.
question next to be considered is whether the accused are entitled to the
benefit of probation of good conduct ? We gave our anxious consideration to the
contentions urged by counsel. We are of opinion that the High Court has not
committed any error in this regard also.
offenders are not dangerous criminals but are weak characters or who have
surrendered to temptation or provocation. In placing such type of offenders, on
probation, the Court encourages their own sense of responsibility for their
future and protect them from the stigma and possible contamination of prison. In
High Court has observed that there was no previous history of enmity between
the parties and the occurrence was an outcome of a sudden flare up. These are
not shown to be incorrect. We have already said that the accused had no
intention to commit murder of any person. Therefore,the extension of benefit of
the beneficial legislation applicable to first offenders cannot be said to be
takes us to, the third questions which we have formulated earlier in this
judgments. The High Court has directed each of the respondents to pay Rs. 2,500
as compensation to Joginder. The High Court has not referred to any provision
of law in support of the order of compensation. But that can be traced to s.
357 Cr. P.C.
357, leaving aside the unnecessary, provides :
Order to pay compensation :
When a court imposes a sentence of fine or a sentence (including a sentence of
death) of which fine forms a part,the Court may. when passing judgment. order
the whole or any part of the fine recovered to be applied- (a) in defraying the
expenses properly incurred in the prosecution;
577 (b) in the payment to any person of compensation for any loss or injury
caused by the offence. when compensation is in the opinion of the Court,
recoverable by such person in a civil Court;
XXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX (3) When a Court imposes a sentence, of which fine does
not not form a part, the Court may, when passing judgment.
the accused person to pay, by way of compensation.
amount as may be specified in the order to the person who has suffered any loss
or injury by reason of the act for which the accused person has been so
order under this section may also be made by an Appellate Court or by the High
Court or Court of Session when exercising its power of revision.
the time of awarding compensation in any subsequent civil suit relating to the
same matter. the Court shall take into account any sum paid or recovered as
compensation under this section." Sub-section (1) of Section 357 provides
power to award compensation to victims of the offence out of the sentence of
fine imposed on accused. In this case. we are not concerned with sub-section
(1). We are concerned only with sub-section (3). It is an important provision
but Courts have seldom invoked it. Perhaps due to ignorance of the object of
it. It empowers the Court to award compensation to victims while passing
judgment of conviction. In addition to conviction, the Court may order the
accused to pay some amount by way of compensation to victim who has suffered by
the action of accused. It may be noted that this power of Courts to award
compensation is not ancillary to other sentences but it is in addition thereto.
This power was intended to do something to re-assure the victim that he or she
is not forgotten in the criminal justice system. It is a measure of responding
appropriately to crime as well of reconciling the victim with the offender. It
is, to some extent. a constructive approach to, crimes. It is indeed a step
forward in our criminal justice system. We, therefore, recommend to all Courts
to exercise this power liberally so as to meet the ends of justice in a better
578 The payment by way of compensation must, however, be reasonable What is
reasonable, may depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The
quantum of compensation may be determined by taking into account the nature of
crime, the justness of claim by the victim and the ability of accused to pay.
If there are more than one accused they may be asked to pay in equal terms
unless their capacity to pay varies considerably. The payment may also vary
depending upon the acts of each accused. Reasonable period for payment of
compensation, if necessary by installments, may also be given. The Court may
enforce the order by imposing sentence in default.
in this case is an unfortunate victim. His power of speech has been permanently
impaired. Doctor has certified that he is unable to speak and that is why he
has not stepped into the witness box for the prosecution. The life long
disability of the victim ought not to be bye- passed by the Court. He must be
made to feel that the Court and accused have taken care of him. Any such
measure which would give him succor is far better than a sentence by
compensation awarded by the High Court, in our opinion, appears to be inadequate
having regard to the nature of injury suffered by Joginder. We have ascertained
the means of accused and their ability to pay further sum to the victim. We are
told that they are not unwilling to bear the additional burden. Mr. Lalit
learned counsel said that his clients are willing to pay any amount determined
by this Court. It is indeed a good gesture on the part of counsel and his
due regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case, we consider that
Rs.50,000 compensation to Joginder would meet the ends of justice. We direct
the respondents to pay the balance within two months in equal proportions.
order of the High Court is modified only to the extent of Compensation as
indicated above and in all other respects it is kept undisturbed. The appeals
are accordingly disposed of.
Appeals disposed of.