Guru Dev Singh Vs. State
present appeal is directed against the judgment and order passed by the Madhya
Pradesh High Court convicting the appellant herein under Section 302 read with
Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code [for short "IPC"] as also under Section
323 read with Section 34 of IPC sentencing the appellant to undergo imprisonment
for life under Section 302/34 for committing murder with a fine of Rs. 5,000/-
and in default of payment of fine further to undergo one year additional rigorous
facts leading to the filing of First Information Report and the present case/appeal
are that on 18.11.1986 the complainant-Hardev Singh lodged a written complaint which
was exhibited in the trial as Exhibit P.1 in the Police Station-Pichhore contending
inter alia that his brother Bhola Singh alias Kamal who was residing in Village
Sarnagat had gone to Janakpur via Village Badera to purchase seeds of chana on 17.11.1986
along with Sukhdev Singh and that at about 8.00 p.m. when they reached near the
tapra of Dilip Singh, Raju, son of Dilip Singh, armed with kirpan [sword]; Baldev
armed with lathi and Chhidda alias Gurudev armed with lohangi met them.
It was also stated
therein that accused Baldev and Bhola Singh had enmity towards each other as Bhola
Singh wanted the sister of Baldev to marry Lakkha Singh but Baldev did not want
the same and because of that the accused persons attacked Bhola Singh and Suveg
Singh whereupon both of them were injured. It was alleged that Bhola Singh fell
down due to the serious injuries sustained by him whereas Suveg Singh after
being injured ran away to save himself and told this fact to Hardev Singh. Thereupon
Hardev Singh alongwith his brother Billa, Bhiru and Suveg Singh returned back to
the place of occurrence to save Bhola Singh alias Kamal but they could not find
him at the place of occurrence and that only in the morning they could find the
dead body of Bhola Singh in the nala near the tapra of Dilip Singh.
The dead body of the decease
was then taken out whereupon it was found that the deceased was injured by sharp
edged and hard and blunt objects. Consequently, the First Information Report
was lodged by Hardev Singh on the basis of which a criminal case was registered
being Crime No. 193/1986. The police after investigation filed challan against the
accused persons, viz., Baldev Singh, Chhidda alias Gurudev Singh and Raju for the
commission of offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 and under Section
307 read with Section 34 of the IPC.
transpires from the records that the accused persons also lodged a complaint with
the police regarding the incident contending inter alia that Bhola Singh and Suveg
Singh attacked the accused persons and injured them. However, the medical report
submitted in support of the said contention indicates that the injuries suffered
by the accused persons in the present case were simple in nature.
the basis of the charge sheet filed as against the appellant and also two other
accused persons the case was committed to the Sessions Court. Evidence was
adduced by the prosecution, on completion of which, the statement of the accused
under Section 313 Cr.P.C. was also recorded.
learned Sessions Judge after perusing the evidence on record passed an order of
conviction against the accused for commission of offence under Section 302/34 and
Section 307/34 of the IPC and passed an order of sentence to undergo life
imprisonment for the offence under Section 302/34 IPC and also imposed fine of Rs.
5,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to further undergo one year additional
rigorous imprisonment. The Sessions Court also passed an order of sentence
under Section 307/34 of the IPC ordering the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment
for seven years and also imposed fine of Rs. 2,000/- and in default in payment
of fine, to further undergo six months' additional rigorous imprisonment.
aggrieved by the aforesaid judgment and order of conviction passed by the
Sessions Judge, Raju and the present appellant filed appeals before the High Court
of Madhya Pradesh. We are informed that one of the accused, viz., Baldev Singh had
died in the meantime. The High Court took up the appeals filed by Raju and the present
appellant for consideration and by a judgment and order dated 03.08.2007 maintained
the order of conviction of the accused persons, including the appellant herein,
under Section 302/34 IPC and also maintained the sentence of imprisonment passed
against them. The High Court, however, set aside the conviction under Section 307/34
IPC and instead the accused persons were convicted under Section 323/34 IPC, for
which, no separate sentence was passed as they were already convicted for life under
Section 302/34 IPC.
against the aforesaid judgment and order the present appeal is filed only by
Gurudev Singh. We are informed at the Bar that accused Raju has not filed any
appeal as against his order of conviction and sentence. Therefore, in the present
appeal we are concerned only with the order of conviction and sentence passed by
the Sessions Judge and confirmed by the High Court under Section 302/34 of the
IPC as against the present appellant, Sri Guru Dev Singh.
appearing for the appellant submitted that the evidence/statements of Suveg
Singh [PW-1] and Lakkha Singh [PW-2], who were stated to be eye-witnesses to the
said incident, cannot be relied upon as there are vital discrepancies in their evidence.
It was also submitted that PW-1 is an interested witness for he was also a
party to the fight wherein there was a mutual maarpit/fight between the parties
in which even the accused persons received injuries for which no explanation has
been submitted by the prosecution and, therefore, the order of conviction and
sentence passed against the appellant is liable to be set aside. He also submitted
that even if the evidence adduced by the prosecution is to be believed, the accused
is protected under Exceptions provided under Section 300 IPC for there was
provocation from the side of the complainant party and that due to such
provocation, the incident occurred due to sudden fight between the parties.
aforesaid contentions of the counsel appearing for the appellant were refuted by
the counsel appearing for the State who contended inter alia that the injuries received
by the accused were very simple in nature whereas the injuries inflicted on the
deceased were very serious in nature and were inflicted on the vital parts of the
body of the deceased and, therefore, there was a clear intention on the part of
the accused persons to kill and murder the deceased and that even the injuries received
by PW-1 were also serious in nature but he could save himself from the vital
blows by fleeing away from the place of occurrence.
was also a contention on behalf of the appellant regarding the delay in filing the
First Information Report. The said contention was also refuted by the counsel appearing
for the respondent contending inter alia that the deceased was not traceable and,
therefore, the complainant and his relations were busy throughout the night trying
to locate Bhola Singh alias Kamal and that the First Information Report was lodged
only after the dead body of the deceased was found in the morning of 18.11.1986
from the nala near the tapra of Dilip Singh. Therefore, it was submitted that there
was sufficient explanation for the delay in filing the aforesaid First Information
have considered the aforesaid submissions put forward by the counsel appearing for
the parties in the light of the documents placed on records.
Singh [PW-1] is an injured witness and, therefore, an eye-witness to the
occurrence. He has given vivid description as to how the incident has taken
place. He has clearly stated that there was no provocation on the part of
complainant party, and that the provocation in fact came from the side of the
accused persons. He clearly stated that when he along with Bhola Singh alias
Kamal was returning back from the shop where they had gone to purchase seed of chana
and when they reached near the tapara of Dilip Singh at about 8.00 p.m. they found
accused Baldev Singh armed with lathi, Chhidda alias Gurudev armed with lohangi
and Raju armed with kirpan.
It was also stated by
him that all the three accused persons surrounded him and Bhola Singh alias Kamal
and Baldev Singh told that his sister was engaged in Village-Salaiya and Bhola
Singh was mediator in the said engagement. He has also stated in his evidence that
all the accused persons were opposing the proposed engagement and so they asked
Bhola Singh alias Kamal to cancel the marriage which Bhola Singh refused, whereupon
Chhidda alias Gurudev, Raju and Baldev Singh attacked both Bhola Singh and him and
caused vital injuries on different parts of the body of the deceased as also on
is a categorical statement of PW-1, the eye-witness, that the present appellant-Chhidda
alias Gurudev Singh and other accused persons caused serious injuries on the
head and body of the deceased by inflicting injuries by weapons like lohangi,
kirpan and lathi which they were carrying with them. It was also stated by him
that Chhidda alias Gurudev Singh, the present appellant, gave PW 1 a blow of lathi
on his hand while Baldev gave him a blow of lathi on his waist/back and the
third blow was given by Chidda on his back, after being so hit and on the realizing
that the accused persons would kill him he ran away from the place of
occurrence and reported the matter to his father Pyarasingh who came along with
him and other persons to the place of occurrence but they could not find Bhola Singh
after searching throughout the night. They could find the dead body of Bhola Singh
only on the morning of 18.11.1986 in a nala near the tapra of Dilip Singh
whereupon they returned back to Janakpur and lodged the report.
Singh [PW-2], who is also an eye-witness to the said occurrence, has clearly stated
that all the three accused persons hit Bhola on his head, hands and legs and also
hit Suveg Singh [PW-1] when he tried to rescue Bhola Singh whereupon Suveg
Singh ran away from the spot. He also stated that Baldev Singh, Gurdev Singh and
Raju lifted Bhola Singh and took him towards the nala. This eye-witness has further
stated that he further followed them stealthily by remaining 8-10 steps behind them
and then the accused persons threw Bhola Singh in the nala and at that time
also Bhola Singh was crying and pleading with the accused persons but Baldev
Singh again beat Bhola Singh there with lathis and accused Chidda alias Gurdip Singh
beat Bhola Singh with lohangi. Thereafter accused Raju said that Bhola Singh is
dead now and thereupon all the accused persons left the body of Bhola Singh
there and went away towards their tapras. Thereafter he [PW-2] returned back to
his Village-Sarnagat and on the next day he went to the Village-Janakpur and
narrated the facts to Hardev Singh.
aforesaid statement of the two eye-witnesses, viz., PWs 1 & 2, are also
supported by the proved medical evidence of Dr. B.D. Sharma [PW-7] in the present
case. The post mortem report of the dead body was conducted by Dr. B.D. Sharma
on 18.11.1986 which indicates that there were as many as 21 injuries on the deceased
which are in the nature of lacerated wounds as well as contusion on the skull
and other parts of the body. The injuries caused on the skull which is in the
nature of lacerated wound and also contusion over skull are all very deep. Other
injuries were also found to be very serious in nature and were caused by sharp cutting
hard and blunt weapon. It is thus established from the aforesaid post mortem report
that the deceased would have received injuries from sword as also from lathi
and lohangi. The nature of the injuries caused to the deceased would prove and establish
that the aforesaid injuries were caused with the intention of killing the deceased.
was also established from the records that the sword as also the lohangi and lathi,
the weapons used during the incident, have been recovered at the instance of the
accused persons and on the basis of the statements made by the accused persons leading
to their discovery which are cogent and admissible evidence in the present
the aforesaid medical evidence of PW-7 is read along with post mortem report
and the statements of PWs 1 & 2, who were stated to be eye-witnesses, as also
the statements of the accused persons leading to the discovery, which are
admissible in evidence, it is clearly established that the deceased received serious
injuries on account of the blows of the sword, lathi and lohangi used by the
accused persons due to which Bhola Singh died.
B.D. Sharma [PW-7] has stated in his evidence that he found 21 injuries on the
body of the deceased and that in his opinion 8 injuries were on the head of the
deceased, which resulted in Subdurel Hemotoma and Coma. He clearly stated in his
evidence that the deceased died due to the head injuries and that the said injuries
were sufficient to cause death in normal course of nature.
all the aforesaid injuries proved through the medical evidence are also supported
by the oral testimony of two eye-witnesses, viz., PWs 1 & 2.
Singh [PW-4], who is a witness to the recovery of lathi, lohangi and kirpan has
clearly stated that on the basis of the statements made by the accused persons the
aforesaid weapons were recovered from the places shown by the accused persons. Therefore,
the aforesaid evidence also proves the allegation made against the accused persons
including the present appellant.
defence that was also raised by the counsel appearing for the appellant was that
the aforesaid incident had taken place as a result of provocation on the part of
deceased and PW-1 because of which a sudden fight had developed and thus the
appellant is protected under one of the exceptions provided under Section 300
of the IPC.
regard to this plea of the accused it seems that Exceptions I and IV to Section
300 of the IPC are sought to be taken advantage of by the accused in this case.
For dealing with such plea raised on behalf of the accused person we may extract
the said exceptions to Section 300 IPC, which are as under: -
When culpable homicide is not murder. Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender,
whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes
the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any
other person by mistake or accident.
Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in a
sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender
having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner."
regard to law dealing with Exception I to Section 300 we may refer to the case of
K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra reported in AIR 1962 SC 605 in which this
Court held that following conditions must be complied with for the application
of Exception I to Section 300 of the IPC: - (1) the deceased must have given provocation
to the accused, (2) the provocation must be grave, (3) the provocation must be
sudden, (4) the offender, by reason of the said provocation, shall have been deprived
of his power of self-control, (5) he should have killed the deceased during the
continuance of the deprivation of the power of self-control and (6) the
offender must have caused the death of the person who gave the provocation or
that of any other person by mistake or accident.
regard to Exception IV to Section 300 we may refer to the case of Kulesh Mondal
v. The State of West Bengal reported in (2007) 8 SCC 578 in which this Court
residuary plea relates to the applicability of Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC, as
it is contended that the incident took place in course of a sudden quarrel.
13. For bringing it in
operation it has to be established that the act was committed without premeditation,
in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel without the
offender having taken undue advantage and not having acted in a cruel or
the case of Babulal Bhagwan Khandare & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra reported
in (2005) 10 SCC 404 this Court detailed the law relating to Exception I and IV
to Section 300 IPC in following terms: -
"17. The fourth
exception of Section 300 IPC covers acts done in a sudden fight. The said
exception deals with a case of prosecution (sic provocation) not covered by the
first exception, after which its place would have been more appropriate. The
exception is founded upon the same principle, for in both there is absence of premeditation.
But, while in the case of Exception 1 there is total deprivation of self-control,
in case of Exception 4, there is only that heat of passion which clouds men's
sober reason and urges them to deeds which they would not otherwise do.
There is provocation
in Exception 4 as in Exception 1; but the injury done is not the direct consequence
of that provocation. In fact Exception 4 deals with cases in which
notwithstanding that a blow may have been struck, or some provocation given in
the origin of the dispute or in whatever way the quarrel may have originated, yet
the subsequent conduct of both parties puts them in respect of guilt upon equal
footing. A "sudden fight" implies mutual provocation and blows on each
side. The homicide committed is then clearly not traceable to unilateral provocation,
nor in such cases could the whole blame be placed on one side. For if it were so,
the exception more appropriately applicable would be Exception
18. The help of
Exception 4 can be invoked if death is caused (a) without premeditation; (b) in
a sudden fight; (c) without the offender's having taken undue advantage or acted
in a cruel or unusual manner; and (d) the fight must have been with the person killed.
To bring a case within Exception 4, all the ingredients mentioned in it must be
found. It is to be noted that the "fight" occurring in Exception 4 to
Section 300 IPC is not defined in IPC. It takes two to make a fight. Heat of passion
requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down and in this case,
the parties had worked themselves into a fury on account of the verbal altercation
in the beginning.
A fight is a combat
between two and more persons whether with or without weapons. It is not possible
to enunciate any general rule as to what shall be deemed to be a sudden quarrel.
It is a question of fact and whether a quarrel is sudden or not must necessarily
depend upon the proved facts of each case. For the application of Exception 4,
it is not sufficient to show that there was a sudden quarrel and there was no premeditation.
It must further be shown that the offender has not taken undue advantage or acted
in a cruel or unusual manner. The expression "undue advantage" as
used in the provision means "unfair advantage".
19. Where the offender
takes undue advantage or has acted in a cruel or unusual manner, the benefit of
Exception 4 cannot be given to him. If the weapon used or the manner of attack by
the assailant is out of all proportion, that circumstance must be taken into consideration
to decide whether undue advantage has been taken. In Kikar Singh v. State of Rajasthan
it was held that if the accused used deadly weapons against the unarmed man and
struck a blow on the head it must be held that by using the blows with the knowledge
that they were likely to cause death he had taken undue advantage. ..........................."
defence of accused that his case is covered under one of the above Exceptions
to Section 300 is not corroborated by the evidence on record. On going through the
evidence on record we find that the provocation came from the side of the
accused and not from the deceased or PW-1. It was also not a sudden attack as it
was proved that the accused persons were armed with deadly weapons like, lohangi
and kirpan at the time of occurrence and in fact they surrounded the deceased and
the injured eye-witness, PW-1, and started giving blows of sword, lathi and lohangi
on the vital parts of the body with the intention of killing Bhola Singh. Therefore,
the argument that one of the above Exceptions to Section 300 of the IPC is attracted
in the instant case cannot be accepted on the face of the evidence on record.
far the submission with regard to delay in filing the first information report is
concerned, we are satisfied that there is proper explanation given by the
informant for the delay in filing such report. As the deceased was not found at
the place of occurrence, the informant with PW1 was trying to locate the deceased
throughout the night and only after tracing him out in the nala and being sure of
his death filed the information immediately thereafter. The aforesaid explanation
appeals to us as reasonable.
the entire evidence on record, we are satisfied that the appellant is guilty of
the offence committed under Section 302/34 of the IPC as also under Section 323
/34 of the IPC and, therefore, the order of conviction and sentence passed by
the High Court of Madhya Pradesh against him is found to be justified. We,
therefore, find no merit in this appeal which is dismissed.
[Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]
[Anil R. Dave]