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" A First Appeal In A Murder Case Cannot Be Dealt With In This Fashion': Supreme Court On HC's Dismissal Of Criminal Appeal In Four Lines

Sohini Chowdhury
14 Jan 2022 4:43 AM GMT
 A First Appeal In A Murder Case Cannot Be Dealt With In This Fashion: Supreme Court On HCs Dismissal Of Criminal Appeal In Four Lines
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On Thursday (6th January) the Supreme Court observed that the first appeal from a conviction in a murder case could not have been dismissed after recording the conclusion in general terms and in just four lines. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh set aside the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and remitted the matter back for...

On Thursday (6th January) the Supreme Court observed that the first appeal from a conviction in a murder case could not have been dismissed after recording the conclusion in general terms and in just four lines.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh set aside the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and remitted the matter back for due consideration.

Prosecution's Case

The appellant had inflicted axe blows on the neck and cheek of the brother of the complainant, who had succumbed to the injuries. In the FIR, the motive was attributed to a squabble between the parties that took place when they were in an inebriated condition four days ago. FIR was lodged. The police reached the spot and took the case property into possession. The appellant was arrested and he made a disclosure statement leading to recovery of the weapon and clothes, which were stained with blood as per the FSL report. As per the post mortem report the death was due to hemorrhagic shock caused by the cut on his neck.

Decision of the High Court

The High Court briefly noted the testimony of the doctor, who conducted the post mortem; the Sub-inspector who recorded the statement of constable, draftsman and the photographer; the complainant; an uncle of the deceased present at the site of the murder; the draftsman, who prepared the site plan; the photographer; the Sub-Inspector who lodged the FIR based on the complaint. It also took note of the FSL Report. Thereafter, narrating the prosecution's case in brief, the High Court concluded that the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and on proper appraisal of evidence, the trial court convicted the accused and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 10,000. The High Court held -

"The prosecution has proved its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt. There is a correct appraisal of the evidence by the learned trial court. There is no reason for us to interfere with the well-reasoned judgment of the learned trial court."

The Court had further canceled the bail and surety bonds and directed the appellant to surrender before the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate to undergo the remaining part of the sentence.

Decision of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court was perturbed to observe that after briefly mentioning the testimony of the witnesses, the High Court had recorded the conclusion in four lines in the most general terms and dismissed the appeal assailing the order of conviction passed by the trial court under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code sentencing the appellant to undergo life imprisonment.

It was observed by the Apex Court that the appellant being more than 80 years of age had been exempted by its earlier order from surrendering and was also enlarged on bail during the course of proceedings before the High Court.

The Court clarified that the appellant would continue to be on bail as per the order dated 22.04.2020, but with the modification that he would be required to report to the police station on the first Monday of every month before noon.

Case Name: Mehtab Singh v. State of Haryana

Case No. and Date: Criminal Appeal No. 41 of 2022 | 6 Jan 2022

Corum: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh

Counsel for the appellant: Senior Advocate, Mr. Rameshwar Singh Malik, Advocates, Mr. Jitesh Malik, Ms. Anisha Dahiya and Advocate-on-Record Mr. Satish Kumar

Counsel for the respondent: Advocate-on-Record, Dr. Monika Gusain

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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