State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. Jai Dutt

Facts

According to the prosecution, Bhojraj hired a tractor from Sharma to plough his agricultural plot. There was a dispute about payment to the owner of the tractor, and the owner of the tractor filed a complaint with Pulandar Singh, who reportedly abused the deceased. When the deceased was working in his agricultural field about 4-5 days after the previous incident, the four accused arrived and began abusing him. The accused persons are also said to have battered Ram Autar (deceased). Accused Jai Dutt was armed with a pestle, accused Lal Bahadur was armed with a spear, and the remaining two defendants, Sher Singh and Shashtri, were armed with clubs. prosecution witnesses-1, Bhoj Raj, and prosecution witnesses-2, Sone Lal, both observed the fight occurrence. The incident occurred at 7:00 a.m. on December 20, 1983, and prosecution witnesses-1, Bhoj Raj reported the case to the police at 10:15 a.m. against all the accused parties. All of the accused defendants were charged with violating Sections 323, 504, and 506 of the IPC based on this report. Ram Autar, who had been seriously injured, was sent to a Lucknow hospital, where he died of his injuries after six days of the incident that is, on December 26, 1983, about 9:45 p.m. An investigation was held on the deceased's body on December 27, 1983, and the body was sent for a postmortem on the same day by prosecution witnesses-8, Dr. P.R Mishra.


Issue

The accused were found guilty under Section 302 IPC[1] by the Trial Court in this case. The Allahabad High Court changed the conviction to Section 326 IPC[2] after partially accepting the appeal. The deceased died after six days, according to the High Court, and there was no fracture on the corpse's head. The State argued in its appeal to the Supreme Court that the High Court's reasoning for transferring the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC was absurd.


Trial Court Judgment

The trial court found Jai Dutt guilty of violating Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to life in jail. Other defendants Lal Bahadur, Sher Singh, and Shastri were also convicted of crimes under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC and sentenced to life in jail by the learned trial court.

All of the accused, feeling offended and dissatisfied with the learned trial Court's decision and order of conviction, filed a criminal appeal before the High Court. Accused Lal Bahadur and Sher Singh died while the appeal was pending. As a result, the appeal relating to those individuals has been withdrawn.


Criminal Appeal before the Allahabad High Court and Judgment

The High Court, by the impugned judgment and order, has partly allowed the said appeal qua rest of the accused Jai Dutt and Shastri and has converted the conviction from Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC[3] to Section 326 IPC, based on the fact that the deceased died six days after the incident and no fracture of the head was discovered. The High Court imposed a two-year sentence for the offense under Section 326 IPC purely on the basis that the occurrence occurred 36 years ago and that a two-year sentence would be sufficient to fulfill the goals of justice.

The State filed an appeal with the Supreme Court because the High Court's reasoning for transferring the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC is irrational, according to the plaintiffs.


Judgment of the Supreme Court

The bench, which included Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna, found that a damage to the head qualifies as an injury to an essential portion of the body for purposes of Section 302 IPC.

The bench noted that the High Court did not examine the injuries listed in the post mortem report, which said that the head injury was deadly and that the deceased died as a result of the injuries. The court went on to say that the fact that the dead died after six days could not be used to overturn the conviction under Section 302 IPC and convert it to Section 326 IPC. The bench made the following observation:

"Another reason provided by the High Court for converting the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 326 IPC is that no head fracture was discovered." It is important to emphasize, however, that the deceased died as a result of internal injuries. According to the post mortem investigation and medical proof, a head injury was discovered. The first head injury is shown above. On accessing the brain, Dr. P.R. Mishra – PW8, who did the post mortem, observed brain congestion, subdural hematoma over both temporal lobes, according to his deposition. As a result, just because no fracture was detected and/or found does not exempt the case from Section 302 IPC where the dead died as a result of head injury no.1. As previously stated, injuring the head is considered to constitute injuring an essential part of the body, and so a clear case of Section 302 IPC has been formed and proven. As a result, the learned trial court correctly convicted the accused of Section 302 IPC and Section 302/34 IPC offenses."4

As a result, the bench upheld the Trial Court's decision convicting the accused of a crime punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The bench said, "We struggle to see how the case would fall under Section 326 IPC when the deceased died as a result of severe bodily harm and the injuries were to a crucial portion of the body head."

[1] Punishment for murder.—Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or 1[imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine. [2] Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means—Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 335, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used as a weapon of offense, is likely to cause death, or by means of fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or any corrosive substance, or by means of any explosive substance, or by means of any substance which it is deleterious to the human body to inhale, to swallow, or to re ceive into the blood, or by means of any animal, shall be puni shed with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. [3] Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.—When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone. 4 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 72



This article is written by Jyoti Choudhary of UWSL Karnavati University,Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

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