Case: Ramanugrah Singh Vs The King Emperor. High Court of Bombay (India)

JudgesThankerton, Porter, Du Parcq, Madhavan Nair and John Beaumont, JJ.
IssueCriminal Procedure Code (Act V of 1898) - Section 307
Citation1946 (48) BomLR 768
Judgement DateJune 18, 1946
CourtHigh Court of Bombay (India)


Thankerton, J.

1. There seems to be nothing in the High Court judgment that shows that no reasonable jury could have come to the conclusion on the facts that this jury found.]

2. To sum up I say that the appeal should be dismissed, because even if the right test had been applied, the High Court would have still reached the verdict that they did. Secondly, the jury's finding cannot be supported on the evidence. It was at least perverse of the jury to say that at least culpable homicide was not proved, when the shot was fired at a distance of only 67 feet. Lastly, if your Lordships do not accept my construction of Section 307, or are of the opinion that the wrong test; has been applied, then your Lordships should send it back to the High Court with directions as to the proper test to be applied under Section 307.

John Beaumont, J.

3. This is an appeal by special leave from an order of the High Court of Judicature at Patna made on February 21, 1925, convicting the appellant upon a charge of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to transportation for life. By the same order the High Court convicted the appellant upon two charges under Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code of voluntarily causing hurt by shooting, and sentenced him upon each of these charges to three years' rigorous imprisonment. This appeal relates only to the conviction under Section 302.

4. The judgment of the High Court was given upon a reference made by the Sessions Judge of Patna under Section 307 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the matter to be determined in this appeal relates to the duties and powers of a High Court in India upon such a reference. The question has frequently been considered by High Courts in India, but has not been the subject-so far as their Lordships are aware-of a ruling by this Board,

5. When the matter first came before the Court, the Sub-divisional Magistrate who dealt with it discharged the appellant and the other accused, being of opinion that the prosecution evidence was such that no Court would be likely to convict upon it. This order of discharge was upheld in appeal by Mr. Salisbury, the then Sessions Judge of Patna; but on an application in revision to the High Court at Patna, that Court took the view that the evidence disclosed a prima facie case, and ordered the commitment of the appellant under Sections 302 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code, and of the appellant and certain other persons under Section 201. Accordingly the Magistrate framed charges against the appellant, first, of committing the murder of Nanku Mahton, being an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code; secondly, of causing hurt to Rajinder Singh by shooting him, being an offence under Section 324; thirdly, of causing hurt to Sital Singh by shooting him, being an offence under Section 324. There was also a charge under Section 201 of causing evidence of the murder to disappear, but nothing turns upon this since the High Court recorded no conviction upon it.

6. The case was tried before Mr. S. K. Das, the then Sessions Judge of Patna, and a jury. On August 26, 1944, the jury returned their verdict, and by a majority of five to two acquitted the appellant upon the charge of murder under Section 302, and by a majority of four to three convicted him upon the two charges under Section 324. The Sessions Judge was dissatisfied with the verdict of the jury upon the charge of murder brought against the appellant, and, being clearly of opinion that it was necessary for the ends of justice to do so, submitted the case of the appellant to the High Court under Section 307 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It appears from the judgment delivered by the learned Cessions Judge and from his letter of reference, that he thought that the jury, in convicting the appellant under Section 324, had accepted in substance the ease for the prosecution, and that the acquittal of the appellant under Section 302 rendered the verdict self-contradictory. But the case cannot be disposed of on so simple a basis. No doubt in convicting the appellant under Section 324, the jury must be taken to have rejected the evidence of alibi set up by the appellant, and they may also be taken to have rejected the version of the shooting suggested by the reference in cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses, though supported by no substantive evidence, that the killing of Nanku Mahton and the wounding of Bajinder Singh and Sital Singh were the work of Jodhi Singh, the father "f the appellant, acting in self-defence, and that the shooting took place in the dalan of Jodhi's bungalow. But there is no inherent contradiction in the jury holding that there was satisfactory evidence...

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