Latest Judgement of Supreme Court on Section 302

LATEST JUDGEMENT

New Delhi :- LATEST JUDGEMENT OVERVIEW

COURT NAME :- SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ( Division Bench – Two Judge)

JUDGEMENT NAME :- RAVINDER SINGH @ KAKU VERSUS STATE OF PUNJAB Appeal (Crl.), 1307 of 2019,

JUDGEMENT DATE : 4 May, 2022

RELATED SECTION :- INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

Section 302 – Punishment for murder

Section 120 B – Punishment of criminal conspiracy

Section 364 – Kidnapping or abducting in order to murder.

IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH :-

VINEET SARAN, J.

1. These appeals arise out of the judgment dated 22.02.2011 passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in a case in which two children namely; Aman Kumar and Om, aged about 10 years and 6 years respectively were kidnapped and murdered. There were three accused namely; Anita @ Arti (mother of the children) (A1); Ravinder Singh @ Kaku (A2) and Ranjit Kumar Gupta (A3). The Trial Court convicted all the three accused and sentenced them to death for the offence punishable under Section 302 read with 120B IPC and rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and fine of Rs.5000/each for the offence punishable under Section 364 IPC.

2. Being aggrieved by the Trial Court order, the present appellant filed a criminal appeal before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, which got tagged along with the criminal appeals filed by the other co-accused persons. The High Court, vide judgment dated 22.02.2011, acquitted Anita @Arti (A1) and Ranjit Kumar Gupta (A3) and partly allowed the appeal filed by Ravinder Singh @ Kaku (A2) and while setting aside the death penalty, sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 20 years under Section 302 IPC.

3. In light of the above, the electronic evidence produced before the High Court should have been in accordance with the statute and should have complied with the certification requirement, for it to be admissible in the court of law. As rightly stated above, Oral evidence in the place of such certificate, as is the case in the present matter, cannot possibly suffice as Section 65B(4) is a mandatory requirement of the law.

22. To conclude, the tripod stand of Motive, Last Seen Theory and Recovery, that supported the conviction of A2 according to the High Court, is found to be nonconclusive and the evidence supporting the conviction of A2 is marred with inconsistencies and contradictions, thereby making it impossible to sustain a conviction solely on such circumstantial evidence.

23. Accordingly, the appeal filed by the appellant Ravinder Singh(A2) i.e. Criminal Appeal No.1307 of 2019 is allowed and the impugned order of the High Court is set aside to the extent that it convicts A2 under section 302 and 364 of the Indian Penal Code. Hence, the conviction of A2 is set a side. However, the acquittal of A1 and A3 by the impugned order is upheld. Accordingly, the appeals filed by the Respondent/State against the impugned order challenging the acquittal of A1 and A3 i.e. Criminal Appeal Nos. 13081311 of 2019 are dismissed. Therefore, we direct that a copy of this order be communicated to the relevant jail authorities and the appellant i.e. Ravinder Singh (A2) be immediately set at liberty, unless his detention is required in any other case. No order as to costs.

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RAVINDER SINGH

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