Menu Close

Rajkishore Purohit v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2017)

case brief, case summary

Case Name and Citation: Rajkishore Purohit v. State of Madhya Pradesh and others (2017)

                                             Criminal Appeal No. 1292 of 2017 Supreme Court of India.

Facts of the case:

Lokman Khatik was accused no. 3. He was feeling resentment when he was removed from his post of Mayor. Hence, there was a plan made of attacking the Congress President, Sewa Dal. Total there were about four accused who were involved in this plan. Accused no. 2 was Jitendra.

Lokman Khatik indicated the deceased to Jitendra. After that, Jitendra, Respondent 2 (the nephew of the one who was dead) and Accused no. 4 i.e., Bhupendra came forward towards the one who was dead. Others covered Jitendra when he was firing with his revolver. Then all of them ran away from there. 

According to the order of the High Court Respondent, 2 was made free from the criminal charge. The reason behind this was, the Court said he was not having any intention to commit any crime and also he was not having any weapon with him.

The Court also added that Respondent no. 2 would not know that Jitendra was having a revolver. Furthermore, Respondent no. 2 was not having any idea of the attack. So, only his presence there cannot prove that he was also one of the members of the attackers.

Later, the brother of the one who was dead had an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Issue of the case: 

Whether it is important that for an overt action or possession of the weapon necessary for establishing common intention or not?

Judgement:

Respondent No. 2 was acquitted by the HC

When it comes to the intention, merely due to the absence of overt act or any possession of weapon it cannot be said that the person does not have a common intention or intention to do some wrongful act as the other members in which he is present have. 

In the present case, Sessions Judge had charged Respondent No. 2 under Section 302/34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). However, the High Court ordered opposite to that of the Sessions Judge and acquitted Respondent No. 2.

But the Appellant i.e., the brother of the deceased, was against this acquittal. According to the High Court, there was no overt act of the assault was performed by Respondent no. 2. As well as he was not having any weapons.

See also  Defence of Superior Orders |General Exceptions under IPC

Hence, only his presence cannot determine that he was also having a common intention. Also, Respondent No. 2 was not aware that Accused No. 2 i.e., Jitendra was having a revolver. However, according to the appellant, this decision of acquitting Respondent No.2 of the High Court was incorrect.

Sufficient evidence was present to prove that Respondent No. 2 was also having a common intention. Just because he was not having weapons cannot conclude that he was not among the other accused.

Respondent no.2 had common intention?

It must be noted that Respondent no.2 was the nephew of Lokman Khatik (Accused No. 3). Lokman Khatik was a Mayor but was alleged of corruption. So a meeting was held to remove him from his post. The slogans like, “Lokman Hatao Congress Bachaao” were blown.

The deceased person was the President of the Congress Sewa Dal. The accused were annoyed by the call for a meeting. 4 accused were together and they came out from a white Ambassador Car. There were pieces of evidence to prove this.

Like evidence of PWs (Prosecution Witnesses) 1, 4, 5, 13 and 23.

It was Lokman Khatik who recognized the deceased. Accused No. 2 fired on the deceased with his revolver when he saw that Accused No. 4 (Bhupendra) and Respondent No. 2 told him to kill the deceased.

Then the accused ran together into a car. The Appellant was PW-1. He was the own brother of the dead person. PW-5 was my brother-in-law. False implications were not urged by Respondent No. 2. But, he had taken the defence of alibi. However, this was not believed by the Trial Court.

But it was believed by the High Court. It would be the worst factor against the accused to take a false plea.

It was believed that Common intention is just a state of mind. We cannot read the minds of any person. Due to this, there can be very less evidence of common intention.

If one has to find the existence or absence of a common intention among the accused that their behaviour and their conduct in certain situations should be checked. All the events which took place during the attack, or after it may help in giving evidence of common intention.

See also  Right to Private Defence |Explained!

Just not possessing any weapon, or no overt act of assault is not enough to prove whether there is a common interest or not.

In the case, State of Rajasthan v. Shobha Ram it was noticed that common intention is the state of mind of an accused which can be found by observing his conduct during the crime and also after it and during it.

Conspiracy of the assault:

In the present case, the accused were angry with the meeting that was called. The planning on the assault was done in a gathering.

Because it would be easy to escape from a crowded place. This was the thinking of the accused. All the accused came by car so that after they perform their crime they can escape from there as soon as possible. When one of the accused was very close to the deceased at that time Respondent No. 2 made an exhortation.

Accused no. 2 fired the deceased from a distance of about 6 inches. During this time, it was Respondent No. 2 along with Accused No. 4 who gave cover fire to support Accused no. 2. Respondent No. 2 was not surprised when Accused no. 2 shoot the deceased.

But, on contrary, Respondent No. 2 helped the other accused and then escaped from the chaos. So, this indicated that he was also having a common intention. Additionally, Respondent No. 2 was also aware that Accused no. 2 had a revolver and he was going to kill the deceased.

Therefore, if common intention can be seen from the meeting of minds of other accused and Respondent No. 2 then whether he was having weapons or whether he had an overt act is not important to prove the common intention. 

Ramaswami Ayyangar v. State of Tamil Nadu

In this case, it was noticed that the act that is performed by different persons in a criminal action can be difficult but all of them engage in the crime in some way.

For example, one may stand as a guard and prevent anyone from entering inside where is plan is being implemented or encourage the crime in one or the other way. Such a person is also liable for committing an ‘act’ as he had helped his co-participants in the crime.

So, the Court, to exercise discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution, cannot interfere in the acquittal order.  

See also  Photo Production Ltd v Securicor |Explained!

In the present case of Rajkishore Purohit v. State of Madhya Pradesh and others, it is observed that the High Court had given incorrect order of acquitting Respondent no.2 by applying improper principles. Hence, have neglected the common intention of Respondent no. 2.

As a result, the acquittal was reversed. The Supreme Court, by setting aside the order of acquittal which was passed by the HC restored the order of conviction of Respondent No. 2.

Analysis

According to the Court, ‘Common intention’ means ‘state of mind’. It can’t be read objectively. The Supreme Court said that the order of acquittal which was passed by the HC was based on speculation.

The common intention should be detected from the overall behaviour of the accused during the crime was taking place and also his conduct after the crime. Just the absence of weapons or overt acts is not sufficient to prove that the person has no common intention.

The Court also took the help of the judgement of the State of Rajasthan v. Shobha Ram (2013 14 SCC 732) case where it was observed that the evidence should be present to show that there was a meeting of minds between the accused of committing a crime.

Additionally, the case Ramaswamy Ayyangar v. State of Tamil Nadu (1976 3 SCC 779) was also referred. This case states that though there are different actions performed by different persons, they all together may be encouraging or supporting the crime to run successfully.

Such a person then also commits the crime. For example, one guiding and the other attacking. Then both equally had committed the crime. 

Conclusion

The Supreme Court held Respondent No. 2 liable under Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Court stated that just overt act or carrying or possession of a weapon does not merely determine the common intention.

Other important elements are also important to be considered while establishing common intention. They may be a pre-concerted plan and prior meeting of minds. Identifying these two things is also very important to find common intention.

Reference

  1. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/90223515/
  2. https://advocatespedia.com/Rajkishore_Purohit_v._State_of_Madhya_Pradesh_(2017)
  3. http://roundup.manupatra.in/asp/displayart.aspx?itemid=10437
  4. https://www.indianemployees.com/judgments/details/rajkishore-purohit-versus-state-of-madhya-pradesh-and-others
  5. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/427855/
  6. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/37788/

Author/Editor

Leave a Reply