Bunni Lal Choudhary v/s State Of Bihar
(Air 2006 Sc 2531)
The present case belongs to the category of Single blow and Single stab cases
wherein death was caused by a single stab of the knife. The appeal before the Hon'ble
Supreme Court dealt with the Section 299 and 300 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Hon'ble Supreme Court reiterated that intention is essential
on the part of the accused while causing fatal injury to attract punishment
under Section 302 of the IPC. Similarly, prior knowledge with regards to the act
in execution of a common object is necessary to attract Section 149 of the IPC.
The present case involves the sale of a she-buffalo by Sattan Choudhary to the
victim, Shambhu Raut for a sum of 6800 rupees. The victim paid 6100 rupees at
the time of the transaction, and 700 rupees were due. As per the brother of the
victim, Yogendra Raut, the victim went to the house of Sattan Choudhary to
return a sum of 400 rupees. However, Sattan Choudhary wanted the remaining 300
rupees to be paid at the same time. The son of Sattan Choudhary, Maniraj
Choudhary (A-3) pointed a country-made pistol towards him.
After some time on the day of occurence, Brahmdeo Raut (PW-5), and Shambu Raut,
the victim were going to Bathan. At the mid-way, suddenly Bunnilal Chaudhary
(A-1), Birendra Chaudhary (A-2), Maniraj Chaudhary (A-3), Dashrath Chaudhary
(A-4), Magister Chaudhary (A-5), Bali Choudhary (A-6), Jagdish Chaudhary (A-7),
Amarjit Chaudhary (A-8), Naresh Choudhary (A-9) and Rajdhari Chaudhary (A-10)
holding a revolver and lathis in their hands came at the scene of occurrence and
Bunnilal Choudhary (A-1) chased Shambhu Raut and attacked him with a knife on
the left side of the chest. Brahmdeo Raut was given a knife blow on his head by
Magister Chaudhary (A-5). All the accused fled away after they heard the
villagers approaching them. Shambhu Raut was seriously injured and taken to
Sidhwalia Hospital where he was declared dead.
On the basis of fardbeyan of Yogendra Raut (Ex. P-5) taken at the Sidhwalia
Hospital, FIR was registered against all the ten accused persons under Sections
147, 148, 149, 324, 307 and 302 of the IPC.
The accused in their 313 CrPC statement denied having given any knife blow to
the deceased as well as beatings to P.W. 5- Brahmdeo Raut. Their defence was
that they were implicated in a false case by the complainant.
The learned Sessions Judge found the accused persons guilty and sentenced them
under Section 302/149 of the IPC. Maniraj Chaudhary (A-3), Dashrath Chaudhary
(A-4), Bali Chaudhary (A-6), Jagdish Chaudhary (A-7), Amarjit Chaudhary (A-8),
Rajdhari Chaudhary (A-10) were also found guilty under Section 147 of the IPC,
whereas Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1), (A-5), Birendra Chaudhary (A-2), Magister
Chaudhary (A-5) and Naresh Chaudhary (A-9) were also held guilty under Section
On appeal, the learned Judges of the High Court altered the conviction of
Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1) from Section 302/149 IPC to Section 302 IPC simpliciter
and acquitted Bali Chaudhary (A-6) and Jagdish Chaudhary (A-7) of the charges.
The conviction and sentence of other accused persons under Section 302/149 IPC
recorded by learned trial court has been left unchanged.
Criminal Appeal No.605/2005 was filed by Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1) and Criminal
Appeal No. 606/2005 was filed by Birendra Chaudhary (A-2), Maniraj Chaudhary
(A-3), Dashrath Chaudhary (A-4), Magister Chaudhary (A-5), Amarjit Chaudhary
(A-8), Naresh Chaudhary (A-9) and Rajdhari Chaudhary (A-10).
The two appeals arise out of the common judgment and order dated 5th November,
2003 passed by the Hon'ble Patna High Court.
Hon'ble Lokeshwar Singh Panta, J., observed that the apex Court cannot entirely
prefer the Hon'ble High Court's view on a proper perusal of all the
circumstances of the case.
Criminal Appeal No. 605/2005 preferred by Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1):
This Criminal Appeal was partly allowed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court as
The Hon'ble Supreme Court scrutinized the evidence and pointed out the
contradictory statements made by the informant, Yogendra Raut. Similarly, the
statements made by the sister, Nirmala Devi could not corroborate the story of
the informant. The informant's story was further contradicted by the eye-witness
Ram Nath Bind (PW-7).
Single Stab by the Accused
Evidence provided by P.W. 5, P.W. 9 and P.W. 10 clearly proved that the victim,
Shambhu Raut was apprehended by Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1) and was given one blow
of knife which landed on the left side of the chest of Shambhu Raut; following
which the victim died.
The post mortem of the deceased Shambhu Raut revealed anti-mortem injuries
including a penetrating wound, a punctured left lung and aorta. The injuries
were caused within 24 hours of the examination. It is to be noted that Dr. Vijay
Kumar, who conducted the post-mortem, could not ascertain the cause of death.
Lack of Mens Rea
The counsel appearing on behalf of Bunnilal Chaudhary contended that Bunnilal
lacked the requisite intention to cause death, and can only be held liable for
culpable homicide not amounting to murder for inflicting fatal injury on the
deceased Shambhu Raut.
The Apex Court observed that A-1 had neither motive nor intention to murder the
victim, Shambhu Raut as:
- It is undisputed that the injury inflicted on the left side of the chest of the
deceased was a single one.
- As corroborated by the post-mortem, the injury was not even stated to be likely
to cause death in the post-mortem.
- A-1 did not attempt to cause serious injury to any vital part of the body of the
Section 300 (iii) IPC not applicable
The Apex Court held that the present case is not covered under Clause (iii) of
Section 300. Section 300 (iii), IPC, consists of two parts:
The bodily injury must be intendedThis is the subjective part and specifies that the injury must be intentional
and not accidental. Based on the facts and circumstances of the case, it was
established that the single stab on the deceased was not accidental and was
intended to be inflicted on the person of the deceased.
The bodily injury intended to be caused must be sufficient in the ordinary
course of nature to cause deathThis is the objective part and provides that the court must be satisfied that
'the intended injury' was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause
death. In the present case, as corroborated by the post-mortem, the injury
caused by A-1 was not sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of
nature. Hence, the second part is not fulfilled in the present case.
Section 304 (ii) applicable
The death of the victim caused by A-1is covered under the third part of Section
299, IPC. The third part of Section 299, IPC provides that the act by the
accused is done 'with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause
death'. In the present case, the single stab on the left side of the chest of
the deceased by A-1 was done with the knowledge that such an act is likely to
cause the death of Shambhu Raut.
Hence, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the case falls within the third part
of Section 299 and will be punishable under the second part of Section 304 IPC
as culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Consequently, the conviction of
Bunnilal Chaudhary (A-1) was altered from Section 302 to Section 304 Part-II,
Criminal Appeal No. 606/2005
The second appeal was filed on behalf of other accused persons namely, Magister
Chaudhary, Birendra Chaudhary, Maniraj Chaudhary, Dashrath Chaudhary, Amarjit
Chaudhary, Naresh Chaudhary and Rajdhari Chaudhary.
Common object not established
The Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that there was no evidence to prove Section
302/149 IPC against all the other accused. Further, no witness proved that the
accused persons had come on the scene of occurrence with an intention to commit
the murder of Shambhu Raut. None of them caused any injury to the victim with
the weapons they allegedly were carrying with them.
Under Section 149 IPC, the liability of all the other accused can only be
attracted if they knew beforehand that the offence actually committed was likely
to be committed in prosecution of the common object. Such knowledge may
reasonably be collected from the nature of the assembly, arms or behaviour on or
before the scene of occurrence.
The apex Court observed that there was no evidence to sustain the conviction of
the other accused persons. Hence, Magister Chaudhary, Birendra Chaudhary,
Maniraj Chaudhary, Dashrath Chaudhary, Amarjit Chaudhary, Naresh Chaudhary and
Rajdhari Chaudhary were acquitted of the offence under Section 302/149 IPC.
- Bunni Lal Choudhary v/s State Of Bihar Air 2006 Sc 2531