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August 17, 2023by canonsphere0

This case analysis is done by Pragnya Parmita Mohanty, a 3rd year LLB student at SOA National Institute of Law, Odisha.

Citation: [(20210 5 SCC 292]

Criminal Appeal No. 989 of 2007

Bench: Justice UU Lalit, Justice KM Joseph

Date. Of Decision: 25th February 2021

Facts of the case 

In this case, Devilal (son of Chetaram Gujar) and his two sons named Gokul and Amrat Ram were the appellants and the state of Madhya Pradesh served as the respondent.

Devilal and his two sons named Gokul and Amrat Ram were accused u/s 302 of IPC for murdering Ganeshram at about 8 pm, while Ganeshram was coming from Binabas. Ganeshram had mentioned all these scenes and circumstances by registering an F.I.R. on 11 pm, 19th July 1998 in the police station, Neemuch district, Madhya Pradesh.

Devilal and his two sons had attacked Ganeshram with the intention to kill him with talwar, lathi, and kulhari after abusing him. After attacking with those sharp weapons, Ganeshram started asking for help then his mother, wife Sajan Bai, and sister-in-law Saman Bai came away for help. While protecting Ganeshram from the attack his sister-in-law got a blow on her elbow. Then Ganeshram’s family took him to the police station for registering the F.I.R. and took him to the hospital.

Even after taking Ganeshram to the Community health centre, Manasa, and then to the district hospital, Mandasaur for certain surgery, he passed away. From the post-mortem report, it came to the knowledge that the cause of death of Ganeshram was due to excessive bleeding.

Then the initial investigation happened. During the investigation lathi, one sword, and an axe were recovered, which Devilal and his two sons used for murdering Ganeshram. The trial court has taken all the evidence on record of all prosecution witnesses along with the medical record and statements of eyewitnesses and said that the FIR made for the concerned matter by the deceased person Ganeshram could be treated as a dying declaration. Then the accused persons, Devilal and his two sons were arrested along with Gattu Baiwho was the wife of the accused person Devilal was tried under special offences. Here none of the accused held guilty under the SC/ST Act even though this incident happened due to a caste quarrel. Devilal and his two sons were sentenced to life imprisonment with Rs.5000 fine.

Then a criminal appeal no 700 of 1999 was made by the accused Devilal along with his two sons Gokul and Amrat Ram before the High Court about the medical record on record. They have pointed out that the deceased person was unlikely to have made any statement before the police about the concerned matter in the FIR because he was injured so grievously. Those accused also mentioned that the witnesses were tutored before. But the High Court affirmed the conviction of Devilal and his two accused sons and also dismissed the criminal appeal No. 700 of 1999.

Then the court on 8th April 2009, granted bail to the accused Devilal and Gokul as they had undergone 9 years and 4 months of imprisonment. 

Thereafter a petition was submitted inter alia that Amrat Ram the accused was a juvenile on the day when the offence was committed by him. Then the court directed the Sessions Judge to submit a report about the issue of juvenility by conducting an inquiry. Then the record was submitted after the inquiry stating that at the time of the offence, Amrat Ram was 16 years 11 months, and 26 days. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 he was not a minor on the date of the committing the offence because for a male juvenile the age mentioned in the JJ Act,1986 was 16 years, but according to the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act,2000 the age of a Juvenile was raised to 18 years. So the matter was handed over to the Juvenile Justice Board to decide the perfect quantum of punishment which should be given to the accused Amrat Ram.


  1. Whether the appellants were held guilty according to the judgement given by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh right or wrong?
  2. Whether the accused Amrat Ram was a minor according to the JJ Act 2000 or not a minor according to JJ Act, 1986?

Arguments raised from the appellant side

The appellants Devilal, Gokul, and Amrat Ram pointed out and challenged the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. They had also raised the plea for the first time of juvenility for the accused Amrat Ram. 

  1. The senior advocate Mr. Sushil Kumar Jain raised the issue that because Gokulram (deceased) was heavily bleeding at the time of making the FIR, it’s unlikely he could have given the statements about the incident. Furthermore, he has raised a point that the witnesses were tutored which was accepted by the prime witness Sajan Bai.
  2. Again the senior advocate made out an argument that PW 7 Laxminarayan had stated during the cross-examination that where the offence was committed wasn’t clearly visible to the eye witness.

Arguments raised from the respondent side

  1. The learned Senior Advocate Mr Harmeet Singh Ruprah has mentioned that PW1 and PW2, Sajan Bai, and Saman Bai were consistent from the very beginning as they came first towards Ganeshram for help. Their presence was recorded from the inceptive stage of reporting the crime. They were just 100ft away as their house was only that much distance from the crime scene. And no effective cross-examination was there for this issue.
  2. Other things learned Senior Advocate from the respondent side mentioned that DrKothari stated that Ganeshram was alive at the time of the initial examination. That concerned doctor mentioned that at the time of examination, his blood pressure could not be detected, so it didn’t mean that two hours back Ganeshram was not in a condition to make a report to the police. 
  3. Advocate Mr Harmeet Singh Ruprah again pointed out that three weapons were also recovered, those mentioned before by deceased Ganeshram from the accused person. 
  4. The two prosecution witnesses named Sajan Bai and Saman Bai stated about the assault on the deceased person which led to death during the investigation. This particular thing was read over to them which doesn’t mean they were tutored before. So the statement made by Ganeshram before his death was the dying declaration. 


After taking the above facts and circumstances into consideration, the Court affirms that Devilal and his two sons were held liable u/s 302 of IPC. After taking into consideration the questionable position of the dying declaration made by the defendant, the Court held that whatever Ganeshram stated before the police through the FIR was the dying declaration. The Sentence was given to Devilal and Gokul under sections 34, 302, and 342 of the Indian Penal Code of lifetime imprisonment along with a fine. 

Before this same punishment was given to Amrat Ram too, but after he was stand before the court with the appeal by initiating the Juvenility, the court set aside the lifetime imprisonment of Amrat Ram and handed over the matter to the Juvenile Justice Board for determining the appropriate fine and justice should relied upon him.

On 25th February 2021 the bench held and disposed of the previously stated terms. As both Devilal and his son Gokul were released on bail by the order of the court which was dated on 8th April 2009, the court directed them to surrender within 2 weeks before the police station. If they fail to do so, they would be immediately arrested and their bail bond will be forfeited. 


From the concerned case, we have observed that the accused Devilal and his one son were punished with life imprisonment and held liable u/s 34,342 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code. All the matters went to the trial court first and then to the HC who gave the judgement to another accused named Amrat Ram. His matter was given justice by the juvenile justice board, in 2000 as the age for juvenility was raised from 16 years to 18 years. The judgement is pertinent, according to me and I fully agree with the concerned judgement. 

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