Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Manjunath v. State of Karnataka

Date of Order / Judgment: 6 th November, 2023

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice Vikram Nath Justice Rajesh Bindal


On August 6, 1997, the deceased, namely Byregowda and his brothers, went to work in the fields when all of the accused, armed with clubs, iron rods, and choppers, reportedly approached and threatened them. The deceased's brothers were able to escape, but while attempting to do so, he was viciously beaten by A1, A2, and A3 with an iron rod and a steel-edged weapon (chopper). Dr. Loganayaki, who also alerted the police, provided immediate medical treatment to the injured at the Sidlaghatta General Hospital. The then-Sub-Inspector of Police took the doctor's statement and, as a result, filed an FIR on August 8, 1997, under several penal provisions. A total of 29 persons were accused in this case. After due investigation, the challan came to be filed and the case was committed to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge. All the accused denied the charges under section 120B, 143, 447, 302 read with Section 149 IPC and claimed trial. The prosecution in order to prove the case examined 28 witnesses and exhibited 24 documents. The evidence led was categorized into five heads – (a) ocular; (b) Dying declaration; (c) circumstantial evidence; (d) recovery of incriminating material; and (e) motive. It is in light of above conclusions that the Trial Court held the web of circumstances to be unable to point “unerring, cogently and positively” to the guilt of the accused. The trial court acquitted all accused persons. 5. The State, aggrieved by the acquittals en masse, appealed to the High Court. The High Court Allowing the appeal of the state overturned the judgment of the trial court and convicted accused no 1 to 5 and 7. Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, 6 of the accused appealed before the Supreme Court


The Supreme Court while deciding the case of merits opined upon the evidence provided by the prosecution.

“The dying declaration, although undoubtedly a substantive piece of evidence upon which reliance can be placed, in the present facts is rendered nugatory as the person who took down such declaration was not examined, nor did the police officer (PW19) endorse the said document with details of who took down the declaration. It is also not clear as to in front of which of the relatives of deceased was the same taken down.

“The circumstantial evidence present on record does not point to the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused persons.”

“ None of the eyewitnesses, as referred to by the trial court have succeeded in attributing a particular role to any of the accused persons and equally so, to A-1 to A-5 and A-7, whose acquittals have been overturned by the High Court. “

“In our considered view, the view taken by the Trial Court was a possible view and there being no error in correct and complete appreciation of evidence as also application of law; the High Court, without assigning any cogent reasons ought not to have interfered with such findings.”


The Supreme Court set aside the judgment given by the court and held that the High Court has not appreciated the severity of the allegations to full extent and restored the judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge- Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court-II, Kolar, are restored.