Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Velthepu Srinivas v. State Of Andhra Pradesh (Now State of Telangana)

Date of Order / Judgment: 6th February, 2024

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice B.R. Gavai & Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha


The present case revolves around the murder of the deceased by accused no. 1 to 4. All the accused belonged to the same family and the deceased belonged to the same village situated in Asifabad, Telangana. It is alleged that enmity between accused and deceased began after sister of the deceased and wife of accused no. 4 contested the gram panchayat elections and sister of the deceased succeeded and wife of the accused lost in the elections. The murder took place on 15th November 2001, when the deceased was going to Luxettipet on some work in an auto-rickshaw.  When the auto reached the house of A-4, it is alleged that A-1 halted the auto rickshaw and pulled the deceased legs to drag him outside. A-2 and A-1 joined forces at the same moment and the two accused dragged the deceased person in the direction of A-4's home. Then the accused A-1, A-2 and A-4 attacked the deceased with a sword, an axe, a stone, and a knife, causing serious bleeding injuries that resulted in the deceased's immediate death. In this whole incident the role of A-3 was that he had hit the deceased on his head with a stone as per the charge sheet. The Trial Court found all four accused guilty for the murder of the deceased and convicted them under Section 302 r/w Section 34 of the IPC. Accordingly, they were sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 500 each, in default, to undergo simple imprisonment of one month. All the accused appealed to the High Court. The High Court initially had acquitted all the accused, against this judgment of the High Court an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court. The Apex Court setting aside the conviction and sentences remanded the criminal appeal back to High Court were for fresh consideration. After remand, the High Court confirmed the judgment of the Trial Court and dismissed the criminal appeals. Then there came to be a special leave petition filed by the accused before the Supreme Court.


Whether Common Intention can be inferred merely by presence of accused near the crime scene?


The Supreme Court observed that “The cumulative circumstances in which A-3 was seen participating in the crime would clearly indicate that he had no intention to commit murder of the deceased for two clear reasons. Firstly, while every other accused took the axe used by A1 initially and contributed to the assault with this weapon, A-3 did not wield the axe at any point of time. Secondly, A-3 only had a stone in his hand, and in fact, some of the witnesses said that he merely threatened in case they seek to intervene and prevent the assault”


The Apex Court upheld the conviction of A-1, A-2 and A-4 under Section 302 r/w Section 34 IPC. The Supreme Court also acquitted A-3 of the conviction and sentence under Section 302 r/w Section 34 and convicted him under Section 304 Part II and sentence him to undergo imprisonment for 10 years.