Read Order: The State of Uttar Pradesh v. Subhash @ Pappu

Mansimran Kaur

New Delhi, April 2, 2022: The Supreme Court has held that the charges not framed under a specific section in the charge sheet shall not be the ground to vitiate the conviction, if the ingredients of that section vividly match with the offence mentioned in the charge sheet. 

In the case at hand, the Top Court observed that non-framing of charges under Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code would not suffocate the conviction in the absence of any prejudice caused to the accused. 

A Bench constituting Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna observed that if the ingredients of a particular section seem to be have matched with those of the offence stated in the charge sheet, then the conviction shall stand, despite the fact that the said section has not been explicitly mentioned in the charge sheet. 

One Subhash Papu was convicted by the Trial Court under Section 302 and Section 148 of the Indian Penal Code. His appeal was allowed by the Allahabad High Court and hence, the accused was granted acquittal. The contention of the respondent/accused was that Section 148 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 shall not be attracted as the number of accused charge sheeted/tried/charged were less than five in number. 

Aggrieved by the order passed by the Allahabad High Court, the Appellant approached the Apex Court to assail the said order.

While dealing with the appeal, the Bench assessed the charges framed against the accused. The accused was not specifically charged for the offence under Section 302 r/w with Section 149 IPC. However, the ingredients for the offence under Section 302 r/w Section 149 IPC and Section 148 IPC were bought to the notice of the accused. The Bench therefore construed that there was discrepancy in framing of charges by not specifically mentioning Section 149 of IPC. However, the same shall not absolve the accused of the same. 

Citing the case of Annareddy Sambasiva Reddy vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, the Bench remarked as follows: “This Court negated the said submission and observed and held that mere non-framing of charge under Section 149 on face of charges framed against the appellant would not vitiate the conviction in the absence of any prejudice caused to them. Considering Section 464 Cr.P.C. it is observed and held that mere defect in language, or in narration or in the form of charge would not render conviction unsustainable, provided the accused is not prejudiced thereby. It is further observed that if the ingredients of the sections are obvious or implicit in the charge framed then conviction in regard thereto can be sustained, irrespective of the fact that said section has not been mentioned”. 

With regards to the contention of the accused pertaining to the charges framed against him under Section 148, the Court noted that it is stated in the dying declaration that six to seven persons attacked the deceased. Thus, the engagement of five to six persons is proved beyond doubt. However, if only three people were tried/ charge sheeted and out of those three, two came out to be acquitted that shall not mean that the accused cannot be convicted under Section 148 of IPC. 

Thus, the appeal was allowed partially, and it was stated that though the accused cannot be tried for the offence punishable under Section 302 r/w Section 149 IPC as the deceased died due to septicemia after a period of thirty days, however the accused can surely be convicted for the offence under Section 304 r/w Section 149 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code.

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