This post is written by Arohi Ambade, a second-year law student of Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur.
Title of the Case: Santosh Kumar Singh v State Thr. CBI
Citation: (2010) 9 SCC 747
Court: Supreme Court
Bench: Harjit Singh Bedi, Chandramauli Kr. Prasad
Date of Judgment: 06-10-2010
Accused: Santosh Kumar Singh
Victim: Priyadarshani Mattoo
Brief Facts: The deceased, Priyadarshani Mattoo was a law student in the same faculty where the accused, Santosh Kumar Singh, studied law. Being in the same studyplace, the accused was attracted to the deceased. He passed out of the law centre in December 1994. Despite that, he continued to visit the campus on his motorcycle. He harassed and intimidated her. Upon several requests made by her, he did not stop to do so. She made many complaints in 1995 and he was advised to behave properly. Infuriated by the complaints, he made a false report about her that she had been doing two academic courses at the same time which is against the University rules. The report was proved false as she proved that she had already passed M.Com in 1991.
On 6th November 1995, according to the eyewitnesses, the accused was seen entering the deceased’s uncle’s house she was residing at. She was alone at the residence. He entered the house intending to rape her. The accused then raped her and hit her face with his helmet for about 14 times so that she would be unrecognizable. He then strangled her with a wire.
Because of the consistent stalking and harassing, the accused was the prime suspect.
As the accused hailed from an influential family, being his father being served as the Joint Commissioner of Police in Delhi, the case was transferred to CBI.
The Trial Court acquitted the accused due to the fabrication of DNA report by CBI, giving him the benefit of doubt. Henceforth, the evidence was not accepted under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Despite this decision made by the Trial Court, the High Court overturned the decision by stating that ‘the DNA fingerprint report conclusively establishes the guilt of the accused’. Hence, the High Court convicted the accused under the charges of Section 302 and Section 376 of IPC and sentenced him to death.
- Was the accused liable under the charges of Section 302 and Section 376 of IPC?
- Did the accused ought to have a death penalty or life imprisonment?
Judgment: In the year 2007, the accused preferred an appeal to Supreme Court against the death penalty awarded by the High Court. On 6th October, 2010, the Supreme Court charged the accused under the same charges of Section 302 and Section 376 of IPC as given by the High Court. But the death penalty was dismissed and the accused was awarded with life imprisonment as there were some things in his favour i.e. the balance sheet and the evidence not presented properly.
(Section 302 of IPC- Punishment for murder)
(Section 376 of IPC- Punishment for sexual assault)