Tripura High Court

Tripura High Court: An appeal under Section 374 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) and a reference under Section 366 of CrPC arose out of conviction and sentence dated 23-11-2022 passed by Sessions Judge, Khowai (‘the Trial Court’) wherein, appellant was convicted for an offence under Sections 307 and 302 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and was sentenced to death. The Division Bench of T Amarnath Goud* and Biswajit Palit JJ., opined that temporary insanity could be sought to reduce penalty and accordingly, modified the judgment of the Trial Court and converted the death sentence of appellant into life imprisonment without any benefit of remission.


On 26-11-2021, appellant was found near dead body of his younger daughter and was attacking his elder daughter and his wife with a big crowbar in his room. After a while he opened the room and chased the informant and others to kill. The elder brother of informant was also killed, and appellant also attacked his uncle. On hearing the vehicle’s sound, he became naked and started running with the crowbar along the Bir Chowohoni Road. At that time, the vehicle of police came, appellant attacked one police man with a crowbar and later the police man died. Appellant attacked autorickshaw and attacked Krishna das and his son, Krishna Das died, and his son and wife of appellant were seriously injured. Hence, FIR was lodged against appellant, a case was registered under Sections 302, 307, 326, 333, 353 and 427 of IPC. On 23-11-2022, appellant was convicted for commission of offences under Sections 307 and 302 of IPC and was sentenced for 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 10,000 and also sentenced to death as per law respectively by the Trial Court. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order of conviction, appellant had filed this appeal.

Appellant submitted that a normal human being without any motive, pre-plan and intention would not commit such type of crime of killing five persons one after another and injuring two others. Appellant after killing his two minor daughters was moving in naked condition on the road and thereafter, he committed further murder. The Trial Court did not consider the sequence of commission of offence, as a sound mind person would not be in a position to do so. Since, appellant had no previous enmity with the victims, so no prior plan or motive of appellant was established. Thus, appellant prayed for conversion of death sentence into life imprisonment.

Respondent submitted that the impugned judgment of conviction was just and proper and needed no further interference. Respondent further submitted that the question of sanity and motive of appellant was never raised before the Trial Court.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court considered the statement of wife of appellant, who was one of the injured victims, who stated that the appellant used to love his daughters and he used to maintain her and their children. The Court relying on witnesses’ statements opined that no motive was established behind the commission of the crime, but it could not be said that crime committed without any motive was not a crime and appellant was entitled to acquittal. From the evidence of various eyewitnesses, it was established that appellant had killed five people and injured two other people. The Court negated the issue of mens rea and opined that from evidence of various eyewitnesses, it was evident that appellant had not pre planned and committed the murders and caused injuries, but a crime committed without any mens rea would not entitle to acquittal.

Considering the issue raised about appellant’s mental condition, the Court opined that from the statement of witnesses it was evident that appellant exhibited an unusual behaviour, as appellant was seen in naked condition running and shouting like anything on the main road. It was evident from the depositions of witnesses that appellant was a loving person. Thus, the Court referred to Section 84 of IPC and opined that temporary insanity could be sought to reduce penalty.

The Court opined that the antecedents of appellant were clear, and he had no criminal background. Appellant exhibited unusual behaviour during the incident of commission of crime and he was also seen in a naked condition running and shouting on the road. The police officials immediately could have sent appellant to ascertain his mental condition, or to weigh the possibility that whether appellant was under the influence of any narcotic substance or not. Even one inspector of police was attacked and killed but no attempt was made to determine why a normal person without bad antecedent attacked and killed five persons and injured two others behaving unusually with no motive and mens rea. It reflected a lacuna on the part of the investigation process and investigating officer.

The Court noted that the present case was the rarest of the rare case and opined that in absence of any strong reason that would influence the mind of appellant, the instant incident could not be reasonably believed in the light of the evidence and the witnesses who had certified appellant as a businessman, good person, affectionate towards his family members and had no complaints in the neighbourhood.

The Court directed the Superintendent Jail to get the psychiatrist analysis, complete blood test and brain test by way of MMA, MRI and CT scan done under the supervision of neuro-physicist and other doctors. The Court noted the report dated 05-02-2024 and opined that the test indicated him as a normal person and, the jail report also indicated that his present behaviour was normal. The Court held that in the light of evidence, the finding of the Trial Court needed no interference that appellant was guilty of committing murders and grievous hurt and further opined that appellant was liable to be punished under the charges.

The Court did not acquit appellant on the ground of doubtful temporary insanity and opined that there were laches on the part of the police authorities and investigating officer in not examining the crime delinquently from all aspects when this was rarest of the rare case. The Court opined and that capital punishment should be exercised in the rarest of the rare case and in condition that release of the accused person would be threat to society. The Court relied on Jafel Biswas v. State of W.B., (2019) 12 SCC 560 and Manoj Pratap Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (2022) 9 SCC 81 and converted the death sentence of the appellant into life imprisonment till he breathes his last in jail without any benefit of remission and held that he should be kept in isolation.

[Pradip Debroy v. State of Tripura, 2024 SCC OnLine Tri 67, decided on: 12-02-2024]

*Judgement authored by: Justice T. Amarnath Goud

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Advocate for the Appellant: H. K. Bhowmik, N. G. Debnath and A. Acharjee, Advocates

Advocate for the Respondent: Raju Datta, Public Prosecutor

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