7-year jail for cricket death

The Supreme Court has upheld the seven-year sentence of a man who had shot dead another after a row over the result of an India-Pakistan cricket match, saying it was a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

By Our Legal Correspondent
  • Published 12.11.15
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New Delhi, Nov. 11: The Supreme Court has upheld the seven-year sentence of a man who had shot dead another after a row over the result of an India-Pakistan cricket match, saying it was a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Justices Madan B. Lokur and S.A. Bobde rejected the plea that Daud Khan should be jailed for life, as a fast-track court had ruled before Rajasthan High Court reduced the sentence under the penal code's Section 304 Part 1.

The bench, in a recent judgment, agreed with the high court that since Khan had fired just "one bullet" at the deceased, Nand Singh, it amounted to only culpable homicide, as specified under the IPC section.

A person found guilty of culpable homicide can be jailed for a maximum of 10 years because it is considered that the act was committed with the knowledge that it was likely to cause death but without any intention to kill.

According to the prosecution, Singh had gone to a restaurant in Nimbahera in Rajasthan's Pratapgarh district on June 19, 2004, when Khan shot him dead with a revolver. Khan was accompanied by another person, Javed Beg. The prosecution said Beg and Khan had a grudge against Singh over the result of the match.

The fast-track court sentenced Khan to life in prison but acquitted Beg. Khan then moved the high court, which upheld the conviction but reduced the life sentence to seven years under Section 304 Part 1.

The state and the convict then both appealed in the apex court.

The top court upheld the seven-year term, rejecting Khan's contention that there had been a 37-hour delay in forwarding a copy of the FIR to the local magistrate. Khan had claimed that the FIR had been manipulated and police had implicated him falsely.

Justice Lokur, who wrote the judgment, said courts could always look with suspicion at the prosecution's theory if there was a delay in lodging an FIR. But in this case the FIR had been lodged within an hour of the incident.

"Therefore, a delay in transmitting the special report to the magistrate is linked to the lodging of the FIR. If there is no delay in lodging an FIR, then any delay in communicating the special report to the magistrate would really be of little consequence, since manipulation of the FIR would then get ruled out," the court said.

"...There is no universal rule that whenever there is some delay in sending the FIR to the magistrate, the prosecution version becomes unreliable. In other words, the facts and circumstances of a case are important for a decision in this regard."

The judgment did not specify what kind of a match it was - an ODI or a Test. Nor was there anything on the result.

It was also not clear whether Khan has already served the seven-year sentence, as the judgment did not deal with this aspect.