Natha Singh vs. Emperor

Natha Singh vs. Emperor
In the Bombay High Court
Equivalent Citation:
(1947) 49 BOMLR 225
Natha Singh
Decided on
18th June, 1946
Simonds, M Jayakar, J Beaumont


On 19th September, 1944 Sessions Judge of Amritsar convicted appellants for murdering Karnail Singh. On 1st October, 1944 after the appellants were arrested for the murder of Karnail Singh, a dead body was found without head and it was said that it is of Bhan Singh, brother of Karnail Singh.

So, the appellants were also charged for the murder of Bhan Singh and trial was also initiated for the same. The judgments of both the cases were delivered on the same day and they were held convicted for murdering Karnail Singh and were acquitted in the alleged charges of murdering Bhan Singh and punishment of death sentence was given by the Sessions Judge.

Aggrieved by the decision of subordinate court an appeal was filed in the High Court, but the High Court dismissed the appeal and punishment of death sentence was held valid. So, a special leave to appeal is filed with His Majesty for quashing the order of trial and High Court. Their Lordships have already announced that they will humbly advise His Majesty that the appeal be dismissed, and they now give their reasons.

Statutes and Provisions involved:

  • Section 8 of Indian Evidence Act.
  • Sections 429, 509 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Issued Dealt:

1. Whether the order passed by trial court and High Court should be quashed or set aside or not?


On 19th September, 1944 Natha Singh and his friend Budha Singh were arrested on the charges of murdering Karnail Singh. There were four eye witnesses for proving the charges namely, the approver Qadir, Srain Singh, his uncle, his wife, and a servant of deceased.

On 1st October, 1944 a dead body without head was found and it was said that it is of Bhan Singh, brother of Karnail Singh. It was alleged that appellants have committed the second murder as well and proceedings for this murder were also initiated in this respect. It was established that Natha Singh was having illicit intimacy with the wife of Bhan Singh and which has lead to ill-will between Natha Singh and Karnail Singh on one hand and Karnail Singh and Bhan Singh, his brother on the other.

Qadir, the approver during the trial admitted that Natha Singh had murdered Bhan Singh few days before the murder of his brother and they have caused injuries to Karnail Singh in order to conceal the murder of his brother, so that they will not be charged for the murder of Bhan Singh.

Contentions of both the Parties:


It was contended on behalf of petitioners that accused had committed a murder other than that for which they were charged. It was argued that no strong and considerable evidence has been established to prove that appellants have committed this offence and respondents are trying to falsely implicate them in these proceedings.   

It was also argued by them that the statements of eye-witnesses are clearly against the reports of civil surgeon in this particular case. As per the report the death of Karanail Singh occurred a few hours later after receiving injuries and eye witnesses stated that they had seen Natha Singh assassinating Karnail Singh and when the rushed to that position he was already dead. So, they argued that all of them are using this court for remedying their personal grudges.


It was contended on behalf of respondents that Natha Singh and others murdered Bhan Singh a few days before the murder of Karnail Singh as they wanted to conceal the murder. They murdered Karnail Singh when he came to know about the death of his brother.

It was strongly argued by them that eye witness are clearly establishing a prima facie case against petitioners and they all have seen Natha Singh running away after causing serious injuries to Karnail Singh.


Their Lordships dismissed the appeal and held that Sessions judge was right in admitting the evidence raised by approver. They stated that although the evidence was inadmissible, but was capable of proving that the assessors have committed other offences as well before the death of Karnail Singh.

It was held that death sentence was according to the general principles of law and the appeal was dismissed and the order of subordinate courts was upheld by their lordships.

Concepts Highlighted in this Case:

In this case it was highlighted that Section 8 of Indian Evidence Act, gives wide powers to the Sessions Judge in order to ascertain the offences accused have committed other than that for which it is charged. So, that each and every offence could be brought up into the eyes of prosecution and that will help in ascertaining the punishment which must be given to such offender.


It can be concluded from the above mentioned case that their Lordships have taken a very broad view while deciding this case. They upheld the judgment of trial court and established that subordinate courts can look up into every evidence whether it is admissible or not and so that offences other than for which accused is charged are also considered and than actual decree should be passed.              

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I am Ashutosh Vasistha from University Five Years Law College, Rajasthan University pursuing BA.LLB. (Hons.). The sphere of Constitutional Law, Contractual Laws, and Public Interest Litigations attracts me the most. If at all I get any free time, I would like to like to read autobiographies and biographies of renowned personalities. I love writing and on any contemporary legal or social issue. I love to adopt new skills especially hard skills as they are points which gives you a cut over others. I believe in cooperation and coordination with my team. I would like to be a responsible manager, who would listen to everybody's opinions and direct all my employees towards a common goal.