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Manikandan Vs. State by the Inspector of Police


5 April, 2024 


The Supreme Court




State by the Inspector by Police


Pankaj Mithal, Abhay S. Oka


• Section 302 and section 34 – IPC


•No.15138812Y L/Nk Gursewak Singh v. Union of India & Anr.1• Ram Manohar Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh2• Ghapoo Yadav & Ors. V. the State of M.P.3• Sukhbir Singh v. State of Haryana4• Sandhya Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra5• Prakash Chand v. State of H.P.6• Pulicherla Nagaraju v. State of A.P.7


The case of Manikandan vs. State by the Inspector of Police, is a criminal appeal centered around a conflict that tragically resulted in murder. Both appellants were found guilty by the Trial Court in separate criminal appeals under Section 302 along with Section 34 of the IPC. This verdict was subsequently affirmed by the High Court, leading to their conviction and imposition of a life sentence. According to the prosecution’s argument, the deceased had asked the accused no. 1 to deliver idlis, but when he failed to do so, the deceased went to his residence to inquire. A confrontation ensued, culminating in accused no. 1 using a billhook to attack the deceased in the presence of accused no. 2. Despite this the decease attempted to escape, accused no. 2 restrained him while accused no. 1 delivered a fatal blow to his neck. Witnesses to this tragic event included the deceased’s mother, brother-in-law, sister, and nephew.


  1. The issue is, was the High Court and Sessions Court’s decision appropriate, or did it contain errors? 
  2. Should the police instruct the witness on how to provide testimony in a specific way and intervene in the case or it may raise doubts about the authenticity of the investigation? 


  1. The appellant’s counsel argued that the incident likely occurred earlier than stated in the initial report, based on the time of death noted in the autopsy records. 
  2. He also claimed that the prosecution’s case relied heavily on witnesses with close ties to the deceased, potentially leading to bias and coaching.
  3. The attorney further contended that the deceased initiated the altercation by visiting the accused’s home to inquire about the delivery of idlis, resulting in a sudden attack by the accused without premeditation. 
  4. He argued that this situation falls under Exception 4 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, constituting an offense under Part 1 of Section 304 of the IPC. 
  5. To support his argument, the counsel cited various legal precedents.


  1. The respondent’s legal representative contended that the testimonies of witnesses PW-2   to PW-5 exhibit consistency, devoid of any contradictions or omissions, thus establishing their reliability.
  2. He underscored the fact that the accused displayed a clear intention to cause harm to the deceased by equipping himself with a billhook following a dispute, and pursuing the deceased when he attempted to flee.
  3. The counsel placed significant emphasis on the deliberate nature of the fatal blow inflicted upon the deceased’s neck, thereby negating the applicability of Exception 4 of Section 300 of IPC in this particular case.
  4. The evidence presented strongly indicates a premeditated assault committed by the accused, rendering them accountable for the crime.


  1. The father of the deceased was not present during the incident, as testified by the prosecution witnesses. 
  2. In her testimony, the mother of the deceased described how her son came home and asked about idli before confronting the first accused, Siva. A short while later, a noise was heard from Siva’s house, prompting the mother to investigate. To her horror, she witnessed Siva using a billhook to harm her son. 
  3. Although the son briefly managed to escape, he was apprehended by Manikandan, who held him while Siva inflicted a fatal injury to his neck, causing him to collapse and ultimately lose his life. The mother’s cries for help attracted others to the scene, and the accused discarded the billhook before fleeing. The mother’s detailed account of the events leading up to her son’s demise serves as crucial evidence in the prosecution’s case against the accused individuals.
  4. The witness in the case made an effort to build a case against the accused by claiming that they had spoken negatively about her daughter-in-law, despite not mentioning this in her initial statement to the police.
  5. During cross-examination, it was revealed that the witnesses had been instructed by the police on how to provide evidence against the accused the day before their statements were recorded.
  6. This gives rise to concerns regarding the credibility of their testimony, as they may have been influenced or coached by the police.
  7. The defence highlighted the fact that crucial independent witnesses were not called upon to testify, which casts doubt on the prosecution’s case.
  8. The court expressed serious concerns about police interference in witness testimony and emphasized the importance of ensuring a fair trial for the accused, who had already spent more than 10 years in jail before being granted bail.


The Apex Court stated that both  the Sessions Court and High Court were mistaken in convicting the appellants, leading to their acquittal. The impugned judgments and orders have been overturned, and the appellants’ bail bonds have been cancelled. The Director General of Police in Tamil Nadu will conduct an inquiry into the police officials who tutored the witnesses in the case, with appropriate disciplinary action to be taken as per the law.


If the Police had instructed the witness before the testimony, it clearly shows the biasness  and this could potentially lead to accusations of witness tampering or coercion, which could undermine the credibility of the entire investigation. It is important for law enforcement to maintain impartiality and allow witnesses to provide their testimony freely and without interference. Any attempts to manipulate or influence a witness’s testimony could ultimately compromise the integrity of the case and jeopardize the pursuit of justice. It is crucial for police to adhere to ethical standards and ensure that all witness testimony is obtained in a fair and unbiased manner and in this case the police’s blatant act of tutoring the material prosecution witnesses is evident. All witnesses involved were clearly influenced. Consequently, their testimonies may need to be disregarded due to the high likelihood of police interference. Such actions by the Police in the judicial process are indeed alarming. This behaviour represents a severe abuse of power by the Police force. It is imperative that the Police refrain from coaching the prosecution witnesses.

In cross examination, PW-2 acknowledged that accused no.1 was occupied with work in a different village named Tirrupur. Despite the presence of potential independent witnesses, the Prosecution chose not to examine them. Consequently, a negative inference should be made against the Prosecution. Consequently, significant doubt arises regarding the authenticity of the Prosecution’s case. This decision raises questions about the thoroughness and fairness of the Prosecution’s case. By failing to present these witnesses, the Prosecution missed an opportunity to strengthen their argument and provide additional evidence to support their claims.

In light of these circumstances, it becomes crucial to carefully evaluate the evidence presented by the Prosecution and consider the potential biases or gaps in their case. The defence’s argument, supported by the testimony of PW-2, challenges the Prosecution’s narrative and highlights the importance of examining all available evidence and witnesses to ensure a fair and just trial.


Both the courts’ oversight of the police interference in the case and their failure to consider the testimony of crucial witnesses have raised serious concerns about the fairness and accuracy of the judicial process. This negligence has not only undermined the credibility of the trial but has also potentially led to a miscarriage of justice. The courts’ errors highlight the need for a thorough review of the case and revaluation of the evidence presented in order to ensure that justice is served.

Conducting a just investigation means gathering evidence in a thorough and unbiased manner, without any preconceived notions or biases. This ensures that all relevant information is considered and that the truth is uncovered. A fair trial, on the other hand, guarantees that all parties have the opportunity to present their case and defend themselves, with the assistance of legal representation if needed. Without a just investigation and a fair trial, there is a risk of wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice, and erosion of public trust in the legal system. It is crucial for the integrity of the justice system that all individuals are treated fairly and that the rule of law is upheld. In conclusion, the significance of conducting a just investigation and ensuring a fair trial cannot be overstated. It is a fundamental principle of a democratic society and a cornerstone of a fair and equitable legal system.


  1. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/164418638/ 

This Article is written by Princy Lohani, student of Kalinga University, Raipur, 8th Sem B.A. LL.B ; Intern at Legal Vidhiya. 

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are intended solely for informational purposes. Accessing or using the site or the materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this site is not to be construed as legal or professional advice, and it should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Additionally, the viewpoint presented by the author is of a personal nature.


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