Citations: Gallu Sah Vs State of Bihar, 1959 SCR 861

Equivalent citations: 1958 AIR 813, 1959 SCR 861

Date of Judgement: 23/01/1987

Case No.: Criminal appeal No. 183 of 1957

Case Type: Criminal Appeal

Appelant: Gallu Sah

Respondent: State of Bihar

Bench: Hon’ble Chief Justice Sudhi Ranjan Das, Hon’ble Justice N.H. Bhagwati, Hon’ble Justice T.L. Venkatrama Aiyar and Hon’ble Justice S.K. Das

Statutes Referred:

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860; Sections –109, 147, 149, 323, 436

Cases referred:

  • Raja Khan Vs Emperor [AIR (1920) Cal 834]
  • Umadasi Dasi Vs Emperor [(1924) ILR 52 Cal 112a]


  • A mob consisting of the accused Gallu Sah formed an unlawful assembly, the common objects of which were (1) to dismantle the hut of one Mst Rasmani, (2) to set fire to it and (3) to commit assault, if resisted.
  • A chaukidar namely Tetar Mian came on a daily inspection and found the mob destroying the hut of Mst Rasmani, widow of one Ganpat.
  • He charged the mob in an attempt to stop them and raised an alarm because of which other people came there including Ramji and Nebi.
  • It was alleged that Gallu Sah asked a member of the mob named Budi to set fire to the hut and subsequently the hut was set on fire.
  • The trial court found them guilty under various sections of Indian Penal Code and also Gallu Sah under Sections 436 read with 109 for mischief and destruction of property with fire and abetment of crime and Budi under Section 436.
  • Later in an appeal to the High Court in Patna, Budi was absolved from Section 436 due to insufficient evidence but Gallu Sah was taken to be liable under the specified sections as well.
  • After which Gallu Sah appealed in the Supreme Court in concern to the following issue.

Issues Involved:

  • Is the conviction of the appellant Gallu Sah for an offence under Section 436 read with Section 109, of the Indian Penal Code, and the propriety of the sentence passed thereunder, correct?

Contention of Appellant:

The counsel for appellant contented that:

  • The evidence on which the conviction was based is the same evidence which was given against Budi Sah, and if that evidence was disbelieved with regard to Budi Sah, it should not have been believed against the appellant
  • There is no evidence in this particular case that whoever set fire to the hut of Mst Rasmani did so in consequence of the order of the appellant, assuming that the appellant gave an order to set fire to the hut, and therefore, the conviction of the appellant for abetment is bad in law.


The Appellant was convicted.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the appellant stands convicted under Section 436 read with 109 of Indian Penal Code and the judgements of the High Court of Patna stands valid.

Ratio Decidendi:

  • Against first contention of the appellant the court said that out of the testimony of the four witnesses none of them had proper statement against Budi accusing him of the offence but proper and adequate inference could be drawn that it was Gallu Sah who abetted the offence.
  • As to the second contention, the court was satisfied that the appellant gave the orders for the hut to be set on fire and that consequently it was done by one of the mob members and it would be too unreal if considered otherwise.
  • In Umadasi Dasi Vs Emperor it was ruled that there can be exceptions to the rule that if prosecution fails to substantiate the commission of the principal offence, there can be no conviction for abetment, if proven that the offence committed was in consequence to abetment of the offence.


In this criminal appeal the Honorable Supreme Court made sure that proper evidence is taken into consideration and then and only then should an accused be convicted but also ensured application of mind when considering evidences and not letting the appellant to wrongly avail a general statement of law.

Drafted by: Sarwang Mathur (University School of Law and Legal Studies)

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: October 4, 2021 at 13:51 IST

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