Citations: Sardara Singh Vs State of Haryana, 1983 SCC OnLine P&H 498

Date of Judgement: 01/09/1983

Equivalent citations: 1984 CriLJ 426

Case No: Criminal Revision No. 1081 of 1981

Case Type: Criminal Appeal

Appellant: Sardara Singh

Respondent: State of Haryana

Bench: Hon’ble Justice S.S. Diwan

Statutes Referred:

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860; Sections 109, 201, 302, 409

Cases referred:

  • Darbari Choudhury and others Vs Emperor, 1921 Cri. L.J., 311
  • Mahabir Prasad Vs Emperor, A.I.R. 1927 Allahabad 35
  • Begu Vs The King Emperor A.I.R. 1925 P.C. 130 (U):
  • Syamo Maha Patro Vs Emperor, A.I.R. 1932 Madras 391 (F.B)
  • Provincial Government C.P. and Berar Vs Saidu, A.I.R. 1947 Nagpur 113.


  • Sardara Singh was the Secretary of Khanpur Co-operative Agricultural Service Society Ltd., Khanpur and Nanhu Ram was the cashier and Brij Lal the sub-inspector of the society.
  • Sh. K. N. Kapur, Assistant Registrar of the society found Rs 50139 had been misappropriated by the three aforementioned people after checking the accounts of the society.
  • They were summoned by the court among whom Brij Lal was discharged while Nanhu Ram and Sardara Singh were convicted under section 409 and 409/109 of the Penal Code, 1860.
  • Feeling aggrieved the petitioner came up in revision.

Issues Involved:

Is the conviction of the petitioner under Section 409/109 of the Indian Penal Code lawfully valid?

Contention of Petitioner/Appellant:

The counsel for petitioner contented that:

  • The petitioner was not found guilty under Section 409 and no charges were framed against him under Section 109 and therefore his conviction under Section 409/109 is illegal.
  • In support of their argument, they referred to the cases, Darbari Choudhury and others Vs Emperor where it was held that a person charged with an offence under Section 379, Penal Code, 1860, cannot be convicted of abetting that offence where he is not charged with such abetment and Mahabir Prasad Vs Emperor where it was held that if the accused was acquitted on the main charge then his conviction for abetment is illegal.

Contention of Respondent:

The counsel for state referred to various cases to counter the petitioners’ arguments:

  • In Begu Vs The King Emperor, it was held that where the charge under Section302, Penal Code, 1860 fails against some of the accused persons, they can be convicted under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code, for causing the disappearance of evidence without a separate charge being made against them under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • In Syamo Maha Patro Vs Emperor, it was held that an accused person charged with the main offence of murder can be convicted of abetment of murder even though he is opt separately charged.
  • In Berar Vs Saidu, it was held that there is no bar in law to convict a person of abetment without a distinct Charge.


The Appeal was Allowed in Part.

The High Court reduced the term of imprisonment to two years along with the already defined fine that was supposed to be paid and thus with the modifications maintained the conviction of the accused.

Ratio Decidendi:

  • After application of test to check if the accused had notice of the facts constituting abetment the court concluded that the accused indeed knew about the facts since he signed the documents and identified Nanhu Ram when the amount in question was being withdrawn by him.
  • The other arguments by the counsel for petitioner were same as raised before the previous courts and therefore the High Court considered it a waste of time to delve more on them.
  • The case was quite old and the petitioner had gone through trial since then and therefore the court reduced the sentence to two years.


Many cases stick around for many years until a verdict is passed upon them and even after that can be taken to a higher court right up to the Honorable Supreme Court and therefore in many cases the accused already completes a significant portion of his imprisonment if convicted while fighting his case and therefore this decision of the High Court of Haryana showed that how the judiciary recognizes this problem and does its best to provide the best justice.

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

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: November 25, 2021 at 19:50 IST

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