State (Through CBI ) v Santosh Kumar Singh

Author: Nida, Christ (deemed to be) University Lavasa, Pune


This judge’s decision to let the accused go free in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case shows that our justice system is not working properly. People are upset because it seems like powerful people can get away with crimes. Corruption and political influence have made our courts unfair. It’s like when someone says that having a lot of power can make people do bad things. It’s strange that even though the Judiciary is supposed to be really powerful, they can still be influenced by wealthy and persuasive people.[1] It’s sad that most of the rules and protections against judges doing bad things are no longer working.


A long time ago, a girl named Priyadarshini Mattoo was killed in her uncle’s home in Delhi. The police found out that she had been hurt badly and someone had choked her. They suspected Santosh Kumar Singh, who was a senior of Priyadarshini at college, to be the person who did it. Priyadarshini had told the police before that Singh had been following and bothering her. At first, the police didn’t do a good job investigating the case. But later, the Central Bureau of Investigation took over and looked into it. In 1999, Singh was cleared of the charges by a lower court because there wasn’t enough proof. But the CBI didn’t agree and appealed the decision in the Delhi High Court. In 2006, the High Court found Singh guilty of both assault and murder, and he was sentenced to death. Singh didn’t agree with the High Court’s decision and appealed again. In 2010, the High Court upheld Singh’s conviction, but changed his punishment to life imprisonment instead of death.

An FIR was filed at the Vasant Kunj Police Station under [2]Section 302 of the Indian Criminal Code (IPC). According to the statement recorded under Section 161 of the Cr.PC[3], the deceased’s mother, Rajeshwari Mattoo, suspected the offender and so joined the inquiry.


  • Whether the police do a good job at first when they were investigating Priyadarshini Mattoo’s murder, even though they made some mistakes?
  • whether it worry us that someone older and more powerful at school might have hurt Priyadarshini, and that this could happen because of how people with power can sometimes behave badly?
  • Whether they remember when Priyadarshini Mattoo told people that someone was bothering her and following her? This shows that we should do more to stop this from happening and make sure people are safe.
  • Can the police get in trouble if they forget to record what an important witness says?
  • Can a DNA test prove if someone is guilty or not?
  • If we can prove without a doubt that the accused person is guilty and there is enough evidence to support it, should they be found guilty of the crime they committed?


The prosecution in the trial had a hard time because the investigation was done poorly and the evidence was tampered with. But they were able to prove that Santosh hurt himself and broke his helmet when he attacked Mattoo. Mattoo also complained to the police many times about Santosh bothering her, and people saw Santosh near Mattoo’s house before she was killed. The accused tried to say his injuries were old, but a doctor said they looked recent. The court didn’t agree with the prosecution’s evidence and let the accused go free. [4]This made a lot of people angry and they protested for justice. The media also found problems with the case and showed how Mattoo didn’t get the justice she deserved. The public demanded that the case be looked at again, and the CBI filed an appeal in a higher court. Finally, in 2006, Santosh was found guilty and sentenced to death. But later, his sentence was changed to life in prison. This case shows that justice may have been delayed, but it was not denied.


Abuse can occur when any institution, whether legislative, executive, judicial, or bureaucratic, exceeds its legal jurisdiction and powers. In certain circumstances, such as judicial activism, extra-legal actions might really be beneficial. Along with the media trial, like revolutionary sting operations, is a praiseworthy effort to monitor police investigations and acts. However, it must maintain self-restraint and prioritize fair trials and judicial procedures, with a sense of responsibility. The media should acknowledge that their content has a huge impact on the audience.

While television journalism has improved in terms of audience interaction and response, there are still issues around agenda setting. Citizens or news media. As watchers, we might easily succumb to the media’s influence and follow its predefined path of involvement. Media impact may be subtle, especially when the cause appears noble. When democracy fails, the media’s role in public involvement should be carefully considered. The channels’ promises of justice and empowerment often rely on media power, which may be vague and confusing.

The judicial and the media are separate bodies with distinct functions that do not overlap. Both parties should not rely on each other to fulfill their commitments. The media should only carry out journalistic duties and not act as a special agency for the court. Prejudiced media coverage undermines freedom of speech and expression because it interferes with the delivery of justice. The media has a moral obligation to deliver the truth at the right time. Print media has reached saturation and adheres to legal and ethical requirements, whereas electronic media is still in its early stages of experimentation.

Use the “trial and error” method to determine what to exhibit and what not to expose. There will come a day when electronic media will be strictly managed by self-censored conventions, and we will still have a “totally free press.”


The Indian Penal Code, 1860[5]

•Section 302

According to Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a person who commits murder shall be punished with the death penalty or a life sentence in jail as well as a heavy fine. No one is exempted from the crime of murder under the IPC

•Section 354

Anyone who assaults or uses unlawful force on a woman with the intent to offend or knowing that doing so will likely offend her modesty is punishable by imprisonment of either kind for a time that may extend to two years, by fine, or by both.

•Section 376: Punishment for rape

Those who commit rape, except for those covered by subsection (2), are subject to fines and imprisonment of either kind for a duration that may not be less than seven years but maybe for life or for a term that may extend to ten years. If the victim of the rape is the offender’s wife and she is not under the age of twelve, he or she is subject to imprisonment of any description for a term that may extend to two years. With the caveat that the court may impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years for sufficient and unique grounds to be indicated in the ruling.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[6]

•Section 313: Power to examine the accused

1. in every inquiry or trial, to enable the accused personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him, the Court-

2. May at any stage, without previously warning the accused, put such questions to him as the Court considers necessary;

3. shall, after the witnesses for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defense, question him generally on the case: Provided that in a summons- case, where the Court has dispensed with the personal attendance of the accused, it may also dispense with his examination under clause (b).

4 The accused shall not render himself liable to punishment by refusing to answer such questions, or by giving false answers to them.

5. The answers given by the accused may be taken into consideration in such inquiry or trial, and put in evidence for or against him in any other inquiry into, or trial for, any other offense which such answers may tend to show he has committed.

The Indian Evidence Act, of 1872[7]

Section 6 Regardless of whether they happened at the same time and location or at different times and locations, facts that, while not in dispute, are sufficiently related to a fact in dispute to form a component of the same transaction are significant.

[1] Legal India, Case Comment on Priyadarshini Matoo case,

Case Comment on Priyadarshini Matoo case. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2024, from

[2] Trivedi, H. D., & India. (1981). Indian Penal Code, 1860. Eastern Book Co.

[3] Durga Das Basu, & Mallick, M. R. (1997). Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 : Act No. 2 of 1974.

[4] Legal India, Case Comment on Priyadarshini Matoo case,

Case Comment on Priyadarshini Matoo case. (n.d.).

[5] Trivedi, H. D., & India. (1981). Indian Penal Code, 1860. Eastern Book Co.

[6] Durga Das Basu, & Mallick, M. R. (1997). Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 : Act No. 2 of 1974.

[7] James Fitzjames Stephen. (2019). The Indian Evidence Act (I. of 1872): With an Introduction on the Principles of Judicial Evidence. Alpha Edition.

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