Priyadarshini Mattoo Case 2006

In the Supreme Court of India

Name of the CaseState (Through Cbi) v Santosh Kumar Singh
Citation 2007 CriLJ 964, 133 (2006) DLT 393
Year of the Case2006
AppellantState (Through Cbi)
RespondentSantosh Kumar Singh
Bench/JudgesJ., R Sodhi, P Bhasin
Acts InvolvedIndian Penal Code
Important SectionsSection 302, 376


Priyadarshini Mattoo (23 July 1970 – 23 January 1996) was a 25-year-old law student who was found raped and murdered at her house in New Delhi on 23 January 1996. On 17 October 2006, the Delhi High Court saw Santosh Kumar Singh as guilty on the two charges of rape and murder, and on 30 October of the very year sentenced him to death. On 6 October 2010, the Supreme Court of India drove capital punishment to life detainment. Santosh Kumar Singh, the child of an Inspector-General of Police, had prior been cleared by a preliminary court in 1999, and the High Court choice was broadly seen in India as a milestone inversion. This choice was toppled as the realities were not introduced accurately in the lower court.


Priyadarshini was in the third year of her law program when she was discovered choked in her uncle’s home. She had been raped, hit multiple times with a bike protective cap, lastly choked with a wire. Santosh Kumar Singh, her senior in school, had been following and bugging her for quite a long while and was the quick suspect. Be that as it may, Santosh originated from a compelling family – his dad J.P. Singh was then Inspector General of Police in Pondicherry – throughout the preliminary, he filled in as Joint Commissioner of Police in Delhi, where the wrongdoing had been submitted. Considering these associations, the court gave over the examination of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In 1995, Priyadarshini had grumbled that Santosh Singh was pestering and following her. She had been furnished with an individual security official at that point. In reprisal, Santosh had stopped grumbling with the college asserting that she was seeking after two degrees at the same time. 

Notwithstanding, it worked out that Priyadarshini had passed M.Com in 1991 and the objection was just malignant. On the morning of 23 January 1996, Santosh was seen thumping for entrance into Priyadarshini’s uncle’s home, where she was living, in the Vasant Kunj territory of Delhi. A worker saw Santosh going into her home, obviously saying that he needed a trade-off in their legitimate grumblings. In this manner, he raped her, choked her with an electric wire, and afterward battered her face to the point of being indistinguishable with a cruiser head protector. Santosh’s essence in the house after the homicide was likewise settled by the indictment. 

Background of the case

Priyadarshini Mattoo was a 25-year-old law understudy, who was discovered raped and killed at her home in New Delhi on 23 January 1996. Priyadarshini completed her school in Srinagar from there on her family moved to Jammu. After finishing her B Com from Jammu she joined Delhi University for her LL.B. course. She had held up a few objections of provocation, terrorizing, and following against the charged Santosh Kumar Singh who was additionally an understudy of LL.B. in grounds Law Center, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. The denounced had passed LL.B. from the University of Delhi from the said Campus Law Center in December 1994.  

Dull objections portrayed by the expired turned as totally useless in as much as it neglected to discourage the denounced who kept on annoying her. Regardless of the prior two endeavors given by the charged ensuing to the objections enrolled against him by the perished at the R.K. Puram and Vasant Kunj Police Station on 25 February 1995 and 16 August.,1995 individually, on 06 November.,1995, he again attempted to badger the expired at the Campus Law Center. After this an FIR under segment 354 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 was held up against him at the Maurice Nagar Police Station for which he was captured and therefore delivered on close to home bond. The perished had additionally documented a protest dated 27 October 1995 to the Dean, Faculty of Law, and Campus Law Center expressing provocation. The blamed was encouraged to cease from such exercises. The gravity of the issue was with the end goal that the expired was informed to meet the Deputy Commissioner concerning Police (South West) to whom she griped against the denounced whereupon, a Personal Security Officer was given to the perished.

Because of these, on 30 October 1995, the anguished blamed out for malice submitted negligible questions to the specialists at the Delhi University against the expired that she was simultaneously seeking after two courses. Along these lines, the consequence of the perished was retained by the college which gave show-cause notice to which she was to answer at the most punctual. The blame followed the issue against the perished in his ability. In her clarification, the perished guaranteed that she had finished her M. Com in 1991 and was at this point to show up in her LL.B. III year test, accordingly discrediting the charges demanded against her. She additionally emphasized provocation by the blamed for as long as one and a half years from that point. On the game-changing day of the homicide when the expired was separated from everyone else at her living arrangement at B-10/7098, Vasant Kunj the blamed came to her home. On the appearance of the safety officer, Rajinder Singh at the perished’s home it was discovered that Priyadarshini Mattoo was lying under the twofold bed and there was no development of her body. Consequently, an FIR under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was held up at his occasion at the Vasant Kunj Police Station. In the assertion recorded under Section 161 of Cr.P.C. Rajeshwari Mattoo, the mother of the perished had suspected the denounced and along these lines, he participated in the examination. 


The issue was taken up by the Delhi Police however thereafter on a solicitation set by C.L. Mattoo; the perished’s dad the case was given over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 25 January 1996. After an intensive examination made by CBI into the issue, on 11 April 1996, the Central Agency recorded a charge sheet against Santosh Kumar Singh. The denounced was challenged as per law. From that point the case came in the mood for hearing and the then Additional Sessions Judge, S.C. Mittal was satisfied to outline charges under Sections 302 and 376 of IPC. The blamed argued not liable to the charges and guaranteed preliminary. On 11 August 1997, the preliminary started. On 3 January 1998 on the whole; upwards of fifty observers were inspected in the court. After considering all the conditional and narrative proof delivered by the arraignment, the preliminary court on 3 December 1999 absolved the blame giving him an advantage for question expressing that the CBI had neglected to effectively create the proof and had acted unjustifiably. Moreover, it was brought up that the DNA report introduced by the CBI was manufactured and subsequently, unacceptable according to the law taking into account Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.


The shoddy investigation and tampering of evidence were the major hurdle faced by the prosecution in the trial. 

Related Provisions

Section 302 in The Indian Penal Code

302. Punishment for murder. —Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or 1[imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 376 in The Indian Penal Code

1[376. Punishment for rape. —

(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of fewer than seven years.

(2) Whoever, —

(a) being a police officer commits rape—

(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is ap­pointed; or

(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or

(iii) on a woman in his custody or the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or

(b) being a public servant takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him; or

(c) being on the management or the staff of a jail, remand home or other places of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s insti­tution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or

(d) being on the management or the staff of a hospital takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or

(e) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or

(f) commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age; or

(g) commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine: Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of fewer than ten years. Explanation 1.—Where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape within the meaning of this sub-section. Explanation 2. — “Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected woman or children or a widow’s home or by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of woman or children. Explanation 3. — “Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation.]

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Trial Court Judgment

Conveying the amusing and generally censured judgment in the preliminary court procedures in 1999, the Additional Sessions Judge. G.P. Thareja said of Santosh, that however, he realized that “he is the one who perpetrated the wrongdoing,” he had to absolve him, giving him the advantage of uncertainty.  

In a 450-page judgment, the appointed authority descended vigorously on the function of Delhi Police; “There have been specific inaction by Delhi Police”, he stated, while remarking that the blame’s dad may have utilized his official situation to impact the offices. “The impact of the dad has been there in the issue and there was intentional inaction” (at the time his dad was second in charge of the police powers in Delhi). 

The cap was found with a broken visor – anyway, the proof was so ineffectively introduced that the protection had the option to limit it.

He further expressed that the standard of law doesn’t appear to apply to the offspring of the individuals who uphold it. 

The Delhi police as per the appointed authority endeavored to help the denounced during the examination and preliminary. “Lalit Mohan, the Inspector was instrumental in making bogus proof and bogus safeguard for the blamed. The observers of the police including a Sub-Inspector ousted dishonestly”.

The judgment considered the CBI answerable for out of line examination and inability to deliver Virender Prasad, Mattoo’s family unit help, which brought about the check of equity. The police had guaranteed Prasad had disappeared and was not recognizable, yet in the fallout, a writer could without much of a stretch discover him in his Bihar town.  

The appointed authority added that the CBI manufactured the DNA test in the rape case as it was not gotten as per the legal strategy and couldn’t subsequently be conceded in proof considering Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. 

The “state had neglected to get back the charge of rape against the blamed”, and keeping in mind that arraigning Santosh as “the one who perpetrated the wrongdoing”, the appointed authority was compelled to absolve him, given “the advantage of uncertainty”. 

High Court Appeal

Following a public objection, the CBI at that point claimed the locale court’s decision in Delhi High Court on 29 February 2000. At first, the preliminary was not a need, and there was no introduction of proof or hearings in the Delhi High Court well into 2006. Be that as it may, the extraordinary public investigation was mounted for the situation after the absolutions in the Jessica Lal case, with Priyadarshini’s matured dad Chaman Lal Matoo showing up on TV, bringing the legal executive under extreme tension.

On 31 August 2006, six years after the underlying allure by CBI, Justice’s RS Sodhi and PK Bhasin took up the case on an everyday hearing premise, which is very uncommon in India. Judgment was reached within 42 days which is very uncommon.


On 17 October 2006, Santosh Singh, who in the interim had hitched and turn into a rehearsing legal advisor in Delhi itself, was seen as liable under Indian Penal Code areas 302 (murder) and 376 (rape). The decision accuses G.P. Thareja’s unique judgment: 

The preliminary appointed authority absolved the blamed incredibly adopting an unreasonable strategy. It killed equity and stunning legal still, small voice.

Specifically, the decision held that there were no lacunae in the DNA testing and that the mix of the legal and fortuitous proof was securing. Notwithstanding, the seat concurred with the preliminary’s court perception that police were hesitant to follow up on rehashed grievances of badgering and following against Singh as his dad was the senior IPS official (presently resigned) Director-General of Police J.P. Singh.

The decision says “junior staff don’t respond to objections against the family members of their society” and alluded to the preliminary court’s perception that the methodology and working of the subordinate staff of Delhi Police mirrored that the standard of law “isn’t intended for the individuals who uphold the law nor for their close to family members“. 

The decision was reached based on solid fortuitous proof. Santosh’s dad J.P. Singh was in court. Priyadarshini’s dad communicated fulfillment that equity had been accomplished ten years after the horrifying homicide.

Death penalty

As suggested by the Central Bureau of Investigation capital punishment was granted to Santosh Singh on 30 October 2006. 

Articulating its decision, the court said the relieving conditions under which tolerance was asked for Santosh were insufficient and the ruthless rape and murder falls in the section of “most extraordinary of uncommon” cases. Santosh was sitting only five-feet from the jam-stuffed court. The court had indicted Santosh for the wrongdoing prior that month. 

The two-judge seat, involving Justice R. S. Sodhi and Justice P. K. Bhasin, heard the two sides before articulating the decision. The court said Santosh Singh had been given numerous odds to change by the police when Priyadarshini had whined that he was following her. Be that as it may, he didn’t retouch his methodologies and, in the end, raped and executed her. 

There is positively no doubt as far as we can say that what was expected of Singh was excellent conduct being a child of cop and a legal advisor himself. However, with a pre-pondered approach, he kept on bothering the casualty for a very long time,” the Bench said. 

Notwithstanding rehashed admonitions by the police and his endeavors to them, he approached submitting the ghastliest demonstration. The demonstration itself sent waves in the public eye and indicated how unreliable a resident can get against this sort of an individual,” the Bench commented.

Supreme Court appeal

Santosh Singh claimed against capital punishment sentence to the Supreme Court of India on 19 February 2007. The court additionally gave a notification to the Central Bureau of Investigation on an allure recorded by the convict against the high court’s judgment. The guard legal advisors of the blamed Santosh Singh scrutinized the legitimacy for the DNA report, one of the primary drivers for which he was given the advantage of uncertainty in the Trial court. Further, the issue of Trial by Media is probably going to be raised and whether over the top media inclusion has impacted the decision.  

In October 2010, the Supreme Court maintained the conviction of Santosh Kumar Singh yet decreased capital punishment to life detainment. Priyadarshini’s dad communicated disillusionment with the CBI for neglecting to request against this choice.

Concepts Highlighted

The perspective on the Trial Court as respects the forbidden nature of the DNA test was not reasonable according to the law in as much as the court should have agreed due and reasonable thought to the reports secured by the master proof in the case of the CBI.

Justice R.S. Sodhi of the Delhi High Court stated, “If the Supreme Court says that it isn’t the most uncommon of the uncommon case, at that point that is it. I felt while conveying the equity that this was intense and according to the conditions, he had been disturbing this young lady for quite a long time. She had moved toward each conceivable police headquarters and was at last given assurance. However, he couldn’t have cared less for the law: he just jumped into her home, raped her, and killed her. I thought this was the cutoff.”


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