Last Jury Trial of India – Three Bullets that shook the Nation


Jury, notable lawful organization in which a gathering of laypersons takes part in choosing cases brought to preliminary. Its definite attributes and powers rely upon the laws and practices of the nations, areas, or states in which it is found, and there is extensive variety. Essentially, in any case, it initiates laypersons at irregular from the most extensive populace for the preliminary of a specific case and permits them to think in mystery, to arrive at a choice by a vote, and to introduce its decision without giving reasons.

Since its commencement, it has maybe been both overpraised as a sanction of freedom and overcriticized as dependence on bumbling novices in the organization of equity. Jury preliminaries came to India with the British. The primary case chose by an English jury was in 1665, when one Mrs. Ascentia Dawes was accused of the homicide of her slave, an Indian young lady. A jury of six Englishmen and six Portuguese saw her as blameworthy, however, she was cleared due to the ‘modesty’ of the wrongdoing. 

Contribution of Nanavati’s case

The jury, in 1959, an upset and double-crossed spouse, Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, a Naval Commander, killed his better half’s darling, Prem Ahuja. The episode got uncommon media inclusion and motivated a few books and films. The most recent of all is the Akshay Kumar starrer, Rustom. The instance of Commander KM Nanavati versus State of Maharashtra changed the essence of the Indian legal framework. It was the last case that was tried under India’s jury framework. Slowly it turned into a one-sided foundation, which regularly administered in the blessing of the British, disregarded outrageous brutality and misuse of Indians. The preliminary that followed turned it into a media sensation.

Thanks to the endeavors of the Bombay newspaper, Blitz Regardless of overpowering proof to the opposite, the jury returned to a decision of blameless, which accordingly did upset the Bombay High Court. The film’s notoriety testifies to the way that the Nanavati’s preliminary actually posed a potential threat in the authentic memory not just of Mumbai be that as it may, a lot of India also.

Among legal advisors, judges, and ensuing students of history, be that as it may, the case is less notable for its offensive storyline than for the normally held view that it was the last jury preliminary in India, whose unreasonable decision prompted the annulment of preliminary by jury. However, the historical backdrop of the jury preliminary in India recommends that such “normal information” is obviously bogus. Jury preliminaries endured all the way to the 1960s. As courts with unique locale over criminal cases, a few high courts proceeded to utilize juries long after the Nanavati preliminary, as did numerous meetings courts. Besides, distributed conclusions from both the high courts and the Supreme Court uncover that those legal bodies proceeded to administer on both jury preliminary systems, what’s more, choices that had occurred in the high courts and meetings courts a few a long time after Nanavati.

Denounced under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, Nanavati was announced free of charges by the meetings court under a jury preliminary. The decision was tested and excused by the Bombay High Court and the case was re-attempted as a seat preliminary. At the point when the matter arrived at the Supreme Court, the case of Nanavati was referred and was given a daily existence detainment on 11 December 1961. Russi Karanjia, the manager of the Blitz embraced the reason for an individual Parsi, lighting immense interest in the situation. On each consultation date, groups would assemble at the Mumbai Sessions Court to watch the preliminary. Men went home and came to watch, ladies left their family errands, understudies, and bunked schools. 

The media was free for all, the public madness, and mixed drink tattle affected the assessments around the case. Impacted by open help for the guilty party, the jury thought that it was difficult to channel truth from fiction. In December 1961, post-Nanavati’s conviction by the Supreme Court, PR Lele, Blitz’s protected master composed an article featured ‘The President should exonerate Nanavati’: Nanavati went through 3 years in jail, following which the then legislative leader of Maharashtra, Vijayalakshmi Pandit worked with his exculpation and delivery, in light of a benevolence appeal.

The Plot


The greatest issue before the appellate court was the issue of mens rea included. The arraignment argued that it was an arranged and seized murder. Arraignment gave the contention that the demonstration of going to the boat and getting the gun and slugs on a bogus guise all brought up to the way that it was arranged by Nanavati. The blame regarding why he needed the firearm, which shows mala fide goals all along. Likewise, the point that the denounced gave up himself to the police proposes the hypothesis that he wanted to kill Ahuja.

The safeguard set forth its conflicts about the mens rea of Nanavati. As indicated by them, this case fell under the overall special case of grave and unexpected incitement. This, it said on the grounds that when Nanavati went to Ahuja and found out if he would wed Sylvia, he answered, “Do I need to wed each lady I lay down with”. As per the safeguard, this assertion went about as grave and abrupt incitement to the denounced. Accordingly, the prosecution argued the sentence to be decreased to at-fault crime not adding up to murder. The Supreme Court of India, remembering, current realities of the case gave the judgment in an entirely sensible and reasonable way. As per the bench, when Sylvia admitted to Nanavati about her illegal closeness with Ahuja, the last was absent. For the rule of a grave and unexpected incitement, the accused should need to lose his poise. The bench accepted that when Sylvia advised him, he lost restraint. 

Furthermore, there was a hole of three-hour difference between when he went out and when the homicide occurred. He along these lines had sufficient opportunity to recapture discretion. The simple truth that the perished manhandled the charged before he shot him can’t be considered grave and abrupt incitement. Along these lines, the seat didn’t give the exemption for the denounced.

Even after the Nanavati case, a few courts with unique locale, high courts just as a few Sessions courts supported utilizing juries as a framework to give equity. According to record, juries endured the longest in West Bengal where we see a portion of the examples of foul play achieved by the plague of jury preliminaries being held. The steady discouragement towards jury preliminaries by the rest of the states in India depicts a fairly lessened picture of the framework in its last years. This was not unwarranted. 

On 10 July 1963 one Mannalal Khatic was sentenced by a jury of 9 men as liable of homicide. The vote was 6 to 3 accused. Nonetheless, upon additional allure, the detainee was seen not as liable and therefore delivered and found not guilty. Actually, jury preliminaries could likewise give unreasonable choices in an alternate way. It is obvious that occasionally the jury is impacted by the famous political promulgation. After 1967, racial socialist faction laborers were accused of the homicide of a congress party ally. There was obvious proof against the denounced nonetheless, the jury collectively cleared all the accused. We leave the choices of if this was politically powered. Fundamentally, this shows a fairly passionate and subjective methodology of the jury particularly as far as wrongdoings like homicide. Current realities of this case can be supposed to be to some degree near the Nanavati case.


The Nanavati Case in 1959, drew a lot of attention in the nation, pointing out a change in the organization of criminal equity through jury preliminaries as it’s anything but an imperfect framework. The fourteenth Report given by the Law Commission additionally prescribed for the jury framework to be abrogated. The notorious naval force case was obviously named as the last situation where the judgment was conveyed by the jury however, the jury kept on working even after the case in a couple of spots as referenced previously.

It was distinctly in 1969 after the 41st Report of the Law Commission was delivered that the Government chose to cover the jury. The 41st Report endeavored to eliminate every one of the arrangements identified with the jury framework from the Criminal Procedure Code of 1898. The 23rd chapter clarifies the preliminary methodology to be continued in High Courts and Courts of Sessions in the wake of cutting off the arrangements identified with the jury framework. From that point in the year 1973, we had the last Criminal Procedure Code without the blemishes which are followed to date in India.

The Nanavati story accordingly, brought forth two legends: first, that it was the last jury preliminary in India and, second, that it was the obscene sentimentality of the new newspaper press that adulterated the jury framework and made its cancelation vital? Like all legends, nonetheless, the Nanavati legend clouds numerous badly arranged certainties. The refusal of the public authority, what’s more, the lawful calling to face class and standing contrasts in the court, what’s more, not Blitz and the well-known press, prompted the abrogation of the Indian jury. While the Nanavati story proceeds to entrance a great many moviegoers, it likewise keeps on concealing a significantly more shameful past.

Editor’s Note
The case of Nanavati was the greatest contribution to the abolishment of the Jury system in India. The jury system was started by the British for their own benefit. With time it started to be proved as a mistake. The Jury was found to be biased and one-sided. There were several cases like Nanavati where the Jury could not put its foot in one plain and it affected the cases. There were cases where the people who had political influence turned the Jury towards themselves and justice was ignored. The last Trial of the Jury took place due to its nature. The Jury confused the people and the court. It became hard to deliver justice.

Since there was voting there was a lot of corruption within the system. The Judge or the bench of judges since then take the decisions which are not influenced and are non-biased. If we talk about the cases of Nanavati or Mannalal Khatic or any other case, we come to a conclusion that abolishment was the necessary choice. It was also economically challenging for a developing country like India. The jury also didn’t give power to the law and was more affected emotionally. Today, there might not be a jury system but when required in cases when the decisions affect the nation a bench of experienced judges is appointed. 

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