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MUNNA LAL versus STATE OF U.P.

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Munna Lal v. State Of U.P. - CRIMINAL REVISION No. 906 of 1985 [2006] RD-AH 9325 (10 May 2006)

 

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

RESERVED

Criminal Revision No. 906 of 1985

Munna Lal alias Munna Babu Revisionist

Versus

State Respondent

Hon. Vinod Prasad, J

The revisionist Munna Lal @ Munna Babu has filed the above noted revision challenging his conviction under sections 279, 337, 338, 427, 304-A IPC and sentences of six months RI for each offences, u/s 279, 337 IPC, one year RI for each offences, u/s 338 and 427 IPC  and two years R.I. and a fine of Rs. 1000/- u/s 304-A IPC and in default of payment of fine to under go to six months further imprisonment, passed by Munsif Magistrate, Lower Criminal Court, Budaun, in Criminal Case No. 341 of 1981 and affirmed by I Additional District and Sessions Judge, Budaun, in Criminal Appeal No. 105 of 1984, Munna Lal @ Munna Babu versus State vide its judgment and order dated 23.5.1985.

The revisionist, according to the prosecution case, was the driver of Bus No. UPO 4715, which was under contract with UPSRTC. The said bus started for Haridwar from Budaun on 3.1.1981at about 7 A.M. with Pashupati Nath (P.W.4) as its conductor. At about 8.45 the revisionist, who was the driver of the said bus collided it with another UPSRTC Bus No. UTH 1654 near village Bhatpura, P.S. Bisauli, district Budaun. The collision was of such a magnitude that three persons including Taufiq Alam and Sadiq Khan died on the spot and two others (identity of three others could not be established) succumbed to the injuries in the hospital later on. Several other passengers including the drivers and conductors of both the buses suffered injuries in the collusion. Virendra Kumar Verma, T.I. UPSRTC,  (P.W. 1), lodged the report about the said collusion at P.S. Bisauli, district Budaun, at 9.45 A.M, covering a distance of six kms east, against the revisionist u/s 304 A IPC. After the investigation the charge sheet was submitted against the revisionist accused who was tried by Munsif Magistrate, Lower Criminal Court, Budaun.

In the trial the prosecution examined in all 14 witnesses. Out of them P. W. 1 Virendra KumarVerma T I, UPSRTC, Bisauli was the informant, P.W. 2 Jas Pal Saran was the conductor of the other bus no. UTI 1654, P.W. 3 Siddiq Ahmad was an independent witness and P.W. 4 Pashupati Nath was the conductor of the bus driven by the accused being bus No. UPO 4715. Other witnesses included some passengers and doctors. They were P.W. 5 Lochan Singh, P.W. 6 Ram Autar, P.W. 7 Kalloo, P.W. 8 Chandra Pal, P.W. 9 Dr. M.P. Gupta, (who had examined the injuries of the injured Ram Autar, Yash Pal Saran and Ramesh), P.W. 10 Dr. S.N. Kaur (who had examined injuries of Mori Chandra, Lochan, Ram Prakash Sushil, Pashupati Nath, sukhbir and Harish Chandra Varsney), P.W. 11 H.C. MT Gorey Lal and P.W. 12 K.R. Khan, who had conducted the autopsy on the dead body of the unknown deceased persons. Post Mortem Report and the injury reports were duly proved and exhibited. Amongst the injured, which included the present revisionist as well, there was a single grievous injury sustained by Udai Bhan Singh. The trial court believed the prosecution version convicted and sentenced the revisionist as has been mentioned in the opening part of this judgment. The lower appellate court concurred with the trial court in its findings and sentences and hence this revision.

I have heard Sri Vinay Saran, learned counsel for the revisionist and learned AGA and have gone through the material on record.

Three submissions were raised by the counsel for the revisionist:- Firstly, that there was no direct or documentary evidence to show that the revisionist was on duty on the date and time of the incident, and therefore, the prosecution case against the revisionist is not proved to the hilt and he has been falsely implicated in the present case due to suspicion. Secondly, that there are contradictions in the statements of the witnesses, which belies the prosecution version and on the basis of such contradictory statements the revisionist could not be convicted and therefore, the revision deserves to be allowed and lastly, that the more than 24 years have elapsed since the incident took place, and for the last twenty years (7.6.1985) the revision is pending in this court therefore, it will not be appropriate to send the revisionist to jail after such a long lapse of time. He submitted that the  sentences of imprisonment imposed on the revisionist be converted into one of fine, if the first two submissions raised by him do not find favour on the merits of the case by this court.

Learned AGA on the contrary submitted that there are concurrent findings of fact recorded against the revisionist by the both the courts below and therefore this court, under its revisional jurisdiction, should not enter into the meticulous examination of evidences and only illegality in the judgments should be considered. He contended that concurrent findings of fact should not be disturbed in revisional jurisdiction and since the counsel for the revisionist has failed to point out any illegality in the judgment therefore, once the guilt of the revisionist is cemented by the concurrent findings of both the courts below, it should not be interfered with by this court and the revision should be dismissed. On the question of sentences, he contended that five persons have lost their lives because of the rash and negligent act of the revisionist and many passengers were injured, therefore, revisionist is not entitled for any leniency in sentences awarded to him, which is commensurate with the offences committed by him.

Taking the arguments of the counsel for the revisionist in seriatum, I find that the first submission raised by the counsel for the revisionist is not acceptable and is devoid of merit. From the material on record, it transpires that bus plyied by the revisionist was under the contract with the UPSRTC where the record of the drivers and conductors are maintained. P. W. 1 Virendra Kumar Verma, informant has specifically mentioned in the FIR that the revisionist was the driver of the Bus No. UPO4715. P W 2 Yash Pal Saran was the conductor of the other bus involved in collusion. Yash Pal Saran is also an employee of UPSRTC and normally the drivers and conductors of UPSRTC, who are plying their buses on similar and identical routes, are know to each other very well. In this view of the matter, Yash Pal Saran was expected to know the revisionist very well as being the driver of the other bus involved in collision. It was because of this reason that no suggestion was put to P.W. 2 Yash Pal Saran that the revisionist was not the driver of the bus No. UPO4715. P.W. 4 Pashupati Nath brought the hilt of this submission raised by the counsel for the revisionist, in identifying the revisionist as the driver of the contracted bus involved in collusion. He was the conductor of the same bus No. UPO 4715 driven by revisionist. It was not suggested to him at all that the revisionist was not the driver of the said bus. His evidence unerringly, without any if and but, established that it was the revisionist who was the driver of the contract Bus No. UPO 4715 involved in the accidents. It is to be noted that in his statement u/s 313 Cr. P. C., recorded by the trial court on 12.2.1982, the revisionist himself had mentioned his vocation as driver, which further glued the prosecution allegation that the revisionist was the driver of the ill-fated bus at the time of the incident. In view of these evidences on record the contention of the counsel for the revisionist that there is no direct or documentary evidence against the revisionist that he was the driver of bus no. UPO 4715 does not hold water and is rejected.

The second submission of the learned counsel for the revisionist, that there are contradictions in the statements of witnesses of facts which demolishes the prosecution case, is also merit-less and deserves to be repelled. For this submission, it will be suffice to say that no such contradiction has been pointed out by the learned counsel in the prosecution evidence, which dents the merit of the prosecution version. All the witnesses of fact have supported each other in material particulars in bringing home the guilt of the accused therefore, the second submission of the counsel for the revisionist is also rejected.

Coming to the last submission of the counsel for the revisionist that two decades have elapsed since the incident had occurred, and therefore, instead of sending the revisionist to jail, his sentences of imprisonment be converted into one of fine, I find some force in it. The incident was an accident, which had taken place in the wintry morning hours when there was fog. No body would collide with another bus head long to risk his own life. The incident did take place but the culpability of the revisionist cannot be said to be deliberate and intentional. It may be due to cold foggy whether and loss of control over the limbs and reflexes that the incident might have taken place or it may be even due to mechanical failure. The condition of the buses was such that brakes of both the buses were found broken. This indicates that a last attempt was made by both the drivers to avert the accident. More over at the time of accident the revisionist was 31 years of age and added 24 years time since then as of now, he must be around of 55 years. The maximum sentence, which had been awarded is two years R.I. u/s 304-A IPC and to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- and in default to under go six months further imprisonment. The sentences u/s 304-A IPC has been ordered to run consecutively vis-à-vis with other sentences and that makes the total period of imprisonment to be of three years.  Rests of the sentences are of six months R.I and one year R.I. on various counts, which had been ordered to run concurrently. Further it is to be noted that offences under section 279 IPC with sentence of six months RI and 427 IPC with sentence for one year RI had wrongly been recorded by both the courts below. So for as 279 IPC is concerned, it is the diluted form of section 337 IPC and 304-A IPC. Once the conviction was recorded u/s 337 IPC and 304-A IPC for causing death of five persons and injuring some other passengers, there was no need to convict the revisionist u/s 279 IPC and sentenced him to six months RI. Both the courts below had ignored section 71 of IPC, which was fully applicable on the facts of the present case and which provides that if an offence is made up of several parts and each part itself forms an offence then the offender shall not be punished for more than one of such offences unless it is so specifically provided. Thus punishment u/s 279 IPC was wrongly recorded by both the courts below. So for as punishment u/s 427 IPC is concerned the same was also wrongly recorded. Mischief is defined under section 425 IPC and there is no material on record to satisfy the said definition clause, as the ingredients of intent and knowledge for causing damage, is missing from the evidence on record.  Consequently, the conviction and sentence of the revisionist u/s 427 IPC was also wrongly recorded by the trial court and confirmed by lower appellate court. Thus these two convictions and sentences u/s 279 and 427 IPC are set aside. This has left the revisionist with convictions u/s 337, 338 and 304-A IPC with sentences for a maximum punishment of 3 years on the whole. To send the revisionist to jail for such a short period after two decades of interval will not serve any useful purpose. It will not be in the interest of justice to send him to jail for some offences committed by him more than twenty-four years before. At present the revisionist is aged about 55 years of age and has settled down in his life. There had been no other complaints of any other kind against him during this interval. In this view of the matter, I consider it appropriate to convert the sentences of imprisonment awarded to the revisionist u/s 337, 338 and 304-A IPC into one of fine on various counts. Looking to the job of the revisionist and his status in society his sentence of six months RI u/s 337 IPC substituted for a fine of Rs. 2,000/- (Two thousand) only, his sentence u/s 338 IPC for one year RI substituted with a fine of Rs 4,000/- (Four thousand) only and his sentence u/s 304-A IPC for 2 years RI and a fine of Rs. 1000/- substituted with a fine of Rs. 15,000/- (Fifteen thousand) with further direction that out of the said total amount of fine of Rs. 20,000/-, Rs. 9,000/- (Rs. Nine thousand), each be paid as compensation to each of the legal heirs of the two known deceased persons will meet the ends of justice.

In the result, the revision is allowed in part. Conviction of the revisionist u/s 279 IPC for six months RI and 427 IPC for one year RI is hereby set aside and he is acquitted for these offences. However, his convictions u/s 337,338 and 304 A IPC is hereby affirmed but his sentences of imprisonment for these offences are converted into one of fine on various counts. Instead of sentence of six months RI u/s 337 IPC he is awarded to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/-, instead of sentence of one year RI u/s 338 IPC he is awarded to pay a fine of Rs. 4000/- and his sentence of 2 years RI and a fine of Rs. 1000/- u/s 304-A IPC is substituted with a fine of Rs. 15,000/- only. Out of the fines awarded above Rs. 9,000/- ( Rs. Nine thousand) each will be given as compensation to each of the legal heirs of the two deceased persons by the trial court in order of descent according to the law applicable. The revisionist will have two months time to deposit the fine with the trial court. The trial court will issue warrant for realization of fine within two weeks from today. In the event of default of payment of fine by the revisionist within the time granted he will bear the sentences awarded to him by the trial court for the said offences u/s 337, 338 and 304-A IPC. The Revisionist is on bail. He needs not surrender for the period allowed to him to deposit the fine as provided herein before. In the event of default he will surrender or the trial court will cause him to be arrested to serve the sentences awarded to him. His bail bonds are cancelled.

Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the trial court within a week from today for compliance and further action at its end.

DATE:10.5.2006

SKS/906/1985


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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