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Annamalai v. State through the - CRL.A.No.546 of 2005  RD-TN 1006 (20 March 2007)
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT
DATED : 20/03/2007
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE M.CHOCKALINGAM
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.R.SHIVAKUMAR
CRL.A.No.546 of 2005
Annamalai .. Appellant
State through the
Inspector of Police
Srivilliputtur Town Police Station
Virudhunagar District .. Respondent Criminal appeal preferred under Sec.374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the judgment of the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srivilliputhur, Virdhunagar District, in S.C.No.60/2004 dated 12.10.2004. For Appellant : Mr.G.Sankara Narayanan For Respondent : Mr.S.P.Samuel Raj Additional Public Prosecutor :JUDGMENT
(Judgment of this Court was delivered by M.CHOCKALINGAM, J.) The sole accused/appellant who stood charged, tried, found guilty as per the charge of murder and awarded life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs.1,000/- and default sentence by the Court of Session, Virudhunagar at Srivilliputhur in S.C.No.60 of 2004, has challenged the conviction and sentence in the course of this appeal.
2.The short facts necessary for the disposal of this appeal can be stated thus:
(a) P.Ws.1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 were all residing at Sivagnanapuram Street, Srivilliputhur, and the accused was also living in the same street. P.W.2 is the wife of the deceased Murugan. On the day of occurrence i.e., 11.6.2003 at about 8.00 P.M., the deceased went to Srivilliputhur-Sivakasi Main Road along with his dog. At that time, the accused took his granddaughter, went to the shop of P.W.9, purchased mutton food and handed over to the child. When the child was taking the food, the dog which was brought there by the deceased, plucked the same and took it. Immediately, the accused beat the dog, and there was a wordy quarrel. They were about to scuffle rather. The same was pacified by the intervention of P.Ws.1, 3 and 4 and others. At that time, uttering the words "I will see to it", the accused left the place. When the accused came out of the house, he found the deceased standing in front of the wine shop of one Kumar, and he took a knife and stabbed him. Immediately, he fled away from the place of occurrence. The same was witnessed by all the above witnesses. P.Ws.1 and 2 immediately engaged the auto of P.W.10 in which they took the deceased to the Government Hospital, Srivilliputhur. P.W.8, the Doctor, admitted him at about 9.15 P.M. on 11.6.2003. Further, he medically examined him and declared him dead. The copy of the accident register is marked as Ex.P7. P.Ws.1 and 2 went to the respondent Police Station, and P.W.1 gave a report, Ex.P1, to P.W.12, the Sub Inspector of Police, who on the strength of Ex.P1, the complaint, registered a case in Crime No.318/2003 under Sec.302 of I.P.C. The printed First Information Report, Ex.P9, was despatched to Court. (b) On receipt of the copy of the FIR, P.W.13, the Inspector of Police of the said Circle, took up investigation, proceeded to the spot, made an inspection in the presence of witnesses and prepared an observation mahazar, Ex.P4, and a rough sketch, Ex.P10. Then, he conducted inquest on the dead body of Murugan in the presence of witnesses and panchayatdars and prepared an inquest report, Ex.P11. Thereafter, a requisition was forwarded to the hospital authorities for the purpose of autopsy.
(c) P.W.5, the Medical Officer, attached to the Government Hospital, Srivilliputhur, on receipt of the requisition, conducted autopsy on the dead body of Murugan and issued a postmortem certificate, Ex.P3, with his opinion that the deceased would appear to have died of shock and haemorrhage due to the injuries to the vital organ namely lung.
(d) Pending the investigation, the Investigating Officer arrested the accused on 12.6.2003 at 6.30 A.M. at Srivilliputhur-Madurai Main Road. He came forward to give a confessional statement, which was recorded in the presence of two witnesses. The admissible part of the said confession is marked as Ex.P5, pursuant to which he produced M.O.1, knife, which was recovered under a cover of mahazar. All the material objects recovered from the dead body, and M.O.1, knife, were subjected to chemical analysis by the Forensic Sciences Department, which resulted in two reports namely Exs.P13, the Chemical Analyst's report, and Ex.P14, the Serologist's report. On completion of investigation, the Investigator filed the final report.
3.The case was committed to Court of Session and necessary charge was framed. In order to substantiate the charge, the prosecution examined 13 witnesses and also relied on 14 exhibits and 3 material objects. On completion of evidence on the side of the prosecution, the accused was questioned under Sec.313 of Cr.P.C. as to the incriminating circumstances found in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, which he flatly denied as false. No defence witness was examined. The trial Court heard the arguments advanced, scrutinized the materials available, took the view that the prosecution has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, found the appellant/accused guilty as per the charge of murder and awarded life imprisonment. Hence, this appeal at the instance of the appellant.
4.The learned Counsel, advancing his arguments on behalf of the appellant, would submit that in the instant case, the eyewitnesses are closely related to and interested in the deceased; that if their evidence is carefully scrutinized, it will not stand the test; that the medical evidence did not support the prosecution case; that the alleged arrest, confession and recovery of M.O.1, knife, were all nothing but subsequent introduction to suit the prosecution case, and thus, the evidence put forth by the prosecution will in no way advance the case of the prosecution or bring home the guilt of the accused, and the accused is entitled for acquittal.
5.The learned Counsel would further add that even assuming that the facts of the prosecution case that it was the accused who stabbed the deceased are proved, the act of the accused would not attract the penal provisions of murder; that even as per the prosecution case, the accused took his granddaughter to P.W.9's shop, purchased some food and handed over the same to the child, and the child was taking the same, and at that time, the deceased brought his dog, and the dog plucked the food and took it; that aggrieved over the same, it was the accused who attacked the dog, and there was a wordy quarrel; that following the same, there was exchange of words; that in a heat of passion, he has acted so, and thus, the act of the accused cannot be stated as intentional or premeditated; that even the injuries inflicted by him, were not intended to cause death, and hence, the penal provisions of murder will not be attracted; that it would be culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and hence, it has got to be considered by this Court.
6.The Court heard the learned Additional Public Prosecutor on the above contentions.
7.The fact that one Murugan died out of homicidal violence is clearly proved by the prosecution by marching P.W.5, the Doctor, along with Ex.P3, the postmortem certificate, wherein he has opined that the deceased died out of shock and haemorrhage due to the injuries sustained. This fact was never questioned by the appellant/accused. Hence, without any impediment, it has got to be factually recorded so.
8.In order to substantiate the fact that it was the accused who stabbed him, the prosecution has examined P.Ws.1, 2, 4, 6 and 9. All these witnesses have spoken in one voice. It is pertinent to point out that the first occurrence has taken place just in front of the shop of P.W.9, and the next occurrence has taken place in front of the wine shop of one Kumar. All these witnesses have spoken to the fact that it was the accused who stabbed him with a knife on the chest and caused his death, and immediately, he fled away from the place of occurrence. Not even one circumstance or reason is brought about by the appellant/accused to cast a doubt on the evidence of these witnesses. That apart, the ocular testimony through these witnesses stood fully corroborated by the medical evidence through the postmortem Doctor, P.W.5, and the postmortem certificate, Ex.P3. Yet another circumstance in favour of the prosecution, was the recovery of M.O.1, knife, from the accused, following his confession, in respect of which a witness has been examined, and the evidence remained unshaken despite cross-examination in full. Under the circumstances, the contentions put forth by the learned Counsel for the appellant in this regard do not merit acceptance, and hence, they have got to be rejected.
9.Coming to the question as to the nature of the act of the accused, this Court is able to see force in the contention put forth by the learned Counsel for the appellant. Admittedly, the appellant/accused took his granddaughter to the shop of P.W.9 to get some mutton food, and accordingly, he purchased and handed over the same to the child. At the time when the child was taking the food, the deceased came with his dog, and the dog plucked the food. Thus, there arose a wordy quarrel, and there was exchange of words between them. It would be quite clear that when the accused came with his granddaughter and purchased mutton food from the shop, the dog which was brought by the deceased, plucked the food, which shows the carelessness on the part of the deceased. Following the same, there was a wordy quarrel and exchange of words, and within a short span of 15 minutes, the accused has stabbed him with the knife. Thus, it was due to sudden quarrel and exchange of words, because of which he has acted so. This Court is of the view that the act of the accused is not one intentional or one pre-planned; but, it was due to the provocation out of sudden quarrel that arose in a spur of the moment. In such circumstances, the act of the accused cannot be termed as murder; but, it is culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Hence, the appellant has got to be convicted under Sec.304 (Part I) of I.P.C., and awarding punishment of 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment would meet the ends of justice.
10.In view of the reasons stated above, the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment imposed by the trial Court under Sec.302 of I.P.C., are modified, and instead, the appellant/accused is convicted under Sec.304 (Part I) of I.P.C. for which he is directed to suffer 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment. The fine amount and the default sentence imposed by the trial Court, are confirmed. The sentence already undergone by him, shall be given set off.
11.In the result, with the above modification in conviction and sentence, this criminal appeal is dismissed.
1.The Principal District and
2.The Inspector of Police
Srivilliputtur Town Police Station
in Cr.No.318/2003, Virudhunagar District 3.The Public Prosecutor
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
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