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Dataram & Others v. State - CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 835 of 1981  RD-AH 2874 (15 September 2005)
Criminal Appeal No. 835 of 1981
Dataram and two others vs. State of U.P.
Hon'ble Mukteshwar Prasad, J.
This criminal appeal by three accused is directed against the judgment and order-dated 8.4.1981 passed by Sri Krishna Kumar, the then Additional Sessions Judge, Shahjahanpur in S.T. NO. 414 of 1979 whereby he convicted Dataram and Rishipal under Sections 323 and Section 324 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code and each of them was sentenced to suffer R.I. for a period of one year and two years respectively. The third accused Sonepal was found guilty under Section 324 I.P.C. and Sections 323/34 I.P.C. and was directed to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years and one year respectively. Both the sentences of each of the accused were directed to run concurrently.
In brief, the prosecution case was as under: -
PW 1 Budhpal son of Rameshwar is the first informant. Accused Dataram and Rishipal sons of Ganga Prasad are real brothers. They had their third brother Shyam Pal whose wife was enticed away about ten months prior to the incident in question. The accused had a suspicion that Budhpal was involved in abduction of the wife of Shyam Pal, and as such, the appellants were annoyed with the informant. The informant and accused were residing in village Moghata Police Station Jaitipur. Accused Sonepal is brother-in-law of Dataram.
On 15.8.1976 in the evening (before sunset) Budhpal was cutting grass in his field situated towards east of the village. All of a sudden, Dataram and Rishipal armed with lathies and their brother-in-law Sonepal who also lived in village Moghta having a Kanta arrived there and all the three accused in furtherance of their common intention assaulted Budhpal mercilessly and caused several injuries. On alarm raised by Budhpal, co-villagers, Bankay Lal son of Tula and Raksh Pal son of Jai Ram, who were also present in the fields, rushed there and challenged the assailants. Thereafter, accused ran away.
An oral First Information Report at Police Station Jaitipur was lodged by the informant on 16.8.1976 at 4.05 p.m. The local police registered a case at Crime No. 241 of 1976 under Sections 324/323 I.P.C.
The local police sent the injured to the P.H.C. Tilhar for medical examination of the injuries. PW 3 Dr. G.B.Saxena examined the injuries on 17.8.1976 at 4.30 p.m. and found six lacerated wounds, one incised wound on left fore arm and six contusions on different parts of the body which were caused by blunt object, except injury no. 10, which was caused by some sharp edged weapon. In the opinion of Dr. Saxena, the injuries could be caused about sun set on 15.8.1976.
The case was investigated by PW 4 S.I. I.H. Jafri. He completed investigation as usual and submitted charge sheet.
All the three accused were charged under Section 307 read with Section 34 of Penal Code on 20.6.1980 to which they pleaded not guilty.
In order to establish its allegations, the prosecution examined PW 1 Budhpal the injured, PW 2 Rakshpal, an eyewitness, PW 3 Dr. G.B. Saxena, Medical Officer, who examined injuries of Budhpal and PW 4 S.I. I.H. Jafri, Investigating Officer of the case.
Accused in their statement totally denied their involvement in the crime and pleaded that they never suspected hand of informant in the abduction of the wife of Shyam Pal. They attributed their false implication in the case on account of enmity. According to the defence, the litigation took place between Sikdar, uncle of accused on the one hand and PW 2 Rakshpal on the other. Sikdar had won the case and as such, Rakshpal appeared in the witness box on account of enmity. No evidence was adduced in defence.
After having considered the entire oral and documentary evidence on record and argument advanced on behalf of the parties, learned Judge found that offence punishable under Sections 307/34 I.P.C. was not committed by any of the accused. They were, however, found guilty for committing offences punishable under Sections 323/324 of Penal Code and convicted and sentenced, as indicated above.
I have heard learned counsel for the appellants and learned A.G.A. and gone through the record carefully. Learned counsel for the appellants has assailed the judgment under appeal mainly on the grounds that inordinate delay took place in lodging the First Information Report at the Police Station. Similarly, injuries were examined after two days and delay took place. Moreover, PW 2 Rakshpal, an eyewitness, had not seen faces of the assailants and failed to identify them. Further, Investigating Officer found no blood on the spot.
I have given my anxious consideration to the submissions made on behalf of the appellants and find no force. First of all, I find that Budh Pal sustained 13 injuries in all including six lacerated wounds, six contusions and one incised wound on different parts of the body including skull. The assailants used lathies as well as sharp edged weapon in causing injuries. Therefore, in view of nature, number and seat of injuries as well as weapon used in causing them, it is crystal clear that Budhpal was assaulted on 15.8.1976 in the afternoon mercilessly and assailants did not show any mercy in causing the injuries. They gave several lathi blows on the head and caused as many as six injuries on the head. It means the injuries were neither self-suffered nor manufactured and the incident took place on the date and time, as alleged by the prosecution.
Now second question, as to who perpetrated the crime in question. Before proceeding further, it may be noted here that Section 134 of the Evidence Act does not insist on plurality of the witnesses and it is well settled that a finding of guilt can be recorded on the basis of solitary testimony of a witness provided the same is found to be trustworthy and above board. In the instant case, the injured fully supported the prosecution version and testified in clear words that on the impugned date before the sunset, he was cutting grass in his field. All of a sudden, all the three appellants armed with lathis and Kanta arrived there and attacked on him and caused several injuries. He was cross-examined at length. In my view, he got success in the test of cross-examination. Learned counsel for appellants pointed out minor discrepancies in the testimony of Budhpal and Rakshpal on the point that Budhpal did not disclose the names of the assailants to Rakshpal at the scene of occurrence. Budhpal asserted that he disclosed the names at the place of occurrence but Rakshpal gave out that the names were disclosed at the Police Outpost. Therefore, there is a minor contradiction, which does not weaken the prosecution case. PW 2 Rakshpal claimed to have seen the appellants running with lathi and Kanta in their hands from the scene of incident. It is true that he did not see the appellants while they were actually assaulting Budhpal. The injured and Rakshpal as well as appellants are co-villagers, and as such, Rakshpal, in my opinion, had no difficulty in identifying the appellants in day light. Therefore, in my opinion, the argument of learned counsel for the appellants in this regard has no legs to stand.
So far as delay in lodging the F.I.R. is concerned, the informant gave sufficient and satisfactory explanation in his oral F.I.R. itself and stated on oath also that there were one Nala and one river between his village and Police Station. On 15.8.1976 also, it was raining and distance between the village and Police Station is about 10 miles. Therefore, in view of long distance between the village of the informant and Police Station, season and continuous rain, I hold that no delay took place in reporting the incident to the Police. Similarly, I am not in agreement with the submission of appellants' learned counsel that undue delay took place in medical examination of the injured also. The local police sent the injured to P.H.C. Tilhar for medical examination. In my opinion, there is no delay in medical examination and delay, if any, is not at all fatal.
Further, I do not find any force in the contention of the appellants that Rakshpal is not an eyewitness and he did not see the faces of the assailants.
After having scrutinized the entire testimony of Rakshpal, I find that he is an eyewitness and he saw the appellants running from the scene of incident along with their weapons. The witness being a co-villager was in a position to identify the appellants from behind. Moreover, even if, the testimony of Rakshpal is excluded from consideration, I find sufficient and reliable evidence of the injured himself on record. I find no valid reason to discard and disbelieve the statement of the injured, who has fully supported the prosecution story.
So far as non-recovery of blood from the spot is concerned, I find that same is not fatal. The incident in hand took place on 15.8.1976 and Investigating Officer visited the scene of incident on 26.12.1976 i.e. after more than four months from the date of incident. Therefore, there was no question of any recovery of blood.
In view of the aforesaid discussion and scrutiny of the entire material on record, I hold that learned Judge committed no illegality in convicting the appellants. He rightly found all the three appellants guilty for committing the offences under Sections 323/324 I.P.C. and in my opinion, this appeal is devoid of substance.
It was urged on behalf of the appellants that the incident took place in the month of August 1976 and since then, 29 years have elapsed. Therefore, in view of this long delay in disposal of this appeal against the judgment and order passed in the year 1981, it would not be proper to send the appellant again to jail to serve out the sentence.
I have considered this submission made on behalf of appellants, I find from perusal of lower court record that the accused were tried by the learned Magistrate and were found guilty under Sections 323 and 324 of the Penal Code and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for a period of three months under Section 323 I.P.C. and six months under Section 324 I.P.C. Aggrieved by their conviction, they filed Criminal Appeal No. 92 of 1979, which was allowed, and learned Judge directed the Magistrate to commit the case to the court of Session. It means the appellants faced two trials. In this view of the matter, I am inclined to take a lenient view. I am of the opinion that fine under both sections to each of the appellants will meet the ends of justice.
This appeal is, therefore, disposed of as under: -
The appeal partly succeeds. The conviction of appellant Dataram and Rishipal under Sections 323 and 324/34 I.P.C. is confirmed and each of them, is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 800/- and Rs. 3,000/- respectively thereunder. The conviction of Sonepal under Section 324 and 323/34 I.P.C. is also confirmed and he is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 3,000/- and Rs. 800/- respectively thereunder.
All the three appellants are allowed three months time from today to deposit the entire amount of fine in the court below, failing which, each of them is directed to suffer rigorous imprisonment for a period of three months under Sections 323/34 and six months under Sections 324/34 I.P.C. Compliance report shall be submitted to this Court by 31.12.2005.
Dated: September 15th 2005
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