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Ram Singh v. State Of U.P. - CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1981 of 1981  RD-AH 18361 (30 October 2006)
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 1981
State of U.P...........................................................Respondent
Hon'ble M. Chaudhary, J.
This is a criminal appeal filed on behalf of the accused appellant from judgment and order dated 28th of August, 1981 passed by III Additional Sessions Judge, Aligarh in Sessions Trial No.457 of 1978 State Vs Ram Singh convicting the accused appellant under sections 395 IPC and sentencing him to undergo five years' rigorous imprisonment thereunder.
Brief facts giving rise to this appeal are that during the night between 23rd and 24th of February, 1974 Ram Niwas and his elder brother Rajendra Prasad were sleeping in the rooms on the ground floor and upper storey respectively and glowing lantern was kept in the room of both of them. At about 12:30 mid night Ram Niwas felt presence of some bandits on the roof of his house and then he came out of his room and saw that some persons were on the roof of his house. Immediately he raised an alarm, and in the meanwhile the bandits jumped from the roof and started firing as many of them were armed with guns, countrymade pistols, lathis, axes etc. On hearing the hue and cry and sound of firing some of the co-villagers namely Chhotey Lal, Ranvir Singh, Rajvir Singh, Patram Singh, Babu Khan, Misri Lal and Nem Singh taking guns, lathis, spears and torches reached there. Rajendra who was sleeping in his room on the upper storey also fired with his licenced gun through the hole made in the door thereof. In the meanwhile Chhotey Lal set fire to the stacks of karab kept to the west of the house of Ram Niwas which created sufficient light. The bandits also axed the door of the room of Rajendra and fired thereby causing injury to him. After ransacking the house for about an hour the bandits ran away with looted ornaments, clothes etc. Inmates of the house and the witnesses recognized Ram Singh, the co-villager among the bandits in the light of lantern, burning karab and in the light of torches flashed. The co-villagers chased the bandits and apprehended one of them namely Dhara while running away with the looted property. The remaining bandits succeeded in making their escape good. The following morning Ram Niwas taking his injured brother Rajendra went to police station Atrauli situate at a distance of eight miles from village Chakathal and handed over written report of the occurrence to the police there at 8:10 a.m. The police registered a crime against accused Ram Singh, Dhara and 18 unknown bandits under section 395 read with section 397 IPC.
Injured Rajendra was got medically examined at PHC Atrauli at 1:50 p.m. the same noon. His medical examination revealed three scabbed lacerated wounds besides an abrasion and contusion on his left arm and multiple contusions on the back of scapular region.
After investigating the crime the police submitted charge sheet against the accused accordingly.
After framing of charge against the accused the prosecution examined Rajendra Prasad (PW 1), Ranvir ( PW 2) and Misri Lal (PW 4) as eye witnesses of the occurrence. PW 3 SI K.P. Sharma who investigated the crime and after completing the investigation submitted charge sheet against the accused proved the police papers.
The accused pleaded not guilty stating that he did not participate in the alleged dacoity attributing his false implication in the case to animosity.
On an appraisal of evidence and other material on the record the trial court held the accused guilty under section 395 IPC and convicted and sentenced him as stated above.
Feeling aggrieved by the impugned judgment the accused appellant preferred this appeal for redress.
Heard Sri G.C. Saxena, learned counsel for the appellant and Sri Shashi Dhar Sahai, learned AGA for the State respondent.
After hearing the parties' learned counsel and going through the record the Court is reluctant to accept the finding of conviction recorded by the trial court against the accused appellant for the following reasons:
PW 1 Rajendra stated in his examination-in- chief that the alleged night he was sleeping in his room on the upper storey; that at about midnight time some 18-20 dacoits ransacked his house; that they also axed the door of his room and fired at him causing pellet injuries to him at his left upper arm and that accused Ram Singh standing in the dock was among the bandits who ransacked his house the alleged midnight. He admitted that accused Ram Singh belonged to his village and his house was at a distance of some 100-150 paces from his house and that he alongwith his parents and brothers resided in this village since his very childhood and was having children and owned agricultural land. He admitted that none of the bandits was putting on dhata in the said dacoity. It is difficult to believe that a person residing in close neighbourhood would go to commit dacoity in the house in his neighbourhood without taking any precaution to conceal his identity. According to PW 1 Rajendra himself accused Ram Singh belonged to well-to-do family residing in the village since his very childhood and had children. PW 1 Rajendra stated in his examination-in-chief only this much that accused Ram Singh was also among the dacoits in the dacoity committed at his house. He nowhere stated that he was possessed with any firearm or any other weapon. He nowhere attributed any specific role to him in the said dacoity. The bandits plundered the goods in the room of Ram Niwas, brother of Rajendra on the ground floor. Admittedly PW 1 Rajendra was confined in his room till the door of his room was axed by the bandits. Since PW 1 Rajendra nowhere stated as to at what point of time he saw accused Ram Singh among the bandits his testimony implicating accused Ram Singh in the said dacoity is not free from doubt. Likewise, PW 2 Ranvir Singh stated that on hearing the hue and cry and sound of firing he and his brother Rajvir taking his gun went to the scene of occurrence; that Chhotey Lal who also reached there set fire to the stacks of karab kept to the west of the house of Ran Niwas which created sufficient light; that Rajvir also fired with his gun as the dacoits were firing and that he saw accused Ram Singh among the bandits when they came out from the house of Ram Niwas with the looted articles and were running away. He further stated that he saw them in the light of torch from a distance of some 20 paces and recognized Ram Singh among the bandits. Thus this witness Ranvir Singh ( PW 2) would have had only fleeting glimpses of the fleeing bandits while they were running away with the looted ornaments, clothes etc and did not have ample opportunity to see them as admittedly he received pellet injuries at his head on account of firing by the bandits. PW 4 Mishri Lal stated in his examination-in-chief that the alleged night he was sleeping at his house; that at about 12:00 mid night on hearing the sound of firing he got awoken and went towards the house of Rajendra and saw the bandits running away with the looted property and that one of the bandits namely Dhara was apprehended on the spot with the looted property. He further stated that he had seen the bandits in the light of torches flashed and that of burning karab and that he felt that Ram Singh was also among the dacoits. However this witness Mishri Lal could not withstand his cross-examination as he stated in his cross-examination that he could not see the face of any of the bandits.
FIR of the occurrence is also delayed as the said dacoity took place at mid night during the night of 23rd and 24th of February,1974 whereas FIR of the occurrence was lodged at the police station on 24th of February at 8:10 a.m. PW 1 Rajendra stated that it takes about one or one and quarter to an hour to reach the police station from his village. It is stated that village chaukidar Babu Ram was present in the village. Some of the co- villagers were also having licensed weapons . Under the circumstances, FIR of the said dacoity could very well be lodged by 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. in the morning. Ram Niwas, the first informant has not been examined by the prosecution in its support. No explanation has been offered to explain the delay in lodging FIR of the occurrence. The possibility can not be ruled out that accused appellant Ram Singh was named therein due to party factions or on suspicion. Admittedly fields of Rajendra(PW 1) and that of accused Ram Singh and his brothers were abutting to each other. Possibility can not be ruled out that some dispute might have taken place between the parties as their fields were abutting to each other.
For the foregoing reasons, implicit reliance can not be placed on the testimony of the eye witnesses abovenamed and hence benefit of doubt is extended to accused appellant Ram Singh. Since the Trial Judge failed to appreciate the evidence in its true perspective, the impugned judgment and order cannot be sustained and is liable to be set aide.
The appeal is allowed and the impugned judgment and order convicting accused appellant Ram Singh under section 395 IPC and sentencing him to five years' rigorous imprisonment thereunder is hereby set aside. Accused appellant Ram Singh is hereby acquitted. He is on bail. His bail bonds are hereby discharged.
Judgment be certified to the Court below immediately.
Dated: October 30, 2006
Crl Appeal No. 1981-81
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