Criminal Appeal No. 937 of 2008. Case: State of Rajasthan Vs Chandgi Ram. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 937 of 2008
JudgesFakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ.
IssueOaths Act, 1873 - Section 5; Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 118; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 34, 302, 452
Judgement DateSeptember 09, 2014
CourtSupreme Court (India)


Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.

  1. This appeal, at the instance of the State of Rajasthan is directed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench dated 08.02.2007 in D.B. Criminal Appeal No. 977 of 2002.

  2. By the impugned judgment, the Division Bench set aside the conviction and sentence imposed on the Respondents-accused by the trial Court in Sessions Case No. 3/2001 (108/2000) vide judgment dated 10.07.2002. The trial Court found the Respondents-accused guilty of the offence Under Section 302 read with 34, Indian Penal Code for which they were sentenced to life imprisonment, apart from imposing a fine of Rs. 500/- each and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days each. They were also convicted for the offence Under Section 452 Indian Penal Code and sentenced to 3 years rigorous imprisonment apart from fine of Rs. 200/- each and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for 7 days each.

  3. The case of the prosecution as projected before the trial Court was that on 12.03.2000, at around 9 p.m., the deceased Surender was conversing with his wife Choti (PW-1) and children Kumari Sarita (PW-3) and Vikram (PW-15) in their house. At that moment, the four accused suddenly barged into the house of the deceased declaring that they wanted to kill him, and that in order to save himself from them, the deceased ran to the back side of the house and hid himself in the Khudi, from where the accused pulled him out, dragged him to the house of Rajesh (A-3 herein) S/o. Pitram and while dragging him to the house of A-3 they kept on assaulting him with the aid of iron rod, iron pipe and lathis. After killing the deceased, the accused brought back the body to the house of the deceased and left the same on a cot lying in the verandah.

  4. According to Choti (PW-1), her husband was killed by the Respondents-accused due to prior animosity. It is not in dispute that Rajesh (A-3) and the deceased are second cousins as their grand fathers are blood brothers. The prosecution examined as many as 15 witnesses (PWs-1 to 15) and marked 29 documents (Exhibits P-1 to 29). On the defence side, 2 witnesses (DWs-1 and 2) were examined and 24 documents (Exhibits D-1 to 24) were marked. of the 15 witnesses examined on behalf of the prosecution, PWs-1, 3, 8, 12 and 15 were eye witnesses. The High Court, having interfered with the conviction and sentence imposed by the trial Court, the State has come forward with this appeal.

  5. We heard Mr. Ram Naresh Yadav, learned Standing Counsel for the Appellant and Mr. Abhishek Gupta, learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused. Learned Counsel for the Appellant took us through the evidence of the eye witnesses, the evidence of Dr. Nathu Singh (PW-7), the post-mortem doctor, Exhibit P-1, the written report filed by Choti (PW-1), Exhibit P-10, the postmortem certificate and Exhibit P-29, the FSL report and submitted that the prosecution proved the offence alleged against the Respondents-accused with substantive legal evidence and the interference by the High Court was wholly unjustified.

  6. As against the above submissions, Mr. Abhishek Gupta, learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused contended that the version of the eye witnesses was wholly unnatural, contradictory with each other and was improbable in nature. The learned Counsel contended that there were material discrepancies in the version of the eye witnesses account and, therefore, it was wholly unreliable in order to convict the Respondents-accused. He also contended that the delay in lodging the FIR was inexplicable which was fatal to the case of the prosecution as the real genesis of the occurrence was suppressed. The learned Counsel further contended that considering the stand of the Respondents-accused in their 313 statement which was also supported by the defence witnesses and the other evidence placed before the Court, the judgment of the High Court does not call for interference.

  7. In support of his submission, learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused relied upon the decisions in Yeshwant and Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra (1972) 3 SCC 639, Kansa Behera v. State of Orissa (1987) 3 SCC 480 and Surinder Singh v. State of Punjab 1989 Supp. (2) SCC 21, Din Dayal v. Raj Kumar alias Raju and Ors. (1999) SCC (Crl.) 892, Raghunath v. State of Haryana and Anr. (2003) 1 SCC 398, Mahtab Singh and Anr. v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2009) 13 SCC 670, Lahu Kamlakar Patil and Anr. v. State of Maharashtra (2013) 6 SCC 417.

  8. Having heard the learned Counsel for the Appellant and the Respondents-accused and having bestowed our serious consideration to the judgments of the High Court and the trial Court and the evidence placed before us, we are of the view that the reasoning of the High Court in interfering with the conviction imposed on the Respondents-accused by the trial Court lacks in very many aspects when considered based on the abundant evidence laid before the trial Court at the instance of the prosecution.

  9. When we peruse the evidence of PWs-1, 3, 8, 12 and 15, who were all eye witnesses, though learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused attempted to point out certain variations in the eye witnesses account, we find that as far as the overall genesis of the occurrence was concerned, the evidence of all the above eye witnesses was cogent and there was not much of discrepancy or contradiction in their versions. The evidence of Choti (PW-1), as regards the narration of the occurrence, was clear and categoric when she referred to the approximate time at which the occurrence took place when her husband was dragged by the Respondents-accused from the Khudi to the house of A-3 and in that process he was severely beaten with iron rod, iron pipe and lathis by each one of the accused.

  10. The said version of Choti (PW-1) was fully corroborated by PWs-3 and 15 who are none other than the children of the deceased and Choti (PW-1). In fact, at the time of occurrence Kumari Sarita (PW-3) was 7 1/2 years old and Vikram (PW-15) was 1 1/2 year younger than Kumari Sarita (PW-3). Further, in the orientation of the witnesses, the trial Court has found that they were fully conscious of what they were to state before the Court and their answers to the questions did disclose that they were able to understand the whole purpose of giving their evidence in Court and as to on what matter they were supposed to give their evidence. Even while narrating the incident, both the above witnesses were able to fully support the version of Choti (PW-1) as regards the involvement of each one of the accused, the weapons used by them in that process and the ultimate death of the deceased after such severe beating with the weapons used.

  11. The learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused, while making reference to the version of Kumari...

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