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Friday, October 18, 2013

In the absence of any specific overt acts no person should be convicted under sec.147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC - except for his role = PUTCHALAPALLI NARESH REDDY …. APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF A.P. & ETC. …. RESPONDENTS judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40884

 In the absence of any specific overt acts no person should be convicted under sec.147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149  of  the  IPC - except for his role =
 Apex court confirmed the high court orders except modified the sentence from life to simple injury for one of the accused who had not committed any serious acts except causing simple injury - High court reversed the acquittal orders of trail court and punished main accused with life etc.,=

where  admissible
      evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate  court  to  re-
      appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted =

 In State of U.P. vs.  Anil Singh, A.I.R. 1988 SC 1998,  this  Court
observed as follows:
      “In an appeal against acquittal, in the great majority of  cases,  the
      prosecution version is rejected either for want  of  corroboration  by
      independent witnesses, or for some  falsehood,  stated  or  embroidery
      added by witnesses. 
In some cases,  the  entire  prosecution  case  is
      doubted for  not  examining  all  witnesses  to  the  occurrence.  The
      indifferent attitude of the public  in  the  investigation  of  crimes
      could also be pointed. 
The public  are  generally  reluctant  to  come
      forward to depose before the Court. 
It is, therefore, not  correct  to
      reject the prosecution version only on ground that  all  witnesses  to
      occurrence have not been examined. 
It is also not proper to reject the
      case for want of corroboration by independent witnesses  if  the  case
      made out is otherwise true and acceptable. 
With  regard  to  falsehood
      stated or embellishments added by the  prosecution  witnesses,  it  is
      well to remember that there is a tendency  amongst  witnesses  in  our
      country to back up a good case by false or exaggerated version. 
It  is
      also experienced that  invariably  the  witnesses  add  embroidery  to
      prosecution story, perhaps for the fear of being disbelieved. But that
      is no ground to throw the case overboard, if  true  in  the  main.  If
      there is a ring of truth in the main, the case should not be rejected.
      
It is the duty of the Court to cull out the nuggets of truth from  the
      evidence unless there is reason to believe that the inconsistencies of
      falsehood are so glaring as  utterly  to  destroy  confidence  in  the
      witnesses. 
It is necessary to remember that a Judge does  not  preside
      over a criminal trial merely to see that no innocent man is  punished.
      
A Judge also presides to see that a guilty man does not escape. One is
      as important as the other. Both are public duties which the Judge  has
      to perform.”


22.         In State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh, (2003)  11  SCC  271,  this
Court held as follows:
      “There is no embargo on the appellate  court  reviewing  the  evidence
      upon which an order of acquittal is based.  Generally,  the  order  of
      acquittal shall not be interfered  with  because  the  presumption  of
      innocence of the accused is further  strengthened  by  acquittal.  The
      golden thread which runs through the web of administration of  justice
      in criminal cases is that if two views are possible  on  the  evidence
      adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and  the
      other to his innocence, the view which is favourable  to  the  accused
      should be adopted. The paramount consideration  of  the  court  is  to
      ensure that miscarriage of justice  is  prevented.  A  miscarriage  of
      justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no  less  than
      from -the conviction of  an  innocent.  In  a  case  where  admissible
      evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate  court  to  re-
      appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted, for
      the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused committed
      any offence or not.”

who  had  made  a  statement  in
expectation of death, did not die.  =
In Maqsoodan & Ors. V. State of U.P., AIR 1983 SC 126,  this  Court
dealt with  an  issue  wherein  a  person,  who  had  made  a  statement  in
expectation of death, did not die.   This  Court  held  that  it  cannot  be
treated as a dying declaration as his statement  was  not  admissible  under
Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, but it was  to  be  dealt  with
under Section 157 of the  Evidence  Act,  which  provides  that  the  former
statement of a witness may be proved to corroborate later  testimony  as  to
the same fact.

liable to be modified.=

Shri A.K. Sanghi,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  A-2  -
Konduru Nagure Reddy, submitted that this accused has been charged  for  the
offences under Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149  of  the  IPC
etc.  
He pointed out that the only overt act attributed to him  by  some  of
the prosecution witnesses is that because  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  (P.W.  3)
intervened during the attack, he beat the said PW 3 with the  blunt  axe  of
Chillakathi on his back side.  
This according to the  learned  counsel  only
resulted in a simple lacerated injury skin deep of about 1½” over  the  back
head of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3).  
The Medical Officer has opined  that
this injury is simple.  
In the circumstances, the  conviction  and  sentence
of A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, awarded by the trial  court  and  affirmed  by
the High Court is liable to be modified. 
We hold A-2, Konduru Nagure  Reddy,
guilty only for the offence punishable under Section 324 read  with  Section
34 of the IPC.  We, therefore, alter the conviction of A-2,  Konduru  Nagure
Reddy, from Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC  etc.
 to Section 324 read with  Section  34  of  the  IPC.    
In  our  considered
opinion, custody and sentence of 2 (two)  years  would  be  appropriate  and
sufficient.   The accused-appellant shall undergo imprisonment  for  a  term
of 2 years, if not already undergone, in terms of this order.


31.      In view of the above, we allow Criminal Appeal  Nos.  1093-1094  of
2011, filed by A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, to  the  extent  indicated  above.
Rest of the appeals are dismissed.



                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                   CRIMINAL  APPEAL Nos. 1521-1522 OF 2011





   PUTCHALAPALLI   NARESH   REDDY                                        ….
   APPELLANT


                 VERSUS

      STATE  OF  A.P.  &  ETC.                                            ….
RESPONDENTS

                                    WITH

                  CRIMINAL  APPEAL NOs.  1102-1103 OF 2011

                                    WITH

                  CRIMINAL  APPEAL NOs.  1100-1101 OF 2011

                                    WITH

                  CRIMINAL  APPEAL NOs.  1093-1094 OF 2011



                                  JUDGMENT


S. A. BOBDE, J.

1.       This batch of appeals is  preferred  by  the  accused  against  the
common judgment and order dated 23rd March 2004 in Criminal Appeal Nos.  954
and 956 of 2008. Criminal Appeal Nos. 1521-1522 of 2011  are  filed  by  the
Accused No. 1; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1102-1103  of  2011  are  filed  by  the
accused Nos. 2-7; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1100-1101 of 2011  by the accused
Nos.  8-12; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1093-1094 of 2011 are filed by the  Accused
No.  2,  Konduru  Nagure  Reddy.  Since  they  arise   out   of   the   same
incident/judgment they have been taken up together for disposal.

2.  The crime in question is the murder of  Mudi  Parandhami   Reddy  in  an
agricultural  field  on  25.11.96  in  Mettu  village  in  Andhra   Pradesh.
According to the prosecution, the deceased was  a  leader  of  the  Congress
party in the area. He was  suspected  by  the  Accused  No.  1  Puchalapalli
Parandhami Reddy, a leader of the Telugu Desam Party, as  being  responsible
for the murder of his   father  on  25.3.92.
 Land  disputes  also  existed
between Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), his brother Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W.  3)
on one side and A-19, Pelluru Venu Reddy about the division  of  survey  No.
116. Litigation was pending between them in a  Court.  
Therefore,   Pelluru
Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2)  sought the mediation  of
the deceased Mudi Parandhami Reddy and it  was  decided  that  the  deceased
would mediate on 25.11.96.

 3.      On  24.11.96,  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  (P.W.  3)  and  his  brother
Rajagopal engaged farm  labour  i.e.  P.W.  1  (Vakati  Ramanaiah),  P.W.  2
(Rayapati Venkata Ramanaiah), P.W.  4 (Bandila  Mutyhyalaiah)   and  P.W.  5
(Rayapati Kotaiah) for ploughing the land.
On the next day, i.e.  25.11.1996
the deceased had come to the land and sat on a ridge in the field while  the
ploughing was going on by the labourers.
  Around  8.00  a.m.,  A-19,  Pelluru
Venu Reddy and A-20, Pelluru Sreedhar Reddy came there and  asked  that  the
ploughing be stopped because  there  was  a  dispute  over  the  land.
Mudi
Parandhami intervened and said that the dispute will be resolved  later  and
asked the ploughing to go on.
At this the  accused  went  away.
Around  10
a.m. the accused party came back.
The accused no.1  hacked  Mudi  Parandhami
with a battle-axe on the head. After that A-2,  Konduru  Nagure  Reddy  came
and when Pelluru Murali Reddy  (P.W.  3)  intervened,  A-2,  Konduru  Nagure
Reddy, hit him with the blunt edge of the chilla kathi.  Then  A-3,  Konduru
Dayakar Reddy, hacked Mudi  Parandhami   with  an  axe  on  his  head.  When
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)  intervened, A-3, Konduru Dayakar  Reddy,  hit
him on the left hand. After this A-4, Konduru Ramachandra  Reddy,  came  and
stabbed Mudi Parandhami on his left shoulder. A-5,  Putchalapalli  Ramamohan
Reddy,  then stabbed  mudi  Parandhami  on  his  chest.  A-6,  Putchalapalli
Srinivasulu Reddy, then stabbed Mudi Parandhami with a  spear  on  the  left
side of his back. Thereafter  A-7,  Putchalapalli  Niranjan  Reddy,  stabbed
Mudi Parandhami  on  his  back.  Then  A-8,  Avula  Sudhakar,  stabbed  Mudi
Parandhami on his left ear and his abdomen.  Thereafter  A-9,  Putchalapalli
Subrahmanyam Reddy, stabbed Mudi parandhami on the left side of  the  chest.
A-10, Yellasiri Masthan, then hit Mudi Parandhami with a stick on  the  left
temple. A-12, Chennur Venkataramana Reddy, gave a blow on the head  to  Mudi
Parandhami.  When Rajagopal Reddy Rajagopal Reddy (L.W.  2),  intervened  A-
12, Chennur Venkataramana Reddy hacked him on the head with the same  battle
axe and felled him. In  the incident Mudi Parandhami  Reddy  died.   P.W.  3
(Murali Reddy) L.W. 2 (P. Raja Gopal Reddy) and L.W.  3  (Pelluru  Karunakar
Reddy) were injured.
4.   Since no doctor  was  available  at  Vakadu,  one  Subrahmanyamm  Reddy
brought a car and Veluru Gopal Reddy, P.W. 6,  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  P.W.3
took him in the car to the Government Hospital, Gudur.  However,  since  his
condition was critical the hospital authorities advised  them  to  take  him
for special treatment to Tirupati.  On 26.11.1996  the  Additional  District
Munsif, Tirupati  recorded  the  Dying  Declaration  of  P.W.  2  -        P
Rajagopal Reddy (the injured) at the  Government  Hospital,  Tirupati.  P.W.
17, K. Bala Reddy, Inspector of Police, Vakadu conducted  inquest  over  the
body of the deceased Mudi Parandhami  Reddy  and  sent  his  body  for  post
mortem to the Government Hospital,  where  PW  13,  Dr.  M.C.  Narashimhulu,
conducted post mortem over the body of the deceased.
5.       First Information Report was lodged after about seven  hours.   The
Investigating Officer, Mr. K. Prasad Rao, P.W. 14,  recorded  the  statement
of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)  at  the  Government  Hospital,  Gudur  and
registered Crime No. 175 of 1996 and recorded the confession of accused  No.
2 (Konduru  Nagure  Reddy)  and  recovered  M.Os  1  to  10.   Rest  of  the
investigation was conducted by K. Bala Reddy  (Inspector  of  Police),  P.W.
17.  The post mortem was conducted  by  Doctor  M.C.  Narasimhulu  (P.W.13).
The wound certificate showed the following ante-mortem injuries:
      “(1) A bone deep lacerated injury of about 3" x  1/2"  extending  from
      middle of skull to the left parietal bone. Blood stains  present  with
      congestion. Deeper to it  sub  scalp  congested  and  dark.  L  shaped
      fracture of skull in mid line for about 3 ½” and to the right side  of
      parietal bone. Brain coverings congested and dark. Subdural  haematoma
      present over the middle of brain. Brain  matter  congested  and  dark.
      There is basal fracture of skull transversely from one petrous part of
      the bone to the other and fracture of right parietal bone, blood clots
      and congestion present over the base of skull  and  at  the  fractured
      areas. Injury is ante mortem.
      (2) Swelling over right fronto parietal area of skull.  Deeper  to  it
      sub-scalp congested with dark blood clots. Injury ante mortem.
      (3) Cut injury cartilage deep of about 1" over the upper part of helix
      of left ear present. Blood stains present with congestion.  Injury  is
      ante mortem.
      (4) Skin discoloured dark with swelling over left parotid region and a
      part of left face. Deeper to  it  dark  blood  clots  with  congestion
      present. Injury is ante mortem.
      (5) An incised injury of about 2 ½” x ½” x unknown  depth  in  between
      3rd and 4th intercostals space just medial to the mammary plane. Blood
      stains and congestion present. Deeper  to  it  fracture  of  3rd  rib,
      severing the 3rd  intercostals  space  entering  the  thoracic  cavity
      injured irregularly left lung by cutting irregularly and  injured  the
      anterior part of heart muscle opening the heart chambers (auricle  and
      ventricle) for about 2 ½” . Blood clots and congestion present at  the
      intercostals region, over the lung injury and over the  heart.  Injury
      ante mortem in nature.
      (6) Another incised injury of about 2" x ½” x unknown depth  over  the
      4th intercostals area just medial to  mammary  plane  on  left  chest.
      Blood stains and congestion present. Deeper to it the 3rd intercostals
      space opened and left 4th  rib  fractured  and  entered  the  thoracic
      cavity. Congestion and blood clots present at the fractured  site  and
      intercostals area. Injury is ante mortem in nature.
      (7) A cut injury bone deep of about 2" x ½” over the 5th  intercostals
      space in the left anterior axillary line. Blood stains and  congestion
      present. Injury is ante mortem.
      (8) Another cut injury bone deep of about 1 ½” x ½” over the 7th  left
      intercostals space in the  anterior  axillary  plane.  Congestion  and
      blood stains present. Injury is ante mortem.
      (9) Another cut injury bone deep of  about  2  ½”  x  ½”  in  the  mid
      axillary line  on  5th  left  intercostals  space.  Blood  stains  and
      congestion present. Injury is ante mortem.
      (10) Cut injury skin deep of about ½” x ½” in  7th  left  intercostals
      area in the mamillary plane.  Blood  stains  and  congestion  present.
      Injury is ante mortem.

      (11) Another cut injury of about ½” x ½”  skin  deep  just  below  the
      above injury.
      (12) Another cut injury of about 2" x ½”  x  unknown  depth  over  the
      lower aspect of back of left chest present. Internally  the  last  rib
      fractured on the back in the posterior mid line on left side  entering
      the abdominal  cavity  and  injured  the  left  kidney  for  about  ¾.
      Congestion and blood clots present over the injured areas  internally.
      Thoracic cage contained clotted blood for  about  1  ½  liters.  Blood
      clots also present in abdominal cavity. Injury is ante mortem.
      (13) Another cut injury bone deep of about 1 ½” x ½” over the line  on
      lumbar area. Blood stains and  congestion  hyoid  bone,  normal.  Neck
      tissues normal. Stomach contains of about  1  oz  of  coffee  coloured
      fluid. Genitals normal. Intestines normal.”
         The doctor opined that the deceased died due  to  shock  from  head
injury and injury to the brain and heart and  other  multiple  injuries  and
hemorrhage.
6.       Since Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) was injured and critical, his  dying
declaration was recorded on  26.11.1996  by  the  IInd  Additional  District
Munsif, Tirupati.
7.  At the  trial  the  prosecution  examined  17  witnesses.   The  defence
examined D.Ws 3 to  6  to  prove  their  plea  of  alibi.   P.W.  1  (Vakati
Ramanaiah), P.W. 2 (Rayapati  Venkata  Ramanaiah)  and  P.W.  11  (SK  Ahmed
Basha) turned hostile.
The prosecution  did  not  examine  Rajagopal  Reddy
(L.W. 2), Mohan (L.W. 11) and  Karunakara  Redddy  (L.W.  3).  
Charge-sheet
was filed against 20 accused under Sections 147, 148 and 302 of  the  Indian
Penal Code (IPC) against  all  the  accused,  under  Sections  307  and  326
against A2, A3 and A12, under Section 307 read  with  Section  149  IPC  and
under Section 326 read with Section 149 IPC against A-1, A-4 to A-11 and  A-
13 to A-20.
Upon considering the evidence  and  after  hearing,  the  IIIrd
-Additional District & Sessions Judge (Fast Track), Nellore  found  none  of
the accused guilty for the offences they were  charged  with  and  acquitted
them.
8.       The plea of alibi has been rejected by the Trial Court as  well  as
the High Court. 
 Rejection of this plea is based on  complete  improbability
of the plea and is not necessary to consider it any  further,  particularly,
since it was not pressed seriously before us.
In Appeal and  Revision,  the
High Court considered the entire evidence on record and found that:
      (a)        Accused Nos. 1 to 12 are found guilty under Section 235 (2)
      of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.)  for  the  offences  under
      Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of IPC for causing the
      death of the deceased Mudi Parandhami Reddy and further under  Section
      324 read with Section 34 of IPC for causing simple injuries to P.W. 3.
       They were awarded rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year each
      for the offences under Sections 147 and 148 of IPC;
      (b) Accused 1 to 12 were further sentenced to 'imprisonment for  life'
      for the offence under Section 302 read with Section 149 of IPC  and  a
      fine of Rs. 1,000/- (Rupees one thousand only)  each,  in  default  to
      suffer simple imprisonment for one month each;
      (c) Accused 2  and  3  were  further  sentenced  to  undergo  rigorous
      imprisonment for 6 months each for the offence under Section 324  read
      with Section 34 of IPC;
      (d) All the sentences were directed to run concurrently;
      (e) Accused 13 to 20 were found not guilty for the offences with which
      they were charged and the High Court confirmed  the  judgment  of  the
      trial Court acquitting those accused.  
Both the  criminal  appeal  and
      the criminal revision were allowed in part and  the  judgment  of  the
      trial court was set aside.


9.  Shri Altaf  Ahmed  and  Shri  Mahabir  Singh,  learned  senior  counsel,
appearing for the accused Nos. 1,  2  and  3  respectively,  relied  on  the
decisions of this Court in Rohtash vs. State of Haryana, (2012)  6  SCC  589
and Murugesan vs. State, (2012) 10 SCC 383, for  the  principles  reiterated
by this Court for interfering  with  an  order  of  acquittal.   In  Rohtash
(supra) to which one of us (Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.) was a  party,  this  court
held that an order of acquittal is liable to  be  interfered  with  only  in
exceptional cases where there are compelling circumstances and the  judgment
in appeal is found to be perverse.  Interference in a routine  manner  where
the other view is possible should be avoided, unless there are good  reasons
for interference.  In Rohtas (supra) this Court observed:
      “27. The High Court interfered with the order of acquittal recorded by
      the trial  court.   The  law  of  interfering  with  the  judgment  of
      acquittal is  well  settled.   It  is  to  the  effect  that  only  in
      exceptional cases where there are  compelling  circumstances  and  the
      judgment in appeal is found to be perverse, the  appellate  court  can
      interfere with the order of the acquittal.  The appellate court should
      bear in mind the presumption of innocence of the accused  and  further
      that  the  trial  court’s  acquittal  bolsters  the   presumption   of
      innocence.  Interference in a routine manner where the other  view  if
      possible  should  be  avoided,  unless  there  are  good  reasons  for
      interference.  [Vide State of Rajasthan v. Talevar (2011) 11  SCC  666
      and Govindaraju v. State (2012) 4 SCC 722].”

10.      In Murugesan (supra), this Court has observed as under:
      “21. A concise statement of the law on  the  issue  that  had  emerged
      after over half a century of evolution since  Sheo  Swarup  is  to  be
      found in para 42 of the report in Chandrappa  and  Ors.  v.  State  of
      Karnataka : 2007 (4) SCC 415. The same  may,  therefore,  be  usefully
      noticed below:  (SCC 432)


        “42.  From  the  above  decisions,  in  our  considered  view,  the
        following general principles  regarding  powers  of  the  appellate
        court while dealing with an appeal against an  order  of  acquittal
        emerge:


           (1) An appellate court has full power to  review,  re-appreciate
           and reconsider the evidence upon which the order of acquittal is
           founded.


           (2) The Code of Criminal Procedure,  1973  puts  no  limitation,
           restriction or condition  on  exercise  of  such  power  and  an
           appellate court on the evidence before  it  may  reach  its  own
           conclusion, both on questions of fact and of law.


           (3) Various expressions, such as,  "substantial  and  compelling
           reasons",  "good   and   sufficient   grounds",   "very   strong
           circumstances",  "distorted  conclusions",  "glaring  mistakes",
           etc.  are  not  intended  to  curtail  extensive  powers  of  an
           appellate  court  in   an   appeal   against   acquittal.   Such
           phraseologies are more in the nature of "flourishes of language"
           to emphasise the reluctance of an appellate court  to  interfere
           with acquittal than to curtail the power of the court to  review
           the evidence and to come to its own conclusion.


           (4) An appellate court, however, must bear in mind that in  case
           of acquittal, there is  double  presumption  in  favour  of  the
           accused. Firstly, the presumption of innocence is  available  to
           him under the fundamental principle  of  criminal  jurisprudence
           that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he  is
           proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused
           having secured his acquittal, the presumption of  his  innocence
           is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the  trial
           court.


           (5) If two reasonable conclusions are possible on the  basis  of
           the evidence on record, the appellate court should  not  disturb
           the  finding  of  acquittal  recorded  by   the   trial   court.
                                                  (Emphasis supplied)”
11.      According to the  learned  counsel  the  trial  court  has  rightly
disbelieved the prosecution case, particularly, in view of the  evidence  of
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and the  non-examination  of  Rajagopal  Reddy
(L.W. 2).  Other witnesses from the initial list have  also  been  examined.
As found by  the  trial  court,  the  learned  counsel  submitted  that  the
depositions  of  several  witnesses  of  the  prosecution  is  without   any
credibility and even the presence of some of them on the scene of the  crime
is doubtful or, they are interested witnesses.  A conviction based  on  such
evidence is not tenable.  It was also submitted by the learned counsel  that
the evidence of  PW-3,  who  claims  to  be  present,  is  itself  doubtful.
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)  is the younger  brother  of  Rajagopal  Reddy
(L.W. 2), whose son is K. Reddy.  A-19, Pelluru Venu  Reddy,  is  the  elder
brother of PW 3.  A-20, Pelluru Sreedhar Reddy is son of A-19, Pelluru  Venu
Reddy.  Admittedly, there is a dispute pertaining to  land  between  Pelluru
Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) on  one  hand  and  A-19,
Pelluru  Venu  Reddy  and  A-20,  Pelluru  Sreedhar  Reddy,  on  the  other.
Therefore, the  animus  of  this  witness  against  the  accused  is  clear.
Moreover,  the  evidence  of  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  (P.W.  3)  is   itself
unreliable  because  the  witness  deposed  that  the  A-1  -   Puchalapalli
Parandhami Reddy, hacked the deceased with a battle axe whereas  the  injury
on the head shows that it must have been caused by blunt  side  of  an  axe.
The injury in question i.e. injury No. 1, is as follows:
       “(1) A bone deep lacerated injury of about 3"  x  ½”  extending  from
      middle of skull to the left parietal bone. Blood stains  present  with
      congestion. Deeper to it  sub  scalp  congested  and  dark.  L  shaped
      fracture of skull in mid line for about 3 ½” and to the right side  of
      parietal bone. Brain coverings congested and dark.  Subdural  hematoma
      present over the middle of brain. Brain  matter  congested  and  dark.
      There is basal fracture of skull transversely from one petrous part of
      the bone to the other and fracture of right parietal bone, blood clots
      and congestion present over the base of skull  and  at  the  fractured
      areas. Injury is ante mortem.”


12.      The doctor has opined that this injury could have been caused by  a
blunt object.  According to the learned counsel  the  witness  did  not  say
that the accused reversed the axe while hitting the deceased on the head  as
the injury shows, and therefore he is lying or  was  not  present.   In  the
first place, we find that other witnesses have given  the  same  deposition.
It is possible that the statement of the witness is slightly  inaccurate  or
the witness did not see properly which side of the  axe  was  used.   It  is
equally possible that the sharp edge of the axe is actually  very  blunt  or
it was reversed just before hitting the head.  It is  not  possible  to  say
what is the reason.  That is however no reason for discarding the  statement
of the witness that A-1 - Puchalapalli Parandhami  Reddy  hit  the  deceased
without a battle axe, as is obvious from the injury.  Moreover,  it  is  not
possible to doubt the  presence  of  this  witness,  who  has  himself  been
injured.  Dr. M.C. Narasimhulu, P.W. 13, Medical Officer, has stated in  his
evidence that on 25-11-1996 at about 3.30 p.m., he examined this  witness  -
P.W.3 - P. Murali Reddy and found the following injuries:
      “(1) Diffused swelling with tenderness over middle 1/3rd and  back  of
      left forearm.
      (2) A lacerated injury skin deep of about ½” over the  back  of  head.
      Bleeding present with tenderness and swelling around.”


13.      We are also not impressed by the finding of the  trial  court  that
there is discrepancy between the statement of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W.  3)
and his oral testimony because he said in the  statement  that  he  saw  the
tractor in which the accused had arrived just  before  the  house  of  A-19,
Pelluru Venu Reddy and deposed that the house could not be seen  from  where
he was standing.   Such a  discrepancy  does  not  detract  from  the  basic
credibility of this witness, who along with his brother has been injured  in
the attack.
14.      Besides, the evidence of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3), there is  a
similar deposition by P.W.  4 (Bandila Mutyhyalaiah)  and P.W.  5  (Rayapati
Kotaiah) who were engaged by Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and  his  brother
and P.W. 6 (Veluru Gopal Reddy) and P.W. 7  (Manneti  Chenchaiah),  who  had
accompanied the deceased.
15.      The  evidence  of  P.W.   4  (Bandila  Mutyhyalaiah)   and  P.W.  5
(Rayapati Kotaiah) was attacked on the ground  that  they  were  engaged  by
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and P.W. 5 (Rayapati  Kotaiah)  and  therefore
are interested witnesses and not reliable.   Such  a  contention  cannot  be
accepted.  There was no reason for these witnesses to  falsely  depose.   It
is equally true that there is no mention of these witnesses i.e. PWs  4  and
5 in the F.I.R. We do not find anything  significant  in  their  non-mention
since they were apparently from a different village and it is possible  that
their names were left out.
16.      Their depositions are clear and consistent about the  incident  and
are on the following line.  That at about 7.30 or 8 a.m., P.Ws. 1, 2, 4  and
5 were ploughing the land with nagallu. The  deceased  was  sitting  on  the
northern side of the ridge. P.W. 6 (Veluru Gopal Reddy),  Chenchaiah  L.W.10
and Mohan L.W.11 were standing on the eastern side.  Meanwhile,  accused  19
and 20 came  there  and  objected  for  ploughing  the  land.  The  deceased
intervened and informed that the disputes will be settled  later  and  asked
them to plough the land. On that, A- 19 and 20 left the fields. On the  same
day at about 10 a.m., A-1 came to the scene and hacked the deceased  with  a
battle-axe on the head. After that, A-2  came  and  when  P.W.3  intervened,
accused No. 2 beat P.W.3 with the butt end of  a  chilakathi  on  the  head.
Then accused No. 3 came and hacked the deceased with an  axe  on  the  head.
When P.W.3 intervened, accused No. 3 beat with the  same  axe  on  the  left
hand of P.W.3. Thereafter, accused No. 4 came and stabbed  the  deceased  on
the left shoulder. A-5 stabbed the deceased on the chest.  A-6  stabbed  the
deceased with a spear on  the  left  side  back  portion.  A-7  stabbed  the
deceased on the back side. A-8 stabbed the deceased  on  the  left  ear  and
also on the abdomen. A-9  stabbed  the  deceased  on  the  left  side  chest
portion. A-10 beat the deceased with  a  stick  on  the  left  temple.  A-11
stabbed the deceased with a chilakathi on the left side of the chest and  on
the left tempo. A-12 beat the  deceased  with  an  axe  on  the  head.  When
Rajagopal Reddy L.W.2 intervened, A-12 hacked him with the  same  battle-axe
on the head. Due to that blow,  he  had  fallen  on  the  ground.  After  15
minutes, Subrahmanyam Reddy, resident of Thimmareddyvagu, brought a  tractor
to the  scene.  P.W  6,  P.W.3  and  Subrahmanyam  Reddy  took  the  injured
Rajagopal Reddy L.W.2 in the said tractor to Vakadu  for  treatment  as  his
condition  was  serious.  As  there  was  no  doctor  available  at  Vakadu,
Subrahmanyam Reddy brought a car and himself, Rajagopala Reddy L.W.2,  P.W.3
and Subrahmanyam Reddy together took him to the Government Hospital,  Gudur.
There they were advised to take the injured L.W.2  to  Tirupati  for  expert
treatment and thereafter he returned back to the house.
17.       Deposition  of  P.W.  6,  who  accompanied  the   deceased   fully
corroborates the version of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3).  He  stated  that
PW 3 and LW 2 came to the  house  of  the  deceased  and  requested  him  to
mediate the dispute among the brothers.  The deceased promised  to  come  on
the next day.  On the next day what transpired is narrated by him as  above.
 There is no substance in the contention that  this  witness  supported  the
prosecution side in some earlier litigation,  therefore,  his  testimony  is
liable to be discarded.  P.W. 7 (Manneti Chenchaiah) was also  present  when
the deceased was requested to mediate the dispute on the  earlier  date  and
accompany him to the field on the next day.  His narration of  the  incident
is similar to the deposition of other witnesses and have  been  believed  by
the High Court.  The prosecution case is fully  supported  by  rest  of  the
witnesses and the evidence.
18.      The prosecution in  this  case  has  sufficiently  established  the
motive, which is the political rivalry and  the  land  dispute  between  the
parties; their preparation, which consists the accused party  going  to  the
field of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal  Reddy  (L.W.  2)  with
arms; the recovery of these arms at the  instance  of  A-2,  Konduru  Nagure
Reddy; the discovery of blood stains on the knife and  battle-axe  and  ante
mortem injuries inflicted on the deceased,  as  per  the  inquest  and  post
mortem report.
The injuries were caused to the  deceased  by  the  accused,
which are as under:

“P.W. 3 - Pelluru Murali Reddy stated about the injuries on the deceased  as
under:
A-1 - hacked the deceased on the head with battle axe.
A-3 - with axe – beat the deceased on the head.
A-4 - with bitchuva (knife) stabbed the deceased on the left side chest  and
underneath of left arm pit.
A-5 – With Bitchuva (Knife) – stabbed the deceased Paradhami  Reddy  on  the
left side of the chest and  underneath,  left  arm  pit  resulting  bleeding
injuries.
A-6 – Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion,  resulting
bleeding injuries.
A-7 – Spear – on left side back portion of the deceased  resulting  bleeding
injuries.
A-8 – Chilakathi – stabbed the deceased on the left ear and on his abdomen.
A-9 – Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side chest portion  and  also
on umbilicus.
A-10 – Stick – beat the deceased on the left temporal region.
A-11 – Chilakathi – stabbed on the left side temple  region  near  the  left
ear and also on the abdomen causing bleeding injury.
A-12 – with battle axe – backed the deceased on  the  head  caused  bleeding
injury.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately with sticks and iron rods.
P.W.  4 - Bandila Mutyhyalaiah – spoke about the injuries  on  the  deceased
as under:
A-1 - hacked the deceased  - with battle axe on the head.
A-3 - with axe – beat deceased Parandhami Reddy on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – deceased with Bitchuva on the left side  of  the  chest  and
also underneath left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the  chest  and
also underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 –With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-7 – With Spear stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-8 – With Chilakathi – hacked the deceased on the left ear and  abdomen  of
the deceased.
A-9 – With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side of  the  chest  and
also on the umbilicus.
A-10 – With Stick – beat the deceased on the left side temporal region.
A-11 – hacked the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side temple and  also
on the left side of chest.
A-12 – hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately with iron rods and sticks.
P.W. 5 (Rayapati Kotaiah) – spoke about the  injuries  on  the  deceased  as
under:
A-1 – With axe beat Parandhami Reddy on the head.
A-3 – hacked the deceased with axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – deceased with Bitchuva on the left side  of  the  chest  and
also underneath left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the  chest  and
also underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 –With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-7 – Armed with Spear - stabbed on the left side back portion.
A-8 – stabbed the deceased - with Chilakathi –on the left ear and abdomen.
A-9 – With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side of the chest.
A-10 – beat the deceased with spear – with stick temporal region.
A-11 – stabbed the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side  of  the  chest
and on the left side of the temple region.
A-12 – hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately.
P.W. 6 - Veluru Gopal Reddy stated about the injuries  on  the  deceased  as
under:
A-1 - hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – Parandhami Reddy on the left shoulder.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased on the chest.
A-6 – stabbed the deceased with Spear on the left side back portion.
A-7 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left side.
A-8 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left ear and also on the abdomen.
A-9 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left side chest portion.
A-10 – beat the deceased with stick on the left temporal region of  deceased
Parandhami Reddy.
A-11 – stabbed the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side  of  the  chest
and left side of the temple region.
A-12 – beat Parandhami Reddy with axe on his head.
P.W. 7 (Manneti Chenchaiah) stated about the injuries  on  the  deceased  as
under:
A-1 –axed the deceased on the head with battle axe.
A-3 – hacked Parandhami Reddy with axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – Parandhami Reddy with bitchuva  on  the  left  side  of  the
chest and underneath the left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy with bitchuva on the left side of  the  chest
and underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 – stabbed the deceased with Spear on the left side back portion.
A-7 – stabbed the deceased with spear on the left side back portion.
A-8 – stabbed the deceased with Chillakathi  on the left  ear  and  also  on
the abdomen.
A-9 – stabbed the deceased with spear on the left  side  of  the  chest  and
also on umbilicus.
A-10 – beat Parandhami Reddy with sticks on the left temporal region.
A-11 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy with Chilakathi on  the  left  side  of  the
chest and left side of the temple region.
A-12 – beat the deceased on the chest with battle axe.”
19.      We have found that the injuries  on  the  deceased  are  completely
relatable to the injuries to the attack as deposed  to  by  the  prosecution
witnesses.
20.      We have carefully examined the alleged discrepancies and we do  not
find that the discrepancies and doubts are such as makes  their  testimonies
liable to be rejected, in view of the deposition of PWs 3, 6  and  7,  which
is clear and consistent.
21.      In State of U.P. vs.  Anil Singh, A.I.R. 1988 SC 1998,  this  Court
observed as follows:
      “In an appeal against acquittal, in the great majority of  cases,  the
      prosecution version is rejected either for want  of  corroboration  by
      independent witnesses, or for some  falsehood,  stated  or  embroidery
      added by witnesses. 
In some cases,  the  entire  prosecution  case  is
      doubted for  not  examining  all  witnesses  to  the  occurrence.  The
      indifferent attitude of the public  in  the  investigation  of  crimes
      could also be pointed. 
The public  are  generally  reluctant  to  come
      forward to depose before the Court. 
It is, therefore, not  correct  to
      reject the prosecution version only on ground that  all  witnesses  to
      occurrence have not been examined. 
It is also not proper to reject the
      case for want of corroboration by independent witnesses  if  the  case
      made out is otherwise true and acceptable
With  regard  to  falsehood
      stated or embellishments added by the  prosecution  witnesses,  it  is
      well to remember that there is a tendency  amongst  witnesses  in  our
      country to back up a good case by false or exaggerated version. 
It  is
      also experienced that  invariably  the  witnesses  add  embroidery  to
      prosecution story, perhaps for the fear of being disbelieved. But that
      is no ground to throw the case overboard, if  true  in  the  main.  If
      there is a ring of truth in the main, the case should not be rejected.
      
It is the duty of the Court to cull out the nuggets of truth from  the
      evidence unless there is reason to believe that the inconsistencies of
      falsehood are so glaring as  utterly  to  destroy  confidence  in  the
      witnesses. 
It is necessary to remember that a Judge does  not  preside
      over a criminal trial merely to see that no innocent man is  punished.
      
A Judge also presides to see that a guilty man does not escape. One is
      as important as the other. Both are public duties which the Judge  has
      to perform.”


22.         In State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh, (2003)  11  SCC  271,  this
Court held as follows:
      “There is no embargo on the appellate  court  reviewing  the  evidence
      upon which an order of acquittal is based.  Generally,  the  order  of
      acquittal shall not be interfered  with  because  the  presumption  of
      innocence of the accused is further  strengthened  by  acquittal.  The
      golden thread which runs through the web of administration of  justice
      in criminal cases is that if two views are possible  on  the  evidence
      adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and  the
      other to his innocence, the view which is favourable  to  the  accused
      should be adopted. The paramount consideration  of  the  court  is  to
      ensure that miscarriage of justice  is  prevented.  A  miscarriage  of
      justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no  less  than
      from -the conviction of  an  innocent.  In  a  case  where  admissible
      evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate  court  to  re-
      appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted, for
      the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused committed
      any offence or not.”


23.      Having regard to the above law laid down by this  Court,  the  High
Court was fully justified in reversing the order of acquittal in respect  of
accused Nos. 1 to 12.
24.      At this stage, we might note that  we  are  not  impressed  by  the
submission advanced on behalf of the appellants that  the  prosecution  case
fails because Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), who is said to  be  injured  in  the
attack, was not examined.
 LW 2, the brother  of  PW  3,  is  said  to  have
received one simple injury on the head in the attack.  
The witnesses  stated
that he received several injuries on his head, however, the evidence of  the
Medical Officer shows that the X-ray of the skull was  taken  on  25.11.1996
and there was one simple injury on his head on  the  date  of  the  offence.
This witness obviously should have been examined but for reasons best  known
to the prosecution was  not  examined.
Though  his  dying  declaration  was
recorded by  the  IInd  Additional  Munsif,  Tirupati  on  26.11.1996,  this
witness survived.
25.      In Sunil Kumar & Ors. V. State of  M.P.,  AIR  1997  SC  940,  this
Court held as under:
      “……….. that immediately after PW 1, injured witness was taken  to  the
      hospital his statement was recorded  as  a  dying  declaration  which,
      consequent upon his survival, is to be treated  only  as  a  statement
      recorded under Section 164, Cr. P.C. and can be used for corroboration
      or contradiction. This statement recorded by  the  Magistrate  at  the
      earliest available opportunity clearly discloses the substratum of the
      prosecution case including the names of the appellants  as  assailants
      and there is not an iota of materials on record to show that this  was
      the upshot of his tutoring. On the contrary, this statement  was  made
      at a point of time when PW 1 was in a critical  condition  and  it  is
      difficult to believe that he would falsely  implicate  the  appellants
      leaving aside the real  culprits………that  there  was  only  some  minor
      inconsequential  contradictions  which  did  not  at  all  impair  his
      evidence. Then again, as already noticed, the evidences of the doctors
      fully     supports     his     version     of      the      incident.”
                      (Emphasis added).

26.      In Maqsoodan & Ors. V. State of U.P., AIR 1983 SC 126,  this  Court
dealt with  an  issue  wherein  a  person,  who  had  made  a  statement  in
expectation of death, did not die.   This  Court  held  that  it  cannot  be
treated as a dying declaration as his statement  was  not  admissible  under
Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, but it was  to  be  dealt  with
under Section 157 of the  Evidence  Act,  which  provides  that  the  former
statement of a witness may be proved to corroborate later  testimony  as  to
the same fact.
27.      In Ramprasad v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1999 SC 1969,  a  similar
view has been re-iterated by this Court as this Court observed:
      “Be that as it may, the question is whether the court could  treat  it
      as an item of evidence for any purpose. 
Section 157  of  the  Evidence
      Act permits proof of any former statement made by a  witness  relating
      to  the  same  fact  before  "any  authority  legally   competent   to
      investigate the fact" but its use is limited to corroboration  of  the
      testimony  of  such  witness.  Though  a  police  officer  is  legally
      competent to investigate,  any  statement  made  to  him  during  such
      investigation cannot be used to corroborate the testimony of a witness
      because of the clear interdict contained in Section 162 of  the  Code.
      But  a  statement  made  to  a  magistrate  is  not  affected  by  the
      prohibition contained in the said Section. A magistrate can record the
      statement of a person as provided in Section 164 of the Code and  such
      statement would either be elevated to the status of Section 32 if  the
      maker of the statement subsequently dies or it would remain within the
      realm of what it was originally. A statement recorded by a  magistrate
      under Section  164  becomes  usable  to  corroborate  the  witness  as
      provided in Section 157 of the Evidence Act or to  contradict  him  as
      provided in Section 155 thereof.”


28.      The above view has also been reiterated by this Court  in  Gentela
Vijayavardhan Rao & Anr. V. State of Andhra  Pradesh,  AIR  1996  SC  2791;
State of U.P. V. Veer Singh & Ors. AIR 2004 SC 4614; and Ranjit  Singh  and
Ors. V. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 2011 SC 255.
29.      In this case, however, we are not inclined to  go  into  the  issue
since Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), was not examined at all.  
No issue has  been raised 
whether a witness could have  corroborated  or  contradicted  on  the basis of the statement recorded by the IInd Additional Munsif, Tirupati.
30.      Shri A.K. Sanghi,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  A-2  -
Konduru Nagure Reddy, submitted that this accused has been charged  for  the
offences under Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149  of  the  IPC
etc.  He pointed out that the only overt act attributed to him  by  some  of
the prosecution witnesses is that because  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  (P.W.  3)
intervened during the attack, he beat the said PW 3 with the  blunt  axe  of
Chillakathi on his back side.  This according to the  learned  counsel  only
resulted in a simple lacerated injury skin deep of about 1½” over  the  back
head of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3).  The Medical Officer has opined  that
this injury is simple.  In the circumstances, the  conviction  and  sentence
of A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, awarded by the trial  court  and  affirmed  by
the High Court is liable to be modified. We hold A-2, Konduru Nagure  Reddy,
guilty only for the offence punishable under Section 324 read  with  Section
34 of the IPC.  We, therefore, alter the conviction of A-2,  Konduru  Nagure
Reddy, from Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC  etc.
 to Section 324 read with  Section  34  of  the  IPC.    In  our  considered
opinion, custody and sentence of 2 (two)  years  would  be  appropriate  and
sufficient.   The accused-appellant shall undergo imprisonment  for  a  term
of 2 years, if not already undergone, in terms of this order.


31.      In view of the above, we allow Criminal Appeal  Nos.  1093-1094  of
2011, filed by A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, to  the  extent  indicated  above.
Rest of the appeals are dismissed.


                                       ...........................………………..J.
                                                                     [   DR.
B.S. CHAUHAN ]


                                           ….....................………………………J.
                                          [ S.A. Bobde ]


New Delhi,
October18, 2013

































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