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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sections 147, 148 and 302 IPC -mere presence or association with other members alone does not per se be sufficient to hold everyone of them criminally liable for the offences committed by the others Apex court held that there is no legally acceptable material to prove that the appellants acted as members of unlawful assembly to connect them with the murder of the deceased Korma Rao. At any rate in the absence of reliable evidence to prove that the appellants were either present on the spot or that they had committed any overt act that could show that they share the common object of the unlawful assembly it is not possible to support their conviction and benefit of doubt has to be given to them. = Nagesar … Appellant(s) versus State of Chhatisgarh … Respondent(s) = 2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41527

 Sections 147,  148  and  302 IPC -mere presence or association  with  other members  alone does not per se be sufficient to hold everyone of them criminally liable for the offences committed  by
the others  Apex court held that there is no  legally acceptable material to prove that the appellants acted as  members  of unlawful assembly to connect them with  the  murder  of  the  deceased Korma Rao. At any rate in the absence of  reliable evidence to  prove that the appellants were either present on the spot or that  they  had committed any overt act that could show that  they  share  the  common object of the unlawful assembly it is not possible  to  support  their conviction and benefit of doubt has to be given to them. =

 The appellants herein  Nagesar and Khetro accused Nos.
               6 and 7 respectively, in Sessions Trial No.232  of  2005  on
               the file of 10th Additional Sessions Judge (FTC) Durg,  were
               tried along with five other accused and  all  of  them  were
               convicted for the offence under Sections 147,  148  and  302
               IPC and each of  them  was  sentenced  to  undergo  rigorous
               imprisonment for one year and pay a fine of  Rs.1000/-   and
               in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for  two  months
               for offence  under  Section  147  IPC;  one  year   rigorous
               imprisonment and to pay a fine  of  Rs.2000/-  each  and  in
               default to undergo rigorous imprisonment  for  three  months
               for the offence under Section 148 IPC and life  imprisonment
               and to pay a fine of Rs.3000/- in default  to  undergo   six
               months imprisonment for the offence under  Section  302  IPC
               and the sentences were directed to run concurrently.=

 It is settled law that mere presence or association  with  other
      members  alone does not per se be sufficient to -

      hold everyone of them criminally liable for the offences committed  by
      the others unless there was sufficient  evidence  on  record  to  show
      that one such also intended to or knew the likelihood of commission of
      such an offending act. ( K.M Ravi and others  Vs. State  of  Karnataka
      (2009) 16 SCC 337).  
As already seen in this case there is no  legally
      acceptable material to prove that the appellants acted as  members  of
      unlawful assembly to connect them with  the  murder  of  the  deceased
      Korma Rao.  
At any rate in the absence of  reliable evidence to  prove
      that the appellants were either present on the spot or that  they  had
      committed any overt act that could show that  they  share  the  common
      object of the unlawful assembly it is not possible  to  support  their
      conviction and benefit of doubt has to be given to them.




      14.   In the result both the appeals are allowed  and  the  appellants
      are given benefit of doubt and the conviction and sentences imposed on
      them are set aside  and they -

      are acquitted of all  the  charges  framed  against  them.   They  are
      directed to be released from the custody  forthwith  unless  otherwise
      required in connection with any other case.

2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41527

T.S. THAKUR, C. NAGAPPAN
                                                                REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                    CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  1096    OF 2014
       [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.10006 of 2012]
                                    With

                    CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.   1082    OF 2014

              (@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.5189 of 2013)



      Nagesar                                      …     Appellant(s)

                                   versus

      State of Chhatisgarh                     …    Respondent(s)




                               J U D G M E N T

      C. NAGAPPAN, J.




            1. Leave granted in both the special leave petitions.




            2. Both the appeals have  been  preferred  against  the  common
               judgment dated 31.1.2012 of the Division Bench of  the  High
               Court of Chhatisgarh, Bilaspur, in Criminal Appeal No.12  of
               2007 and Criminal Appeal No.331 of -

            3. 2007. The appellants herein  Nagesar and Khetro accused Nos.
               6 and 7 respectively, in Sessions Trial No.232  of  2005  on
               the file of 10th Additional Sessions Judge (FTC) Durg,  were
               tried along with five other accused and  all  of  them  were
               convicted for the offence under Sections 147,  148  and  302
               IPC and each of  them  was  sentenced  to  undergo  rigorous
               imprisonment for one year and pay a fine of  Rs.1000/-   and
               in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for  two  months
               for offence  under  Section  147  IPC;  one  year   rigorous
               imprisonment and to pay a fine  of  Rs.2000/-  each  and  in
               default to undergo rigorous imprisonment  for  three  months
               for the offence under Section 148 IPC and life  imprisonment
               and to pay a fine of Rs.3000/- in default  to  undergo   six
               months imprisonment for the offence under  Section  302  IPC
               and the sentences were directed to run concurrently.




            4. -

            5. Aggrieved by the conviction and the sentences  accused  Nos.
               1 to 7 preferred  five criminal appeals and the  High  Court
               by the impugned  common  judgment   dated  31.1.2012  partly
               allowed the appeals by  setting  aside  the  conviction  and
               sentence imposed  upon  them  and  acquitted  them  for  the
               offence under Section 148 IPC and  also  altered  conviction
               under Section 302 IPC to Section 304  Part  II  of  IPC  and
               sentenced each of them to undergo rigorous imprisonment  for
               a period of 6 years  and imposed a fine  of  Rs.  3000/-  on
               each of them and in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment
               for six months and maintained the  conviction  and  sentence
               imposed on them for  the  offence  under  Section  147  IPC.
               Challenging the same accused Nos.6 and 7 have preferred  the
               present appeals.




            6. Background facts of the case in a nutshell are  as  follows:
               On 13.6.2004 in the evening Korma  Rao  was  sitting   along
               with PW1 Pramod and  Pradeep near -

            7. Priyadarshini Market Chowk, Khursipar, Bhilai.  Accused Nos.
               1 to  7 were consuming ‘Ganja” and liquor  in the above said
               place and this was objected to  by  Korma  Rao  and  in  the
               altercation Korma Rao slapped accused No.4  Rajendra  Prasad
               Shukla @ Tukna.  Korma Rao left the place with PW1 Promod  &
               Pradeep by scooter.  Again at 11.45 PM he came back  to  the
               same place where juvenile accused  Pitambar  @  Panto  threw
               chilli powder on the eyes of Korma Rao and assaulted him  on
               the head with sword.  When  Korma  Rao  fell  down  juvenile
               Pitambar took out a stone and dropped it over his  head  and
               the other accused assaulted him.   Accused  No.1  Bhimsen  @
               Bhim attacked Korma  Rao  with  stick.  When  PW8  Gopi  Rao
               intervened he was attacked on the head with sword by accused
               No.1 Bhimsen @ Bhim.  PW9 Ram Lalit   Yadav  also  witnessed
               the occurrence.  PW 8 Gopi Rao informed PW5 Bhaskar Rao, who
               is the brother of Korma Rao about the  occurrence  and  they
               took injured Korma Rao to BSP -

            8. Hospital, Bhilai.  Korma Rao was examined  by PW4 S.K.  Bhoi
               and Ex.B4 wounds Certificate was issued  by  him.   He  also
               examined PW 8 Gopi Rao and found a lacerated wound over  the
               back of his  head  and  issued  Exh.P5  Injury  Certificate.
               Korma Rao  died  at  3.00  P.M..   PW5  Bhaskar  Rao  lodged
               complaint and the death of Korma Rao was  intimated  by  the
               Doctor vide Exh. P32 and FIR Exh.P21 came  to  be  recorded.
               The Investigating Officer conducted inquest  over  the  body
               vide Exh.P8 Inquest Report.  He seized blood stained  earth,
               blood stained stone and broken bricks  by Exh. P13 and  sent
               the body for post-mortem.




      5.     PW13 Dr. Padmakar Mishra conducted the autopsy on the  body  of
      Korma Rao and found the following injuries:

                  i) Incised wound of 4 c.m. x 1 c.m. x 1 c.m. over back of
                     head with fracture of bone.

                 ii) -

                iii) Two incised wounds of 2 c.m. x ½ c.m. x 1 c.m.  and  2
                     c.m. x  ½ c.m. over back of head.

                 iv) Incised wound of 7.5 c.m. over left  temporo  parietal
                     region.

                  v) Incised wound of 9 c.m.  length  over  right  parietal
                     region.

                 vi) Incised wound of 4 c.m. length just below right eye.

                vii) Incised wound over upper part of nose.

               viii) Fracture of right and left mandible bone.

                 ix) Incised wound over ring finger of  2  c.m.  in  length
                     with fracture of metacarpal bone.

                  x) Incised wound of 2 c.m. x ½ c.m. over wrist.

                 xi) Incised wound of 20 c.m. x ½ c.m. over back.

                xii) Haematoma of fronto parietal bone of 20 c.m. length.

      -

      He expressed opinion that death has occurred due to shock  on  account
      of ante-mortem injuries and issued Exh.P20 post-mortem certificate.

      6.     Pursuant  to  Ex.P.10  disclosure  statement  of  accused  No.4
      Rajender Prasad wooden plank was recovered under Ex.P22.  Pursuant  to
      the disclosure statement of accused No.3 Pradeep  stone was  recovered
      under Exh.P.11. On Exh.P.12 disclosure statement of PW1 Bhimsen  stick
      was  recovered  under  Exh.P.16.   On  the  disclosure   statement  of
      juvenile accused Pitambar  sword and clothes Exh.P.23  were  recovered
      under Exh.P.14 and Exh.P15.  Blood stained clothes  of  other  accused
      were  also  seized.  The  seized  articles  were  sent  for   clinical
      examination under Exh.P38 and Exh.P40 is the report.  On completion of
      investigation final report was filed.  The case against  the  juvenile
      accused Pitambar was filed before the Juvenile Justice Board.




      -

      7.    In order to prove the  guilt  of  the  accused  the  prosecution
      examined PWs 1 to 17 and marked the documents. No evidence was adduced
      by the accused.  The trial court  found  all  the  accused  guilty  of
      charges and sentenced them as narrated above.  The appeal preferred by
      them was partly allowed as  indicated  above.   Challenging  the  same
      accused No.6 Nagesar  and  accused  No.7  Khetro  have  preferred  the
      present appeals.




      8. The learned counsel appearing for  the  appellants  submitted  that
      both the appellants were not named in the First Information Report and
      the eye witness Ram Lalit Yadav in his testimony has not mentioned the
      names of the appellants as having been present during  the  occurrence
      and  even the other eye witness has not attributed any  overt  act  to
      the appellants  in the attack made on the deceased and their  presence
      at the occurrence place is itself doubtful and they are entitled to an
      acquittal.  Per contra the learned counsel  appearing -

      for the respondent-State  contended that the appreciation of  evidence
      by the Courts  below was proper and did not,  thereby,  call  for  any
      interference.




      9.    Korma Rao suffered a homicidal death is sought to be  proved  by
      the medical evidence adduced by  the  prosecution.   The  autopsy  was
      conducted by PW13 Dr. Padmakar Mishra and as  per  his  testimony,  he
      found 6 incised wounds on the head with fracture  of  right  and  left
      mandible bone and he opined that death has occurred on account of  the
      shock due to  ante-mortem  injuries.   Exh.  P20  is  the  post-mortem
      certificate issued by him.  Thus it is amply clear that Korma Rao died
      of injuries sustained during the occurrence.




      10.    The prosecution case is that accused Nos. 1 to 7 in furtherance
      of their common object attacked Korma  Rao  at the time of  occurrence
      and caused his death.  PW8 Gopi Rao  and  PW9  Ram  Lalit  Yadav  were
      examined as having -

      witnessed the occurrence. According to PW8 Gopi Rao on 13.6.2004  late
      in the evening accused nos. 1  to  7  were  sitting  at  Priyadarshini
      Market Chowk and were consuming Ganja  and  Cigarette  and  Korma  Rao
      objected the same and in  the  altercation  he  slapped  accused  No.4
      Rajender Prasad Shukla and left the place with PW1 Promod and  Pradeep
      by scooter and again at 11.45 P.M. Korma Rao came  back  to  the  same
      place and juvenile Pitambar threw chilli powder in the eyes  of  Korma
      Rao and assaulted him on the head with sword and  when  he  fell  down
      juvenile Pitambar dropped a stone over his head and the other  accused
      assaulted him.  It is his further testimony that accused No.1  Bhimsen
      attacked Korma Rao with stick and when he intervened he  was  attacked
      on the head with sword by accused No.1 Bhimsen and he rushed to inform
      PW5 Bhaskar Rao,  who is the  brother  of  Korma  Rao  and  they  took
      injured Korma Rao to hospital where he died at 3.00  A.M..   According
      to PW8 Gopi Rao  -

      the appellants Nageswar and Khetro  were  found  in  inebriated  state
      having  consumed  cigarette  and  Ganja.  Though  PW8  Korma  Rao  had
      mentioned the names of both the appellants in his testimony as  having
      been present  at the place of occurrence, he has  not  attributed  any
      overt act to them in the attack  made  on  the  deceased  as  well  as
      himself.




      11.   PW9 Ram  Lalit  Yadav  is  the  other  eye-witness  and  he  has
      testified that he went to the place of occurrence at about 11.15  P.M.
      in the night and the accused persons were sitting there and  PW8  Gopi
      Rao also joined him and when Korma Rao  came  there,  accused  persons
      Khetro, Bhim,  Pitambar and others attacked Korma Rao with  sword  and
      danda and Korma Rao sustained injuries on the head and other parts  of
      his body and when PW8 Gopi Rao  intervened  he  also  sustained  sword
      injury on the head.  It is his further testimony that he and PW8  Gopi
      Rao informed the occurrence to the family members of -

      Korma Rao and they took him to hospital  where  he  succumbed  to  the
      injuries.  PW9 Ram Lalit Yadav has not  mentioned  the  names  of  the
      appellants as having been present during  the  occurrence.   In  other
      words this witness,  in  his  testimony   has  not  stated  about  the
      presence of the appellants and  did not attribute any role to them  in
      the occurrence.




      12.   Exh. P21 is the First Information Report lodged by  PW5  Bhaskar
      Rao, the brother  of  deceased  Korma  Rao.   Of  course  he  has  not
      witnessed the occurrence  and the information was conveyed to  him  by
      PW8 Gopi Rao who is an  eye-witness.   The  names  of  the  appellants
      Nagesar and Khetro are not mentioned in the First  Information  Report
      and in the facts of the case a doubt is created  in  the  mind  as  to
      whether they could be really involved in the offence.




      13.   It is settled law that mere presence or association  with  other
      members  alone does not per se be sufficient to -

      hold everyone of them criminally liable for the offences committed  by
      the others unless there was sufficient  evidence  on  record  to  show
      that one such also intended to or knew the likelihood of commission of
      such an offending act. ( K.M Ravi and others  Vs. State  of  Karnataka
      (2009) 16 SCC 337).  As already seen in this case there is no  legally
      acceptable material to prove that the appellants acted as  members  of
      unlawful assembly to connect them with  the  murder  of  the  deceased
      Korma Rao.  At any rate in the absence of  reliable evidence to  prove
      that the appellants were either present on the spot or that  they  had
      committed any overt act that could show that  they  share  the  common
      object of the unlawful assembly it is not possible  to  support  their
      conviction and benefit of doubt has to be given to them.




      14.   In the result both the appeals are allowed  and  the  appellants
      are given benefit of doubt and the conviction and sentences imposed on
      them are set aside  and they -

      are acquitted of all  the  charges  framed  against  them.   They  are
      directed to be released from the custody  forthwith  unless  otherwise
      required in connection with any other case.

                                                              …………………………….J.
                                                   (T.S. Thakur)




                                                               ……………………………J.
                                                   (C. Nagappan)
      New Delhi;
      May 5, 2014




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