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Friday, April 17, 2015

The conviction of the appellants under Section 326 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and Section 427 IPC read with Section 34 IPC is confirmed. Sentence of imprisonment of three months imposed on them is reduced to the period already undergone by each of them. Additionally, the fine of Rs.25,000/- is imposed on each of the appellants-accused and in default to undergo sentence of imprisonment of three months. Out of the fine amount to be deposited by the appellants-accused, the injured witnesses PWs 1, 3, 4 and 5 (Vishveshwar P. Hegde, Kiran R. Bhat, Chandranath V. Bhat and Madhukar L. Hegde) who sustained grievous injuries shall be paid compensation of Rs.17,500/- each and PW 2-Chandru V. Bhat who suffered simple injuries shall be paid compensation of Rs. 5,000/-. With the above modification, the appeal is allowed in part.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.    644/2015
                 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.)No. 1550/2012)


VINAY & ORS.                                           .. Appellants
                                   Versus
STATE OF KARNATAKA & ANR.                   ..Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T

R. BANUMATHI, J.

            Leave granted.
2.          This appeal arises out of the judgment dated  30.11.2011  passed
by the High Court of Karantaka, Circuit Bench at Dharwad in Criminal  Appeal
No.515/2010 modifying the conviction of the appellants from Section 307  IPC
read with Section 34 IPC to  Section  326  IPC  read  with  Section  34  IPC
reducing the sentence of imprisonment from three years to three  months  and
confirming the conviction under         Section 427 IPC  read  with  Section
34 IPC,  thereby reducing the sentence of imprisonment imposed  on  each  of
the accused from six months to three months further directing the  sentences
to run concurrently and imposing a fine of Rs.10,000/-.

3.           The  appellants  and  the  complainant-Vishveshwar  Parameshwar
Hegde (PW-1) are the real brothers and are children of Smt. Bharati  (PW-8).
Due to quarrel with the  appellants,  PW-1  voluntarily  left  the  parental
house and started living separately. On  23.12.2001,  complainant-Visheshwar
Parameshwar Hegde (PW-1) along with  four  persons  viz.,  PW-2  Chandru  V.
Bhat, PW-3 Kiran R. Bhat, PW-4 Chandranath V. Bhat,  and  PW-5  Madhukar  L.
Hegde came in a Maruti car  to his  parental house in order to  remove   the
almirah  and  his  other  personal  belongings,  for  which  the  appellants
objected which resulted in quarrel  between the  parties.  In  the  heat  of
moment, appellant No.1 hit the complainant with  club and when PWs  2  to  5
came to PW-1's  rescue, they were also indiscriminately attacked by all  the
three appellants with chopper and sickles.  The appellants also damaged  the
car glasses and tyres,  in which PW-1 came along with  his  associates.   In
the scuffle, the appellants also received simple injuries.  PW-1  and  other
injured witnesses somehow got themselves rescued and were  admitted  in  the
Government Hospital, Sirsi.  Based on the statement of  PW-1,  on  the  same
day, F.I.R.  was registered in Crime No.  146/2001  with  the  Sirsi   Rural
Police  Station  for  the  offences  punishable  under  Sections  307,  324,
326,427, and 506 IPC read with Section 34 IPC. PW-14  Investigating  Officer
had taken up the investigation and went  to  the  place  of  occurrence  and
recovered the weapons of assault (MOs 1 to 3) and drew the  spot  panchnama,
arrested the accused-appellants and seized the blood stained clothes of  the
appellants.  After completion of investigation by PW-14, charge  sheet  came
to be filed against the appellants for the  aforesaid  offences.   Case  was
committed to the Sessions Court and charges  under  Sections  307,  427  IPC
read with Section 34 IPC were  framed  against  the  accused-appellants.  To
prove their  case,  prosecution  examined  14  witnesses  and  exhibited  26
documents and 15 material objects.

4.          Upon  appreciation  of  the  evidence  on  record,  trial  court
arrived at the conclusion that the nature of weapons and nature of  grievous
injuries caused to the injured witnesses  (PWs  1  to  5)  would  show   the
intention and knowledge of  the appellants-accused to kill  the  complainant
and his associates  and  by  its  judgment  dated  29.4.2010  convicted  the
appellants for the offences  punishable under  Sections  307  and   427  IPC
read with Section 34 IPC.  Each of the appellants were sentenced to  undergo
rigorous imprisonment for three years   with  a  fine  of   Rs.4,000/-  with
default clause for offence under Section  307 IPC read with Section 34  IPC.
 For  the conviction under  Section  427  IPC  read  with  Section  34  IPC,
appellants were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment  for  six  months
with fine of Rs.5,000/- each with default clause.

5.          Appellants being aggrieved by  their  conviction  and  sentence,
filed appeal before the High Court of Karnataka, Circuit Bench  at  Dharwad.
State being aggrieved by the inadequate sentence awarded to  the  appellants
under Section 307  IPC,  preferred  cross  appeal  for  enhancement  of  the
sentence.  By the common judgment dated 30.11.2011, the  High  Court  partly
allowed the appeal of the appellants and  modified  the  conviction  of  the
appellants from Section 307 IPC read with Section 34  IPC  to   Section  326
IPC read with Section  34  IPC  and  accordingly  reduced  the  sentence  of
imprisonment  to three months and dismissed the appeal of the  State.   High
Court confirmed the conviction of the appellants under Section 427 IPC  read
with Section 34 IPC and reduced the  sentence    of  imprisonment  to  three
months.  In addition, High Court also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000/- on  each
of  the appellants  to be paid  as  compensation   to  the  injured.   Being
aggrieved, this appeal has been filed by the  appellants  challenging  their
conviction and sentence of imprisonment.

6.           Learned  counsel  for  the  appellants   submitted   that   the
complainant accompanied by his associates (PWs 2 to 5)  armed  with  weapons
trespassed into  the  house  of  the  appellants  in  breach  of  subsisting
injunction order passed against them  and  the  appellants  acted  in  their
right of self-defence in protection of their property which aspect  was  not
properly   appreciated   and  the  courts  below  erred  in  convicting  the
appellants under Sections 326 and 427 IPC read with Section 34 IPC.

7.           We have heard the learned counsel for the respondent-State  who
supported the judgment of the High Court.

8.          Admittedly, there is long  standing  dispute  between  the  real
brothers.  The presence of  the  parties  at  the  place  of  occurrence  is
admitted by both the parties.  Admittedly, on the date  of  occurrence,  the
complainant went to bring   his  Almirah  kept  in  his  parental  house  at
Padageri and was conversing with his mother (PW-8).  At that time,  accused-
appellants came armed with sickles and talwars (swords)  and  attacked  PW-1
on his head  and right hand.  When PWs 2 to 5 tried  to  rescue  PW-1,  they
were also attacked by the appellants. Complaint  and  his  associates   have
consistently deposed about the incident  and  the  attack  on  them  by  the
appellants with sickles and the injuries  sustained by them.  The  testimony
of the injured witnesses is also supported  by the  medical  evidence.   Dr.
Rama Hegde (PW-13) attached  to  Pandit  Government  Hospital,  Sirsi  where
complainant was admitted and examined has stated that Kiran R. Bhat  (PW-3),
Chandranath V. Bhat (PW-4),  Madhukar L. Hegde (PW-5),  and  Vishveshwar  P.
Hegde (PW-1) had suffered grievous injuries  and  that same could be  caused
by sharp and  blunt  objects  and  to  that  effect  he  has  issued   wound
certificates. The wound certificates show that  complainant  Vishveshwar  P.
Hegde (PW-1) and Kiran R. Bhat, Chandranath   R.  Bhat,  Madhukar  L.  Hegde
(PWs 3 to 5) have sustained one grievous injury each and other injuries  are
simple in nature. Chandru V. Bhat (PW-2) has sustained simple injuries.   As
the appellants  wielded  deadly weapons, namely, sickles  and   talwars  and
that PWs 1, 3 , 4 and 5 have sustained grievous injuries, the  courts  below
rightly convicted the appellants under Section 326 IPC read with Section  34
IPC and under Section 427 IPC read with Section 34 IPC.

9.          So far as  the  contention  regarding  quantum  of     sentence,
learned counsel for the appellants submitted that  the  appellants  and  the
complainant party are the real brothers and that  in the sudden quarrel  and
 in the heat of passion, both parties attacked  each   other  and  that  the
accused parties also sustained  injuries and therefore prayed for  reduction
of sentence, which in our  view,  merits  consideration.   On  the  date  of
occurrence,  PW-1 along with his associates went to his parental  house  and
injured witnesses were armed with  weapons  to the parental house to  remove
the Almirah  and  his  belongings.   The  appellants-accused  also  suffered
contusion  and abrasion.   Dr. Rama Hegde (PW-13) noted simple  injuries  on
the person of the accused-appellants  and issued wound certificates  Ext.P22
to P24.  In his cross-examination PW-13 also opined  that  injuries  on  the
person of the accused could be caused  by  sharp  and  blunt  objects.   The
complainant party went to the house of the accused for  removal  of  Almirah
and  certain personal belongings.  There was animosity between two  factions
which led to attack and injuries on both sides.   Nature of injuries on  the
person of complainant and  the  complainant  party  and  the  accused  party
suggested that both parties attacked each other  and the appellants seem  to
 have exceeded the right of private defence, if any. After  the  occurrence,
more than thirteen years have passed, the complainant party and the  accused
are entangled  in   litigation.   Considering  the  totality  of  facts  and
circumstances  of  the  case  and  the  relationship  between  the  parties,
interest of justice would be met  by  reducing  the  sentence  and  imposing
fine.

10.          Sub-section  (1)  of  Section  357  provides  power  to   award
compensation to victims of the offence out of the sentence of  fine  imposed
on accused.   After referring to Hari Singh v. Sukhbir Singh & Ors.,  (1988)
4 SCC 551 and other  decisions  in  Ankush  Shivaji  Gaikwad  vs.  State  of
Maharashtra, (2013) 6 SCC 770, this Court held as under:

"30.  In Hari Singh v. Sukhbir Singh, ((1988) 4 SCC 551 this Court  lamented
the failure of the courts in awarding compensation to the victims  in  terms
of Section 357(1) CrPC.  The Court recommended to  all  courts  to  exercise
the power available under Section 357 Cr PC liberally  so  as  to  meet  the
ends of justice.  The Court said: (SCC PP.557-58, para 10)

"10. ...Sub-section (1) of Section 357 provides power to award  compensation
to victims of the offence out of the sentence of fine  imposed  on  accused.
....It is  an  important  provision  but  courts  have  seldom  invoked  it.
Perhaps due to ignorance of the object of it.   It  empowers  the  court  to
award compensation to victims while  passing  judgment  of  conviction.   In
addition to conviction, the court may order the accused to pay  some  amount
by way of compensation to victim who has suffered by the action of  accused.
 It may be noted that this power of courts  to  award  compensation  is  not
ancillary to other sentences but it is in addition thereto.  This power  was
intended to do something to reassure the  victim  that  he  or  she  is  not
forgotten in the criminal justice system.  It is  a  measure  of  responding
appropriately  to  crime  as  well  of  reconciling   the  victim  with  the
offender.  It is, to some extent, a constructive approach to crimes.  It  is
indeed a step forward  in  our  criminal  justice  system.   We,  therefore,
recommend to all courts to exercise this power liberally so as to  meet  the
ends of justice in a better way. (emphasis supplied)
..............
32.   In Sarwan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1978) 4 SCC 111, Balraj v.  State
of U.P., (1994) 4 SCC 29, Baldev Sigh v. State of Punjab, (1995) 6 SCC  593,
Dilip S. Dahanukar v. Kotak Mahindra Co. Ltd., (2007) 6 SCC 528  this  Court
held that the power of the courts to award  compensation  to  victims  under
Section 357 is not ancillary to other sentences but in addition thereto  and
that imposition of fine and/or grant of compensation to a great extent  must
depend upon the relevant factors apart from such fine or compensation  being
just and reasonable.  In Dilip S. Dahanukar case this  Court  even  favoured
an inquiry albeit summary in nature to determine the paying capacity of  the
offender.  The Court said: (SCC p.545, para 38)

'38.  The purpose of imposition of fine and/or grant of  compensation  to  a
great extent must be considered having the  relevant  factors  therefore  in
mind.  It may be compensating the person  in  one  way  or  the  other.  The
amount of compensation sought to be imposed, thus, must  be  reasonable  and
not  arbitrary.   Before  issuing  a  direction  to  pay  compensation,  the
capacity of the accused to pay the same must  be  judged.   A  fortiori,  an
enquiry in this behalf even in  a  summary  way,  may  be  necessary.   Some
reasons, which may not be very elaborate, may also have to be assigned;  the
purpose being  that  whereas  the  power  to  impose  fine  is  limited  and
direction to pay compensation can be made  for  one  or  the  other  factors
enumerated out of the same; but sub-section (3)  of  Section  357  does  not
impose any such limitation and thus, power thereunder  should  be  exercised
only in appropriate cases.  Such a jurisdiction cannot be exercised  at  the
whims and caprice of a Judge."



The amount of compensation is to be determined by the courts depending  upon
the facts and circumstances of each case, nature  of  the  offence  and  the
capacity of the accused to pay.  Considering the facts and circumstances  of
the present case and the nature of the offence, sentence of imprisonment  of
three months imposed on the appellants is  reduced  to  the  period  already
undergone by them  and  also  imposing  a  fine  of  Rs.25,000/-  so  as  to
compensate the injured witnesses in addition to the compensation awarded  by
the High Court.w

11.         The conviction   of the appellants under Section  326  IPC  read
with Section 34 IPC and Section 427 IPC read  with      Section  34  IPC  is
confirmed. Sentence of imprisonment of  three  months  imposed  on  them  is
reduced to the period already undergone by each of them.  Additionally,  the
fine of Rs.25,000/- is imposed on each of  the  appellants-accused   and  in
default to undergo sentence of imprisonment of three  months.   Out  of  the
fine  amount  to  be  deposited  by  the  appellants-accused,  the   injured
witnesses PWs 1,  3,  4  and  5  (Vishveshwar   P.  Hegde,  Kiran  R.  Bhat,
Chandranath V. Bhat and  Madhukar L. Hegde) who sustained grievous  injuries
shall be paid compensation of Rs.17,500/- each and PW 2-Chandru V. Bhat  who
suffered simple injuries shall be paid compensation  of Rs.  5,000/-.   With
the above modification, the appeal is allowed in part.


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


                                                     .....................J.
                                  (R. Banumathi)


New Delhi;
April 16, 2015

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