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Thursday, March 29, 2018

It is a well settled principle of criminal law that some minor contradiction or inconsistency in evidence cannot affect the material evidence and such contradiction or inconsistency cannot be made basis to discard the whole evidence as unreliable.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1032 OF 2007
Gorusu Nagaraju
s/o Apparao ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
State of Andhra Pradesh ….Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1. This appeal is filed by the accused from jail
through the Supreme Court Legal Services
Committee against the final judgment and order
dated 15.12.2006 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in
Criminal Appeal No.955 of 2005 whereby the High
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Court affirmed the judgment and order dated
10.06.2005 passed by the IInd Additional District
and Sessions Judge, East Godavari at Rajamundary
in Sessions Case No.193 of 2000 by which the
appellant(A-1) was convicted for the offences
punishable under Sections 302 and 201 of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as
"IPC") and under Section 235(2) of the Criminal
Procedure Code, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as
"the Cr.P.C.") and sentenced him to undergo
imprisonment for life under Section 302 IPC with a
fine of Rs.200/-, in default, to further undergo
simple imprisonment for one month and for the
offence under Section 201 IPC, he was sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years with
a fine of Rs.100/- in default to further undergo
simple imprisonment for one month. Both the
sentences were directed to run concurrently.
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2. For the disposal of the appeal, few relevant
facts need to be mentioned hereinbelow.
3. The appellant (A-1) along with four accused
persons (A-2, A-3, A-4 and A-5) were prosecuted for
commission of the offence punishable under Section
302 read with Section 201 of IPC for committing
murder of one - Desineedi Venkateswararao @
Venkatesh. The IInd Additional District & Sessions
Judge by his judgment and order dated 10.06.2005,
convicted the appellant (A-1) and sentenced him to
undergo imprisonment for life under Section 302
IPC and further to undergo rigorous imprisonment
for three years under Section 201 IPC and acquitted
three accused, namely, A-2, A-3 and A-5. So far as
A-4 is concerned, since he was absconding, his trial
was separated.
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4. Against the said order, the appellant filed an
appeal in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
challenging his conviction and sentence. The State,
however, did not file any appeal questioning the
order in respect of acquittal of A-2, A3 and A-5 and,
therefore, the acquittal order became final.
5. The High Court, by impugned judgment,
dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant(A-1) and
upheld the appellant's conviction and sentence,
which has given rise to filing of this appeal by way
of special leave by the appellant before this Court.
6. The question arises for consideration in this
appeal is whether any case is made out to interfere
in the impugned judgment.
7. At the outset, we may consider it apposite to
state that the Sessions Judge and the High Court,
on appreciation of entire oral evidence, held the
appellant guilty of the offences. In other words,
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both the Courts on appreciation of oral evidence
adduced by the prosecution, recorded a finding of
guilt against the appellant for commission of the
offences in question and accordingly convicted him.
8. It is a case where the findings of conviction are
concurrent in nature and based on appreciation of
evidence, therefore, such findings are usually
binding on this Court. However, if the appellant is
able to show any perversity, arbitrariness, absurdity
or illegality in any such concurrent findings then, in
such circumstances, the findings though
concurrent are not binding on this Court. This
Court, therefore, usually does not take upon itself to
again appreciate the evidence de novo third time in
the appeal subject to the exception pointed out
above.
9. We have perused the entire record including
the evidence adduced by the prosecution. The
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prosecution examined 33 witnesses and the defense
examined only one witness. We also find that the
Sessions Judge and the High Court relied on the
evidence of PW-8, PW-11, PW-12, PW-14, PW-28
and PW-31 for sustaining the conviction of the
appellant (A-1). It is also noticed that the conviction
is largely based on circumstantial evidence.
10. The High Court, in Para 5 of the impugned
judgment, has taken note of the circumstances that
led to the death of the deceased and how the
appellant was connected with the crime in question.
The circumstances noticed are first, the deceased
was last seen in the company of the appellant (A-1);
Second, the appellant and the deceased, both went
together to a liquor shop to purchase bottle of
whisky; Third, recovery of the body from the heap of
hay of PW-18 with bleeding injuries; Fourth, the
appellant's fingerprints found on the Whisky bottle
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(McDowell) and glass and on other seized articles at
the scene of occurrence by the Handwriting &
Fingerprint Expert; Fifth, the recovery of all the
seized articles was made at the instance of the
appellant; Sixth, the appellant was having some
grudge against the deceased because the appellant
had requested the deceased to sort out some issues
between him and PW-6 but the deceased failed to do
so for some reasons; Seventh, the appellant failed
to explain any of the circumstances noticed above
and kept mum when asked to explain.
11. The prosecution with the aid of 33 witnesses
proved the aforementioned seven circumstances. It
is true that out of 33 witnesses, some turned hostile
but those, who did not turn hostile and maintained
consistent version of the aforementioned seven
circumstances, in our opinion, their evidence was
rightly relied on for sustaining the conviction.
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12. That apart, in our considered opinion, the
seven circumstances noticed and relied on by the
prosecution were material circumstances and,
therefore, rightly made basis to connect the
appellant with the commission of the crime in
question. Indeed, the chain of events which led to
death of the deceased was established without any
break implicating the appellant with the chain of
events.
13. Learned counsel for the appellant wanted to go
through the entire evidence and he actually did it
but could not point out any material contradiction
or inconsistency in evidence. It is a well settled
principle of criminal law that some minor
contradiction or inconsistency in evidence cannot
affect the material evidence and such contradiction
or inconsistency cannot be made basis to discard
the whole evidence as unreliable. It is much more
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so when the two Courts below took note of the said
evidence and discarded it being wholly immaterial.
14. We are, therefore, not impressed by the
submissions urged by the learned counsel of the
appellant as it did not make out any case of
acquittal of the appellant from the offences in
question.
15. In view of the foregoing discussion, we find no
merit in the appeal. The appeal thus fails and is
accordingly dismissed.
………...................................J.
[R.K. AGRAWAL]


…...……..................................J.
 [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
New Delhi;
March 23, 2018
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