Narayan Nathu Naik Vs. State of
Maharashtra  INSC 75 (25 March 1970)
25/03/1970 HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ)
HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ) GROVER, A.N.
CITATION: 1971 AIR 1656 1971 SCR (1) 133 1970
SCC (2) 101
Code of Criminal Procedure (Act 5 of
1898)--High Court--Recording of reasons in appeals.
First Information Report--Written on plain
paper, and then copied into register--Propriety.
The first information report in a murder case
was written on a piece of paper, and was copied into the register for first
information reports. The Sessions Judge convicted the appellant on the
evidence, even though the first information report was not recorded in the
prescribed form. His appeal to the High Court was summarily dismissed although
the High Court recorded a brief note of the arguments which were raised before
it and the replies to those arguments repelling them. Dismissing the appeal,
HELD : The High Court need not have recorded
reasons if it was satisfied that the case was one for dismissal but if it
thought that it had to go into the evidence and had to discuss it, the proper
course would have been to set the case down for a proper bearing and to give a
considered judgment in the case. The first information report was properly
written. Several first information reports are recorded on plain pieces of
paper and then transcribed into the first information report register. In fact
if a written report is brought, it is verbatim copied into the first
information report register. In this case there was no time to bring a false
case against the appellant and to let the real assailant escape. [134 C; 135
E-F] On the evidence, the appellant was rightly convicted.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal. No.97 of 1968.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated April 24, 1967 of the Bombay High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 317
R. M. Hazarnavis, K. L. Hathi and P. C.
Kapoor, for the appellant.
M. S. K. Sastri and S. P. Nayar, for the
respondent, The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Hidayatullah C.J.-This
is an appeal by Narayan Nathu Naik who was tried by the Sessions Judge, Thana
for the murder of one Rattan on the night following 18th March, 1966 at about
midnight. He was convicted by the Sessions Judge under S. 302.
134 of the Indian Penal code and sentenced to
imprisonment for .life. His appeal to the High Court was summarily dismissed
.although the High Court recorded a brief note of the arguments which were
raised before it and the replies to those arguments repelling them. It is
contended in this case that the appellant was entitled to at least one appeal
and that his first appeal should have been properly considered in the High
Court and the judgment of the High Court,, which according to the .learned
counsel, reads like a dialogue between the court and counsel, is no judgment at
all. It appears that special leave was probably granted in this case, because
of the unsatisfactory manner in which reasons were recorded. The High Court
need .not have recorded reasons if it was satisfied that the case was ,one for
dismissal but if it thought that it had to go into the .
evidence and to discuss it, the proper course
would have been to set the case down for a proper hearing and to give a considered
judgment in the case. We have considered this case on the evidence brought
against the appellant and we are satisfied that the appeal must fail. We give
our reasons briefly.
There is some evidence that the appellant
Narayan Nathu Naik and the deceased Rattan had some quarrel over property.
This, it is contended, was somewhat old and
not very serious and that nothing untoward had happened, for the appellant to
.have suddenly embarked upon the murder of rattan. We need not consider the
question of motive in this case if we are ,satisfied that the evidence that
Narayan Nathu Naik was the assailant of Rattan, is acceptable. The Medical
evidence showed that Rattan died of a single injury which was a stab wound
through the heart. The left ventricle was cut and the heart was drained of all
blood. The pericardium had also a tear but on its upper reach and the evidence
of the doctor who performed the autopsy shows that the pericardium was full of
blood. The clothes of the deceased were also profusely stained but no blood was
found inside the house where the deceased was first sleeping, but some blood
was found at the Ota where the dead body was found but the source of the blood
could not be identified. From this the learned counsel raised the contention
that the scene of offence was probably not what the prosecution case described
and his contention is wound up with the rest of the story given by the eye
witnesses particularly the wife who named the appellant as one of the
assailants. Therefore we must turn to that story.
On the day in question, the deceased Rattan
had gone to make some purchases. At night he had not returned when the family
took their meals and lay down to sleep. In the house at that time were Rattan's
mother, Rattan's wife and Rattan's 135 'brother. There were three students who
had .,come to this house and were staying to appear at the S.S.L.C.
examination. The family distributed
themselves as follows.
Inside the house Rattan's wife lay down on
the ground on a bed with her infant child. The bed for Rattan was made on a
swing nearby. A lantern was burning and the door of the house was open. Rattan
returned at about 10 P.M. in the night. As food had been taken by the rest of
the family, a portion was set apart for Rattan. According to his wife,
Vimalabai, he took his meals without waking her up and after he had washed his
hands, he threw some water on her face which woke her up. He then lay down on
the swing to sleep.
Vimalabai says that she also lay down to
sleep and presumably she must have slept, because she says that she was woken
up in the middle of the night by shouts from her husband. Vimalabai's evidence
is that when she woke up, she found that her husband was in the grip of the
appellant Narayan Nathu Naik at the door near the ota. Rattan's brother
Kamlakar who had also been awakened by the shouts of the deceased also arrived
there, but the appellant had stabbed Rattan. Kamlakar caught hold of the
appellant from behind around his waist, but when Rattan fell on the ground the
appellant broke loose and ran away. On their shouting and wailing, Jairam the
uncle of Rattan (P.W.1.) and two other brothers of Rattan came on the scene.
They were living at a distance of about 1-1/2 furlongs from the house of
Rattan. Rattan is said to have spoken to his mother before he died that it was
Narayan Nathu Naik who had attacked him. The evidence is that it was Narayan
Nathu Naik and this is brone out by the statements of Kamlakar (P.W.3), Manibai
(P.W.4) and Vimlabai (P.W.5). The two students who were also witnesses in the
case made a statement before the police involving Narayan Nathu Naik, but they
later changed in the court and were declared hostile and cross-examined. We
shall refer hereafter to their testimony in so far as they have admitted facts
in support of the prosecution case.
The story therefore is of an attack in the
middle of the .night upon Rattan by the appellant at the door of his hut. The
incident is said to have been witnessed by three persons whom we have mentioned
and who are close relations of the deceased. The argument is that the evidence
of these witnesses should not be accepted because of their interest in Rattan
and also because of certain contradictions in their testimony.
Apart from the fact that the High Court and
the Court of Session have accepted their testimony and this Court does not go
into evidence for the third time, we have read the evidence 136 of these
witnesses and we have thoroughly checked it and we are satisfied that what has
been stated by these witnesses is the true version of what happened on that
The story is a simple one, of an attack in
the middle of the night by an ,assailant who was not only grappled with but was
seen and identified in the light. The witnesses who have resiled have also
stated that die occurrence took place at the door of the cottage. They have
also stated that there was sufficient light for them to see although they
changed that they did not see the assailant nor heard what the victim stated to
his mother about the appellant having assaulted him. This version comes from
the witnesses who no doubt are interested, but they are not interested enough
to let the real assailant escape and charge someone else.
Report of this case was made almost
immediately and in fact the police arrived within a couple of hours and the
statements were recorded the very next morning. There was no time available to
concoct a false case with such details against the appellant.
It was argued that the first information
report was not properly recorded in the prescribed form but was writen down on
a piece of paper and it was copied into the register for first information
reports. At first it was suggested that the first information report in the
printed form was not produced in the case, but we find that it was so produced
and that the Sub-Inspector stated that he had copied it from a plain paper. In
our experience, we have seen several first information reports recorded on
plain pieces of paper and then transcribed into the first information report
register. In fact if a written report is brought, it is verbatim copied into
the first information report register.
There is no doubt that this was the first
version of the incident given out by P.W. 1 Jairam when he went to the police
station house to report about the occurrence. There was no time to bring a
false case against the appellant and to let the real assailant escape. On the
whole, we are satisfied that the evidence of the eye witnesses is believable.
The witnesses who resiled were the two
students who were present at the house for the purpose of appearing at an
examination. They have answered a number of questions which clearly corroborate
the evidence of the other witnesses.
For example, P.W. 7-Chintaman Gangaram
Kulkarni stated that the light of some lamp was coming outside the door of the
house and that when Kamlakar caught hold of the assailant Rattan fell down on
the ground near the door of the Ota. He also stated that Rattan's mother went
inside the house, brought water, tried to give water to Rattan, but he did not
drink. He also stated 137 that after hearing the cries,, Rattan's uncles, his
sister and her husband came there. He admitted that Kamlakar told his uncle
what had happened, he did not hear it. He admitted that it was true also that
thereafter one of the uncles of the deceased Rattan. went to the police station
to make a report. The other witness (P.W. 10) also stated quite clearly that at
about 3 or 4 A.M. the police came to the, house and that his statement and
those of two companions were recorded by the police at 7 A.M. the next morning.
He also admitted that they all woke up when they heard the cry in the middle of
the night and that Rattan's, wife had also awakened and she had stood in the
door of the house. He admitted that the light was burning in the house and the
door of the house was open and that the light of the lamp.
had spread over the ota of the house through
the open door..
He also admitted that Rattan's mother brought
water from the house and poured in into the mouth of Rattan but he did not
drink and all the inmates were crying aloud with the result that Rattan's uncle
Jairam, his two brothers, Rattan's sister and her husband came there
immediately after the crime. Jairam made enquiries with Kamalakar and Naibai
how it had happened and that Kamlakar told something to Jairam but he said that
he did not hear it. All this corroborates the evidence of the, three eye
witnesses except as to the identity of the appellant. We accept the evidence of
The medical evidence was used to challenge
the scene of offence on the ground that there were no blood marks found, but,
in our opinion, the man might bleed internally after receiving, stab wound in
the heart. The witnesses have stated that Rattan was stabbed on the spot where
the body was found after the occurrence took place. Blood was in fact found at
the spot but the source of the blood could not be ascertained There is no,
reason to think that it was blood of some animal. On the whole we are satisfied
that this case was proved satisfactorily. The appeal. therefore, fails and is
Y.P. Appeal dismissed'.