@ Veerapandian Vs. State of Tamil Nadu  INSC 804 (24 October 1997)
PUNCHHI, SUJATA V. MANOHAR
24TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1997 Present:
Mr. Justice M.M.Punchhi Hon'ble Mrs.Justice Sujata V.Manohar U.R. Lalit, Sr. Adv.,
Rajinder Singhvi, R. Santhana,, Advs. for Ashok Kr. Singh, Adv. With him for
the appellant V.G.Pragasam, Adv. for the Respondent
following Judgment of the Court was delivered:
is an appeal by the original accused no.1 Pandian @ Veerapandian from a
judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Madras convicting him under
Section 120-B read with Section 304 Part I of the Indian Penal Code. He has
been sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment. The prosecution case
briefly is as follows:- One Kunju @ Gonvindraj who was the paternal uncle of
PW.1 Raja and was related to accused nos.1 and 2 had contested the Preeidentship
of the village Panchayat in 1986. His opponent was PW.4 Dhanamani. PW.4 won the
election. Deceased no.1 had supported PW.4 offering him financial aid and
support while accused no.1 the present appellant, was a strong supporter of Kunju
was, therefore, enmity between accused no.1 and PW.1 on the one side and
deceased no.1 and the others on the other side. Accused no.1 was a Panchayat
bills which were due to him were not passed for payment and he presumed that
this was done at the instance of PW.4 and his men. The stopping go payment led
to a quarrel between accused no.1 and PW.4 on 23.4.1986. In respect of this
incident PW.4 had preferred a compliant at the police station.
25.4.1986 there was yet another clash at 8.30 p.m.
the group supporting PW.4 and the group owing allegiance the accused no.1. In
this occurrence accused no.1, his father and his younger brother sustained
injuries and were admitted to Government Hospital, Chidambaram. A criminal complaint
has also been lodged in this connection.
days thereafter on 27.4.1986 there was another incident when PW.1 and other
proceeded to house of Rajalaxmi the wife of deceased no.1 and abused her in
vulgar language in respect of which also a criminal complaint has been lodged.
the prosecution case that some time thereafter the accused no.1 told PW.1 that
deceased no.1 Kodandaswami was behind the attach on him, his father and his
younger brother and, therefore, deceased no.1 should not be allowed to live any
more. Two or three days prior to the incident accused no.1 escorted PW.1 to the
tea shop of PW.13 situated in Melamoongiladi. Accused no.1 asked PW.1 to fetch
accused no.2 from Chavadikuppam. Accused no.2 is also related to accused no.1
and PW.1 Accordingly no.2 is also related to accused no.1 a bus from his
village which is about 40 kilometres away. At about 5.30 P.M. in the evening the two accused and PW.1 came to the tea
shop of PW.13. Accused no.1 told accused no.2 that deceased no.1 was
responsible for attacking him, his father and his brother and hence he should
be killed. Accused No.1 returns to his native village from Bhawangiri and
accused no.2 could hit deceased no.1 by driving his car over him so that it
would appear as if deceased no.1 had lost his life in a motor accident. Accused
no.2 said that he did not know deceased no.1 and would not be able to identify
him whereupon PW.1 said that he would accompany accused no.2 in the car and
would identify deceased no.1.
25.5.1985 accordingly in the evening at about 7.00/7.30 p.m. PW.1 went to the
workshop of accused no.2.
both of them took Car No.TNJ-69, filled it with petrol and reached Bhavanagiri.
The car was halted near Chamundeeswari Temple. PW.1 let the car to ascertain whether deceased no.1 was
still available in the market place or had left for his village. He ascertained
that the deceased was in the vicinity and he had started his journey towards
his village. Deceased no.1. was accompanied by deceased nos. 2 and 3 and PW.3
when the car came upon these persons. There were, thus, four person walking
along the road. Accused no.2 told PW.1 that he will not be able to hit deceased
no.1 along. He will have to hit all the persons. PW.1, however, directed him to
do so. Accordingly the accused no.2 drove his car and hit deceased nos. 1,2 and
3 as well as PW.3. The car drove away thereafter. The car had suffered some
damage for which it had to be repaired. In the meantime several persons had
gathered at the spot of the accident. As a result of the accident deceased nos.
1,2 and 3 died while PW.3 sustained injuries for which he had to be hospitalised.
Criminal complaint was lodged. We need to examined at any length the progress
of the case. Accused no.2 surrendered on 11.6.1986. PW.1 was arrested on
27.5.1987. He made a confession on 1.6.1987. Ultimately he has turned Approver
and was pardoned on 14.7.1987. The judicial confession of accused no.2 was
recorded on 6.6.1987 which he has alter on retracted. Five charges were framed
against the accused. The first charge indicted both the accused for having
conspired in the company of PW.1 to commit the murder of Kodandapani deceased
no.1 in pursuance of which conspiracy accused no.2 did commit his murder by
driving the car bearing registration No. TNJ 69 and hitting the car against him
at about 11.30. p.m. on 22.5.1986 on Bhvanagiri-Kodalore main road. Conspiracy
was allegedly hatched between 25.4.1986 and 22.5.1986. The first charge also
states that in the process of dashing against deceased no.1, A2 dashed the car
against Sundaram deceased no.2, Vellaian @ Arumukum deceased no.3 and Harikrishnan
PW.3 resulting in the death of D2 and D3 and causing grievous injuries to PW.3.
The second charge was framed against A2 alone under Section 302 Indian Penal
Code for having caused the death of D1 by dashing the car bearing No.TNJ 69
against him resulting in his death. The third and fourth charges indicted A2
similarly for having caused the death of D2 and D3 and the fifth charge was
also framed against A2 under Section 307 Part II Indian Penal Code for having
attempted to murder PW.3. in the course of the same transaction by dashing the
car against him. On conclusion of the trial the Learned Sessions Judge
acquitted both the accused of the first charge framed under Section 120-B
I.P.C. A2, however, was found guilty of charges 2, 3 and 4 and was sentenced to
undergo imprisonment for life on each count. He as also found guilty under the
fifth charge and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years;
sentences to run concurrently. The State appealed before the High Court.
High Court, in a detailed judgment, has re-examined the entire evidence which
was led before the Sessions Court.
two important pieces of evidence before the High Court, namely the evidence of
PW.1 who has turned Approver and the judicial confession of A2 which was later
retracted by him, have been considered by the High Court in the light of other
evidence which materially corroborates these two pieces of evidence. The High
Court has held the evidence of PW.1 as reliable. It has also relied upon the
evidence of PW.13, the owner of the tea shop who has deposed to the presence of
both the accused and PW.1 in his tea shop at about 5.30 p.m.
three days prior to the incident. The High Court has held this meeting to be
significant since accused no.2 was a resident of a village 40 kilometres away
and the unusual visit of the accused no.2 in the company of accused no.2 and
PW.1 in the tea shop of PW.13, has been taken note of as corroborative
material. The High Court has also relied upon the evidence of PW.3 who has spoken
about the presence of PW.1 at the shop of PW.24 at about 10.30. p.m. on the
night of the incident. This witness has also spoken his leaving in the company
of deceased no.1 and other for his village since it was nearing 11.00 p.m. The High Court has also noted the evidence of PW.2
who was present at the workshop of accused no.2 on that particular evening. He
has deposed that PW.1 came to the workshop and stated that accused no.1 had
asked for the car after which accused no.2 and PW.1 left with the car. PW.15
who is an Attendant at the petrol pump where PW.1 and A2 stopped the car to
fill it up with petrol has also deposed to their presence at the petrol pump.
The High Court has also referred to the testimony of PW.17 relating to the
damage to the car which was involved in the incident, which fits in with the
nature of the damage spoken of by PW.1.
High Court has also dealt at length on the motive for the commission of the
crime and has come to the conclusion that the strongest motive was that of accused
no.1. The High Court has come to the conclusion that it is the machinations of
accused no.1 which led to the commission of the offences alleged. The High
Court has gone into the question of delay at length regarding the initial
report which indicated accidental death and the subsequent developments which
ultimately led to the framing of the present charges. After a detailed
reasoning the High Court has come to the conclusion that the view taken by the
Sessions Judge is not a plausible view at all and consequently there has been
miscarriage of justice. The High Court has reversed the order of acquittal of
accused no.1 passed by the Session Judge. On the nature of the offence, the
High Court has looked to the nature of the evidence and convicted accused no.1
for conspiracy. It has, however, held that though the evidence of the Approver
is that the conspiracy was for commission of murder of deceased no.1, the court
could not close its eyes to the judicial confession of accused no.2 which
indicated that the offence expected to be committed was limited to breakage of
hands and legs of deceased no.1. The High Court said that the benefit that
arises out of the confession of accused no.2 cannot be denied to accused no.1.
Hence the High Court has convicted accused no.1 under Section 120-B read with
Section 304 Part I of the I.P.C. Similarly accused no.2 has also been convicted
by the High Court under Section 120-B read with Section 304 Part I of the
I.P.C. The detailed reasoning given by the High Court in its judgment in
exhaustive and convincing. There is not reason to take a view different from
the view taken by the High Court. Hence the present appeal is dismissed.