Vs. Raja Ram & Ors  Insc 39 (22 January 2004)
Balakrishnan & B.N. Srikrishna
APPEAL NO. 657 OF 1997 K.G. BALAKRISHNAN, J.
these appeals arise from the common Judgment passed by the High Court of
Rajasthan on 24.9.1996 in D.B. Criminal No. 353 of 1990, whereby the acquittal
of three accused persons was confirmed. Criminal Appeal No. 656 of 1997 is
filed by the de-facto complainant and the Criminal Appeal No. 657 of 1997 is by
respondents Raja Ram, Hari Padam and Pappu @ Raj Kumar were charged under
Section 302 read with Section 114 I.P.C. and Sections 25 & 27 of the Indian
Arms Act. The case against these respondents is that they caused the death of
one Mota Ram son of Dana Ram at about 5.30 p.m. on 3.1.1985. PW 1 Hem Raj, the appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 656 of
1997 preferred the First Information statement before the Police on 3.1.1985
itself at about 9.00
F.I. Statement, he stated that he alongwith deceased Mota Ram was proceeding to
their field and Mota Ram was walking about 15-20 steps ahead of him. The
accused respondents suddenly emerged from the neighbouring field and accused Hari
Padam shouted that enemy had come and that he had to be finished. Thereupon
Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj Kumar took out their pistols and fired at Mota Ram. On
receiving the bullet injuries, Mota Ram fell on the ground. Immediately, Gangajal,
brother of Mota Ram and one Hans Raj came there and all of them took the
injured Mota Ram in a jeep to the hospital at Sri Ganganagar where Mota Ram was
examined by a doctor who declared him dead. PW 1 then came to the Ghamudwali
Police Station where he filed the F.I. Statement.
police took up the investigation and held inquest over the dead body.
shoes were recovered from the place of occurrence. Blood smeared soil was
collected and an empty "khokha" was recovered from the place of
accused Raja Ram was arrested on 13.1.1985 and at his instance, a pistol was
recovered. Pappu @ Raj Kumar was arrested on 14.1.1985 and another pistol was
recovered from him. Both the pistols along with the empty "khokha"
were sent to Forensic Science Laboratory and Exh. 21 was submitted by the
conducted post-mortem examination of the dead body of deceased Mota Ram. The
deceased Mota Ram had sustained four lacerated injuries and there were injuries
to so many internal organs. The ribs were broken, the left side diaphragm was
punctured, the peretonium above the liver was lacerated and the liver was
punctured. The Doctor opined that the death of the deceased Mota Ram occurred
due to the injuries caused by firearms on the liver and stomach.
learned Sessions Judge after elaborately considering the evidences on record
held that the prosecution succeeded in proving the guilt of the accused and
convicted Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj Kumar for the offence under Section 302 read
with Section 34 I.P.C. Hari Padam was convicted for the offence under Section
302 read with Section 114 I.P.C. No separate conviction and sentence was
entered against the respondents by the Sessions Court for the offences under
the Arms Act. The Sessions Court relied on the evidence of PW 1 to PW 3,
recovery of the pistols at the instance of the accused persons and the report
given by the Forensic Science Laboratory. The Sessions Court was of the opinion
that prosecution had clearly proved that the accused were responsible for
causing the death of Mota Ram.
above finding of the Sessions Court was reversed by the High Court for the
reasons recorded by the High Court in its judgment.
have carefully considered the Judgment of the High Court and in our view the
reasons given by the High Court to reverse the conviction and sentence are
flimsy, untenable and bordering on perverse appreciation of evidence. The High
Court was of the opinion that these three eyewitnesses were related to the
deceased, and as there was enmity between the accused persons and the deceased Mota
Ram, had these witnesses been present at the place of occurrence, the accused
would have killed them also. Evidence of PW 1 to PW 3 was thus completely
discarded on the ground that they were related to the deceased and were
interested witnesses and they would not have been present at the scene of
occurrence. It is true that PW 1 Hem Raj and PW 3 Gangajal were related to the
deceased. But the presence of PW 1 at the time of occurrence could not be
doubted for any reason. The other two witnesses came immediately after the
occurrence. From the statement of PW 1, it is clear that the house of the
deceased Mota Ram was closeby, and about 2 to 3 minutes would alone be
sufficient to reach the place of incident from the house; therefore, it is
quite possible that PW 2 and PW 3 must have come immediately after the
occurrence. There is no improbability in the evidences of PW 2 and PW 3 who
deposed that they had seen the accused at the place of incident. These three
witnesses took the injured Mota Ram to the hospital in a jeep.
witnesses were asked whether their clothes were stained with blood while the
injured Mota Ram was being taken to the hospital and one of the witnesses
stated that his clothes were not stained with blood. This was taken as a ground
to doubt his evidence and to show that he was not at all present at the place
of the incident. Deceased Mota Ram was wearing clothes when he sustained bullet
injuries. One injury was on his stomach and the other injury was above posterial
8th inter coastal space. There is no case that the deceased had profuse
bleeding and even if there was bleeding, the blood may not have been splashed
to stain the clothes of PW 1 to PW 3 especially when deceased himself was
wearing clothes. Moreover, the clothes worn by these witnesses were not
recovered by the police as it would be an irrelevant piece of evidence. The
High Court should not have appreciated the evidence on these wrong premises.
reason given by the High Court to acquit the accused is that the F.I. Statement
must not have been given at the time and place stated therein.
reasons have been attributed to this assumption. PW 1 deposed that he left the
hospital at Sri Ganganagar and came to Ghamudwali Police Station and gave the
F.I. Statement at about 9.00
p.m. This, according
to the High Court is highly improbable, PW-1 being a close relative would not
have left the dead body in the hospital, whereas PW-1 deposed that many other
relatives had come to the hospital, thereafter, he left for the Police Station
to give the F.I. Statement. The F.I. Statement reached the Court on the next day
at 1.30 p.m. This also was adversely commented
upon by the High Court. We do not think that there was any delay either in
recording the F.I. Statement or sending the challan to the Court. The absence
of the name of the accused in the Inquest Report was also adversely commented
upon by High Court and it was stated that the F.I.
must have been prepared thereafter. In the Inquest Report, there is no specific
column to mention the names of the accused and that may be the reason that
names of the accused are not mentioned and the FIR number is not given. It is
pertinent to note that neither investigating officer nor the officer who
conducted the inquest was questioned on this aspect.
reasons given by the High Court in reversing the conviction are not tenable or
justifiable. This is a case where the PW 1 had given a convincing evidence as
to how the incident happened and it is proved that Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj
Kumar used their pistols and injured Mota Ram. It is important to note that an
empty "khokha" was recovered from the place of the incident. The
pistol recovered from accused Pappu @ Raj Kumar and the bullet found therein
tallied with empty "Khokha" recovered from the place of occurrence.
The pistol recovered at the instance of Raja Ram was also in working condition
and the report of the forensic laboratory shows that the same was used for
firing. The recovery of the bullet from the empty "khokha" from the
place of incident was not believed by the High Court for the reason that PW 2
did not see that such an article was lying there on the ground at that time. A
strange way of appreciation of evidence has been adopted by the High court and
we are of the view that the High Court flawed seriously and it caused
miscarriage of justice warranting interference by this Court.
in mind fully that this being an appeal against acquittal, this Court ought to
be slow in reversing the same, we considered the evidence of the witnesses and
the other relevant facts of the case. We are of the view that the prosecution
successfully proved that the accused Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj Kumar fired
bullets at Mota Ram and caused his death. As regards the involvement of Hari Padam,
we have serious doubts. Exhortation made to kill the deceased Mota Ram is
attributed to him and that by itself is not a strong evidence to prove his
complicity. He has to be given the benefit of doubt and we accordingly do so.
Though a charge was framed against the accused persons under Sections 25 &
27 of the Indian Arms Act, no conviction was entered against them despite
recovery of weapons from them and the proved fact that these weapons were used
for the commission of the offence. The evidence on record was not discussed in
detail and no conviction was entered against them for that offence. So we do
not want to express any opinion on that count.
result, accused Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj Kumar are convicted for the offence
under Section 302 read with Section 34 I.P.C. and each of them is sentenced to
undergo imprisonment for life. The accused Hari Padam is acquitted of all the
charges framed against him. The accused Raja Ram and Pappu @ Raj Kumar are
directed to surrender to their bail bonds to serve out their sentence. On their
failure to surrender within two weeks, the Additional Sessions Court, Sri Ganganagar
shall take further steps in the matter.
appeals are disposed of accordingly.