Shantaram Salunkhe Vs. The State of Maharashtra  Insc 835 (22 November 2006)
Sinha & Markandey Katju Markandey Katju, J.
appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment and order of the Bombay
High Court (Aurangabad Bench) dated 17.10.2005 in Criminal Appeal No.60 of 1992
by which the High Court has affirmed the sentence of life imprisonment imposed
by the Trial Court by judgment dated 20.2.1992 under Section 302 read with
Section 34 IPC as well as fine of Rs.200/-, in default of which two months R.I.
was also awarded.
the learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
were four accused originally before the Trial Court namely
Anil Shivram Pawar,
HIraram Chaudhari and
Shantaram Salunkhe (the appellant in the present case.)
the four accused had been convicted by the Trial Court but in appeal the High
Court acquitted accused no.1 but maintained the conviction of accused no.2, 3
and 4 under Section 302 read with Section 34 I.P.C. In the present case the
appellant is only accused no.4 Gangaram Shantaram Salunkhe @ Bapu.
gist of the prosecution case is that on 13.2.1991 Bhaulal Jadhav the deceased
along with PW4 Lotu Eko Patil was proceeding from Phuphanagari to Jalgaon on
bike Bajaj M-80 and when they reached on a way to Jalgaon near Khedi Phata at a
distance of 3 kms. the appellants, who were in Maruti Van parked by the side of
road got down. It is further alleged that the accused no.2, 3 and 4 then
stopped vehicle on which Bhaulal and PW4 were proceeding. The accused No.3 Premraj
caught hold Bhaulal and accused no.2 and 4 i.e. Manilal and Gangaram assaulted Bhaulal
with knife. The complainant PW4 then tried to rescue Bhaulal, however, accused
no.2 Manilal extended threats to PW4 and, therefore, PW4 started proceeding
towards Jalgaon. Bhaulal was also trying to save himself, however, the accused
no.2 and 3 chased him and assaulted with weapon like knife. PW4 then
immediately went to Taluka Police Station Jalgaon on a vehicle of some another
person. PW14 Hamid Khan Miya Khan Pathan was holding charge of Station Diary at
the relevant time at about 11.45 a.m..
then disclosed him about the incident that Bhaulal Jadhav is assaulted by Manilal,
Premraj and one unknown person. Entry in the Station Diary to that effect was
immediately taken by PW14 and Police Constable namely Ukhardu Koli, Sharad Vispute
and Pramod, who were on duty at Police Station, were immediately sent to the
spot along with PW4, however, by that time injured Bhaulal Jadhav was taken to
the hospital in a tractor by one Bharat Jadhav as he was also proceeding to Jalgaon
and that tractor was also owned by Bhaulal. The Police Constable Ukhardu Koli
and others and complainant then proceeded to the hospital. Doctor from hospital
examined Bhaulal and declared him dead and, therefore, Police Constable Ukhardu
Koli gave information to the Taluka Police Station approximately at about 12.45
noon about the death of Bhaulal and PW14 thereafter recorded complaint of PW4
and on the basis of said complaint registered crime No.16/1991 against the
present appellants for the offence punishable under Section 120-B, 302 read
with Sections 34 and 341, 506 of I.P.C. PW17 Dhanraj Walukar took up the investigation
of the said crime. He visited the hospital, held inquest over the dead body,
referred the same for post mortem, recorded statements of certain witnesses.
Thereafter investigation of the said crime was taken over by P.I. PW15 P.S. Suryawanshi
who arrested accused no.1, interrogated him and attached revolver at his
instance. Record further shows that PW15 thereafter handed over investigation
of the said crime to PW17 who then made attempts to arrest accused, as the
accused no.2, 3 and 4 were absconding he succeeded in arresting accused no.2 Manilal
only on 22.3.1991. During the course of interrogation and while accused Manilal
was in the custody of Police he made discloser statement, showed his
willingness to produce the weapon from the place where it was concealed at Saptashringi
Gadh. Memorandum to that effect is prepared. He then took police and panchas to
the said place and produced knife. Even the accused also showed his willingness
to show the place where he burnt blood stained clothes which were on his
person. He then took police to Nala and shown the place. Panchnama to that
effect is prepared and burnt articles were attached by the police. PW17 then
made attempt to arrest accused no.3 and 4, however, their whereabouts were not
known and some where in the month of July, 1991 both accused no.3 and 4
obtained anticipatory bail. Record further shows that initially police after
completing investigation filed charge sheet against accused no.1 and 2 showing
the accused no.3 and 4 absconding and after formal arrest of accused no.3 and 4
subsequently charge sheet was submitted and accordingly two separate cases i.e.
Sessions Case No.88/1991 and 196/1991 were registered.
Trial Court after considering the evidence on record convicted the accused under
Section 302 read with Section 34 and Section 120B I.P.C. which conviction was
upheld in appeal by the High Court.
this case there are two eye witnesses PW4 and PW5. As regards the evidence of
PW4, he has stated that at the time of the incident the accused no.2 Manilal Hiraman
Chaudhari and accused no.3 Premraj Hiraman Chaudhari and one unknown person got
down from the Maruti Van. He has further stated that the unknown man gave a
blow with an iron sickle on the head of the deceased. He further stated that
thereafter the unknown man got hold of the deceased and accused no. 2 and 3
inflicted blows on him with iron knife and sickle.
submitted by learned counsel for the appellant that since the name of the
appellant was not mentioned by PW4 hence the chance of false implication of the
appellant in this case cannot be ruled out.
not agree with this contention. PW4 clearly identified the appellant as the
unknown man in his deposition before the Trial Court, and there is no reason
why PW4 should falsely implicate him.
evidence of PW4 is also corroborated by the evidence of PW5, who is a neutral
person being the driver of the Maruti Van. There was no reason for PW5 to
falsely implicate the appellant. PW5 has clearly stated in his evidence that
the appellant inflicted wounds on the deceased.
evidence of PW4 and PW5 find further corroboration in the dying declaration
made by the deceased to PW6.
counsel for the appellant tried to assail the veracity of the dying declaration
through the evidence of the Doctor who conducted the post mortem examination.
The Doctor stated that it was possible that after sustaining the wounds the
deceased may have gone into an unconscious state instantaneously.
note that the Doctor only stated that it was possible that the deceased may
have become unconscious instantaneously. However, there is a difference between
something being possible and something being probable or certain. PW6 before
whom the dying declaration was recorded, stated that the deceased had given his
dying declaration before he reached the hospital. Thus, we see no reason to
disbelieve the dying declaration.
evidence in this case is consistent and is corroborated by the medical
evidence. A few mere minor discrepancies here and there do not help the case of
is no force in this appeal. Hence, it is dismissed.