of U.P Vs. Govind Das @ Gudda and Anr  Insc 816 (10 August 2007)
Arijit Pasayat & D.K. Jain
APPEAL NOS.1049-1050 OF 2007 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) Nos.46-47 of 2006) Dr.
ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
These appeals are against the judgment of the Division Bench of the Allahabad
High Court by which it directed acquittal of the respondents. Before the High
Court the respondents had questioned correctness of the judgment passed by
Additional Sessions Judge, Hamirpur, convicting the respondents for the offence
punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code,
1860 (in short the 'IPC') Each of the accused was sentenced to undergo life
imprisonment and a fine of Rs.20,000/- with default stipulation. Respondent-Govind
Das was sentenced to death for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC. It
is to be noted that there were two deceased persons; one was Loknath and the
other was Naval Kishore. Accused Sushila was acquitted by the trial Court.
Since accused Govind Das was awarded death sentence, the matter was referred to
the High Court for confirmation of the sentence. The two accused persons
preferred appeals before the High Court and a reference was made relating to
death sentence awarded. By the impugned order, the High Court found the accused
persons innocent and set aside the conviction and sentence awarded.
Though many points were urged in support of the appeals, we find it unnecessary
to go into those because of the casual and summary way of disposal of the two
appeals and the reference relating to the death sentence. The High Court after
analyzing the evidence and stand of the accused persons and the prosecution in
its judgment running into 23 pages (in the paper book to this Court) allowed the
appeals of the accused persons with the following observations:
have carefully scrutinized the evidence on record. In our opinion implicit
evidence cannot be placed on the testimonies of both eye witnesses. They have
implicated Smt. Sushila in the crime. The involvement of Smt. Sushila was to
reconcile the conflict in direct and medical evidence. Since the punctured
wound on the body of Lok Nath were of small dimensions, therefore, weapon Barachhi
and pointed Sariya was introduced by the witnesses. After the acquittal of Smt.
Sushila punctured wound remains unexplained.
Sessions Judge has already held that Ballam which is alleged to be recovered on
the pointing out of Jai Kishan is not weapon of crime. There is no
corroboration of any other independent testimony or of medical evidence or
view of the discussion made above, both the appeals are allowed. The conviction
and sentences awarded by the trial Court are set aside. The appellants are
acquitted of the charges. The appellants are in jail. They shall be released
forthwith if not wanted in any other case. The reference made by learned
Sessions Judge for the confirmation of death sentence is rejected."
say the least, the approach of the High Court is clearly unsupportable. It did
not bother to even analyse the evidence and/or to refer to any finding recorded
by the trial court as to in what way the evidence was not acceptable. The mere
fact that the co-accused had been acquitted is not sufficient to discard the
prosecution version in its totality. It is not understood as to what was meant
by the High Court by stating that there was no corroboration of
'investigation'. This is not the way an appeal or reference for confirmation of
death sentence is to be dealt with. When the High Court was setting aside the
order of conviction the least that was required to be done was analysis of the
evidence to show as to how the conclusions of the trial Court as regards
acceptability of the evidence of any witness was erroneous. That apparently has
not been done.
Therefore, without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, we set
aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and remit the matter to it for
fresh consideration. Since the matter is pending since long, we request the
High Court to explore the possibility of disposal of the appeals and the
reference made to it relating to confirmation of death sentence within a period
of six months from the date of receipt of copy of this judgment. The appeals
are accordingly allowed to the aforesaid extent.