of Tripura Vs. Ram Bir Singh & Ors  Insc 522 (8
S.B. Sinha & Markandey Katju
Markandey Katju, J.
1. This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the Gauhati
High Court, Agartala Bench dated 31.7.2003 in Criminal
Appeal No.03 of 2001.
2. Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
3. The prosecution case in brief is that on 8.7.1996, some police personnel
of Dharmanagar Police Station led by Sub-Inspector of Police, Sri Kamal Kar
Chowdhury, who is the informant in the FIR, passed through the
Hall of Dharmanagar
for law and order duty. In the course of doing their duty, some organizer of a
function approached the informant complaining that some CRPF personnel had gate crashed their function and forcibly occupied the seats
in the hall. They were asked to vacate the seats but they refused to do so.
Thereupon, the informant entered the hall and managed to remove the said CRPF
personnel from the Hall. However, they returned to the hall and occupied the
rear side seats of the hall by evicting the ticket holders. This was reported
again to the informant, who again drove them out. This time, there was some
scuffling between the informant and the said CRPF personnel in which one of
them dealt a blow over the left eye of the informant due to which the latter
sustained serious injury.
Thereafter, the said CRPF personnel left the hall, but
after threatening the police personnel with due consequences.
4. It is the case of prosecution that after the above incident, the CRPF
personnel again returned to the hall with their fire arms and started firing
indiscriminately. One of the police personnel, namely Sukumar Ghosh, fell on
the ground sustaining bullet injuries. The informant and his party could not
immediately remove the injured due to the ongoing indiscriminate firing by the
said CRPF personnel. The said CRPF personnel did not even allow Fire Brigade
personnel to move into the place of incident for shifting the victim to the
hospital. The said CRPF personnel also went to the police station in search of
the informant. After sometime, it was found that the injured had succumbed to
his injuries at the place of occurrence.
5. On receipt of the information about the incident the Dharmanagar Police
Station registered the FIR vide No.63/1996 under Section 302/307/34 of I.P.C.
and launched investigation of the case. In the course of investigation, the
police recorded the statement of witnesses, seized alamath and also arrested
the accused. Thereafter, the police filed the charge-sheet against them.
6. The case was ultimately committed to the Ld. Sessions Judge, North
Tripura, Kailassahar for trial. The learned Sessions Judge framed
the charges against the appellants under Section 302/353/307 read with Section
34 of I.P.C., to which the respondents pleaded not guilty and claimed to be
tried. Thereafter, the learned Sessions Judge transferred the case to the
learned Addl. Sessions Judge, North Tripura, Dharmanagar
for disposal of the case.
7. At the trial, the prosecution examined as many as 24 witnesses and
exhibited documents along with alamath to bring home the charges against the
8. The trial court after consideration of the evidence convicted the accused
under Section 302 read with Section 34 I.P.C. and under Section 353 read with
Section 34 I.P.C. and also imposed a fine.
9. Aggrieved the accused filed an appeal in the Gauhati High Court, which
allowed the appeal, and hence the State Government of Tripura has filed this
appeal by Special Leave.
10. Before dealing with the impugned judgment and the material on record, we
would like to mention that it has been stated in para 7 of the impugned
judgment of the High Court that :
."By the order dated 31.7.2003, for reasons to be recorded later, we
allowed the appeal and acquitted all the appellants of the charges framed
against them. The following are reasons for their acquittal."
11. Thus it appears that the order allowing the appeal was passed earlier
and the reasons for the judgment were recorded later. In our opinion this was a
very unsatisfactory way of disposing of the case.
12. Moreover, while it is stated in para 7 of the impugned judgment that by
order dated 31.7.2003 the appeal was allowed and the accused acquitted, but it
was also stated therein that the reasons will be recorded later.
However, the appeal was allowed and all the accused were acquitted by the
impugned judgment dated 31.7.2003 containing reasons. We find it difficult to
believe that reasons were recorded on 31.7.2003, when an order allowing the
appeal (but without giving reasons) was said to have been passed on the same
13. We went through the entire record and could not find the date on which
the reasons for the impugned judgment were recorded.
14. Thus the learned Judges of the Gauhati High Court appear to have
committed two irregularities in delivering the judgment - (i) It passed the
operative portion of the judgment in the criminal appeal earlier but purported
to record the reasons later and (ii) The date of the judgment giving reasons is
mentioned as 31.7.2003, which does not appear to be correct as in para 7 of the
judgment it is mentioned that the reasons will be given after 31.7.2003.
Thus the impugned judgment appears to be ante dated.
15. We are only making our observations on this unsatisfactory way of
disposing of cases in the hope that this mistake will not be repeated again by
the courts in this country.
16. Apart from the above, we would also like to observe that the High Court
has not considered the evidence and material on record in a satisfactory manner
in the impugned judgment. The incident in question was a very serious matter
and hence it required very careful consideration of the evidence and material
on record. In this case the CRPF personnel attacked the local police mainly
because the local police asked the CRPF personnel to vacate some seats in a
function for which the CRPF personnel did not have any tickets. In our opinion
the local police was absolutely right in insisting that the CRPF personnel who
did not have tickets for the seats they were occupying, should vacate the same,
and the CRPF personnel committed a gross illegality and misconduct in attacking
the police personnel as a consequence. The CRPF personnel who are responsible
for this incident deserve severe punishment both on the criminal side as well
as in departmental proceedings. No one can be allowed to take the law into his
own hands. If that is permitted the rule of law and democracy will collapse.
17. The only question which remains is the identity of the persons who
assaulted the police personnel. In this connection, in our opinion the High
Court has not dealt with the matter at all in a satisfactory manner. It was a
very serious incident in which CRPF personnel attacked the local police with
arms and in which one of the local police personnel was killed. Hence, the
matter should have been dealt with very carefully by the High Court but we
regret to say that has not been done.
18. The prosecution had produced as many as 24 witnesses. The prosecution
had proved unequivocal that the CRPF personnel had committed the offence, and
we are in full agreement with the same.
19. As regards the identity of the accused, the matter has been dealt with
in great detail by the trial court but we are afraid that the High Court has
not probably adverted to the points which had been considered by the trial
court in this connection. For instance, the prosecution had produced the Arms
Issue Register of the CRPF Authority to prove that the said Authority had
issued arms and ammunitions to the accused person, and the Investigating
Officer had seized those Self Loading Rifles from the CRPF Authority on
production of the same by them. The C.F.S.L. also corroborated the fact after
examining those Self Loading Rifles that those were used very recently and were
used for firing purpose.
20. The trial court has observed that all the eye witnesses of the
prosecution clearly, categorically and emphatically stated that the accused
CRPF personnel had opened fire indiscriminately from their self loading rifles
and the defence had not specifically denied this. This is another point which
should have been considered carefully by the High Court but that has not been
21. As regards the point which has been emphasized by the High Court in
great detail, namely, that there was an opportunity to show the accused to the
witnesses before they were put up in the Test Identification Parade, the High
Court has not considered the fact that the accused had been kept in police custody
in a different police station and not in the police station to which the
witnesses belonged. The accused persons were arrested from Panisagar Police
Station, and they were produced before the officer-in-charge of the said police
station. However, it has come on record that the Investigating Officer had
produced them before the Chief Judicial Magistrage, North Tripura,
Kailashahar and then they were kept in Kailashahar Police Station, which is
different from Panisagar Police Station. This being so, the High Court should
have considered whether there was opportunity to show the accused to the
witnesses before the Test Identification Parade.
22. Learned counsel for the respondent has invited our attention to the
evidence of PW-18, who was the Magistrate before whom the Test Identification
Parade was held on 20.7.1996. He has mentioned that in the second Test
Identification Parade, held that day, the accused Bedmoni Misra was mixed up
with CRPF personnel of the same face feature, health and height etc., during
the test identification parade and witness Krishnapada Bhowmik identified the
suspect, Rajkumar Singh and could not identify any other suspect. In our
opinion there was an obvious mistake here in the evidence of the learned
Magistrate, and it was not Rajkumar Singh whom Krishnapada Bhomick identified.
This mistake becomes obvious when we see the report of the Test Identification
Parade and also from the fact that since mention has been made in the
Magistrate's evidence that it was Bedmoni Misra with whom 11 CRPF personnel
were mixed up. Hence, obviously Rajkumar Singh could not be the person
identified by Krishnapada Bhowmik, and it was Bedmoni Misra who was identified
23. It is not necessary for us to further dilate on the impugned judgment of
the High Court since we are of the opinion that the same deserves to be set
aside and the matter should be considered afresh by the High Court. In the
circumstances, we set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and remand
the matter to the High Court which shall hear the appeal afresh and shall
consider all the evidence and material on record properly and then pronounce
its judgment. Since the matter relates to an incident of 1996, we request the
High Court to consider the feasibility of deciding the appeal as expeditiously
24. Any observation made in this judgment shall not influence the High Court
in deciding the appeal.
25. The appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment of the High Court is set
aside and the matter is remitted to the High Court for a fresh decision.