Raj Kumar Vs. State of
H.P.  INSC 1120 (14 July 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1135 OF 2001 Raj
Kumar ..Appellant Versus State of H.P. ..Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Himachal
Pradesh High Court dismissing the criminal revision filed by the appellant.
Learned Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Dalhousie, District Chamba, H.P.
had convicted the appellant for offences punishable under Sections 279 and 304A
of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short `IPC'). He was sentenced to undergo
simple imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- with default
stipulation for the offence relatable to Section 304A and simple imprisonment
for three months for the other offence. The appeal filed by the appellant
before the learned Sessions Judge, Chamba, was dismissed.
revision petition was filed before the High Court questioning conviction as
well as sentence, which as noted above was dismissed.
prosecution version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
On 16.6.1990, one Shri Mast Ram (PW-7)
was travelling in bus bearing registration No.HTC 34 belonging to Himachal Road
Transport Corporation (in short `HRTC') alongwith his wife and four children
from Surgani to Pathankot. On the way, 2 at Tunu Hatti, bus No.PJC-4075
belonging to Punjab Roadways was coming from the opposite direction being
driven by the appellant. It was alleged that due to the rash and negligent
driving of the vehicle by the appellant, the vehicle struck against the HRTC
Bus due to which Master Manoj Kumar and Kumari Rajeswari, son and daughter of
Shri Mast Ram respectively sustained fatal head injuries. The accident took place
around 12.45 p.m. The accident was reported to the police by Mast Ram whose
statement was recorded by the police under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short `Cr.P.C.') marked Ext.PW- 7/A. On the basis of the
statement of the complainant, formal first information report came to be
registered at Police Station, Dalhousie on the same day at about 3.15 P.M. Head
Constable Kishore Kumar (PW-8) visited the spot immediately and prepared spot
map Exbt.PW-8/A and summoned Sarwan Singh (PW-3) photographer who clicked the
photographs of both the vehicles and the bodies of the deceased Manoj Kumar and
Kumari Rajeswari lying on the seat inside the HRTC Bus.
Photographs Negatives Exbts.PW-3/H to PW-3/C were placed on record. During
recording of the statements of the material witnesses by PW Kishore Kumar, it
was found that the accident had taken place due to the rash and negligent
driving of the vehicle by the appellant in which heads of both the victims were
crushed. After completion of the investigation charge sheet was laid against
the appellant for offence punishable under Sections 279 and 304-A IPC before
the trial Magistrate. The Trial Magistrate found the evidence to be cogent.
Relying on the evidence of father (PW7) and considering the other material on
record, the Trial Court recorded the conviction as noted above. But the
appellant was extended the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (in
short `Probation Act'). The State of Himachal Pradesh filed an appeal before
the Sessions Judge questioning grant of benefit under the Probation Act.
Learned Sessions Judge set aside the order of the Trial Court and remitted the
matter for 4 passing appropriate sentence. Thereafter, as noted above, the
learned Trial Magistrate sentenced the appellant by imposing custodial sentence
basic stand taken before the High Court in support of the revision petition was
that no evidence was led by the prosecution that the accident was as result of
rash and negligent driving of the appellant. It was submitted that the driver
of HRTC Bus was negligent in driving which resulted in the accident. The High
Court considered the limited scope for interference in exercise of the
revisional jurisdiction and the revision. The High Court analysed the factual
position to conclude that the findings recorded by the Trial Court and the
First Appellate Court were not erroneous.
support of the appeal, leaned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
basic requirements to attract Sections 279 and 304A has not been established.
Alternatively, it was submitted that the sentence is harsh. The accident took
place about two decades back and the appellant has already suffered custody of
some period and even if the conviction is maintained the sentence should be
reduced to the period already undergone.
counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand supported the judgment of
the courts below.
Duli Chand v. Delhi Administration (AIR 1975 SC 1960), the scope of invoking
jurisdiction of the High Court in criminal revision was examined and it was
held in a case involving vehicular accident as follows:
"The question whether the accused
was guilty of negligence in driving the bus and death of the deceased was
caused due to negligent driving is a question of fact which depends for its
determination on appreciation of the evidence. While the Magistrate, and the
Additional Sessions Judge arrived on assessment of the evidence at a concurrent
finding of fact that the death of the deceased was caused by negligent driving
of bus by the accused and the High Court even though justified in refusing to
re-appreciate the evidence reviewed the same in order to justify itself that
there was evidence in support of the 6 finding and that the finding was not
perverse, came to the conclusion that the evidence established the death of the
deceased was caused by the negligent driving of the bus by the accused, the
Supreme Court on an appeal under Article 136 refused to interfere."
State of Orissa v. Nakula Sahu and Ors. (AIR 1979 SC 663) it was held that the
High Court should not have interfered with the concurrent findings recorded by
the Trial Court and the Sessions Judge in exercise of revisional jurisdiction
when there was no error of fact or law arrived at by the Trial Court or the
Sessions Judge. In State of Kerala vs. Puttamana Illath Jathavedan Namboodiri
(1999 (2) SCC 452) it was held that the revisional jurisdiction is one of
supervisory jurisdiction exercised by the High Court for correcting miscarriage
of justice. But the said revisional power cannot be equated with the power of
an appellate Court nor can it be treated even as a second appellate
jurisdiction. Ordinarily, therefore, it would not be appropriate for the High
Court to re-appreciate the evidence and come to its own conclusion on the same
unless any glaring feature is brought to the notice of the High Court which
would otherwise tantamount to gross miscarriage of justice.
find that the trial Court and the Revisional Court have analysed the evidence
in detail to come to the conclusion about the guilt of the accused. There is no
manifest error in the conclusions or in analyzing the evidence. That being so,
the High Court was justified in law in not exercising revisional jurisdiction.
appeal is dismissed.
ARIJIT PASAYAT) ........................................... J.