Ramachami Vs. State
Rep. by State Prosecutor  INSC 1815 (22 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1399 OF 2004
Ramachami ..... Appellant VERSUS State rep. By State Prosecutor .....
learned counsel for the parties.
in this appeal is to the judgment of the Division Bench of the Kerala High
Court upholding the conviction of the appellant for offences punishable under
Sections 392 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short 'IPC'). He faced
trial for offence punishable under Section ..2/- 324 IPC, but he was found to
be not guilty of that charge. Life imprisonment and fine of Rs.10,000 were
imposed. It was directed that in case the fine was collected, the same was to
be paid to the widow of Kuttappan (hereinafter referred to as 'the deceased').
prosecution version essentially rested on circumstances. The trial court found
that the circumstances were sufficient to hold the accused guilty. Accordingly,
conviction, as noted above, was recorded. In appeal, the High Court did not
find any substance in the plea of the appellant and upheld the conviction.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the prosecution
has not proved that the appellant was, at any point of time, employed at the
hotel and present case is one where the wrong person has been picked up and has
been convicted. Alternatively, it was submitted that an offence under Section
302 IPC is not made out.
counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, supported the judgment of the
circumstances, which were pressed into service by the prosecution to connect
the accused with the offences, are as follows :
(i) the deceased
Kuttappan and the accused Ramachamy used to sleep in the hotel itself in the
night and on 3.2.1998 in the night they two were alone in the hotel (the
evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3).
(ii) The deceased
used to keep his money in the pocket of his brief and this fact was known to
the other inmates of the hotel, including the accused (the version of PW1 and
(iii) On 4.2.1998
early in the morning by 6 O'clock when PW1 and PW2 reached the hotel as usual
for work, they saw Kuttappan lying down sustaining injuries on the floor of the
hotel near the cash counter (the deposition of PW1 and PW2).
(iv) The accused who
was along with the deceased in the hotel on the prevision night was not seen
anywhere near there and he had been absconding since then till his arrest
(evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3).
(v) the police were
able to recover M.O.I. (the wooden stick allegedly used for beating the
deceased Kuttappan) from a particular place in the hotel premises on the basis
of the statement of the accused while he was in custody (the evidence of PW1,
PW2 and PW3 and PW12).
circumstances clearly establish that the accused was employed in the hotel and
used to sleep in the hotel and on the night of occurrence, both the deceased
and the accused were alone in the hotel. The evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3 in
this regard are clear, cogent and credible. Additionally, the accused and the
deceased were last seen together on the previous night. The appellant was
arrested long after the incident, i.e., on 29.11.1998 and was absconding during
the aforesaid period. The circumstances, according to us, are sufficient to
hold the accused guilty.
considering nature of the injuries, we are of the view that the appropriate
conviction under Section 304 Part II IPC and custodial sentence of 8 years
would meet the ends of justice. It is stated that the appellant has already
suffered custody of more than 7= years.
far as the conviction under Section 392 IPC and the sentence imposed are
concerned, there is no infirmity therein to warrant interference. Both the
sentences in respect of Section 304 Part II IPC and Section 392 IPC shall run
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.
[DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT]
[LOKESHWAR SINGH PANTA]