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State by Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu Vs. N. Rajamanickam & Ors. [2008] INSC 1573 (16 September 2008)

Judgment

(Criminal Appeal No.668 of 2002) SEPTEMBER 16, 2008 [DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT AND DR. MUKUNDAKAM SHARMA, JJ.] The Judgment of the Court was delivered by DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.

1.     Heard learned counsel for the parties.

2.     Leave granted in S.L.P.(Crl.) No.1636 of 2002.

3.     Criminal Appeal No.668 of 2002 has been filed by the State questioning correctness of the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Madras High Court. The appeal filed by the respondents (hereinafter referred to as `the accused') was allowed while the criminal revision petition filed by PW-1, the brother of the deceased was dismissed by the impugned judgment. Originally, 16 persons were named in the charge-sheet. Out of them, one had died and one was absconding. The rest 14 persons faced trial. The Trial Court convicted 6 out of them who had faced trial. Those six persons preferred the criminal appeal while the informant filed the revision petition questioning the acquittal of rest of the accused persons. The High Court found that there were certain vital factors which rendered the prosecution version improbable. Some of the factors noted are the delayed despatch and receipt of the FIR and connected documents in the court of Magistrate. The non-explanation of injurieson some of the accused persons was held to be of consequence. It was held that there was a clash amongst the members of complainant party and the accused persons over political factors.

The High Court noted that there was no explanation offered for the delayed receipt of the FIR and connected documents, Exhs. P-1 and P-22. Added to that, the High Court found that the evidence of PW-1 lacked credibility and cogency. With these observations, the High Court allowed the appeal filed by the convicted accused persons and dismissed the revision petition filed by the informant.

4.     In support of the appeals, learned counsel for the appellant- State and the informant submitted that the factors which weighed with the High Court to direct acquittal have no legal basis.

5.     Learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, supported the judgment of the High Court.

6.     It is to be noted that A-8, who was one of the accused- respondents had died in the meantime.

7.     Delay in receipt of the FIR and the connected documents in all cases cannot be a factor corroding the credibility of the prosecution version. But that is not the only factor which weighed with the High Court. Added to that, the High Court has noted the artificiality of the evidence of PW-1 and the non-explanation of injuries on the accused persons which were very serious in nature. The combined effect of these factors certainly deserved consideration and, according to us, the High Court has rightly emphasized on them to hold that the prosecution has not been able to establish the accusations. Singularly, the factors may not have adverse effect on the prosecution version. But when a combined effect of the factors noted by the High Court are taken into consideration, the inevitable conclusion is that these are cases where no interference is called for.

The appeals are, accordingly, dismissed.

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