State of U.P. Vs.
Mangal Singh & Ors.  INSC 785 (16 April 2009)
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.334
OF 2002 STATE OF U.P. Appellant (s) VERSUS MANGAL SINGH & ORS.
DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
Challenge in this
appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court
directing acquittal of the respondents who faced trial for alleged commission
of offences punishable under Sections 148 and 302 read with Section 149 IPC.
The accused nos. 7
and 8 faced trial for offences punishable under Section 147, 302 read with
Section 149 IPC. It is to be noted that 8 persons faced trial and were
convicted by the learned IVth Additional Sessions Judge Jalaun.
During the pendency
of the matter before the High Court three of them i.e. accused No.1, Jagmohan,
accused No.2 Kishan Dutt and accused No.7 Ram Kumar have died and, therefore,
the High Court noted that the appeals stood abated so far as they are
concerned. During the pendency of the matter before this Court, respondent No.3
Kanahai (A.5) has died.
Hence, the appeal
stands abated so far as respondent No.3 is concerned.
In the present case,
three persons lost their lives. The occurrence took place on 22.3.1979 and prosecution
version in a nutshell is that the 2 deceased and PW.1 were travelling in a
bullock cart while PW.3 was following them. The accused persons were holding
several weapons and fired gunshots at the deceased persons as a result of which
they lost their lives.
PW.3 filed FIR.
Investigation was undertaken and on completion thereof, charge sheet was filed
and as the accused pleaded innocence, trial was held and, as noted above, the
trial court found them guilty and convicted them.
In appeal, the High Court
by the impugned Judgment has set aside the conviction. The reasoning indicated
by the High Court for directing acquittal is that the evidence of PW.1 and PW.3
do not inspire confidence.
On a reading of their
evidence it is clear that they could not have witnessed the occurrence as
claimed and they also changed the place of occurrence and the manner in which
the alleged occurrence took place. It was noticed that the witnesses were
shifting their version almost at every stage.
It was submitted by
learned counsel for the appellant-State that minor variations and discrepancies
in evidence of the eye witnesses have been magnified by the High Court and it
has directed acquittal in a case where three members of a family were done to
Learned counsel for
the respondents, on the other hand, supported the judgment of acquittal passed
by the High Court.
We find that the High
Court has noted various factors like changing the place of occurrence and the
manner in which the alleged occurrence took place. This itself was sufficient
to doubt the veracity of the prosecution version. In addition, the High Court
has noted several other factors like PW.1 not sustaining any injury when
persons sitting behind him received gun shot injuries and lost their lives. It
is the prosecution version that the accused persons indiscriminately started
firing which resulted in the 3 death of the deceased persons. If PW.1 was
driving the bullock cart, as claimed, it remains unexplained as to how he did
not suffer any injury while those sitting behind him in the bullock cart
sustained serious injuries resulting in their death. In this view of the
matter, the judgment of the High Court does not suffer from any infirmity to
warrant interference. The appeal fails and is, accordingly, dismissed.
(Dr. Arijit Pasayat)
(Asok Kumar Ganguly)