Ranvir Yadav Vs.
State of Bihar  INSC 903 (5 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.10 OF 2002 Ranvir
Yadav ....Appellant Versus State of Bihar ....Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Patna High Court
directing reversal of the judgment of acquittal recorded by learned Third
Additional Sessions Judge, Munger. All the accused persons were acquitted by
the aforesaid judgment.
However one of
accused respondent i.e. Kirat Yadav before the High Court died during the
pendency of the appeal. A Criminal Revision was also filed by the
informant-Lalitdeo Prasad and the said revision was taken along with the
version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
As per the fard beyan
of Lalitdeo Prasad Singh, on 31st July, 1982 at about 8 A.M. informant along with
several other persons, namely, Rameshwar Mistry, Kailash Singh, Brahmdeo Singh,
the Govt. Amin(Omar Ali), Biranchi Das, Challitar Singh, Jalim Singh, the wife
of Rameshwar Mistry, Bilo Mistry, Shiv Das, Kedar Das Rajendra Mistry, Manikant
Mishra and 5 to 6 others proceeded from Sirjua Ghat to the Diara across the
Ganges river into the boat of Rameshwar Mistry. When this contingent of the
informant's party anchored into the Diar side of the river for some persons
from the boat came out and proceeded to same distance, some criminals also
alighted from small boat from the eastern and western side and asked these
persons to stop.
When these persons
who had alighted from the boat of the informant, did not stop, there was firing
from the side of the criminals which hit Manikant Mishra (P.W.1). The criminals
caught hold of Rajendra Mistry, Rameshwar Mistry, Brahmdeo Singh (all three
deceased persons) and brought them near the boat of the informant. On the boat
of the informant, still sitting were Kailash Singh, Biranchi Das, Challitra
Singh, Shiv Das and the Government Amin. Near the boat, Rajendra Mistry was
shot at by Kirat Yadav by rifle. Rameshwar Mistry was also shot at by Ranvir
Yadav. Khantar Sao shot dead Bramhdeo Singh. Ranvir Yadav assaulted the Amin
with rifle. Rajendra Mistry, Rameshwar , Mistry and Brahmdeo Singh succumbed to
their fire-arm injuries at the spot. The dead bodies of these three deceased
persons were loaded on the informant's boat. Thereafter the boat of the
informant was occupied by some of the criminals and other criminals boarded a
small fisher man's boat and carried the informant's boat inside the river
towards east, beheaded the dead bodies at the order of Ranvir Yadav and also
slit open the stomach of the dead bodies and thereafter threw the cut parts of
the dead body into the river. On the way inside the river, Kailash Singh was
also shot dead by Ranvir Yadav as a lesson on the ground that Kailash had filed
certain criminal case against the assailants. The informant and the other
persons left inside the boat were also threatened of dire consequences, if they
disclosed the matter to the police. The informant and three others were brought
to the bank of the river and made to disembark from the boat. The Amin was
still carried further into the river. The informant came to Sirjua ghat. The
cause of occurrence as given in the far beyan, is that Ranvir Yadav had taken
possession of several lands of Sirjua Village and the villagers wanted their
lands to be measured and demarcated and so being angered at this step of the
villagers, the accused persons committed the aforesaid occurrence.
The defence of the
accused persons was that the police was inimical to the main accused Ranvir Yadav
whose father, late Hariballabh Yadav, was killed by A.S.P. and in this
connection a case was filed by the servant of Ranvir Yadav. Kanta Sao and Kirat
Yadav were employees of Ranvir Yadav and therefore they were implicated falsely
in the instant case. The police was pressing the accused persons hard to
withdraw the case of murder filed against the police officials.
Twelve witnesses were
examined to further the provision version. Several documents were exhibited.
The trial Court held that the prosecution version lacks credibility and,
therefore, directed acquittal. On appeal the High Court held that there was
improper analysis of the evidence and accordingly held that the acquittal was
not proper. Therefore the accused Ranvir Yadav i.e. present appellant and
Khantar Sao was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life for offence
punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC').
The appeal in respect of accused Mithu Yadav was dismissed. The position is
that out of four accused persons one had died during trial and the acquittal of
one was maintained by the High Court and one had also not filed an appeal as it
was stated that he had also died. The present appeal relates to accused Ranbir
Yadav. Though various points were urged in respect of the appeal, the primary
stand was that incriminating materials were not put to him in examination under
Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the `Code').
counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand submitted that the accused
is a history sheeter, has a long criminal record and therefore there is no
scope for interference in this appeal. According to him all the relevant
questions were put during examination under Section 313 of the Code.
purpose of Section 313 of the Code is set out in its opening words- `for the
purpose of enabling the accused to explain any circumstances appearing in the
evidence against him.' In Hate Singh, Bhagat Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh
(AIR 1953 SC 468) it has been laid down by Bose, J that the statements of
accused persons recorded under Section 313 of the Code `are among the most
important matters to be considered at the trial'. It was pointed out that the
statements of the accused recorded by the committing magistrate and the
Sessions Judge are intended in India to take the place of what in England and
in America he would be free to state in his own way in the witness box and that
they have to be received in evidence and treated as evidence and be duly
considered at the trial. This position remains unaltered even after the
insertion of Section 315 in the Code and any statement under Section 313 has to
be considered in the same way as if Section 315 is not there.
object of examination under this Section is to give the accused an opportunity
to explain the case made against him. This statement can be taken into
consideration in judging his innocence or guilt. Where there is an onus on the
accused to discharge, it depends on the facts and circumstances of the case if
such statement discharges the onus.
word `generally' in sub-section (1)(b) does not limit the nature of the
questioning to one or more questions of a general nature relating to the case,
but it means that the question should relate to the whole case generally and
should also be limited to any particular part or parts of it. The question must
be framed in such a way as to enable the accused to know what he is to explain,
what are the circumstances which are against him and for which an explanation
is needed. The whole object of the section is to afford the accused a fair and
proper opportunity of explaining circumstances which appear against him and
that the questions must be fair and must be couched in a form which an ignorant
or illiterate person will be able to appreciate and understand. A conviction
based on the accused's failure to explain what he was never asked to explain is
bad in law. The whole object of enacting Section 313 of the Code was that the
attention of the accused should be drawn to the specific points in the charge
and in the evidence on which the prosecution claims that the case is made out
against the accused so that he may be able to give such explanation as he
desires to give.
importance of observing faithfully and fairly the provisions of Section 313 of
the Code cannot be too strongly stressed. It is not sufficient compliance to
string together a long series of facts and ask the accused what he has to say
about them. He must be questioned separately about each material substance
which is intended to be used against him. The questionings must be fair and
couched in a form which an ignorant or illiterate person will be able to
appreciate and understand. Even when an accused is not illiterate, his mind is
apt to be perturbed when he is facing a charge of murder. Fairness, therefore,
requires that each material circumstance should be put simply and separately in
a way that an illiterate mind, or one which is perturbed or confused, can
readily appreciate and understand.
order to appreciate the stand relating to not putting the relevant questions
during the examination under Section 313 of the Code, the factual scenario
needs to be noted.
examination under Section 313 of the Code the same reads as follows:
"Q. It is stated
on the basis of statement of witnesses that on 31.7.1982 at around 8.30 A.M.
Rameshwar Mistry was
killed in Sirjua Diara by firing shot from rifle? What do you have to say about
it? Ans. No, I was falsely implicated.
Q. It is also stated
that accused kept the dead body of Rameshwar Mistry, Rajendra Mistry and
Bramhadeo Singh on boat and they took Lalit Narayan Singh Kailash Singh, Chalitar
Singh, Anil Sahib and Biranchi Das on the boat and killed Kailash Singh by
proceeding further and threw the dead body in river by cutting it what do you
have to say? A. Ans. Police has implicated me. Safi Alam, S.P. of Khagaria
committed murder on 15 April, 1980 in the evening by firing shot. My servant
has filed case on him. My uncle th filed case on police S.D.O. from that day,
he started implicating me in the case and started saying me to withdrew the
case. The police which comes, states the same thing. I was not allowed to study
at that time. I was studying. Due to this reason, I was falsely implicated.
Q. I heard the
statement of witnesses. Do you have to say anything in defence? A. I write it
Q. It is also evident
that you fired shot from the rifle at the arm of Amin."
is true as contented by learned counsel for the appellant that no incriminating
materials were put to the accused under Section 313 of the Code. There is no
accusation specifically put in question during examination as quoted above. It
only refers to victim of kidnapping. So far as the question No.3 is concerned
same relates to PW 10. He did not say that he had seen gun fired by the
being the position the appeal deserves to be allowed. It is a matter of regret
and concern that the trial court did not indicate the incriminating material to
the accused. Section 313 of the Code is not an empty formality. There is a
purpose behind examination under Section 313 of the Code. Unfortunately, that has
not been done. Because of the serious lapse on the part of the trial court the
conviction as recorded has to be interfered with. Conviction recorded by the
High Court is set aside. Bail bonds executed to give effect to the order of
bail dated 8.1.2002 shall stand cancelled because of the acquittal.
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)