Laxmichand @ Balbutya
Vs State of Maharashtra
appeal is filed by the appellant-accused, who is in Jail, through
Superintendent, Nagpur Central Prison, Nagpur under Section 2 of the Supreme Court
Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction Act against the final order and
judgment dated 15.10.2004passed by the High Court of Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur
in Criminal Appeal No. 48 of 1990 whereby the High Court allowed the appeal
filed by the State and set aside the order of acquittal passed by the
Additional Sessions Judge, Gondia.
prosecution case is as follows:
a. On 10.08.1986, at
about 3.00 p.m., there was a quarrel between Laxmichand @ Balbutya - the
accused and Gyaniram Mahajan - the deceased, who was in drunken state, at the
house of the accused. The appellant-accused asked Gyaniram to go home but he
was not acceding to his request. The accused brought Gyaniram from his house on
the road by lifting him but he fell down. The accused struck him with a spade
on his head. As a result, Gyaniram sustained injury on his head and had become
unconscious. The accused proceeded towards the house of one Police Patel. While
going there, he made disclosure to some persons that he had killed Gyaniram
Mahajan. One Ghanshyam, who was in the employment of Fulchand and who had heard
the utterances of the accused to the above effect, informed Tejram (PW-2) who was
sitting in the house of Fulchand that the appellant-accused was telling that he
had killed Gyaniram. Tejram went towards the Gram Panchayat. The accused was
coming from the side of the house of Police Patel. He again made similar utterances
and informed Tejram that he had killed Gyaniram and further asked him to scribe
a report. Tejram advised him to go to the police station.
b. Tejram went to the
police station and lodged an oral report that he was informed by the accused
that he had killed Gyaniram. The oral report was reduced into writing by P.S.I.
Narkhede (PW-12) under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. By the time, the
accused reached their along with spade, P.S.I. Narkhede (PW-12) arrested him
and seized the spade. Thereafter, he went to the spot and noticed that Gyaniram
was lying unconsciously. Spot panchnama was prepared and the samples of bloodstained
earth and plain earth were collected.
c. Gyaniram was sent to
the hospital in the cart of Primary Health Centre, Tirora. The doctor examined
him at 9.45 p.m. and found a lacerated wound on his forehead with underlying
bony fractures into pieces. As Gyaniram was unconsciousness, P.S.I. could not
take his statement. On 17.08.1986, A.S.I. Sahare received amessage from Dr.
Jaiswal of K.T.S. Hospital, Gondia that Gyaniram had expired. On the same day
itself the postmortem was conducted.(d) After the investigation, the charge
sheet was sent to the Court of J.M.F.C. Gondia. The J.M.F.C. committed the case
under Section 209(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the Court of Sessions
for trial of the accused. The charge for the offence under Section 302 I.P.C.
was framed against the accused. The Sessions Judge, Gondia, vide his judgment
dated 29.07.1989, acquitted the accused of the charges framed against him.(e) Against
the said judgment of acquittal, the State filed an appeal before the High Court
of Bombay, Nagpur Bench. The High Court, vide its judgment dated15.10.2004, set
aside the order of acquittal and convicted the appellant-accused for offence punishable
under Section 302 I.P.C.(f) Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, the appellant-accused
has filed this appeal from Jail through the Superintendent, Nagpur Central
Prison, Nagpur before this Court.
Mr. Sushil Karanjakar, learned amicus curiae for the appellant and Mr. Shankar
Chillarge, learned counsel for the State.
far as the incident and the involvement of the appellant-accused is concerned,
the prosecution has mainly relied on the evidence of Fattu Madavi (PW-3) and Mahadeo
(PW-4) who are the two eye-witnesses. Apart from these two eye-witnesses, the
prosecution has also relied on extra-judicial confession said to have been made
by the accused to some of the witnesses.
is seen from the evidence of Fattu (PW-3) that the accused gave a call to him
and said that Gyaniram – the deceased was under the influence of liquor and he
was not willing to leave his house. There was a quarrel between the accused and
the deceased at the house of the accused. At the time of quarrel, Mahadeo
(PW-4), who was present in the nearby house of Bhaurao Neware was witnessing the
same. It is also seen from the evidence of Fattu (PW-3)and Mahadeo (PW-4) that
in the course of quarrel, the accused dragged Gyaniram outside of his house and
gave a stroke of spade on his head. From the evidence of PWs3 & 4, the
prosecution has established that the quarrel was going on between the accused
and the deceased and the deceased was under the influence of liquor and he was adamant
and refused to leave the house of the accused which forced the accused to drag
him outside his house and also inflicted injuries with the spade. As rightly observed
by the High Court, there is no reason to disbelieve the version of eye-witnesses,
PWs 3 & 4, in this regard. On perusal of their evidence, we found no material
omission or contradiction to disbelieve their version. On the other hand, we
agree with the conclusion arrived at by the High Court as regard to the
reliability of two eye-witnesses.
from two eye-witnesses, the prosecution has examined one Tejram as PW-2 who
made a complaint to the police. The accused has made an extra-judicial confession
to him. Tejram (PW-2) is the person who lodged the report (Ex.21). The perusal
of the above report strengthened the evidence of Tejram (PW-2) about the statement
said to have been made to him by the accused.
is also seen from the evidence of Narkhede, P.S.I.(PW-12) that when he was
scribing the report, the accused arrived at the police station with a spade and
immediately he arrested him and seized the spade. Though no much importance
needs to be given to the statement of Tejram (PW-2) but if we consider the same
along with other materials, there is no reason to reject his version. Another person
before whom the accused has made a confessional statement is Govardhan (PW-7).
The accused had gone to his place and informed him about the incident. In the same
way, one Udelal, who was examined as PW-8, also apprised the Court about the
admission of guilt by the accused. Though their is no need to attach importance
to the statements of PWs 7 & 8, as observed earlier, if we consider all the
materials together, it prove the case of the prosecution that it was the
accused who was responsible for the death of Gyaniram-the deceased.
was submitted that though the injured was alive for seven days but no attempt
was made to record his statement about the incident. It is seen from the
evidence of Narkhede, PSI (PW-12) that he was not allowed to record his
statement by the Doctors as the victim was not in a position to give the
statement. It is relevant to note that an attempt was made to record his
statement by the Special Executive Magistrate, that also could not be done. The
evidence of Dr. Arvind Manwatkar (PW-1), Medical Officer attached to Primary
Health Centre, Tirora also supports the version of the prosecution. He also
issued a certificate (Ex.19) that the injured person was not able to give any
statement. When Dr. Arvind Manwatkar (PW-1)was shown spade at the time of
examination in Court, he opined that it would be possible that such injury
could be caused with spade. As observed by the High Court, the medical report,
evidence of Doctor and the statement of eye-witnesses support the case of the
prosecution. Dr. Pradip Kumar Gujar (PW-9) who conducted the post-mortem on the
dead body of Gyaniram also found that the cause of death was head injury,
laceration of the brain matter, resulting into neurogenic shock and peripheral circulatory
failure. All the above materials including oral and documentary evidence
clearly prove the case of the prosecution and we agree with the conclusion
arrived at by the High Court.
to the argument that instead of convicting the accused for culpable homicide
amounting to murder, his case would fall in the category of culpable homicide not
amounting to murder as even according to the prosecution one blow alone was
caused by the accused that too in a quarrel, we have already pointed out and it
is clear from the evidence of PWs 3 & 4 - eye-witnesses that prior to the
incident, there was a quarrel between the accused and the deceased inside the
house of the accused and the deceased consumed liquor and adamant to leave the
house of the accused which necessitated the accused to drag him out of his
house and inasmuch as the deceased still refused to accede to the request of
the accused, he inflicted blow on the head with the spade. As pointed out by
the appellant-accused, he had no pre-plan or intention to kill the deceased and
his main worry was to get the deceased out of his house, who consumed excessive
liquor. Considering all these aspects, particularly, the conduct of the
deceased in not leaving the house of the accused, he dragged him out of his
house, put him on the road and assaulted him with a spade, we are of the view
that the accused has no intention to kill the deceased. It is true that blow
given by the accused on the deceased was at the vital part because of which he was
unconscious for seven days and ultimately succumbed to his injuries. However,
as discussed earlier, the accused had no intention to commit the offence.
all the materials and reasons, we feel that the commission of offence
attributed to the accused-appellant would come under Section 304 Part II Indian
Penal Code. Taking note of the fact that the incident had occurred in the year
1986 and the accused had no intention to kill the deceased but due to the
reasons and circumstances stated above, we feel that the ends of justice would
be met by awarding sentence of rigorous imprisonment for five years. The
accused is entitled to have the benefit of deduction of the period already undergone.
the above modification, the appeal is allowed in part.
(HARJIT SINGH BEDI)
...............................................J. (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)