Baleshwar Rai & Ors Vs. The State of
Bihar  INSC 167 (26 April 1962)
Criminal Procedure-Statement made to
investigating officer- If and when barred from being proved in
evidence--"The period of investigation" and "Court of investigation"--If
Synonymous-Code of Criminal Procedure (Act V of 1898), s. 162.
Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
only bare proof of statement made to an investigating officer during the course
of investigation. It does not say that every statement made during the period
of investigation is barred from being proved in evidence. For a statement to
come within the purview of s. 162, it must not merely be made during the period
of investigation but also in the course of investigation. The two things,
"the period of investigation" and "Course of investigation"
are not synonymous. Section 162 is aimed at statements recorded by a Police
Officer while investigating into an offence. This is clear from the opening
words s. 162. They speak only of statement made to a police officer during the
course of investigation. This implies that the statement sought to be excluded
from evidence must be ascribable to the enquiry conducted by the investigating
office and not one which is de-hors the enquiry.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeals Nos. 176 to 178 of 1961.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and order dated August 10, 1961, of the Patna High Court in Cr. A. No. 152 of
1961 and Death Reference No. 3 of 1961.
Sushil Kumar Jha, Subodh Kumar Jha and B. C.
Prashad, for the appellants.
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor General of India
and S. P. Verma, for the respondents.
434 1962. April 26. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by :- MUDHOLKAR., J.-This judgment will govern Criminal Appeals
nos. 177 and 178 also. All these three appeals arise out of the same trial. The
learned Additional Sessions Judge, Monghyr who conducted the trial convicted
the appellant, Ramchandra Chaudhary who is appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 177
of 1961 for an offence under s. 302 Indian Penal Code.
He also convicted Baleshwar Rai alias Nepali
Master, appellant in this appeal and Jogendra Chaudhary, appellant in Criminal
Appeal No. 178 of 1961 of an offence under s. 302 read with s. 34, Indian Penal
Code. He sentenced each of the three to death. Their appeals were dismissed by
the High Court of Patna, and sentences of death passed against them were
confirmed by it. They have come up before this Court by special leave.
The prosecution story is briefly as follows
On March 17, 1959 at about 8.00 p.m. the chaukidars of the village Fateha had
assembled,. as usual, in the 'crime centre' of the village. Their names are
Anandi Paswan, (deceased), Misri Paswan (P.W.2), Baleshwar Paswan (P.W.3) and
Narain Paswan. Anandi Paswan and Misri Paswan were lying on a chouki. Anandi
Paswan had a 'bhala' and a muretha' while Misri Paswan had a 'pharsa' and a
These weapons is well as the shirt of ,he
deceased were kept on the chouki. The other two choukidars were lying on the
ground. The crime centre is housed in the 'dalan' of Tilak.
Chaudhary (P.W.6). One other person, Srilal
7), the brother of Tilak Chaudhary, was also
lying there on the khatia on the north-east of the said 'dalan'. In an adjacent
room were P.W.11 Nathuni Chaudhary alias Durga Das and P.W.12 Ramchander Jha.
435 According to the prosecution a little
before 9.00 p.m.
someone from outside called out
"Darogaji". On hearing this, the deceased Anandi Paswan and Misri
Paswan got up.
It was a moonlit night and they saw
Ramchander Chaudhary, Jogendra Chaudhary and another person, who was later
identi- fied to be Nepali Master, standing closeby. As soon as they went
towards the appellants, Jogendra Chaudhary and Nepali Master caught the deceased
while Ramchandra Chaudhary caught Misri Paswan. Both Ramchandra Chaudhary and
Jogendra Chau- dhary had guns with them which were slung across their
shoulders. These three persons then took the deceased and Misri Paswan to the
road to the East of the 'dalan', running north to south, and proceeded
southward. Neither the deceased nor Misri Paswan raised any cry, apparently
because they were threatened that if they did so, they would be shot. When this
party reached the place to the west of one Peare Sao's house and to the east of
the house of Rampratap Tanti (P.W. 5). the deceased called for Rampratap's
help, and freeing himself from the clutches of his captors started running way
westward., Upon this Ramehandra Chaudhary let go the hand of Misri Paswan and
fired at the deceased. Misri Paswan then ran into the house of Peare Sao and
took shelter there. While entering that house, he heard a second gun shot. His
presence in the house was detected by. Mst.
Ajo(P.W. 8), the wife. of Peare Sao who
forced him to leave the house. Thereafter he came out into the lane and
concealed himself behind the door. After the moon had set and it became dark,
he went to the house of Fakir Paswan (P.W. 4), which is to the east of the
house of Peare Sao, and narrated the occurrence to him. He mentioned Ramchandra
and Jogendra as the two persons who has taken part in the incident. In the
early hours of the morning he went to the place where gun shots were fired, and
found Anandi Paswan, chaukidar lying dead in a 436 ditch by the side of the
road, face downwards. He noticed that Anandi Paswan had received two gun shot
wounds on his back. Thereafter he went home and contacted the other chaukidar,
Narain Paswan and Baleswar Paswan. He placed them in charge of the dead body
and then went to the police station along with Ramdeo, son of the deceased. He
lodged the first information report at the police station.
After recording it, the junior Sub-Inspector
of police commenced investigation and after completing it submitted a
charge-sheet against the three appellants on March 15, 1959.
It is the prosecution case that the
appellants are "veteran criminals" and the chaukidars used to report
about their movements and that this was the motive for the murder. It was
further said that the deceased had helped the Dalsingsarai police in arresting
one Motia Mushar, who was the ploughman of the appellant Ramchandra, in a
All the appellants denied having participated
in the incident. The defence is that a false case has been concocted by the
The main evidence against the appellant is
that of P.W. 2, Misri Paswan. He has actually named Ramchandra Chaudhary and
Jogendra Chandhary in the first information report.
Regarding the third appellant, he stated that
'he was unknown. Ramchandra and Jogendra have been identified not only by Misri
Paswan, but also by five other wit. nesses, Narain Paswan, Rampratap Tanti,
Srilal Chaudhary, Nathuni Chaudhary and Ramchander Jha. All these, five persons
had an opportunity to see the appellants because, it may be recalled, some of
them were in the 'dalan' and some in the adjacent room when the appellants came
near there and one of them cried out "Darogaji". Their evidence has
been accepted 437 as true and adequate not only by the learned Sessions Judge
who had an opportunity to see and hear the witnesses depose but also by the
High Court. Their evidence cannot be reappraised in their appeals by special
The learned counsel, however, said that in so
far as Jogendra Chaudhary is concerned, common intention to commit murder had
not been established. The existence of common intention has always to be
inferred from facts. Here it has been established that all the three appellants
came together. Two of them, Ramchandra and Jogendra had guns, with them. The
prosecution has established to the satisfaction of the learned Additional
Sessions Judge and the High Court that as Anandi Paswan was giving information
to the police about the movements of the appellants and had also taken the
major part in getting one Motia Mushar arrested in a dacoity case, Ramchandra
nursed a' grievance against Anandi. The inference, therefore, must be that he
had come with the intention of taking revenge on Anandi Paswan by killing him
and the other two appellants who accompanied him shared that intention. As the
High Court has pointed out, this is made clearer by the statement of Misri
Paswan to the effect that Ramchandra said at the time of the incident that 'his
(servant) Motia was taken away forcibly and then Jogendra asked the deceased
sarcastically, "Where is your military today ?" In the circumstances,
therefore, there can he no doubt that common intention to commit murder was
established not only with respect to Jogendra but also with respect to Nepali
Master who was all along with them.
On behalf of Nepali Master the learned
counsel contended that he has been identified at the test identification parade
by one witness only and that the other persons did not turn up for
identification and, therefore, it is not legally permissible to base 438 the
identification by only one person. It is sufficient to say that even the
evidence of a single witness can sustain the conviction of an accused person if
the court which saw and heard him depose regards him as a witness of truth.
However, in this case, Nepali Master was
identified not by one witness only but by two witnesses (P. W. 7) Srilal
Choudhary and (P. W. 9) Dukhi Mahto. It was said that Srilal is an old man of
75 and has a weak eyesight and therefore his evidence should be kept out of
account. He is evidence has been believed by the learned Sessions Judge as well
as by the High Court and we cannot reassess it.
It was contended before the High Court and is
also contended before us that as the test identification was held long time
after his arrest, the evidence of these two witnesses could not be believed.
This circumstance was also considered by the High Court and it observed:
"The contention is attractive; but, in
view of Ex. 6, it is difficult to accept the same".
Exhibit 6 is an anonymous letter written to
Senior. Sub- Inspector, Kashi Nath (P. W. 22), of which the only portion which
has been admitted in evidence reads thus:
"The rascal Anandia Choukidar spoiled
the life of that poor Mushar by instigating the S. 1 of Police of Dalsingsarai
and subsequently he also spied against us for nothing".
This document along with ex. 3, dated June 9,
1959, which is admittedly in the handwriting of Nepali Master, was sent to the
Government handwriting expert. Both the documents were examined by him. In his
evidence he has stated.
"The Board of Experts consisting of
myself, Chatterjee and Srivastava examined 439 these independently and our
unanimous opinion was that Ex. 3, tallied with disputed writings (Ext.
6)." This being so, the admission contained in Ext. 6 as to the motive is
clearly admissible under s. 21 of the Evidence Act. The High Court was,
therefore, right in holding that Ext. 6 afforded corroboration to the evidence
of (P. W. 7) Srilal Chaudhary and (P. W. 9) Dukhi Mahto.
It is then contended that Ex. 6 is hit by
s.162 of the Criminal Procedure Code because it was received by the Sub-
Inspector during the course of the investigation. Section 162 of the Criminal
Procedure Code only bars proof of statements made to an investigating officer
during the course of investigation. Section 162 does not say that every
statement made during the period of investigation is barred from being proved
in evidence. For a statement to come within the purview of s. 162, it must not
merely be made during the period of investigation but also in the course of
investigation. The two things, that is, "the period of investigation"
and "'course of investigation' are not synonymous. Section 162 is aimed at
statements recorded by a police officer while investigating into an offence.
This is clear from the opening words s. 162.
They speak only of statements made to a police officer during the course of
investigation. This implies that the statement sought to be excluded from
evidence must be ascribable to the enquiry conducted by the investigating
officer and not one which is de hors the enquiry. A communication like Ext. 6
will not fall within the ambit of such statements. In this view we hold that
the document in question is not hit by s. 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code
and the High Court was right in admitting it in evidence.
There is no substance in the appeals and