Chanabhai Vs. State of Gujarat  INSC 394 (16 November 1999)
G.B.Pattanaik Shah, J.
appeal is filed against the judgment and order dated February 21, 1997 in
Criminal Appeal No. 395 of 1985 passed by the High Court of Gujarat whereby the
Court partly allowed the appeal of the State and set aside the judgment and
order dated January 31, 1985 rendered in Sessions Case No.85/84 by the Addl.
Sessions Judge, Junagadh acquitting the appellant and convicted him for the
offence punishable under Section 302 IPC and imposed sentenced for life.
the prosecution story that original accused No.1 approached the father of PW2 Bhana
Puna for rendering assistance for construction of house at Una district Junagadh.
Father of PW2 gave some amount, which resulted into close relationship between
two families. Thereafter, deceased Naran Puna had gone to Bombay for further studies in the year
1974 and stayed with the family of accused No.1.
alleged that accused No.1 was having five to six wives and Narmada was one of them with whom deceased
developed some relations; Hence deceased was thrashed by the accused and
thereafter at the request of PW2 he was permitted to go to Una. Subsequently,
accused No.1 (father of the appellant) and appellant (accused no.2) hatched a
conspiracy at Bombay that the deceased Naran Puna, younger brother of PW2 be
done to death on account of misconduct or misbehaviour of deceased with the
wife of accused No.1. In the present appeal, we are not required to consider
the evidence relating to the said part of the incident as the incident in
question had taken place after ten year, on 17th July, 1984 between 3.00 to
4.00 p.m. on Una - Veraval road.
the prosecution version that accused No.2 inflicted several knife blows on
deceased, Naran Puna on account of enmity and ill-will of accused no.1 with the
deceased. PW2 Bhana Puna, brother of the deceased on receipt of the information
at about 3.30 p.m. that his brother was done to death near the farm of Jaigurudev,
rushed to that place where he found several persons among whom PW7 Babu Govind
and PW11 Bhagwan Jana were present. On inquiry, he learnt that Laxman Channa
(appellant) had committed murder of deceased Naran. He thereafter lodged FIR at
5.00 p.m. at Una Police Station. After
completing the investigation, appellant was charged with the offence punishable
under section 302 IPC and original accused no.1 was charged with the offence
punishable under section 302 read with section 109 IPC and both of them were also
charged with the offence punishable under section 120-B IPC. The learned Addl. Sessions
Judge after recording the evidence of prosecution witnesses and on appraisal
and assessment thereof came to the conclusion that the prosecution case was not
established beyond reasonable doubt, hence he acquitted the accused by giving
benefit of doubt. Against that judgment and order the appeal filed by the State
Government was partly allowed and appellant was convicted as stated above. That
order is challenged in this appeal.
time of hearing of this appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted
that Addl. Sessions Judge, Junagadh has rightly given benefit of doubt to the
accused as the so-called eyewitnesses have not supported the prosecution
version. He has also submitted that the High Court erroneously relied upon the
evidence of PW7, Babu Govind, who had been treated hostile by the prosecution,
for arriving at the conclusion that appellant was seen by him giving the knife
blows to the deceased. He also contended that the incriminating evidence which
is relied upon by the prosecution for recovery of blood stained knife and
clothes of the accused, could not be relied upon because the panchas have not
supported the said recovery. As against this, learned counsel for the
respondent submitted that the High Court has scanned the entire evidence in
proper perspective and, therefore, the judgment and order passed by the High
Court does not call for any interference.
High Court, in our view, has rightly relied upon some part of the evidence of a
hostile witness. P.W.7 has not supported the prosecution story in its entirety.
He has stated before the Court that two persons were quarrelling at the scene
of incident and one of them was accused no.2, who was having a knife with him
at the time of incident; In his deposition, he had identified the appellant as
the persons giving knife blow on the deceased. He has also stated that the
person who was causing injury with knife was accused no.2. His evidence also
establishes the prosecution case with regard to the time, place and weapon of
offence being knife and also that person having knife was accused no.2. Some
part of his evidence is corroborated by P.Ws 11 and 12.
come on record that PW7 had immediately informed PW11 Bhagwan Jina and PW12 Nanu
Bhima about the incident that two persons were fighting near the Jaigurudev
Farm and one person was having knife in his hand and that he has already
inflicted one blow. PW12 has also further stated that PW7 Babu Govind had
informed that Laxman Chana had inflicted knife blow. This witness was
cross-examined in detail with regard to this aspect but nothing could be found
out from the cross- examination. On the basis of the aforesaid information P.W.
2 lodged the FIR at 5.00
p.m. Accused no.2
(appellant) was arrested and from his person extensively blood stained
bush-shirt, banian and other clothes were seized. Bush-shirt and banian
contained human blood A group, which was blood group of the deceased. The
Investigating Officer had prepared the seizure panchnama of the clothes and of
the arrest of accused. Further, the High Court has rightly relied upon the
discovery of Muddamal knife at the instance of the appellant, which was hidden
beneath ashes of the fire place in the kitchen of the appellant. The said knife
also contained blood having A group. For that purpose the High Court has relied
upon the panch witness PW20, Bhika Lakhman, who was working as Electric
Supervisor in Una sugar factory.
the aforesaid evidence on record, in our view, it cannot be said that the High
Court erred in relying upon some portion of the evidence of P.W. 7 who was
cross-examined by the prosecution. It is settled law that evidence of hostile
witness also can be relied upon to the extent to which it supports the
of such witness cannot be treated as washed off the record. It remains
admissible in the trial and there is no legal bar to base his conviction upon
his testimony if corroborated by other reliable evidence [Re: Bhagwan Singh v.
State of Haryana (1976) 1 SCC 389 and Sat Paul v.
Delhi Administration (1976) 1 SCC 727]. In the present case, apart from the
evidence of P.W.7, the prosecution version that he saw that appellant was
having knife in his hand and was quarreling with the deceased gets
corroboration from the evidence of P.Ws 11 and 12 to whom he disclosed the
incident immediately. On the basis of the said information, within one hour,
FIR was lodged disclosing the name of the appellant as the person who has
inflicted the knife blow.
of incised wounds are found as per the Postmortem report. The prosecution
version gets further corroboration from discovery of Muddamal knife containing
human blood Group A. Further the bush-shirt and baniyan which were put on by
the accused at the time of incident were having extensive blood stains which
were also found containing human blood group A. Learned counsel for the
appellant, however, contended that accused is also having blood Group A and
that he was having injury on the thigh as per the evidence of the Doctor. In
our view, there is no substance in his contention because as per the medical
evidence, the injuries caused to the accused were minor and that because of
such injuries, there would not be extensive bloodstains on the bush-shirt and baniyan
put on by the accused. In his 313 statement also, accused has not explained how
he got bloodstains on his bush-shirt and baniyan. He has also not denied the
recovery of the said bush-shirt and baniyan from his person at the time of his
considering the above stated evidence on record, it cannot be said that High
Court committed any error in convicting the appellant for the offence
punishable under Section 302 IPC.
result, the appeal is dismissed.