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Samikannu & Anr Vs. State of Tamil Nadu [2002] Insc 512 (3 December 2002)

S.N. Variava & B.N. Agrawal.B.N. Agrawal,J.

The two appellants, namely, Samikannu and Krishnan, along with accused Nos.3 - Koonan @ Manikandan and 5 Ayyakkannu were convicted by the trial court under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life. The appellants were further convicted under Sections 148 and 324 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code and each of them was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year and two years respectively for the aforesaid offences. The sentences were, however, directed to run concurrently. The other six accused persons, namely, Senthilkumar (A-2), Manickam (A-4), Thangavelu (A-6), Palanimuthu (A-8), Thangavelu (A-9) and Naladi (A-10) were convicted under Section 302/149 of the Penal Code and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life. Accused No. 2 was further convicted under Section 323 of the Penal Code and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months. Accused No. 11 was acquitted by the trial court. On appeal being preferred by all the convicted accused persons, conviction and sentence of the appellants herein under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code have been confirmed by the High Court whereas their convictions and sentences under Section 148 and Section 324 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code have been set aside. So far as accused No. 2 is concerned, his conviction under Section 323 of the Penal Code has been confirmed. However, the conviction and sentence of this accused under Section 302/149 has been set aside. So far as the other accused persons are concerned, they have been acquitted of all the charges levelled against them by the High Court.

The prosecution case is that on 4.2.1988 at about 11 p.m. when PW.1 Thirumathi Sundarambal, PW.3 Venkatasamy, PW.4 Govindaraj and Kuppusamy were in their field hut in Village Govindapalayam they heard alarm being raised by PW.5 Sekar, PW.6 Durai and two others who had gone to work in the field belonging to the family of PW.1. Upon hearing the same, Kuppusamy along with PWs. 1, 3 and 4 proceeded to the field where PWs. 5 and 6 were working and when they were crossing through the field of one Janakiramam Chettiar they were waylaid by the accused persons, including the appellants. A-5 is said to have inflicted a stab injury with knife on the head of Kuppusamy while Appellant No. 2 stabbed Kuppusamy with a bill hook. At that time, A-1 and A-3 assaulted Kuppusamy with iron rods and thereafter accused Nos. 2,4,6,8,9,10 and 11 assaulted him with sticks as a result of which he fell down on the ground and succumbed to the injuries. In the same transaction, PW.3 was assaulted by accused Nos.1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 9 with their respective weapons and PW.4 was assaulted by accused Nos. 1,2,3,4,5,6, 9 and 11. When PW.1 came near the injured persons, the accused persons fled away. PW.1 along with wife of PW.3 and her sister-in-law took the injured persons to the hut belonging to PW.7, who was working in the field of Janakiramam Chettiar.

When they were sitting in front of the hut of PW.7, PWs.5 and 6 came there with injured and all of them remained in the hut of PW.7 during night. As PW.1 was scared during night, she went to PW.11 Village Administrative Officer in the next morning at 8 O'clock and narrated the incident to him who recorded her statement which was forwarded to the concerned police station on the basis of which first information report was drawn up on the same day at 9.45 a.m. against the 11 accused persons.

The police after registering the case took up investigation and on completion thereof submitted chargesheet against all the 11 accused persons on receipt whereof cognizance was taken and the accused persons were committed to the Court of Sessions to face trial.

Defence of the accused persons was that they were innocent and were falsely implicated in the case on hand. According to them no occurrence, as alleged, had taken place and the members of the prosecution party had received injuries in some other manner of occurrence at some other place.

During trial the prosecution examined 14 witnesses in all out of whom PWs. 1,3,4,5,6 and 7 claimed to be the eyewitnesses to the occurrence out of whom PWs. 3 to 6 claimed to be injured as well and PW. 1 is the informant herself. PWs. 2, 8 and 9 are the doctors who are said to have conducted the postmortem examination as well as examined the injured persons. PW.10 is a formal witness and PW.11 is the Village Administrative Officer, who recorded statement of the informant whereas PWs. 12 and 14 are police witnesses.

Defence did not examine any witnesses in support of its case. Upon the conclusion of trial, the accused persons were convicted, as stated above, and conviction of the appellants having been confirmed by the High Court, the present appeal by special leave.

Shri G. Krishnan, learned senior counsel, appearing in support of the appeal raised several points. It was submitted that there was inordinate delay in giving information by PW.1 to the Village Administrative Officer (PW.11) as the occurrence is said to have taken place at about 11 O'clock in the night, but information was given to PW.11 at 8'O clock in the next morning and there was no reason for PW.1 not to give information during night when she had gone to the village during night itself for bringing near relations to the place of occurrence. It was also submitted that the statement of PW.1 recorded by PW.11 was a concocted one as according to PW.1 she did not know parentage of all the accused persons, though the same was mentioned in her statement inasmuch as the statement was not recorded on a printed form and neither prepared in triplicate nor copy thereof was sent to the concerned magistrate according to the practice prevalent in the State of Tamil Nadu. According to learned counsel, as a matter of fact, everything was done after the police arrived the village at 10 A.M. after due deliberations. Learned counsel further submitted that place of occurrence is doubtful and the postmortem report does not support the prosecution case. It was then submitted that PW.1 could not have witnessed the occurrence as she had not received any injury and there was no reason for not inflicting injuries upon her when injuries were inflicted upon PWs. 3 and 4.

Learned counsel then submitted that evidence of PWs. 3 and 4 should be discarded as the appellants are also said to have inflicted injuries upon them, but they have been acquitted of the charge under Section 324 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code by the High Court. It was further submitted that all the witnesses are related and the prosecution has failed to examine independent persons.

Shri Ram Lal Roy, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State, on the other hand, submitted that there was no delay in lodging the first information report as PW.1 had never gone to the village during night to bring her near relations as she was scared and she went to the Village Administrative Officer in the morning and gave information to him at 8 O'clock, who took her statement to the police station where at 9.45 A.M. formal first information report was drawn up, which was forwarded to the concerned magistrate and received by him on the same day at 12 Noon. Therefore, even if a copy of the statement of PW.1 was not sent by PW.11 to the magistrate concerned, the same cannot be taken to be a ground against the prosecution. The statement of PW.1 could not be prepared in triplicate as the form prescribed was not available and as, undisputedly, she knew the names of the accused persons, it cannot be said that there was any concoction in her statement. Learned counsel then submitted that the objective finding of the police at the place of occurrence supports the place of occurrence as disclosed in the first information report and it cannot be said that the place of occurrence was doubtful. The postmortem report shows that 19 injuries were inflicted upon the deceased and the same fits in with the prosecution case.

Merely because no injury was caused to PW.1 her presence does not become doubtful. So far as PWs. 3 and 4 are concerned, it has been submitted that their evidence cannot be discarded merely because the appellants have been acquitted of the charge under Section 324 of the Penal Code. As a matter of fact, on the point of assault on these witnesses, some discrepancies were found by the High Court, but on this ground alone their presence cannot be doubted, more so when PW.3 had received as many as nine injuries whereas PW.4 four injuries and so far as the assault on the deceased is concerned, they have consistently supported the prosecution case. Lastly, it has been submitted that merely because witnesses are related, their evidence cannot be discarded on this ground alone, especially when in the case on hand PWs. 1,3,4,5 and 6 have consistently supported the prosecution case and there is no infirmity therein.

Having perused the judgment rendered by the trial court and affirmed by the High Court, we are of the opinion that both the courts have considered all the submissions made on behalf of the appellants in great detail and the same having been rejected, they have been rightly found guilty. We do not find any infirmity in reasonings of the two courts below, as such no ground is made out warranting interference by this Court.

In the result, the appeal fails and the same is dismissed.

 

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