& Ors Vs. State of M.P  Insc 667 (18 December 2003)
Raju & Arijit Pasayat Arijit Pasayat, J.
disturbances have taken toll of many lives at different times. This is a sad
reflection on our society, though the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short
'the Constitution') underlines in no uncertain terms that ours is a secular
country, where caste, creed and religion cannot and do not have any
differentiating base. One Rajunath (hereinafter referred to as 'the deceased')
lost his life on account of communal disharmony and another Narish Chandra
(PW-1) was seriously injured. Accused persons were stated to be the authors of
the crime, who committed offences punishable under Section 302 and 307 read
with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short 'the IPC').
version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
21.10.90 at about 2.30
p.m. there was rising
of tension on account of communal feelings in Sandhwa which is a highly
sensitive town. Around mid-day, some dispute arose between two communities and
in that dispute one person belonging to a particularly community was murdered
and this news spread far and wide. Several incidents followed in quick
succession. Some parts of the market were closed, some were in the process of
being close down when police force started taking action.
runs a barber shop. He was to leave for Shastri colony which was situated at a
short distance from his shop. The deceased also lived in the same locality. At
about 2.30 p.m. the deceased and PW-1 were returning home after closing their
shops. When they were near the Dak Bungalow, the accused persons surrounded
them and started inflicting injuries indiscriminately. The injured and the
deceased tried to save their lives and started running away. The occurrence was
witnessed by Mitthu Sharma (PW-2) and Premchand (PW-8). One Satyanarayan also
witnessed the occurrence. PW-8 informed PW-1's brother Santosh (PW-4), who went
to the police station and his statement was recorded at about 2.45 p.m. At about 2.00 p.m., Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (for short 'the Cr.P.C.')
was promulgated and after short time curfew was also imposed by the
administration to bring the tense situation under control. The investigating
officer PW-18 reached the spot of occurrence and sent the deceased and the
accused to the hospital. On the basis of information lodged investigation was
undertaken and charge sheet was filed. Accused persons pleaded innocence. It is
to be noted that post-mortem was conducted by PW-15 on the deceased and PW-16
examined injured PW-1. The trial Court found that the prosecution version was
not supported by cogent evidence and accordingly directed acquittal.
State of Madhya Pradesh preferred appeal before the High Court which by the
impugned judgment set aside the acquittal; but held that the case is not
covered by Section 302 IPC but is covered by Section 324 and sentenced the
accused to undergo RI for 2 years and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/-. It was
further directed that in case of recovery of the amount the same was to be paid
to the widow of the deceased if he happened to be married, and if not, to be
paid to his parents or any one of them who happened to be alive. Out of the
fine recovered a sum of Rs.2,000/- was also directed to be given to PW-1. It is
noted that the High Court held that the accused persons were guilty of offence
punishable under Section 324 IPC as aforesaid for causing injuries to the
deceased as well as PW-1.
counsel for the appellant submitted that the trial Court had analysed the
evidence in great detail and found infirmities which the High Court failed to
notice and on surmises held the accused persons guilty.
further submitted that the evidence of PW-1 does not inspire confidence. He
does not speak about presence of PW-8 and his name was not also mentioned in
the first information report. It has been clearly established that the first
information report was ante-timed and was fabricated. There is also no evidence
to show that the same was sent to the Court.
response, learned counsel for the State submitted that the first information
report was not lodged by a person who was an eyewitness. Though PW-1 was
extensively questioned so far as assault on him was concerned, there was not
even any suggestion regarding the assaults on the deceased. The High Court has analysed
as to how the pleas that the first information report was not lodged at the
time claimed or it was fabricated is not established by evidence on record.
evidence of a single person who is claimed to have been injured is credible and
trustworthy there is no requirement in law to insist on plurality of witnesses.
In case at hand the evidence of PW-1 has been carefully analysed by the High
Court and has been found to be credible.
could not be pointed out to us as to how the evidence of PW-1 suffers from any
infirmity. The core of the evidence has to be seen and not any borderline's
aspect. Minor variations which do not have any effect on the credibility of the
evidence cannot be the basis to discard intrinsic value of the evidence.
Absence of PW-8's name in the first information report is really of no
consequence as, the first information report was lodged by PW-4 who was not an
eyewitness. The High Court's finding that the first information report was not
fabricated does not suffer from any infirmity to take any contrary view. It is
to be noted that there was practically no cross-examination of PW-1 so far as
the assaults on the deceased are concerned. The High Court seems to have
proceeded on the premises that because injury no.6 which was stated to be fatal
injury was not clearly established, to have been inflicted by any particular
accused, the case is not covered under Section 302 IPC with application of
Section 34. This in our opinion does not appear to be a correct or rational and
reasonable approach. In any event, the State has not preferred any appeal and,
therefore, we do not think it necessary to express any view on that issue.
However, there is no infirmity in the judgment of the High Court which warrants
any interference. The appeal is dismissed. The accused persons shall surrender
to custody to serve the remainder of their sentence, if any.