of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Bacchudas @ Balram & Ors  Insc 26 (10
Arijit Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia (Arising out of Slp (Crl.) No. 2622 Of 2006) Dr.
Arijit Pasayat, J.
in this appeal is by the State of Madhya Pradesh to the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur Bench at Gwalior, directing acquittal of the respondents. The trial court had found the
respondents (hereinafter referred to as the 'accused') guilty of offence punishable
under Section 304 (Part II) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the 'IPC')
read with Section 34 IPC. Each of the accused persons was sentenced to undergo
rigorous imprisonment for five years and to pay a fine of Rs.2000/- with
respondents faced trial because of the following accusations:- On 10.08.2002 at
about 8 in the night Dropadi Bai (PW-1) lodged FIR at the Police out-post Bhatnavar.
It was mentioned in the FIR that at about 7-8 A.M. complainant had gone to the agricultural field. Her husband-Munshi
(hereinafter referred to as "deceased") had gone to work in the shop
of Bacchanlal Bania. When she returned in the evening, she enquired about her
husband from her son Banti (PW-2).
who informed her that when deceased was going to the shop at about 10 A.M. after having his meals, he was caught on way near
the house of Dobalia by accused Bacchu.
Avdhesh and Hariom and was beaten by them. Banti (PW-2) was told to run away
from the spot, otherwise he will also be beaten. Out of fear he ran back home,
but had not told anyone about the incident. Then complainant Dropadi went to
the house of Bacchudas Bairagi and Ramsingh Kotwar and narrated the incident.
She alongwith Bacchudas and Ramsingh went to the old house of Shankar Bairagi
and Hariom. The house was used as cattle shed by Bacchu. It's doors were not
locked from inside. They found the deceased dead and was tied by the rope. On
enquiry from neighbours Subhran told them that Bacchu, Satish, Avdhesh and Hariom
had beaten the deceased and thereafter he was dragged inside the room. Rope was
tied in his neck and neck wad throttled, which resulted in his death.
Thereafter they hanged the dead body and ran away. When complainant saw the
dead body, she found injury below left shoulder and both toes were bleeding. On
account of previous enmity on account of purchase of Rundh of Charnu kirar, Bacchu
claimed that he has paid Rs.1000/- to Charnu Kirar and he was demanding the
same from Dropadi or in alternative he was asking Dropadi Bai to live as his
wife. On the date of incident in the morning when she had gone to fetch water
at the public tap, Hariom and Bacchu met her. Both the accused asked her to
accompany them and it was objected by her husband Munshi.
this Hariom and Bacchu threatened Munshi with dire consequences and went back.
It is mentioned in the FIR that only on account of this incident Bacchu, Hariom,
Avdhesh and Satish had killed the deceased. After the investigation, challan
was filed in the Court and committal of the case to the Sessions Court, charges
under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC were framed. On appreciation of
evidence, trial Court convicted the accused persons.
evidence of three witnesses, i.e. Dropadi Bai-PW1 (widow of the deceased), Arun
Das, PW-2 (son of the deceased) and Vinod (PW-11), another child witness, were
found to be of consequence by the trial court. The trial court found that the
circumstances highlighted presented a complete chain and therefore, guilt of
the accused persons was established.
they were convicted and sentenced as afore- stated. In appeal, the High Court
found that the evidence of Vinod (PW-11), the child witness was unbelievable.
Similar was the evidence of Arun Das (PW-2). It was noted that the silence of
PW-2 for about six hours was unusual. Further the evidence of Dropadi (PW-1)
was at variance with that of PW-2.
different version of the incident was indicated in the first information
report. Therefore, the High Court concluded that prosecution has not
established the accusations.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant-State submitted that
the evidence of PW-2 was natural. Merely because he had not disclosed about
having seen the incident for a considerable length of time, that is not
sufficient to discard the prosecution version. Additionally, PW-11, the child
witness has given a believable version and his evidence should not have been
response, learned counsel appearing for the respondents submitted that the
evidence of the witnesses has been rightly discarded.
silence of a witness per se may not render prosecution version suspect, in the
present case what has been disclosed by PW-2, the so called child witness is
also not found credible, particularly when considered in the background of
High Court has noticed several inconsistencies in the prosecution version.
Apart from the fact that PW-2's conduct was unusual, the version he had
supposedly stated to his mother is at variance with what the mother PW-1
of PW-1 has been rightly discarded by the High Court. It is noted that the
version given in the first information report varies from the evidence given in
the Court. Dropadi Bai was the informant. She has stated in her evidence that
her son told her that her husband was hanged by the accused persons. Arun Das
(PW-2) gives an entirely different version.
Bai had deposed that she went to the police station, and lodged the report and
then she returned alongwith police and found dead body of her husband. This is
at variance with the evidence of Kashidas (PW-12) and Ram Singh (PW-13) who had
deposed that Dropadi Bai (PW-1) told them that accused had murdered her husband
after seeing the dead body and then they went to the police station to lodge
the report along with Dropadi Bai. Ram Singh (PW-13) had further deposed that
when police returned along with Dropadi her son Banti (PW-2) had shown the
hanged dead body to the police.
is no embargo on the appellate court reviewing the evidence upon which an order
of acquittal is based. Generally, the order of acquittal shall not be
interfered with because the presumption of innocence of the accused is further
strengthened by acquittal. The golden thread which runs through the web of
administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible
on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused
and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused
should be adopted. The paramount consideration of the court is to ensure that
miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of justice which may arise
from acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction of an
innocent. In a case where admissible evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon
the appellate court to re-appreciate the evidence where the accused has been
acquitted, for the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused
really committed any offence or not. (See Bhagwan Singh v. State of M.P, 2003 (3) SCC 21).
principle to be followed by the appellate court considering the appeal against
the judgment of acquittal is to interfere only when there are compelling and
substantial reasons for doing so. If the impugned judgment is clearly
unreasonable and relevant and convincing materials have been unjustifiably
eliminated in the process, it is a compelling reason for interference. These
aspects were highlighted by this Court in Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra
(1973 (2) SCC 793), Ramesh Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat (1996 (9) SCC
225), Jaswant Singh v. State of Haryana (2000 (4) SCC 484), Raj Kishore Jha v.
State of Bihar (2003 (11) SCC 519), State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh (2003 (11)
SCC 271), State of Punjab v. Phola Singh (2003 (11) SCC 58), Suchand Pal v.
Pal (2003 (11) SCC 527) and Sachchey Lal Tiwari v.
of U.P. (2004 (11) SCC 410).
the conclusions of the High Court in the background of the evidence on record
are tested on the touch- stone of the principles set out about, the inevitable
conclusion is that the High Court's judgment does not suffer from any infirmity
to warrant interference.
appeal is dismissed.