Kaware Vs. State of Maharashtra  INSC 169 (27 January 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2009 (Arising
out of SLP (Crl.) No. 5369 of 2008) Ramchandra Dhondiba Kaware ..
State of Maharashtra ..Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court
dismissing the appeal filed by the appellant. Learned 2nd Additional Sessions
Judge, Sangli, had convicted the appellant for offence punishable under Section
302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in 1 short the `IPC') and sentenced to
undergo life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- with default
version in a nutshell is as follows:
and one Shivaji Baba Lohar who was working with Keru (hereinafter referred to
as the `deceased') were on inimical terms.
Shivaji's sister was
married to the accused. The accused had borrowed money from Shivaji which he
had not returned. The accused used to visit Shivaji in the field owned by the
deceased. Keru and his family knew the accused and would often give him
agricultural produce from their lands since the accused was jobless. Shivaji
demanded repayment of the loan he had advanced to the accused. The accused was
annoyed by this and on 3.6.2000 he went to Keru's farm. Keru was asleep at a
little distance from the rest of the members of his family. Shivaji was
sleeping at another spot on the farm, a little further away from the family.
The accused entered the farm before daybreak, at about 3 am. The dogs started
barking and Maruti, the son of the deceased saw the accused beating the victim
with a yoke.
Maruti alerted Shivaji
and they chased the accused, but he managed to escape their clutches. Maruti
and Shivaji returned to the spot where the victim was lying. They found that
his skull had been fractured and a part of his brain was protruding. Three
fingers of his right hand were fractured and broken. His head and ears were
bleeding. Maruti lodged a complaint with the police. The dead body of Keru was
taken for the autopsy. The required panchanamas were drawn up and statements of
witnesses were recorded.
The accused was apprehended
and charged for having committed an offence punishable under section, 302 IPC.
His trial was committed to Sessions. The Sessions Court after consideration of
the evidence on record as noted above convicted the accused.
Before the High Court
the only stand was that the evidence of the so called eye witnesses PWs 1 and 4
cannot be relied upon. It was also submitted that a case under Section 302 IPC
was not made out. The High Court found no substance in the plea and dismissed
the appeal as afore- noted.
stand taken before the High Court was re-iterated in the present appeal.
evidence of PWs 1 and 4 does not suffer from any infirmity. PW- 1 has
categorically stated that he was awakened by the barking of dogs. He heard the
sound of somebody being beaten. He saw the incident in the light from a lantern
when the accused was hitting his father on the head with a yoke. The witness
claimed to have chased the accused but could not catch him. The evidence of
PW-4, the widow was to the similar effect. Both the trial Court and the High
Court have referred to the evidence in great detail and found that their
evidence is credible and cogent and unerringly points at the accused to be
author of the crime. The other question is regarding applicability of Section
302 IPC. It appears that the accused and the deceased were in inimical terms.
Only one blow was given with the yoke in the night. PW-4 has categorically
admitted that it was dark, but he identified the accused because he was known
to him. Number of injuries is always not a determinative factor regarding
applicability of Section 302 IPC. The nature of the weapon, place where it was
struck and several other relevant factors throw light on this aspect.
Considering the background facts of the present case according to us the
appropriate conviction would be under Section 304 Part I IPC. Custodial
sentence of 10 years would meet the ends of justice.
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)