1. The appellant is an indigent. He was undefended in the trial court as well as in this Court. He was provided with State-defence in the trial court as also in this Court. The appellant is a tea-garden labourer who has been convicted under Section 302, I.P.C. and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.
2. The prosecution case is. that on 16-2-1980 at about 9 p.m. PW 2 Hari Prasad Dosad. driver of the Deahal Tea Estate, reported in the police station that in the Borguri Line of Hatimara Tea Estate one man was lying dead
-- this much and no further. The police made a General Diary Entry (Ext. 6) and investigation ensued. After preliminary investigation, the AGI of Police, Shri Nirmal Bora lodged an ejahar on 17-2-1980 to the effect that on 16-2-1980 at about 6 p.m. in Borguri Line of Hatimara Tea Estate accused Aklu Baraik killed his father by assaulting him with a lathi. The accused was arrested in the course of investigation, a charge-sheet was submitted and the accused was ultimately tried by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Dibrugarh. The prosecution examined as many as 7 (seven) witnesses in support of its case. There is a single witness, PW 1, Dr. Binod Kumar Saikia, on whose testimony the whole prosecution case revolved. This witness has stated that the accused made some statements to him which were incriminating in nature. His statement is that the accused came running on the date of occurrence around 6 O'clock in search of an ambulance. On this, PW 1 enquired of him as to the reason why he was asking for an ambulance to which the accused replied he had assaulted his father on the head with a lathi and his father was lying in the courtyard and he had to be carried to hospital. PW 1 then asked him to contact the driver of the ambulance, PW 2 Hari Prasad Dosad and take the ambulance. On return from the place of occurrence, PW 2 reported to PW 1 that the man had already died. Thereupon the doctor PW 1 directed PW 2 to go to the police station and report the matter and he complied with the same.
3. Now the sole question is whether the accused ever made any incriminating statement to PW 1. The accused has been examined and he has categorically denied allegation. Next, we find that the appellant who allegedly made the statement as deposed to by P. W. 1 did not make any confessional statement before any person or authority. Ordinarily, the 'abourers coming from tea-gardens make quick judicial confession. In the instant case, we do not find any judicial confession to support the statement of P. W. 1. So, let us see whether there is any corroboration of the testimony of P. W. 1 implicating the accused with the crime. At the outset we must say that in moments of distress a person like the appellant may wrongly make some utterances without understanding the implication of it and the person to whom those statements are made may deduce my meaning which he may wish to give. In the instant case, this is what has happened with the appellant. The appellant is a tea-garden labourer and they have their own dialect in which they converse. Added to this, they have their own typical tongue and P. W. 1, to whom the alleged statement was made, does not belong to that category. It was quite possible for P. W. l not to keep track with the exact statement of the accused appellant, which might have been made by the tea-garden labourer on 16-2-1980. Now let us see whether in reality or in fact P. W. l heard the accused telling him that he had beaten up his father with a lathi. To test it, let us scan the evidence of the witnesses.
4. The first person whom P. W. 1 Sri Saikia met after having talked with the appellant is P. W. 2 Hari Prasad Dosad, P. W. 1 merely told him to report about the incident to the police. There was death of a person and a responsible witness like P. W. 1 thought it fit that it should be reported to the police. Does it stand to scrutiny that he could omit to make mention that the accused was the perpetrator of the crime: When we scrutinise the evidence of P. W. 2, we find that P. W. 1 did not disclose' this important fact to P. W. 2, Hari Prasad Dosad. Naturally, the driver went to the police station and stated that some unknown person had committed the offence. Therefore, the testimony of P.W. 2 coupled with the statement contained in Ext. 6, shake the veracity of the testimony of P. W. 1, Ext. 6, is documentary evidence. It clearly shows that nobody could learn even around 9 p.m. of 16-2-1980 i. e., the date of occurrence, that the accused was the murderer. This information in Ext. 6, came via P. W. 1, yet the name of the accused-appellant does not find place in the General Diary Entry. None of the prosecution witnesses ever stated that P. W. 1 made any statement to them at or about the time of occurrence implicating the accused with the offence. We also find that the garden Chowkidar P, W. 6 went to the house of P. W. 1 before Ext. 6, had been lodged. But P. W. 1 never told him about the alleged extra-judicial confession of the accused. Therefore, two persons went to P. W. 1, but the latter did not disclose anything about the alleged confessional statement of the accused to either of them. In Court, there is not a single witness who supports the evidence of P. W. 1. Therefore. Ext. 6 the General Diary Entry, shakes the veracity of the testimony of P. W. 1. There is no corroboration of the testimony of P. W. 1, by any prosecution witness. Thirdly, we find that the two important witnesses P. W. 2 and P. W. 6 who went to P.W. l in the evening were not reported anything about the extra-judicial confession. Therefore, we cannot rely upon the statement of P. W. 1 implicating the accused-appellant or at least, the accused-appellant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. It is quite possible, and in the instant case it is more probable than not that P.W. 1 was not sure about what he had heard from the accused-appellant and accordingly he did not disclose it to the persons who came immediately after the incident i.e. P. Ws. 2 and 6. Therefore, his evidence implicating the accused falls to the ground, and the accused is entitled to the benefit of doubt.
5. In the result we hold that in the instant case the prosecution has not been able to establish its case beyond all reasonable doubt and the accused is entitled to that benefit. Accordingly, we set aside the conviction and sentence of the accused-appellant and he is set at liberty forthwith unless he is wanted in any other case.