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Suresh Narayan Roy Vs. State of Arunachal Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Criminal
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantSuresh Narayan Roy
RespondentState of Arunachal Pradesh
Excerpt:
- - dutta, the nature of the injury was grievous and it could be inflicted by a weapon like the ruler (which was exhibited as ext. (1) that the injury was not grievous one and as such, the conviction of accused under section 325 is bad in law; (3) that the accused was poor and undefended and that the police investigation was one sided. sen, the learned counsel for the appellant has failed to point out before me that the trial court has violated any mandatory provision of law in not engaging counsel to defend the accused. under these circumstances i am constrained to hold that the prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the charge under section 353, i. i find from the evidence of the doctor that he has clearly stated that the shoulder joint injury was grievous......sentenced him to suffer simple imprisonment for 4 months on both the counts.5. mr. s. k, sen, the learned counsel for the appellant has submitted the following contentions:(1) that the injury was not grievous one and as such, the conviction of accused under section 325 is bad in law;(2) that the conviction of the accused under section 353, i.p.c.. is not sustainable even on the face of the admitted prosecution case;(3) that the accused was poor and undefended and that the police investigation was one sided. according to the learned counsel, the police compelled the teaching staff of the school to adduce evidence against the accused-appellant; and(4) that the sentence is much too severe in view of the facts and circumstances of the case.6. heard the learned public prosecutor (mr. b. m......
Judgment:

K. Lahiri, J.

1. An ugly, disgraceful, reprehensible and incongruous incident quavered the academic tranquillity of the Government Middle English School at Hari village in Arunachal Pradesh on 24-11-1975. A school is a sacred institution where education is imparted to build up moral, social and physical character of the students. School teachers are the maestroes, educators and preceptors who dispense, train, instruct and prime the young minds at their formative stage. They deserve our highest esteem and respect as they are the builders of our national character.

2. The prelude could have been avoided but I could not help myself in giving vent to my impulse in view of the shocking-cum-tragic episode.

3. The summary of the incident in a condensed form may be set out as follows:

P. W. 5 Jatindra Mohan Das was the Headmaster of the Government Middle English School at Hari village in Arunachal Pradesh. In that capacity he had issued an order to all the teachers informing them about the ensuing half-yearly examination and requested them to set question papers for the said examination. The accused was one of the teachers of the school serving under P. W. 5, Das. All the teachers took note of the said order (which has been proved and marked as Ext. '3') but, however, the accused appellant ignored to note it. As the accused did not sign and take note of the order, P. W. 5 J. M. Das requested the appellant to take note of the order. Instead of following the usual practice of just noting down the contents of the order the appellant made certain oblique remarks in the order book, Ext. '3' on 24-11-75. The Headmaster took exception and made an observation in the Order Book to that effect (vide page 51 of the paper book). P. W. 5, the Headmaster, was sitting in the office-cum-common room and was engrossed in some work The first period being over, P. W. 1 Hage Tada, P. W. 2 S. C. Kantha and P. W. 3 Bankoi Yirang arrived at the office-cum-common room where P. W. 5 J. M. Das was working. Thereafter, it is alleged by the prosecution that the appellant entered the office-cum-common room, picked up a ruler (straight stick or cylinder of wood used In ruling paper or lines) and dealt blows on P. W. 5 J. M, Das in presence of P. Ws. 1, 2 and 3, However, with the help of the teachers and the students, the accused-appellant was taken out of the room. J. M, Das was injured and taken away from the place. In due course an information was lodged to the Deputy Commissioner about the incident and the same was sent to the Investigation Cell, Subansiri, Zero; a case was registered under Section 325 read with Section 353 of the I.P.C. against the appellant. The first information report has been proved as Ext. '4' and it contains the names of P. W. 2 S. C. Kantha, P. W. 1 Hage Tada and P. W. 3 Bankoi Yirang as witnesses to the occurrence. The injured was examined by a doctor, who found the following injuries on the person of Shri J. M. Das:

(a) dislocation of the right shoulder joint.

(b) One haematoma about 1' in diameter over the top of the right shoulder joint about six inches away from the root of the neck.

According to P. W. 4 Dr. D. K. Dutta, the nature of the injury was grievous and it could be inflicted by a weapon like the ruler (which was exhibited as Ext. 1). After due investigation a charge-sheet having been submitted the case came up for trial before the Deputy Commissioner, Subansiri, Zero, Arunachal Pradesh.

4. On behalf of the prosecution six witnesses were examined. The accused was examined and it appears clear that he did not deny that he had beaten P. W. 5 J. M. Das with the ruler but, his plea was that he had been threatened by P. W. 5 J. M. Das and abused in slang Assamese (the slang word or words were, however, not mentioned by the accused in his statement); the accused, thus provoked, had snatched away the ruler and dealt the Mows three tones on P, W. 5 Jatindra. The learned Deputy Commissioner, on perusal of the evidence and the plea taken up by the accused convicted him under Section 325 and 353 of the I.P.C. and sentenced him to suffer simple imprisonment for 4 months on both the counts.

5. Mr. S. K, Sen, the learned Counsel for the appellant has submitted the following contentions:

(1) That the injury was not grievous one and as such, the conviction of accused under Section 325 is bad in law;

(2) That the conviction of the accused under Section 353, I.P.C.. is not sustainable even on the face of the admitted prosecution case;

(3) That the accused was poor and undefended and that the police investigation was one sided. According to the learned Counsel, the police compelled the teaching staff of the school to adduce evidence against the accused-appellant; and

(4) That the sentence Is much too severe in view of the facts and circumstances of the case.

6. Heard the learned Public Prosecutor (Mr. B. M. Goswami), perused the evidence and the impugned judgment.

7. P. W. 1 Hage Tada was the teacher of the school in question and was present in the school. He deposed about the circulation of the order of the Headmaster informing about the ensuing examination and the direction to the teachers to submit the question papers within a prescribed period. He has also stated that after the first period was over he saw approach of the accused with some registers and books, heard his shouts in Hindi, saw him picking up a ruler lying on the table of the Headmaster and delivering blows on the shoulder of the Headmaster (P. W. 5 Das). He has stated that the students and the teachers came to the rescue of the Headmaster who was taken to his quarter. He showed the ruler with which the accused had beaten up the injured Shri Das. This witness remains unimpeached and uncontradicted. I do not find anything whatsoever to hold as to why this witness should not be relied upon. He was also a colleague of the ac-cued, There is no element anywhere in his entire testimony to disbelieve the sworn version narrated by him on oath.

8. P. W. 2 S. C. Kantha has meticulously corroborated the evidence of P. W. 1 Tada. He has stated about the order passed by the Headmaster, the entry of the appellant in the common room carrying with him register and other books. He saw the appellant picking up the wooden ruler and delivering blows on P. W, 5 Jatindra. Nothing could be brought out in cross-examination to show that he was in any way interested in the prosecution or hostile to the accused. His testimony appears to me to be truthful. However, this witness has stated in cross-examination that after the incident was over, the accused went to the injured and apologised to him for his misbehaviour and they had tea together,

9. P. W. 3 Bankoi Yirang has fully corroborated the prosecution story as to the impugned order, picking up of the ruler, the blows inflicted by the appellant on P. W. 5 Jatindra.

10. P. W. 4 Dr. D. K. Dutta, examined P. W. 5 J, M. Das and deposed as under:

I was present in Ziro Hospital on 24-11-75 as Medical Officer. On that day at 13.25 Hrs., one J. M. Das, Teacher, Hari M. E. School was brought to the Hospital. I examined and treated him, On examination I found -

(a) dislocation of the right shoulder joint.

(b) One haematoma about 1' in diameter over the top of the right shoulder joint about six inches away from the root of the neck.

(P. W. explained to the accd. the meaning of the true haematoma which means swelling of a part with reddish colour).

The nature of the injury was grievous and he was hospitalised upto 12-12-75, Such injury can be inflicted by a heavy and blunt weapon such as Ext. 1 (shown to the P. W.). I had filed one injury report to the investigating Officer and identify this report (Ext. 2), RO.A.C.

Sd./- J.M. SYIEM, Sd./- D. DUTTA,

27-3-76. 27-3-76.

Cross-examined. P. W. said that he had detected dislocation of the right shoulder joint soon after the injured was admitted in the Hospital and after release only he was advised for an X-ray which revealed no bony...(Illegible). The X-ray report thus showed that the dislocation was connected properly.' His evidence disclosed that apart from haematoma there was dislocation of the right shoulder joint of P. W. 5. His opinion is that the injury was grievous and the injury could be caused by the ruler (exhibited).

11. P. W. 5 Jatindra was the victim of the assault. He has given out a detailed version of the incident from the beginning to the end and has scrupulously and minutely given the description as to how he was assaulted by the appellant. In cross-examination the witness has frankly and honestly admitted that on different occasions he had difference of opinion with the appellant and he did not find the behaviour and dealings of the appellant to be straight-forward and candid. He has also stated that he had several altercations, disputes and differences with the appellant. It may be stated here at this stage that, to none of the witnesses including the injured, a suggestion was put that P. W. 5 Jatindra went up to the appellant with the ruler or had attempted to assault or had abused in any form or that on any other provocation the accused had snatched away the ruler from the hands of P. W. 5 and dealt the blows on him.

12. Therefore, in my opinion, the prosecution has been able to establish beyond reasonable doubt that on the date of occurrence, the accused came in an angry mood, entered into the office-cum-common room, picked up the ruler from the table of P. W. 5 Jatindra and dealt several blows on him. The prosecution has also proved that in consequence of the blows given by the appellant, P. W. 5 sustained injuries on his person.

13. Now let me consider the contentions made by the learned Counsel for the appellant. There is not the least doubt about the fact that the accused was undefended throughout his trial. It reveals from the impugned judgment itself. The counsel for the appellant submits that the case is liable to be remanded on that score. The crucial question, therefore, is as to whether the judgment is liable to be set aside on that ground. There is no statutory duty or obligation on the Court to cause engagement of counsel to defend such accused. As such, there was no violation of any mandatory provision of law by the trial Court. There is no statutory right of the accused to be so defended. Hence the question of prejudice does not arise at all. The validity of the conviction has not been impaired on the above count. Further at no stage of the trial the accused ever approached the trial Court praying any relief of the nature. It appears from the records of the case that the accused has himself cross-examined the witnesses thoroughly, Under these circumstances it does not fit in the mouth of the appellant at this stage, to question the validity of the trial. Mr. Sen, the learned Counsel for the appellant has failed to point out before me that the trial Court has violated any mandatory provision of law in not engaging counsel to defend the accused. Under these circumstances, I reject the said contention. But, however, it may be a relevant circumstance for consideration of the question of sentence.

14. The learned Counsel for the appellant is correct in submitting that the conviction of the accused-appellant under Section 353, I.P.C. is not sustainable in law. In fact, the essential ingredients of the offence under Section 353, I.P.C. are conspicuously absent in the present case. There is no clear evidence to show that the accused assaulted P. W. 5 with the intent to prevent or deter him from discharging his duty as a public servant or that such assault was committed in consequence of something done or attempted to be done by P. W. 5 as a public servant in the lawful discharge of his duty or when the accused assaulted P. W. 5, he was acting in the execution of his duty as a public servant. The entire case of the prosecution is that the accused had a personal grudge against P. W. 5 and had misbehaved with him on several occasions and to feed fat to the grudge, on the date of the occurrence, on a slightest pretext the appellant dealt the blows.

15. In the ejahar lodged, on the next date of the occurrence, the injured (P. W. 5) could not state specifically as to the reason or the cause that had prompted the appellant to attack him with the ruler. Under these circumstances I am constrained to hold that the prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the charge under Section 353, I.P.C. against the appellant. In the result, I set aside the conviction of the appellant on that count.

16. However, in my opinion, it matters very little on the face of the facts and circumstances of the case as to whether the conviction under Section 353, I. P. C, is sustained or set aside in view of the fact that the appellant has no doubt been convicted under Section 353, I.P.C., but no separate sentence has been inflicted on him on that count.

17. The next contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the injury described by the doctor to be grievous was not so. Whether an injury is grievous or simple the appellant has been sentenced to four months simple imprisonment. In my opinion, the question is more academic than real. However, when the question has been posed an answer must be given in the judgment. I find from the evidence of the doctor that he has clearly stated that the shoulder joint injury was grievous. The assertion made by the doctor has not been questioned in cross-examination. Apart from that I find that there is positive evidence adduced by the doctor (P. W. 4) that there was dislocation of the right shoulder joint and as such, it squarely falls under Section 320, fourthly and seventhly, of the I.P.C.

18. The next contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the plea of the accused was not taken into consideration by the trial Court. In my opinion, the plea has been taken into consideration by the trial Court. The plea of provocation, no doubt, may be taken up by an accused person at any stage of the trial. But if such a plea is taken at a belated stage of the proceeding without giving any suggestion to the prosecution witnesses, it becomes very difficult for the Court to rely on and to act upon such a plea. The plea that the injured went to assault the appellant with the ruler has not been suggested to any of the prosecution witnesses including the injured. This plea has been taken up only after the close of the entire prosecution case. Under these circumstances, I have no hesitation in holding that the plea was made for the purpose of this case. I disbelieve the plea taken up by the accused person. There is no corroborative evidence worth the name emanating from any source whatsoever. Apart from that the plea is inherently unbelievable in the context of the entire prosecution story. In the result, I disbelieve the plea of the appellant.

19. The strongest point urged by the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the sentence imposed on the accused is much too severe. The learned Counsel for the appellant concedes that whatever had been done by the appellant was a sheer hot-headed act and the same was evident from the story put by the accused to P. W. 2 S. C. Kantha. The accused has proved through this witness that after dealing the blows on P. W. 5, the appellant realised his folly and became repentant and went up to the injured and apologised to him for his misbehaviour and the matter was patched up The conduct of the accused, in my opinion, reinforced the prosecution story that the accused had dealt the blows. P. W. 5, Jatindra himself says that Shri Roy was an elderly person. It appears that the appellant was older than P. W. 5. Taking into consideration the age of the accused, the strained relationship between the appellant and P. W. 5, the repentance of the appellant immediately after he had dealt the blows and the expression of regret to P. W. 5, are enough to show that the accused had realised that he had done a great harm and wrong to the institution itself. This self-realisation is enough punishment for any teacher. He had gone and apolologised to a person who was younger in age. The appellant is on trial and has already served out a sentence of 1 month and 22 days. I maintain the conviction of the appellant under Section 325, I.P.C. but, however, considering all the facts and circumstances of the case reduce the sentence to the period already undergone by him (accused).

20. In the result, the appeal is partly allowed to the extent indicated above. Appeal partly allowed.


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