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P. Prabhakar Reddy Vs. State of Maharashtra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 78 of 1983
Judge
Reported in1985(1)BomCR365
Acts Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 302, 304, 309 and 324; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 313
AppellantP. Prabhakar Reddy
RespondentState of Maharashtra
Excerpt:
.....and the accused having assented she demanded rs. godam also proved entries relating to gangu, hamida, paru, parvati, fatima as well as an entry no. 12 has noted firstly that as on 14-1-1981 the under trial prisoner was well oriented, relevant in talk had no delusions and is able to defend himself as per the certificate given by the monthly visitors committee of the thane mental hospital; 11 had informed the court that the accused is capable of making his defence and thirdly that the sessions judge himself questioned the accused in the open court and was satisfied from the correct and proper answers given by the accused that the undertrial prisoner was a sound minded and was capable of making his defence. manjula rao, a telugu knowing advocate, after interviewing the accused who was..........though to his being unarmed and hence vulnerable. it was an unequal fight and the men with the knife stabbed the boy on the stomach. as observed earlier, there were other girls in the room. two of them were standing nearly the injured and the accused stabbed them also with a knife upon which deepak raised an alarm. the accused brandished his knife and threatened all that he would stab anybody who dares to come near him. the stabbing spree did not end here. the accused then entered room no. 9/10, stabbed two girls in that room and proceeded towards the wall having an open window. the window overlooks kamathipura lane. deepak beckoned the girls in room no. 9/10 to come out and seeing that the accused is alone in that room smartly closed the door and bolted it from outside.4. having.....
Judgment:

Vaze, J.

1. The 14th lane Kamathipura toward the south of St. Anthoni High School is a cluster of dilapidated chawls which constitute the ubiquitous feature of any port town the red light area. The second floor of Paperwala chawl is a house of ill-repute catering to cheap clientele in which room No. 7/8 as well as the adjoining room 9/10 are occupied by women of easy virtue. In room No. 7/8 P.W. 3 Fatima, Amina, Paru, Gangu, Pyaran and Sunita a non-descript group, were carrying on business. Privacy by a permanent plywood partition was a luxury which these girls could ill-afford; they had to make with curtains to be drawn when the occasion demanded. One Karim, son of maternal uncle of Fatima, used to supply water to the inmates.

2. In the next room which bore the number 9/10 P.W. 5 Hamida carried on business along with four more women viz. P.W. 6 Parvati, Shanta, Kasturi and Sharda. The arrangement of cots and curtains was similar to that in the adjoining room 7/8.

3. P.W. 2 Deepak Patel works as a car driver with one Madhu Patel of Vile Parle. He has been visiting Paperwala chawl in Kamathipura some two years before the incident, and makes no secret of the fact that he used to fancy one girl Shanta. In the night between 1st and 2nd October, 1978 Deepak, as usual, visited Shanta in the small hours and fell asleep in her enclosure. Round about 4.00 a.m. Deepak got up and went to the toilet when he heard some noise emanating from one of the enclosures in room No. 7/8. Deepak proceeded towards the room to make enquiries and heard cries of a girl 'Chaku Mara, Chaku Mara'. Upon entering room No. 7/8 Deepak found a girl prostrate on the ground near the bed in pool of blood. One man was standing by her side with an open blood-stained knife. The water boy Karim entered the room with water as usual. He was not merely a lowly menial supplying water : he had a blood-tie with Fatima which was thicker than water. When he saw the ghastly scene he threw the water jug on the ground and lunged towards the accused in a fit of right out indignation without giving the least though to his being unarmed and hence vulnerable. It was an unequal fight and the men with the knife stabbed the boy on the stomach. As observed earlier, there were other girls in the room. Two of them were standing nearly the injured and the accused stabbed them also with a knife upon which Deepak raised an alarm. The accused brandished his knife and threatened all that he would stab anybody who dares to come near him. The stabbing spree did not end here. The accused then entered room No. 9/10, stabbed two girls in that room and proceeded towards the wall having an open window. The window overlooks Kamathipura lane. Deepak beckoned the girls in room No. 9/10 to come out and seeing that the accused is alone in that room smartly closed the door and bolted it from outside.

4. Having ensured that the accused does not make get-away Deepak proceeded to Nagpada Police Station and informed P.W. 8, Sawant, that stabbing and 'maramari' was going on in the 14th lane of Kamathipura and asked Constable Sawant to accompany him to the spot. Constable Sawant reported about the matter of P.S.I. Vibhute and accompanied Deepak to the spot by taxi. Deepak and Sawant found that a crowd had assembled in the lane in front of Paperwala chawl and the accused was standing on the window-sill of the 2nd floor window. The accused threatened anyone who dared to come near him. Constable Sawant who was in uniform asked the accused to come down. The accused who was standing at the window stabbed himself twice with the knife in the stomach, climbed over the window and jumped down with the knife in his hand. Sawant went near the accused who had slumped on the ground, arrested him and took charge of the knife. P.S.I. Vibhute arrived at the spot and carried the injured in a taxi to J.J. hospital and other constable took charge of the other injured persons.

5. Out of the victims of the stabbings spree Amina and Karim died, while other victims recovered. On these facts the accused Prabhakar was arraigned before the Additional Sessions Judge for Greater Bombay who convicted him of the offence under S. 302, Penal Code, for having committed murder of Amina and Karim and sentenced him to suffer R.I. for life. The learned Sessions Judge also convicted the accused under S. 324, Penal Code, for having caused grievous hurts and sentenced him to suffer R.I. for two years but acquitted the accused of the offence under S. 309, Penal Code. The accused appeals.

6. There is not much difference between the stories as unfolded by the prosecution and the one told by the prosecution and the one told by the accused in his examination under S. 313, Cr.P.C. as far as his entry into the house of ill-repute is concerned. According to the accused he hails from Andhra Pradesh and came over to Bombay to meet his brother a postal trainee living at Andheri. He arrived by train reaching V.T. at 9.30 p.m. on 1-10-1978 and wanted to take a bus for Andheri. He boarded a wrong bus and a kindly Conductor asked him to get down at Bombay Central and catch the proper bus. At the Bombay Central he waited for the bus but none passed by. He had tea in a nearby hotel and as it started drizzling he took shelter under an awning. Two women of easy virtue whom the accused refers to euphemistically as 'ladies' approached him and asked him to go with them. The accused on his own accord accompanied the women to the second floor of a nearby building. The room had been divided into enclosures by curtains. One of the woman asked him whether he would like to sleep till morning and the accused having assented she demanded Rs. 20/- which the accused paid. He placed the remainder in his trouser pocket. The accused then had intercourse with the women and fell asleep, on the same cot with her. Till this stage, the narratives of prosecution and defence run on parallel tracks.

7. Round about 4.30 a.m. so the story of the accused proceeds the accused had an uncanny feeling as if some one was putting his hand in his trouser pocket where he had kept his money. The accused got up and found his suspicion confirmed. The woman who had put her hand in his trouser pocket was taking it out. Some 4/5 women and men had surrounded his cot. The brigands asked him to shell out all the money that he had which the accused resisted. One woman caught hold of the hand of the accused, some were trying to snatch away the contents of his pocket. The accused extricated himself from the predators and started running away from the room with his bag when a man with a knife standing there stabbed him on the stomach. The next thing he remembers is that he found himself in a hospital.

8. The prosecution on the other hand has examined P.W. 2 Deepak Patel to depose about the fracas discussed above that ensued in the room and the manner in which the accused after stabbing five person stabbed himself while standing near the window and leaped with the knife in hand on the ground. P.W. 3 Fatima, who was sleeping alone on a cot in room No. 7/8 was awakened by alarming cries round about 4.30 a.m. and in the light of the tube-lamp saw, to her dismay, the accused rushing towards her with a knife in his hand. On being accosted the accused told Fatima 'Merese Paisa Liya aur Bhankas Kiya' and attacked her with the knife. He stabbed her first on left side of the head and then on the left arm and thirdly on the left thigh. Accused then turned his attention to Paru and Gangu who were sleeping on a nearby cot. The curtains had been pulled apart and the two girls on the cot came in a full, unobstructed view of the accused. Fatima then saw the accused rushing towards the cot of Paru, and stabbing her. Gangu who was sleeping on the same cot fled out of the room and went to the bathroom, to seek refuge with the accused in hot pursuit. Fatima then saw Amina lying on the floor near the cot with Karim sitting near Amina with his hands on stomach and crying.

9. Fatima then heard cries of the accused coming from the adjoining room No. 9/10. He was brandishing his knife menacingly at the constable who by then had appeared on the scene and was asking the accused to come down. The accused fell down from the window on the road with the knife in hand.

10. The adjoining room No. 9/10 was being occupied by P.W. 4 Hamida, Parvati, Shanta, Kasturi and Sharda. P.W. 4 Hamida heard cries of 'Chaku Mara, Chaku Mara' and saw Gangu, one of the girls from room No. 7/8 running into her room. Gangu, who could not dodge the accused by running into the bathroom of room 7/8 was more successful this time. She crawled under the cot of Parvati whereafter accused entered with the blood-stained knife, uttered words 'Bhago' and gave 2/3 blows with knife to Parvati who was lying on the cot. The accused then turned his attention towards Hamida again raised cry 'Bhago, Bhago' and stabbed Hamida first on the left arm and then on the right thigh and thirdly on her chest. Hamida ran out of the room and Deepak Patel helped Hamida to reach the hospital. Hamida's narrative is corroborated by P.W. 5 Parvati who is occupant of room No. 9/10. She was startled by loud cries coming from the adjoining room in the early morning of 2-10-1978. Gangu barged into the room and took shelter under Parvati's cot. A man carrying blood-stained knife followed; uttered 'Bhago, Bhago' and stabbed Parvati twice on the chest and then the accused turned his attention to Hamida and stabbed her. Parvati scurried into the adjoining room, found Karim, Amina lying in a pool of blood.

11. P.W. 12 Dr. Godam was working as medical officer in J.J. Hospital during the relevant period along with Dr. Dongre who has since left the country. Dr. Godam identified the entries relating to Karim dated 2-10-1978 showing that Karim was examined by Dr. Dongre who found an incised wound 2' x 1' on the left side of umbilical region and another incised wound 1' x 1/2' on the left arm and the third incised wound on the chest near nipple of the size 1/2' x 1/8' x 1/8'. Dr. Godam also proved entries relating to Gangu, Hamida, Paru, Parvati, Fatima as well as an entry No. C-1848 relating to an unknown patient who has since been identified as the accused himself. The patient had consumed alcohol and was under its influence at 5.20 a.m. on 2-10-1978 and had suffered an incised wound on the left eye brow of 1 1/2' x 1/2' x 1/4' muscle deep and another incised wound on the right side of the umbilical region 1 1/2' in length as a result of which the omentum had come up. That, in short is the horrendous tale unfolded by the prosecution about the visit of a man from Andhra to a whorehouse whose gravitational fall from the window on the second floor was preceded by an orgy of violence leaving two dead and five injured : pity that they were whores.

12. Mr. Hudlikar, learned Counsel for the accused attacked the finding of the lower Court on two counts. In the first place, counsel submits that there was no earthly reason for the accused who admittedly had visited prostitute Amina to go on a stabbing spree unless he was driven to do so by unforeseen circumstances. According to the Counsel the women of easy virtue alone with Karim saw in the accused the most attractive prey for robbery inasmuch as the man from Andhra being new to Bombay had problems of communication and was unaccompanied. The inmates of those rooms in Paperwala chawl girdled the bed of the accused when he was sleeping and tried to rob him of his cash which he had safely tucked away in his trouser pocket. Infuriated, the accused tried to break away from the ring but was prevented by Karim who could not allow the quarry to escape with the belongings, stabbed him and the accused in self defence had to inflict blows on the surrounding persons.

13. It is a common ground that the accused did come on second floor of Paperwala chawl to visit prostitute. His story about the street walkers approaching him when he was waiting for the rain to abate may or may not be true : it does not make the situation any the different. He wanted to come to a prostitute most of all. He went to bed with her and the two continued to sleep on the same cot till morning. The accused had undertaken a long journey from Andhra. He consumed liquor, had sex and was closetedin a strange room on a small cot with an unknown female. He slept for the most part of the night and it is understandable that the slightest body movement of his partner in the bed would awake him. Assuming that he was so woken up in the early hours of the day with the feeling that some one is trying to rob him of his cash, it does not seem probable that those who surrounded him were bent on stabbing him. They went for lucre and not for life. Enraged, the accused lost his temper, was seized by a paroxysm and went on the stabbing spree. The testimonies of Deepak Patel, Fatima, Hamida and Parvati have been consistent and nothing has been brought out in the cross-examination to cast any doubt on their veracity. The last three are the victims themselves and the first a regular customer who saw the stabbings, picked up Hamida, arranged for her hospitalisation, reported the matter to police and fetched constable Sawant on the spot. The constable and the members of the public who had assembled on the road unnerved the accused who found all escape routes sealed. The braggadocio of the accused who dared everyone with a bloody knife fooled no one. It is in this fit of disappointment and contrition that he stabbed himself and leaped from the window as deposed to by constable Sawant and Deepak. An argument of plurality has been advanced at the Bar that as a number of people had assembled near the Paperwala chawl, the prosecution could have examined one of the members of the public. There appears to be no reason why Deepak Patel who admittedly had fetched constable Sawant after informing him about the incident should not be believed when his presence in the second floor of the chawl has been corroborated by other witnesses.

14. That brings us to sheet-anchor of the defence raised in the case, viz., that the accused was suffering from insanity at the time he committed the offence. The learned Sessions Judge vide Exh. 12 has noted firstly that as on 14-1-1981 the under trial prisoner was well oriented, relevant in talk had no delusions and is able to defend himself as per the certificate given by the monthly visitors committee of the Thane Mental Hospital; secondly, that the defence Advocate by pursis Exh. 11 had informed the Court that the accused is capable of making his defence and thirdly that the Sessions Judge himself questioned the accused in the open court and was satisfied from the correct and proper answers given by the accused that the undertrial prisoner was a sound minded and was capable of making his defence. In this Court also Mr. Hudlikar, who was ably assisted by Mrs. Manjula Rao, a Telugu knowing advocate, after interviewing the accused who was produced here was satisfied that the accused is able to understand the proceedings in this Court. We had also asked few questions to the accused and were satisfied that he understands the nature and ambit of the proceedings for which we have made a separate note.

15. During his examination under S. 313, Cr.P.C. the accused had produced a certificate dated 8-1-1979 issued by one Dr. Sharma, Dy. Civil Surgeon, Government Hospital, Araingadda. This certificate has not been proved and the accused had in his examination told that he has no witnesses in defence. All the same we have gone through the certificate which indicates that the accused is 'psychoneurotic'. Sometimes he has got silly behaviour (excited in all respect) : he was under the treatment of Dr. Sarma from 15-9-1978 to 27-9-1978. That is to say after taking treatment for 12 days from Dr. Sarma the accused boarded the train for Bombay reaching V.T. in the mid-night of 1st and 2nd October.

16. Psychoneurosis as per Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 26th Edition page 1091 is :

'an emotional disorder due to unresolved conflicts, anxiety being its chief characteristic. The anxiety may be expressed directly or indirectly, as by conversion, displacement, etc. In contrast to the psychoses, the psychoneuroses do not involve gross distortions of external reality or disorganization of personality.'

17. The manner in which the accused has answered the questions in his examination under S. 313, Cr.P.C. and the coherent story put up by him about the visit to the Paperwala Chawl are indicative of abnormal mental health. The reaction of the accused when he felt that some one was trying to rob him of his cash shows an intelligent response. He was not labouring under such defect of reason, from disease of mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing nor that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong. The nemesis that seized him which led to his suicidal action is also dictated by reason. At most one can say that the accused over-reacted to the sensation of some one slipping his hand in his trouser pocket a reaction which could not be expected of a reasonable man. The paroxysm which seized him and the stabbings spree that followed could not be called resulting from fit of insanity and no evidence of unhealthy condition of the mind has been led by the accused.

18. It appears that the accused was found smelling of alcohol even at 5.30 a.m. when he was examined by the doctor in J.J. Hospital. As per the accused himself, he had visited the prostitute den, had liquor and sex and was probably exhausted after his long journey from Andhra Pradesh. He lost his balance and in a frenzy lunged forward and attacked whosoever was near him.

19. P.W. 9 Dr. Franklin who conducted the autopsy on Amina found that internal injury dividing the first and second costal cartilages and perforation of the right lung was 20 cms. deep. Amina had suffered four incised wounds and Dr. Franklin explained that even though the length of the blade of the knife was 11.5 cms, it is possible that the wound of depth of 20 cms. could be caused by such a weapon because of the explanation and contraction of lung with breathing of living person. The force with which the knife blows were delivered on Amina spell out a case of murder but so far as the injuries on Karim are concerned we find from the evidence of P.W. 11 Dr. Patkar that Karim suffered from incision 1' in length another incised wound. 1' x 1/2' x 1/2' and 3rd on left arm 1/2' x 1/2' x 1/2'. Though Dr. Patkar deposed that the external injury together with internal damage was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death of human being he admitted that there was every possibility of the patient surviving and that the patient died on account of post operatives complications. The finding of the learned Sessions Judge that the accused committed offence punishable under S. 302, Penal Code, as respects Karim cannot be sustained and under the circumstances we find that the accused has committed offence, punishable under S. 304 (Part II) Penal Code, for which sentence of seven years rigorous imprisonment will serve the ends of justice. The appeal succeeds partly and the finding of the learned Sessions Judge that the accused committed an offence under S. 302, Penal Code, for having committed murder of Amina and the sentence of rigorous imprisonment for life imposed on him is confirmed. Similarly, the conviction for the offence under S. 324, Penal Code, for having caused hurts with knife on Fatima, Hamida, Paravati and the sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years is confirmed.

20. The conviction of the offence under S. 302, Penal Code, for having committed the murder of Karim is substituted by conviction of offence under S. 304 (Part II) Penal Code, and he is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for seven years. Substantive sentences to run concurrently.

21. Appeal partly allowed.


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