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Mushirkha Bashirkha Musalman Vs. State of Maharashtra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 794 of 1860
Judge
Reported in1983(1)BomCR282
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 302, 322, 323, 325 and 394; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 313 and 428
AppellantMushirkha Bashirkha Musalman
RespondentState of Maharashtra
Appellant AdvocateS.M. Dange, Adv. (appointed)
Respondent AdvocateM.R. Suryawanshi, P.P.
Excerpt:
.....to be likely to cause such hurt - no intention or knowledge on part of accused to cause such hurt to deceased was disclosed in medical evidence - conviction under section 325 liable to be set aside - appellant convicted for offence punishable under section 323. - - 5 who were the only eye-witnesses were not reliable witnesses because their evidence did not corroborate with each other. 19 which was found on the person of the deceased at the time of inquest panchanama, shri dange canvassed before me that it was a fabricated document and it did affect the testimony of shivnathsingh whose evidence was also not reliable. according to shri dange the whole evidence is not reliable and as such this was a fit case in which benefit of doubt should have been given to the accused. shri..........at jalgaon since the offence of murder was exclusively triable by the court of sessions.5. the learned sessions judge framed charge under sections 302 and 394 of the indian penal code against the accused to which he pleaded not guilty. his defence was of simple denial only. however, he contended in his statement under section 313 of the criminal code that the witnesses deposed against him at the instance of police.6. in support of its case the prosecution examined 10 witnesses in all including the medical officer dr. jagannath shirode p.w. 4 and the investigation officer shri chaugule p.w. 10 and on careful consideration of the evidence on record the learned sessions judge rejected the story of the prosecution in respect of offences under sections 302 and 394 of the indian penal.....
Judgment:

G.M. Khandekar, J.

1. This appeal by the accused is directed against an order of conviction and sentence recorded by the Sessions Judge, Jalgaon, in Sessions Case No. 37 of 1980 in respect of offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. The victim of offence of alleged murder in this case is one Tukaram Hari Mahajan who was resident of village Waghod, a place about five kilometres away from Raver. The accused in this case is one Mushirkha who is resident of Raver town. It appears that Tukaram was to pay some amount No. 35/- to the accused and a demand about that amount was made by the accused to the deceased. On the date of incident which was 8th March, 1980 the accused Mushirkha met the deceased Tukaram near the weekly Market at Raver at about 2.30 p.m. or so and the quarrel between them took place just in front of a hotel which is styled as Saraswati Hotel and owned by Khandu Mahajan P.W. 3. The accused was demanding amount of Rs. 35/- from the deceased but the deceased expressed his inability to pay any amount to the accused on the ground that he was not liable to pay that amount. Some persons gathered near about the place of quarrel and as Tukaram i.e. the deceased did not pay amount to the accused inspite of constant demand, the accused dealt fist blows on the ribs of the deceased and also slapped him on his face. It appears that deceased Tukaram tried to escape from the road where the incident took place and he wanted to take shelter in the hotel of Khandu Mahajan but there also he was apprehended by the accused who again made a demand for the amount. The deceased said to the accused that he possesses only a five rupee note and accordingly that currency note of Rs. 5/- was snatched away by the accused from him. The accused then gave threats to Tukaram and went away.

3. It appears that deceased Tukaram made an appeal to the persons collected at the that some justice should be done to him and, therefore, one Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 who was doing a work of painting in a nearby shop brought a paper and scribed complaint on it as stated by the deceased. He then handed over that written application to deceased Tukaram asking him to hand it over at the Police Station. It is the case of the prosecution that deceased Tukaram felt giddy and he could hardly cross some distance. Some persons helped him to reach him to the secluded place i.e. under the shade of tree near Raver Barhanpur Road and Tukaram was made to lie down. He was also given water but his condition was deteriorating. Some persons saw deteriorating condition of Tukaram and happened to inform Khandu Mahajan P.W. 3 about the critical condition of Tukaram and hence some persons who had actually seen the incident including Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 went to the Police Station at Raver and informed Head Constable Arjun Jadhav who was Police Station Officer at that time. The incident was orally narrated to Head Constable Jadhav who recorded an entry in the station diary and he deputed one Police Constable named Sukhlal to go with the informants to the place where the injured person was lying in a critical condition. Suklal Constable immediately removed the injured Tukaram to the Municipal Hospital at Raver where he was treated by Dr. Jagannath Shirode P.W. 4. However, within 10 minutes of the arrival of Tukaram to the hospital he breathed his last. The Medical Officer accordingly sent intimation about the death of Tukaram to the Police Station at Raver. Head Constable Jadhav went to the hospital and recorded inquest panchanama Exh. 12. The corpse was then sent to the Medical Officer for post mortem examination and Dr. Shirode P.W. 4 held an autopsy on the dead body of deceased Tukaram. It appears that Shivnathsingh who had scribed application as per say of Tukaram was called at the Police Station by Head Constable Jadhav who recorded his statement. After going through the statement of Shivnathsingh, Head Constable Jadhav submitted a regular complaint alleging that the accused had committed murder of the deceased Tukaram and had also robbed him of an amount of Rs. 5/- and on the basis of this complaint an offence being Crime No. 12 of 1980 was registered at the Police Station at about 9.15 p.m. on the same day i.e. 8th March, 1980.

4. Shri Chaugule P.W. 10 P.S.I. attached to Raver Police Station took charge of the investigation at about 9.45 p.m. on 8th March, 1980 and on the next day i.e. on 9th March, 1980 he recorded spot panchanama (Exh. 22). He also visited the spot where Tukaram was said to be lying in a critical condition and recorded panchanama of that place which is at Exh. 23. After necessary investigation, a charge sheet for offences punishable under sections 302 and 394 of the Indian Penal Code came to be filed against the accused in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Raver. The learned Magistrate committed the accused to stand, his trial in the Sessions Court at Jalgaon since the offence of murder was exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions.

5. The learned Sessions Judge framed charge under sections 302 and 394 of the Indian Penal Code against the accused to which he pleaded not guilty. His defence was of simple denial only. However, he contended in his statement under section 313 of the Criminal Code that the witnesses deposed against him at the instance of police.

6. In support of its case the prosecution examined 10 witnesses in all including the Medical Officer Dr. Jagannath Shirode P.W. 4 and the Investigation Officer Shri Chaugule P.W. 10 and on careful consideration of the evidence on record the learned Sessions Judge rejected the story of the prosecution in respect of offences under sections 302 and 394 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the learned Sessions Judge, it was proved that the accused had committed assault on deceased Tukaram with fist blows and accordingly offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code was established against the accused. The learned Sessions Judge, therefore, convicted the accused in respect of offence under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to suffer R.I. for 21/2 years. Feeling aggrieved by this order of conviction and sentence the accused preferred this appeal through Jail but subsequently he was released on bail after admission of appeal.

7. Shri Dange, the learned Counsel for the appellant assailed the conviction of accused in respect of offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code and submitted before me that the two witnesses namely Khandu P.W. 3 and Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 who were the only eye-witnesses were not reliable witnesses because their evidence did not corroborate with each other. He, therefore, canvassed before me that in view of the discrepancies appearing in the evidence of both these witnesses the learned Sessions Judge should have rejected their evidence in toto. Shri Dange also made a grievance that the statement of Khandu P.W. 3 was recorded on 9th March, 1980 in the afternoon and as such there was delay in recording his statement and on this ground also the evidence of Khandu should be discarded. It was also urged on behalf of the appellant that the name of Khandu did not appear in the first information report and besides he did not sign the application at Exh. 19 though, according to the prosecution, it was scribed in his shop. As regards the document at Exh. 19 which was found on the person of the deceased at the time of inquest panchanama, Shri Dange canvassed before me that it was a fabricated document and it did affect the testimony of Shivnathsingh whose evidence was also not reliable. It was also his grievance that the medical evidence did not support the versions given by both the witnesses namely Khandu and Shivnathsingh. According to Shri Dange the whole evidence is not reliable and as such this was a fit case in which benefit of doubt should have been given to the accused. He, therefore, strongly pressed for acquittal of his client. Shri Suryawanshi, the learned Public Prosecutor, supported the view taken by the learned Sessions Judge so as far as appreciation of both the witnesses namely Khandu and Shivnathsingh is concerned and canvassed before me that the evidence of both these witnesses was quite reliable. It was also argued by the learned Counsel for the appellant without prejudice to his submission made above that at best the offence could fall within the ambit of section 323 of the Indian Penal Code and not under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code and the learned Public Prosecution support this argument advanced on behalf of the appellant. However, this aspect of the case would be considered in appropriate paragraph later on.

8. Khandu P.W. 3 is a resident of Raver town and admittedly he runs a hotel styled as Saraswati Hotel on the northern side of the weekly Bazar. According to him, on 8th March, 1980 at about 2.30 p.m. while he was sitting at the counter in his hotel, he heard a quarrel going on the road in between Tukaram Mahajan and the accused Mushirkha. The quarrel was over some financial matter and accused demanded Rs. 35/- from Tukaram. Since he was fined because of him (Tukaram) and, therefore, he was demanding Rs. 35/- from Tukaram but Tukaram expressed his inability to pay that amount to him. As Tukaram did not pay money to Mushirkhan inspite of demands, the accused dealt two fist blows over the ribs of Tukaram. After being beaten by Mushirkhan (accused), Tukaram came running towards his (Khandu's) hotel and accused also followed him and caught hold of Tukaram near the Osari of his hotel. The accused insisted for money and so Tukaram took out Rs. 5/- from his pocket and showed the said currency note of Rs. 5/- to the accused and other persons who had assembled near the spot. The currency note of Rs. 5/- was snatched away by the accused who left spot after giving threat to Tukaram. He has then referred to the appeal made by injured Tukaram to the people who had assembled at the spot and he then refers to the application which was written by Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 at the instance of Tukaram. After taking possession of that application Tukaram went away towards the western side for going to the Police Station. It appears from his evidence that at about 4.30 p.m. one Motiram Lohar informed him in his hotel that Tukaram of Waghod was lying near a hotel by the side of Raver Barhanpur Road and accordingly he requested Shivnathsingh, Baliram and Ganesh to go there and see what the matter was. At about 5.30 p.m. he came to know that Tukaram was dead.

9. The learned Counsel for the appellant challenge the evidence of this witness on the grounds that there was an omission with respect to the demand of Rs. 35/- by accused to Tukaram in his police statement and also that he had not signed the application written by Shivnathsingh. He also canvassed before me that there was delay in recording the statement of this witness and as such on this ground also his testimony should be discarded altogether. Another ground that was pressed by the learned Counsel on behalf of the appellant was that there were discrepancies in the evidence of this witness and also Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 who is another eye-witness and hence his testimony should be discarded altogether. The learned Sessions Judge has discussed the evidence of witness Khandu in his judgment and evidence of this witness was also challenge on the same grounds before the learned Sessions Judge. All those grounds on which testimony of witness Khandu was sought to be attacked were discarded by the learned Sessions Judge and he found that the testimony of Khandu was perfectly reliable on the point that accused dealt two fist blows on the ribs of the deceased. I have carefully gone through the evidence of this witness Khandu and I find myself in agreement with appreciation of evidence made by the learned Sessions Judge. After all, this witness Khandu had no axe to grind against the accused and consequently he had no reason to falsely implicate the accused in such a serious crime. To repeat, I accept the evidence of this witness in toto and hold that his evidence fully supports the prosecution story on the point that it was the accused who had dealt fist blows on the ribs of deceased Tukaram.

10. That takes me to the consideration of evidence of the other witness named Shivnathsingh P.W. 5. According to this witness he was busy in painting the shop of Prakash Mochi on the day of incident and this shop is in the neighbourhood of the hotel run by Khandu P.W. 3. His evidence shows that at about 2.30 p.m. he heard quarrel between Mushirkha and the person named Tukaram who subsequently died on the same day. Mushirkha was demanding money i.e. Rs. 35/- from Tukaram on the ground that he had paid fine of Rs. 35/- and had also undergone jail sentence for his (deceased's) cause and, therefore, he wanted Rs. 35/- from him. Tukaram was saying that he did not know anything about the incident and he also expressed his inability to pay money. The accused thereupon slapped Tukaram over his face twice or thrice and also dealt two fist blows with force towards the ribs of Tukaram. Tukaram, therefore, ran towards the hotel of Khandu and Mushirkha followed him. Tukaram then took out a currency note of Rs. 5/- from his pocket and it was snatched away by the accused. He has then referred to the application written by him as per the say of Tukaram and stated that after obtaining signatures of some persons he handed over that application to Tukaram who then went away towards the Police Station. At about 4.00 p.m. Khandu P.W. 3 told him that Tukaram was lying unconscious near one hotel by the side of Barhanpur Raver road and he was asked to go there. He, therefore, went to the place along with two others and found that Tukaram was lying unconscious. He then went to the Police Station and narrated the incident orally to the Head Constable. Apparently, this witness is an eye-witness to the incident and his evidence was attacked on behalf of the appellant on the ground that there were discrepancies in his evidence in examination-in-chief and in cross-examination. It is true that in examination-in-chief he stated that the accused dealt two fist blows over the ribs of Tukaram but it appears that he made a different statement before the police. In his police statement he stated that the blows were dealt over the abdomen. It is true that there is some discrepancy as regards the place where the fist blows were said to have been given by the accused to the deceased and the learned Sessions Judge was aware of this discrepancy also. However, inspite of this discrepancy which has been explained by the learned Sessions Judge in his judgment, he found the evidence of this witness Shivnathsingh quite reliable on the point that it was the accused who dealt two fist blows to the deceased on his ribs. The learned Sessions Judge has pointed out possibilities in his judgment as to how mistake came to be made by this witness while describing the place of assault before the police. In my opinion, that is not a very important discrepancy as would dislodge the truth of the testimony of this witness altogether. The presence of this witness near the spot was quite reliable and Exh. 11 which was the extract of station diary shows that this witness Shivnathsingh had gone to the Police Station at about 5.15 p.m. and made a report to the Police Station Officer that the accused had assaulted deceased Tukaram. This piece of evidence also supports the testimony of Shivnathsingh and consequently his evidence on the point that accused dealt fist blows to the deceased on the ribs rightly accepted by the learned session Judge.

11. At this stage, it would be necessary to consider one document which is at Exh. 19. This is an application scribed by Shivnathsingh P.W. 5 at the instance of deceased Tukaram near the hotel of Khandu and after obtaining some signatures over it he handed over that application to Tukaram for being presented it at the Police Station. This witness Shivnathsingh has admitted to have scribed this application but the genuineness of this document was attacked on behalf of the accused in the lower Court. The learned Sessions Judge has discussed evidence on this point in paragraphs 15 and 17 of his judgment and he found that this document at Exh. 19 was not a genuine document on which reliance could be placed. I find myself in agreement with the reasons given by the learned Sessions Judge in discarding the document at Exh. 19 and I do not consider it necessary to reiterate all the here for discarding the said document.

12. One more witness needs to be considered is Ramesh Mahajan P.W. 9, who is a resident of Tamaswadi and who knew the deceased Tukaram. His evidence shows that on 8th March, 1980 he had gone to Raver in connection with his business and at about 2-45 p.m. When he himself and Pundlik son of Tukaram Patil were on the read, Tukaram came from the weekly Bazar side and the complained to them that he was feeling giddy and had pain in the chest. Tukaram told him that he was beaten by one boy named Mushirkha and thereafter he helped Tukaram to walk and brought him upto a hotel and on the backside of the hotel Tukaram was made to lie under the shade of a tree. He fetched water for Tukaram and given him a glass of water and thereafter he went away. The learned Counsel for the appellant tried to challenge the testimony of this witness on the strength of his statement in cross-examination which is to the effect that he had told the Police Office that he was with Mewal Master upto 3-00p.m. In my opinion, the villages do not have any correct idea of the time and it makes no difference whether the witness met the injured Tukaram either at 2-30 or 3-00 p.m. This minor discrepancy as regard the time will not affect the testimony given in his examination-chief. I would, therefore, accept his evidence as was done by the learned Sessions Judge which goes to show that deceased Tukaram had disclosed to him that he was assaulted by accused Mushirka. No other evidence in material in this case except the evidence of Dr. Shirode P.W. 4 whose evidence will be referred to by me in subsequent paragraph. As observed above, the evidence of both the eye-witnesses namely Khandu and Shivnathsingh is perfectly reliable and the prosecution also gets support from the entry in Exh. 11 and also from the evidence of Ramesh Mahajan P.W. 9. I would, therefore, hold that the Sessions Judge was right in holding that accused dealt two first blows to deceased Tukaram on ribs on the day of incident.

13. I have now to consider as to what offence is committed by the appellant. The learned Sessions Judge found that the offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code was established against the accused and this finding was challenged on behalf of the accused. The learned Counsel for the appellant canvassed before me that the case would not fall within the ambit of Clause 'Eight' of section 320 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines grievous hurt. Clause 'Eight' of that section shows that any hurt which endangers life or which causes the suffer to be during the space of twenty days ion severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits is designated as grievous. We have only to consider here whether the accused hurt which endangered the life of deceased. The learned Sessions Judge found that the hurt caused to Tukaram by the accused endangered his life and as such it was a grievous hurt. Section 322 of the Indian Penal Code provides that under whoever voluntarily causes hurt, it the hurt which he intends to cause or knows himself to be likely to cause is grievous hurt, and if the hurt which he causes it grievous hurt, is said 'Voluntarily to cause grievous hurt'. There is an explanation provided to this section which is to the effect that a person is not said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt except when he both causes grievous hurt nand intends or knows himself to be likely to cause grievous hurt. But he is said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt if, intending or knowing himself to be likely to cause grievous hurt of one kind, he actually causes grievous hurt of another kind.

14. Tuning to the medical evidence we find that Dr. Shirode P.W. 4 did not find any external injury over the person of the deceased. On internal examination he found that right lung was pale and congested. Upper lobe of the left lung was lacerated on its mid part and it was completely lacerated and irregular in its shape. Pulmonary artery and pulmonary veins and thoracic artery were pale and congested, with accumulation of red blood in that part. Pericardium was pale and congested and although right chamber of the heart was full of red blood. The left chamber was empty. Liver, spleen and kidney were also found pale and congested. According to the Medical Officer, the cause of death was due to hemorrhage and shock due to laceration of left lobe of the lung. In cross-examination although the Medical Officer has stated that such internal injury was not possible because of fist blows, yet he added that first blows with greater force might cause such injuries. It, therefore, appears that great force was applied by the accused to the decreased while giving first blows. The question for consideration is whether the intention or knowledge as envisaged by explanation to section 322 of the Indian Penal Code was present this case. The Judge is not to trouble himself with seeking for direct proof of what the offender thought was likely to happen, but is to infer the nature of his act, taking him to have intended grievous hurt, or at least to have contemplated grievous hurt as likely to occur, when he did what everybody knows is likely to cause grievous hurt, and the more certainly drawing this conclusion where there is evidence of previous enmity against the party who was suffered. If the act was such that nothing more than simple hurt could reasonably be thought likely to ensure from it, then although grievous may unexpectedly have ensued, it would be his duty to convict the offender of simple hurt only. A person can be convicted of grievous hurt only when the result and the intention correspond, or when grievous hurt has been suffered from an act which was intended to cause grievous hurt, though it may be of a different kind. Though grievous hurt may be caused in an assault, it does not at all follow that the person who assaulted is guilty of causing grievous hurt under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code. A person is only liable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code if he voluntarily cause grievous hurt and voluntarily causing just' according to section 322 means if he intends to cause grievous hurt or knew himself to be likely to cause such hurt.

15. I have already referred to the medical evidence in the above paragraph. The cause of death was due to haemorrhage and shock and due to laceration of left lobe of the lung. By giving first blows on the person of the deceased it is difficult to believe that the accused intended to the cause such hurt to him. It has also come on record that some grave provocation was caused by the deceased to the accused when he refused to pay the amount to the accused. In these circumstance I feel that the learned Sessions Judge was not correct in convicting the appellant in respect of the offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code. The learned Public Prosecutor fairly contended before me that there was no intention or knowledge on the part of the accused to cause such hurt to the deceased as was disclosed in the medical evidence. I would, therefore, set aside the conviction of the appellant in respect of offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code and instead convict him for the offence punishable under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code.

16. That takes me to the question of sentence. Admittedly, the act of the accused his resulted in the death of Tukaram. I, therefore, feel that it would meet the ends of justice if the appellant is sentenced to suffer R.I. for one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 200/- in default to suffer R.I. for two months for the offence punishable under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code.

17. In the result, the appeal is partly allowed. The order of conviction and sentenced recorded by the learned Sessions Judge against the appellant in respect of offence punishable under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code in Sessions Case No. 37 of 1980 is hereby quashed and instead the appellant is convicted for the offence punishable under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code and is sentenced to suffer R.I. for one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 200/- in default to suffer R.I. for two months. The appellant is entitled to claim set off under section 428 of the Criminal Procedure Code as ordered by the learned Sessions Judge. The appellant shall surrender to his bail.


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