(1) Both these appeals arise from the decision of the learned Session Judge Dharwar in Sessions Case No. 62/59 on his fire, Criminal Appeal No. 160/60 was filed by A-1 Veerabhadrappa Kallappa Sajjan. Criminal Appeal No. 161/60 filed by A2 Sangaya Richaya Hire math and A3 Sathappa Ningappa shelavadi. All the three accused were tried for offences under Schedule. 302, 207 and 435 read with S. 24, J.P.C. They were acquired of the offfence under S. 302/34 J.P.C. but they were convicted under the latter two provisions. For the offence under S. 201/34 J.P.C. each one of them was sentenced to suff v.rigerous imprisonment for 7 years and o pay a fine of Rs. 100/- in default to sutffer further rigorous imprisonments for 6 months. Similarly for the offence under S. 435/34 J.P.C. they were sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 100/- . In default to suffer further rigoous imprisonment for 6 months. The two substantive sentences were ordered to rum conscutively.
(2) The prosecutioncase is that there was enquity between deceased Karsidappa Menssigo and A-1; therefore he (A-1) lock the assistance of A-2 and A-3 and the three together murdered the deceased some time in the morning of 21.1.1959 and somewhere between Gadag and Arvkurhqthi nd put the dead body of the deceased in a kadhi stack and set-fire to that stock, but before they could get away from the place, the villagers apprehended them; tied them to nearby tree; and sent information to the police station at Navalgund which information was received by P.W1 Hazaratsab Mahammadsab Savatnur (P.S.I.) at about 11.50 a.m. Immediately he recorded that information in the general diary of the station and rushed to the scene of occurrence in a jeep. By the time he reached the scene of occurrence the fire had been extinguished by the villagers. He got removed the dead body which was completely charred. Then he issued an F.I.R. and proceed to investigate the case. In due time the threee accused wee charges-sheeted for the offences mentioned above.
(3) The prosecution case rests on circumstantial evidence , no one has witnessed either the murder or the throwing of the dead body in the Kadala stack or setting fire to the same. Therefore we have to see whether the circumstances alleged by the prosecution are satisfactorily established and further whether the proved circumstances are not merely consistant with the guilt of the pressed but incontinent with their innocence. The plea of the accused is one of denial. They have not only denied the commission of the offences with which they were charged but they have also denied the several circumstances put against them excepting the fact that they were apprehended by the villagers of Arekarltalti at about 10.30 a.m. As mentioned earlier the accused were acquired of the charge of 'murder'. The State has not appealed against that order. Therefore the same has become final.
(After discussing the evidence in paras 4-16 the judgment proceeded;) The facts proved show without doubt that the accused had murdered the deceased. Evidently the learned Sessions Judge was not able to grasp the significance of the circumstances established in the case. That isunfortunate. As mentioned earlier the State has not filed any appeal against the acquired of the accused under the 'murder' charge. Therefore a burial murder unpunished.
(17) It was strenuously contended that however telling some of the circumstances established may be, the links made out do not complete the chain and therefore too circumstances established are insufficient to bring home the guilt to the appellants. It was urges that there is no evidence to show that the accused decoyed the deceased or that they murdered him, or that they threw tge dead body into the haystack or set fire to the same; in the absence or these counceling links the accused are entitled to the benefit or doubt. Decisions dealing with the true requirements of circumstantial evidence are logion. Superficially viewed they speak in discordant voices. That is because, what inferences should be drawn from a given set of facts is coessentially a question of fact. Each decision, depending on the facts of that case is likely to lay emphasis on one or other of the several principles that bear on the appreciation of circumstantial evidence .
The true rule is that the circumstances alleged must be established by satisfactory evidence as in the case of ther evidence and the circumstances proved must be conclusive in characterr. In other words, the chain of circumstances established must be so complete as to lease no reasonable doubt about the fault of the accused. While it is true that there should be no missing links in the prosecution case, it is not the law that every one of the links insist appear on the surface of the evidence adduced. Some of these links may have to be inferred from the proved fcts. Those links may be termed as inferential links. In drawing those inferences or to be more accurate, presumption, a judge of fact is required to have regard to the common course of natural events, to human conduct and their relation to the facts of the particular case. If that is not so, Section 114 of the Evidence Act should become otiose, which in its own would make the laws ineffective.
(18) Bearing in mind the above principles, we shall now have another look at the facts established. A-1 had annuity with the deceased. He grantically collected together A-2 and A-3 on the 18th. On the 19th and 20th he sheltered them. He was trying to get at the deceased on the 20th night. On the 21st morning he ( the deceased) suddenly disappeared, within a few hours his body was found burring in a haystack in Arekuthathi which is over 25 miles from Cadag. At the same time the accused were caught hold of at Arckuhalti . A-1's lorry (M.O.11) which was driven by him was full of blood clothes of all the accused were almost drenched with blood. M.O. 10 which appears to be a chappel of A-1 was near the burning stack. A lorry had been driven up to the stack in question. The explanations given by the accused in support of all these incrimination circumstances are false. From all these circumstances it is reasonable to infer that the accused knowing that the deceased was killed but tried to dispose of his dead body with a view to destiny the evidence of murder.
(19) Now coming to the question of sentence we have earlier noticed that the learned Sessions Judge noticed the two substantive sentences should run consecutively. The maximum substantive sentence provided under Section 201, J.P.C. is 7 years. Similarly the Maximum substantive sentence provided under Section 435, J.P.C. is also 7 years. Therefore, the question arises whether the two sentences can be ordered to run consecutively. We may at the very outset ... that we do not in the least consider that the sentences imposed on the appellants to be excesssive. Had there been a true assessment of their guilt, we have no doubt that they would have had to suffer the extreme penalty of the law. But they are now the beneficiaries of improper asssessment of the circumstances established. What we are now considering is whether in view of S. 71 of the J.P.C. the two substantive sentences imposed on them can be ordered to runconsecutively. In other words; we are considering the legality of the sentences imposed and not their adequtcy. Section 71 of the Indian Penal Code reads:
Where anything which is an offence is made up of parts, any of which parts is itself an offfence, the offender shall not be punished with the punishment of more than one of such offences, unless it be so expressly provided;
Where anything is an offence falling within two or more separate definitions of any law in force for the time being by which ofences are defined or punished, or
Where several acts of which one or more than one would by itself or themselves constitution offence, constitute when combined, a different offence,
The offender shall not be punished with a more severe punishment than the Court which tries him could award for any one of such offences'.
The most offences arose out of one set of facts. Both the offences were committed in the course of the same transaction. From the for going it is clear that the same set of facts gave rise to two distinct offences or at any rate out of the several sets committed by the appellants, if some one or more of them are taken by themselves would constitute one offence but when combined with other acts committed by them at these same time, they would constitute a different offence. The primary object of the appellants was to remove the evidence of murder. Mischief by fire was only incidental. Hence, the offences committed in this case fall within the second or the third paragraph of S. 71. That being so, the accused cannot be infected with a more severe punishment than could be awarded for any one of such offences. Our conclusion is supported by the decision of the Supreme Court in Purammal v. State of Orrisa, reported in : 1958CriLJ1432 . For the reasons mentioned above, we are constituted to modify the order of the lower Court and direct that the substantive sentences imposed under Sections 201 and 435. I.P.C. shall run concurrently, subject to this modification the appeals are dismissed. the accused are on bail. they shall surrender to their bail forthwith and serve the remaining portion of the sentence.
(20) Before closing this judgment, it is necessary to mention that P.W. 1's investigation to this case was both prompt as well as thorough.
(22) Sentence modified.