1. The eleven appellants have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a period of six years each under 8.395, Penal Code, for committing a dacoity on the out skirts of the village of Farida in the Buland-shahr district on 27th June 1948. One Jagdish Bania was returning to the village with a maund of gur loaded upon a camel when he was attacked, according to the prosecution, by the appellants. They used violence towards him, took away the gur and some empty sacks and relieved him of a sum of a hundred and ninety-two rupees and some annas which he had upon his person. Jagdish lived in another village but he used to do business in Parida. His partners were Shib Charan and Ram Gopal. Ram Gopal and Jagdish, according to the evidence, had gone, to other villages to sell some grain and to recover the gur which was on Jagdish's camel when he was attacked. Ram Gopal has given evidence and has corroborated the evidence of the dacoity but he did not name any of the accused and so it is not necessary to say any more about him. Jagdish did not make a report at the police station till about 7 P. M. on 28th June. In the meanwhile he had called a panchayat in the village and the evidence is that the gur and the empty sacks had been returned to him. It is alleged that there was also a promise to return the money but apparently he did not rely upon this and consequently made his report. When Jagdish was examined in the Court of Sessions he said that he had been unable to identify the appellants. He also said that there had been a panehayat and that his gur and sacks had been returned to him but that the appellants were not the persons who returned them. It is obvious that he has turned against the prosecution and has been doing his best to save the appellants from the consequences of their crime. It may be that they have now paid back the money and he is satisfied or it may be that he is frightened of the appellants and their relations and thinks that it would be better for business if he did not press the charge against them. However that may be, there is sufficient other evidence that the appellants are guilty.
2. There are four witnesses, Ram Prasad, Shib Charan, Tunda and Munshi Singh, who say that they heard the cries of Jagdish and that they went to the scene and recognised the appellants attacking him and stealing the gur and the sacks. The witnesses are not quite consistent about the parts that were played by various appellants but discrepancies of this kind would point rather to the truth than to the falsity of the prosecution case. Mistakes in observation are likely to be made by witnesses to a crime of this nature. There are also five witnesses including Chhidda Singh, the mukhia of Farida, and three men from other villages, who say that they were at the panchayat and that the appellants confessed their guilt, asked for forgiveness, returned part of the stolen property and promised later to return the money. There is no real reason to doubt the evidence of these witnesses.
3. The appellants maintained that they had been prosecuted on account of enmity; but there is no sufficient evidence to prove that any of the witnesses or the mukhia, Chhatar Singh, or the original complainant, Jagdish, had any reason for implicating them in a false case. It is impossible to believe that Jagdish would have made a report at the police station in the manner he did if no incident whatsoever had occurred. The robbery seems to have taken place in broad daylight or at any rate before it was dark. Jagdish was a frequent visitor to the village and it is most unlikely that he failed to recognise some at least of his assailants. If a robbery did take place Jagdish would not have implicated a number of innocent persons and allowed the real culprits to escape punishment. There is really no reason why the appellants should have been implicated falsely. The allegation that they were the enemies of the mukhia, Chhidda Singh, has not been established. All that is said is that three or four other people were found guilty and sentenced to terms of imprisonment for robbery and that some relations of the appellants gave evidence against these persons. There is nothing to connect the persons who were then convicted with the witnesses who have given evidence in this case. The witnesses produced by the defence are quite unsatisfactory upon these points. We have been taken through the main points of the evidence and we are satisfied that the appellants were rightly convicted. Learned Counsel has urged that the sentence is severe, but considering that this was a dacoity in open daylight and that the appellants stole a fairly large sum of money and a maund of gur we do not feel inclined to interfere with the discretion of the Court below. It is true that part of the stolen property was returned the next day, but in our judgment that would not justify us in reducing the sentences. We, therefore, dismiss the appeal.