1. Bhagwan Dayal has submitted this criminal revision petition against the judgment and order dated the 18th of March, 1966, passed by the Temporary Civil and Sessions Judge, Hardoi, upholding the petitioner's conviction for offences under Section 411, Indian Penal Code, and under Section 25(1)(a), Arms Act, and maintaining the concurrent sentences of 18 months' rigorous imprisonment and one year's rigorous imprisonment awarded to him: vide the judgment and order dated the 3rd of November, 1965, passed by Sri Uma Shanker Pandey, Magistrate, Hardoi.
2. A double barrel gun belonging to one Risheswar Singh was said to have been stolen on the night between the 8th and 9th of September, 1984 from his house in his absence. The theft of the said gun was claimed to have taken place when Rati Bhan Singh P. W. 1, the brother of Bisheshwar Singh, was sleeping inside the house and found that some persons had trespassed into that house at night and were removing away the gun therefrom. Amongst the persons, who were recognised, Bhura Singh was claimed to have in his hand the aforesaid gun. A case was registered against some persons with regard to the theft of the said gun. In the meanwhile, on the 20th of December, 1964, Sri P. N. Singh P. W. 8, the then Station Officer Pali, learnt from some informant that the petitioner would very likely proceed towards Kan-dhari at about sunset on that day and that he would have in his possession some illicit arms. Equipped with the said information, the said Station Officer along with Raj Kumar P. W. 4 and Raj Narain P. W. 5 went thereto and lay in ambush. After some time, the petitioner was said to have passed that way. He was taken into custody after inflicting beating upon him and from his possession the aforesaid stolen gun Ext. 1 and three live cartridges Exts. 2, 3, and 4 were recovered. He did not hold any licence for the same. It was, therefore, that he was prosecuted for offences under Section 411, Indian Penal Code, and Section 25(1)(a) of Arms Act concerning the possession of the aforesaid unlicensed arm with regard to which he was presumed to have had the knowledge that the same was stolen.
3. The petitioner refuted the prosecution version of the occurrence and claimed that he had been taken into custody from his house and he was inflicted beating. He was kept in police custody for two days and thereafter was chal-laned. He had produced the doctor, who had examined his injuries in the jail, to substantiate his version about his having been taken into custody from his house earlier than the 20th of December, 1964 and inflicted beating by them. Both the Courts below, relying upon the evidence of the aforesaid S. O. and the two witnesses of public, concluded that the prosecution version of the incident was correct and the petitioner was held guilty of the aforesaid offences
4. The learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the entire prosecution case is full of inherent improbabilities. It is urged by him that the statement of the doctor, who had examined the injuries of the petitioner on the 22nd of December, 1964 at 8-15 a.m. and had opined that the duration of the injuries was three days, would be sufficient to belie the prosecution version of the occurrence. If the statement of the doctor were to be relied upon, then the injuries on the person of the petitioner would have come into being sometime on the 19th of December, 1964 in the morning. The doctor had not been cross-examined by the prosecution to elicit out of him as to whether the said duration could vary to the extent of one and a half days either way. If the statement of the said doctor were the only thing upon which the petitioner sought to bank upon to De-lie the prosecution version of the occurrence, then perhaps it could have beea said that the duration indicated by the doctor could not be a definite criterion to belie the prosecution version of the occurrence, but in this case the second circumstance relied upon by the petitioner that would assist in concluding that the defence version about the petitioner not having been taken into custody, as alleged to by the prosecution, might be correct, is the number and nature of injuries found on the person of the petitioner. The doctor had found the following injuries on the person of the petitioner :--
1. Contusion in an area of 14 inches X 5 inches on back left side upper part, simple, blunt.
2. Contusion 4 inches X 1 inch on right side back obliquely middle part bluish shade. Simple, blunt
3 Contusion 9 inches X 3 1/2 inches, pos-teriolateral part upper part of shoulder of left arm Bluish black. Simple, blunt.
4. Contused wound under nailbed and margin of left middle Bnger. Simple, blunt.
5 Contusion 5 inches X 1 inch on right forearm back lower part obliquely. Bluish black. Simple, blunt.
6. Lacerated wound 1/2 inch x 2/10 inch X 2/10 inch on scalp of right little and ring fingers Simple, blunt.
7. Contusion in an area of 6 inches x 5 inches on right buttock. Bluish black. Simple, blunt.
8. Contusion 6 inches X 3 inches posterio-lateral left upper thigh middle. Simple, blunt.
9. Traumatic swelling 4 inches X 2 inches on the left lateral malleolus. Simple, blunt.
10. Contusion 5 inches X 3 inches on right thigh posteriolateral. Bluish black. Simple, blunt.
11. Contusion 1/2 inch X 3/4 inch on right medial malleolus.
It was on the basis of the said injuries that the learned counsel for the petitioner contended that it is not credible that these injuries would have been caused by the S.O. just to enforce the taking into custody of the petitioner as claimed to by him. It is nowhere tbe case of the prosecution that the petitioner had at any time made use of the aforesaid firearm and that it was with a view to shield himself that the person, who had gone to effect the recovery of the same from his possession, had to inflict the aforesaid beating on him. The learned counsel for the petitioner relied upon the observations of the Division Bench of this Court in Chandrabhal v. The State, Criminal Appeal No. 400 of 1955 (All.), wherein in the presence of injuries of the aforesaid nature on the person of the accused, it had been observed:
'A mere enumeration of these injuries is quite enough to prove that the prosecution is giving a false explanation when it says that these injuries were caused at the time of arrest. Those injuries clearly indicate a merciless beating and they are not consistent with the injuries which could have been caused at the time of arrest. It is, therefore, obvious that the pro-secution is not stating the truth and in order to cover up its own unjustifiable and unlawful con-duct ft is coming forward with false excuses. The whole investigation becomes suspect, for no reliance can be placed upon the words of the investigating officer when he stoops to such methods for attaining his purpose. It is, therefore, not possible to rely upon the statements of the investigating officer or the witnesses who support the version given by the station officer'.
With these observations the Hon'ble Judges, who were hearing the said appeal, had placed no reliance upon the evidence of the investigating officer as well as upon the witnesses of the public who sought to corroborate his testimony. The said observations are equally applicable to the instant case. Linked up with the said circumstance, is the fact that the very police officer who claimed to have effected the recovery of the aforesaid articles from the possession of the petitioner, was himself the person who investigated this case. The practice of investigation being conducted by the same officer, who happens to be an ocular witness, has been looked with disfavour by this Court. When the same officer, who claims to have witnessed the incident, investigates, then his evidence has got to be looked with great caution and when we further find that he had resorted to methods which could not be approved at all in seeking to substantiate his version of the occurrence, then no reliance can be placed upon his testimony and if the witnesses of the public came forth to substantiate his evidence, then their evidence also sails in the same boat as that of the police officer concerned. The said circumstance, coupled with the aforesaid medical evidence, would be enough to cast grave doubt about the authenticity of the prosecution version of the occurrence.
5. There is another circumstance to which the learned counsel for the petitioner has drawn the attention of the Court and the same is to the effect that though the occurrence was said to have taken place at about 6 p.m. when the witnesses claimed to have arrested the petitioner after inflicting him beating whereafter he was taken to the police station and was kept at the police station on the following day, yet when the petitioner with a view to challenge the veracity of the witnesses sought that a test parade may be arranged to find out as to whether the said witnesses were in a position to pick him up correctly, 2 of them had failed to do so. P.W. 5 Raj Narain had failed to pick up the petitioner in the identification parade. Rati Ram, another person, who has not been produced as a prosecution witness, had also failed to identify the petitioner in the identification parade which had been arranged at the request of the petitioner. This would cast cloud on the veracity of the prosecution version of the inci dent.
6. In these circumstances, the entire pro secution case bristles with grave doubts and the petitioner is entitled to the benefit thereof.
7. The petition is consequently allowed. The conviction and sentences of the petitioner are set aside. The petitioner is reported to be on bail. He shall not surrender thereto and his bail bonds shall stand discharged.