S.K. Seth, J.
1. The Additional Sessions Judge, Chhatarpur vide his judgment dated 21-7-1980 passed in Sessions Trial No. 33 of 1980 convicted accused Munna Singh under Section 302 of the Penal Code and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. This appeal by the accused is directed against his abovesaid conviction and sentence.
2. The prosecution case, briefly stated was as follows:
The incident took place on the night of 1-11-1979 in village Kusuma of Chhatarpur district. About 10, 15 villagers were gambling with the help of playing cards near a well called Bhadhauwa Kua in the village. Accused Munna Singh and deceased Waheed were amongst those who were standing nearby and watching the game. Accused Munna Singh was having a lathi to which a farsa was attached. All of a sudden, he made an assault on the deceased with the abovesaid weapon. On seeing this, all those who were gambling or were watching the game fled away from there. These included P. W. Devideen, P. W. 4 Har Prasad, P. W. 5 Bhuwania and P. W. 8 Barelal.
On the next day i.e. 2-11-1979, in the morning, P. W. 10 Umashanker a boy aged about 10 years, saw Waheed lying dead near the well without wounds over his body. He went and told P. W. 9 Guddi younger sister of Waheed, about what he had seen. P. W. 9 Guddi went to P. W. 1 Alam Khan who was a cousin of the deceased and informed him about the dead body of Waheed lying near the well. On hearing this, P. W. 1 Alam Khan rushed to the well. He too saw the dead body of Waheed lying there without wounds over it When he was returning to his house from the well, he met P. W. Devideen on the way. P. W. 2 Devideen told him that it was accused Munna Singh who had committed the murder of his brother. P. W. 1 Alam Khan then went to police-station Maharajpur which was situated at a distance of about 1 Kms. from the village and lodged first information report (Ex. P-l) at 7.15 A. M.
3. There were certain remarkable features of the evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution in the case. All the so-called eye-witnesses to the incident, namely P. W. 2 Devideen, P. W. 4 Har Prasad, P. W. 5 Bhuwania and P. W. 8 Barelal were meaningfully silent on the point as to what had led to the assault in question made on the deceased. All of them were stated to have consumed liquor that had been served to them by P. W. 5 Bhuwania before the gambling began. They were so delightfully vague even regarding the one blow said to have been heard or seen by them that the inference was irresistible that they were trying to suppress the truth as regards not only the genesis of the incident but also the manner in which the same occurred.
4. Again, it was remarkable that all the abovesaid persons returned quietly to their respective houses after the incident and none of them bothered to go to the house of the deceased and inform his relations as to what had happened. Even on the next day, it was only because he happened to meet P. W. 1 Alam Khan on his way to the place of his work that P. W. 2 Devideen was alleged to have informed Alam Khan about Munna Singh having Committed the murder of his brother Waheed
5. Further the injuries found on the dead body of Waheed were comprised of as many as 9 incised wounds and multiple abrasions, which did not appear to be a handiwork of one man. There did exist some evidence on the record, for whatever worth it was, about all the abovesaid persons having been hauled up at the police-station on the next day and coerced to name Munna Singh as the assailant.
6. In the abovesaid situation, we fail to understand as to how when the evidence of three of the above-mentioned witnesses namely P. W. 4 Har Prasad, P. W. 5 Bhuwania and P. W. 8 Barelal was rejected as worthless by the Additional Sessions Judge, what particular merit the learned Additional Sessions Judge found in the evidence of P. W. 2 Devideen so as to base the conviction of the accused on the basis of the evidence of the said witness. In our opinion there was no qualitative difference between the evidence of P. W. 2 Devideen and that of the other three witnesses mentioned above and it was equally unsafe to base the conviction of the accused for the offence of murder on the evidence of this witness. There was no other evidence produced in the case to connect the accused necessarily with the commission of the said offence. The accused was entitled to benefit of doubt and deserved to be acquitted.
7. For the reasons stated above the appeal is allowed. The conviction and sentence of the accused under Section 302 of the Penal Code are set aside and he is acquitted. He shall be set at liberty forthwith unless required to be detained in some other matter.