R.C. Shrivastava, J.
1. The appellants, who are real brothers, have been convicted under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempting to murder Narayan Singh (P.W. 1) and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 6 months each.
2. The conviction is based on the solitary testimony of the victim Narayansingh (P.W. 1). There being background of enmity between him and the appellants, his testimony has to be scanned with caution. In paragraph No. 1 of his testimony, he stated that Bundelsingh (appellant No. 2) dealt a Lohangi blow to the left side of his head. That is not only not supported by medical evidence, but is also contrary to his version in the first information report (Ex.P. 1) that Bundelsingh dealt Lohangi blows to his legs and back. In the same para, he stated that Laljiram (appellant No. 3) dealt an axe-blow to his left leg. That is inconsistent with his version in the first information report that Laljiram dealt an axe-blow to his right hand. In the same para of his deposition, he stated that Amarsingh (appellant No. 4) dealt an axe-blow to his left shoulder. That is also inconsistent with the medical evidence as also his version in the first information report that Amarsingh dealt an axe-blow to his left hand.
In the same para, he stated that Ramsingh (Appellant No. 1) dealt an axe-blow to his right hand whereas, in the first information report, he had stated that Ramsingh dealt an axe-blow to his left leg. Those versions in para No. 1 were also departed from by him in paras Nos. 6 and 7 of his deposition. Departing from his earlier version in para No. 1 that Laljiram dealt an axe-blow to his left leg, he stated, in para No. 6, that Laljiram dealt blow to his head and that he did not remember whether Laljiram dealt blow to his leg. Departing from his earlier versions in para No. 1 with regard to Amarsingh and Ramsingh, he stated that they dealt one axe-blow each at his back and that, in all, he sustained 10-15 injuries on his back. That is negatived by the medical evidence. The testimony of Dr. Pannalal Rathor (P.W. 4) shows that no injury was found on his back.
3. Apart from the above-mentioned self-contradictions, it is significant that the earth at the spot of the alleged incident was not found blood-stained. Narayansingh (P.W, 1) tried to explain that, about 10-15 minutes after beating him, the appellants returned to the spot and obliterated the blood-stains with their feet. That was never before stated by him. Such a version is conspicuously absent from the first Information report lodged by him and his own daughter Parwatibai (P.W. 2), aged about 11 years, who is said to have reached the spot almost immediately after the mar-pit, does not support it.
The said explanation for the absence of bloodstained earth at the spot given by Narayansingh (P.W. 1) is obviously an afterthought fabrication. In any case, according to him, even after the alleged obliteration, he remained lying at the spot with bleeding injuries for a sufficient time during which his blood was flowing on the earth. That being so, had the alleged incident taken place at the spot where it is alleged to have occurred, the investigation officer should have found blood-stained earth there and seized it therefrom. It is surprising that the investigating officer C.P. Choudhary (P.W. 8) did not find blood-stained earth there although the victim Narayansingh (P.W. 1) is said to have remained lying there till the arrival of the investigating officer.
4. Further, according to Narayansingh (P.W. 1), the incident was witnessed by Anantsingh (P.W. 5), Bhagirath (P.W. 6) and Hazarilal (P.W. 7), who reached the spot for saving him. It was also stated by him that these witnesses were chased by the appellants when they arrived in order to save him. That is negatived by these witnesses. None of them claimed to have at all witnessed the alleged incident.
5. According to Narayansingh (P.W. 1), his wife and daughter Parwatibai (P.W. 2) also reached the spot when the assailants were fleeing away after beating him. His daughter Parwatibai (P.W. 2) tried to support that version but, after all, she is a child witness who is completely under his influence and the fact that his wife was not examined raises a strong adverse presumption that her testimony would have been detrimental. In any case, the incident was not witnessed by Parwatibai (P.W. 1).
6. In view of the self-contradictory statements of Narayansingh (P.W. 1) and other serious discrepancies occurring in his testimony, which self-contradictions and discrepancies have already been discussed, and the background of enmity between him and the appellants, Narayansingh (P.W. 1) Cannot be believed without corroboration, which there is none, and it deserves to be rejected outright. The serious self-contradictions and discrepancies remove him from all credit. In the case of Sudhir v. State of Madhya Pradesh reported in 1985 SCC (Cri) 123 : 1985 Cri LJ 795 five persons were tried for an alleged offence punishable under Section 307 read with Section 149 of the Penal Code. The trial Court convicted two of them under Section 326 and acquitted the. remaining three. In the convicts' appeal, the conviction was upheld by the High Court. The case against the appellants depended wholly upon the evidence of the victim. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court pointed out certain infirmities in his evidence and held that, in view thereof, his testimony alone was not sufficient to sustain the conviction. Accordingly, their Lordships set aside the conviction and sentence. The principle that follows is that the sole testimony of the victim, suffering from substantial infirmities and inconsistencies, is not sufficient for conviction. The appeal must, therefore, succeed.
7. In the result, therefore, the appeal is allowed. The conviction and sentence imposed upon the appellants are set aside and they are acquitted and set at liberty. Their bail-bonds are discharged.