1.The appellants in these appeals have been convicted by the Delhi High Court, in modification of the findings and sentences passed by Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, for having committed offences punishable under Sections 304 Part II, 436 and 323, all read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. They have each been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of five years on the first two counts and to rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months on the third. In addition, they have also been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs 1000 for the offence under Section 436 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
2. The conviction of the appellants is based on the direct testimony of the two eye-witnesses PW 1 Bissu and PW 8 Sawanta. In our opinion, the High Court was justified in relying on the evidence of these two witnesses. On the night of occurrence i.e. on 24-11-1974 at about midnight, the appellant Kalu, a quarry contractor, and his three companions Bisram, Dhani Ram and Ramey, the remaining appellants, set fire to the jhuggis of the labourers working in the quarry of a rival contractor in Jaunpur village, near Mehrauli on the outskirts of Delhi. As a result of this holocaust about 25 jhuggis were burnt down and two innocent children lost their lives viz. Devi Singh, son of PW 1 Bissu, aged six months, and Kumari Kamla, daughter of PW 8 Sawanta, aged about 1 years. According to the testimony of PW 1 Bissu, the appellant Kalu came there at ihe dead of night and exhorted his companions to set fire to the jhuggis. When this witness came out of his jhuggi carrying his infant son Devi Singh, the accused Kalu struck a lathi blow as a result of which there was a fracture of the skull of the child resulting in his death. The fact that the appellant had come earlier that night demanding that the labourers should not work for the rival contractor as otherwise they would face dire consequences is amply Bome out by the evidence on record. The contention that there was no evidence of identification is neither here nor there. The appellant Kalu is a quarry contractor and was known to the labourers living in the jhuggis. PW 1 Bissu had identified the appellant Ramey as the person who set fire to his
jhuggi while he was being assaulted with lathi by the appellant Kalu. The version of PW 1 Bissu is amply corroborated, by PW 8 Sawanta and the other witnesses. The testimony of PW 8 Sawanta shows that when he came out of his jhuggi, the appellant Bisram struck a lathi blow on his stomach. PW 8 Sawanta's wife and their children, except their daughter Kamla, succeeded in escaping from the burning jhuggi. He had identified the appellant Dhani Ram as the person who set fire to his jhuggi and his testimony is corroborated by Hari Charan. There was no reason for this witness to have identified the two appellants.
3. The appeals rest purely on appreciation of evidence. There is no substantial question of law, much less a question of general public importance. The appeals are therefore dismissed. The appellants shall surrender to their bail-bonds to serve out the sentence.