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D.C. Nanjappa Vs. State of Mysore - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1970)3SCC193
AppellantD.C. Nanjappa
RespondentState of Mysore
Excerpt:
.....also bears the postal seals of dadighatta as well of byculla. the prosecution sought to prove by the evidence of thumb impression expert as well as the handwriting expert that the thumb impression found on exh. they gave good reasons for differing from the conclusions of the trial judge. they also gave good reasons in support of their conclusions. ws, 1, 2 and 3 is un-reliable. there is no reliable material on record to show that ex. 11 but also of the officials of the postal department in byculla post office us well as that of pw8......against the appellant appears to be formidable but even this formidable evidence did not deter the trial judge from entering a verdict of acquittal against the appellant. he disbelieved almost every material witness examined in the case and came to the conclusion that various links in the prosecution case have not been established. he doubted the capacity of p.w.8 to send rs. 60/- to his father. he did not accept the evidence of p.ws1 to 3 nor did he believe that ex.p-1 and p-2 are genuine documents. he alto rejected the testimony of p.ws.4 and 6. he refused to place any reliance on ex. p-10 (a) and ex.p-12 (a). he held that the confession recorded in p-25 is hit by sections 24 and 25 of the evidence act. in his opinion that confession was not voluntarily made. he rejected the testimony.....
Judgment:

K.S. Hegde, J.

1. This appeal by certificate is directed against the decision of the High Court of Mysore in Criminal Appeal No. 124 of 1966 on its file wherein the High Court reversed the order of acquittal of the appellant under Sections 409 and 467, I.P.C. entered in by the trial court convicted him of those offences and sentenced him to suffer 18 months rigorous imprisonment under each of those charges. But the two sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

2. In December 1962, the appellant was a school teacher as well as branch post-master at Dadighaita village of Channarayapatna Taluk. The prosecution case is : That P.W.8 who hails from Dadighatta but working as a Jutka driver in Bombay sent on December 20, 1962 a sum of Rs. 60/- through an insured cover to his father, P.W 10. That cover was received at Dadighatta on the 24th of that month but the appellant instead of delivering the same to P.W.10 misappropriated the amount placed in that cover and sent back the acknowledgement slip (Ex P-2) after forging the thumb impression of P.W.10 therein. That was duly received by P.W.8 through the Byculla post-office. After sometime P.Ws.8 and 10 came to know that the money sent by P.W.8 under the insured cover (Insured Cover No. 26) had not been received by the addressee. Therefore they laid a complaint with the postal authorities. That complaint was entrusted to P.W.11 for enquiry. In that connection he questioned the appellant on' January 14, 1963 when the appellant made a confession to him stating that because of his financial difficulties be had misappropriated the amount and forged the thumb impression of PW10 in Ex P.12. On the same day he produced before P.W.11 the insured cover Ex P.1 which bears the postal seals of Byculla as well as Dadighatta and the same was taken in possession by P.W.11. Latter on the forged acknowledgement slip (Ex-P-2) sent to P.W 8 was secured. That acknowledgment slip also bears the postal seals of Dadighatta as well of Byculla.

3. The prosecution has examined four witnesses to establish the despatch of insured cover from Byculla post-office in Bombay. There is the evidence of P.W.8, the sender of the insured cover and that of P.Ws. 1, 2 and 3, officials of the postal department who were working in Byculla post-office at the relevant time For proving the receipt of the said cover at Channaryapatna on December 22, 1962, the prosecution examined P.Ws. 4 and 5, the officials of postal department who were working in Channarayapatna post office at that time. The receipt of the cover in question at Dadighatta on December 24, 1962 is sought to be Droved by Ex.P-10, the daily account register maintained by the appellant at Dadighatta, Ex.P-10 (a) is said to be the relevant entry in the handwriting of the appellant. Ex.P-12 is the branch office journal and Ex.P.12 (a) is said to be the entry relating to the receipt of Ex.P-1. P.W. 4 deposed to the fact that Ex.P10 (a) and P 12 (a) are in the handwriting of the appellant. He claims to know the handwriting of the appellant. The prosecution further sought to prove its case by proving Ex.P-25, the confession said to have been made by the appellant. To prove that that confession was voluntarily made, the prosecution examined P.Ws.11, 12 and 13. P.Ws. 12 and 13 are Panchayatdars who were said to have been present at the time of the confession. The prosecution sought to prove by the evidence of thumb impression expert as well as the handwriting expert that the thumb impression found on Exh.P-2 is that of the appellant and the attesting signatures found thereon also is in the handwriting of the appellant.

4. Prima facie the evidence adduced against the appellant appears to be formidable but even this formidable evidence did not deter the trial judge from entering a verdict of acquittal against the appellant. He disbelieved almost every material witness examined in the case and came to the conclusion that various links in the prosecution case have not been established. He doubted the capacity of P.W.8 to send Rs. 60/- to his father. He did not accept the evidence of P.Ws1 to 3 nor did he believe that Ex.P-1 and P-2 are genuine documents. He alto rejected the testimony of P.Ws.4 and 6. He refused to place any reliance on Ex. P-10 (a) and Ex.P-12 (a). He held that the confession recorded in P-25 is hit by Sections 24 and 25 of the Evidence Act. In his opinion that confession was not voluntarily made. He rejected the testimony of P.Ws.10, 11, 12 and 13 as being that of interested witnesses. He opined that the entire case has been toisted against the appellant, by P.W.11 to wreak his vengeance against him as he (the appellant) was responsible for the reversion of P.W.11. The learned Judges of the High Court examined everyone of the grounds mentioned by the trial judge for rejecting the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. They were of the opinion that the findings of the trial judge were wholly wrong and misconceived. They gave good reasons for differing from the conclusions of the trial judge. They also gave good reasons in support of their conclusions.

5. We have gone through the judgment of the learned trial judge. That judgment appears to be a confused one. Most of the conclusions reached by the learned trial judge cannot be supported by the material on record. They are fanciful and unwarranted by the evidence adduced in the case. The learned trial judge has taken unnecessary pains to collate minor and petty contradictions in the prosecution evidence ignoring the broad probabilities of the case.

6. His conclusion that P. W. 11 was inimically disposed towards the appellant has absolutely no basis in the evidence on record. The appellant did not say in his statement under Section 342, Cr. P. C. that there was any enmity between him and P. W. 11 nor was any such suggestion made to any of the prosecution witnesses. All that was suggested to some of the prosecution witnesses was that there was an enquiry against P. W. 11 for having received some money from the appellant as a result of which he was reverted. P. W. 11 denied that suggestion. He deposed that he was holding the post of Inspector of Post Office temporarily and he was reverted to his permanent post when the permanent incumbent of the post joined duty. The imaginary conclusion of the trial judge that there was enmity between P. W. 11 and the appellant has greatly coloured his other findings.

7. There is no basis for the learned trial judge's finding that P.W. 8 had not the means to send the small sum of Rs. 60/- to his father. Further there is no basis for holding that the evidence of P. Ws, 1, 2 and 3 is un-reliable. The surmise that Ex. P-1 and P-2 are fabricated documents is not based on any evidence. The High Court rightly accepted the evidence of P. Ws. 11 to 13 when they deposed that Ex. P-1 was produced by the appellant before P. W. 11 when he questioned the appellant Ex. P-l bears the postal seals of Byculla and Dadighatta. There is no reason to hold that these postal seals were put subsequently. Similarly there is no reason to doubt the genuineness of Ex. P-2, Ex.P-2 was produced by P.W. 8. It was not established that there was any enmity between P. Ws. 8 and 10 and the appellant. They had no reason to foist case against the appellant. The learned trial judge was wrong in thinking that merely because P, Ws 8 and 10 are the complainants in the case they must be considered as interested witnesses. They were merely interested to find out as to what happened to the money sent by P.W.8 to P.W. 10. The fact that P. W. 13 is a distant relation of P. W. 10 does not in any way affect the weight to be attached to his evidence because as mentioned earlier P. W. 10 himself was not interested in foisting a case against the appellant. Nor is there any reason to disbelieve the testimony of P. Ws. 4 and 5 who speak to the receipt of the insured cover at Channarayapatna on December 22, 1962. We have also no reason to reject the evidence afforded by Ex. P-10 (a) and Ex. P-12 (a). Finally we agree with the High Court that there was no basis for holding that Ex. P-25 is hit by Sections 24 and 25 of the Evidence Act. The learned Counsel for the appellant did not contend before us evidently in view of the decisions of this Court-that Ex. P-25 is hit by Sections 24 & 25 of Evidence Act. There is no reliable material on record to show that Ex. P-25 was secured either by threat or by persuasion. We agree with the learned judges of the High Court that the evidence establishes that the statements therein were voluntarily made. This conclusion is also supported by the production of Ex. P-1 by the appellant. The fact that the appellant was in possession of Ex P-1 is a clear proof of the fact that he had misappropriated the amount sent. We have also no doubt about the genuineness of Ex.P-2. The fact that the thumb impression of the appellant was taken on certain acknowledgement slips for the purpose of examination by the finger impression expert affords no basis for the conclusion that one of those slips must have been substituted in place of the original acknowledgement slip. For doing so, it would require the cooperation of not only P. W. 11 but also of the officials of the postal department in Byculla post office us well as that of PW8. There is absolutely no reason to hold that such a conspiracy could have existed. On the whole we are of opinion that the judgment of the trial judge was perverse and that of the High Court is in accordance with law.

In the result this appeal fails and the same is dismissed.


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