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Dharampal Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 157 of 1969
Judge
Reported in(1970)1SCC429
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), (IPC) 1860 - Section 302
AppellantDharampal
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh
DispositionAppeal Dismissed
Excerpt:
.....the appellant and his two brothers anup and rampal, had spears. some time later mukhtayar singh, abhay ram and five others came to the field when the appellant was engaged in cutting sugarcane along with his father gurji and his brother sher singh. mukhtayar singh and others who were armed with lathis started assaulting the appellant and his father and brothers. the learned sessions judge has disbelieved the defence plea. the sessions judge has further found that the appellant was armed with a spear and that he pierced the abdomen of abhay ram with that spear, and as a result of the injuries caused by the appellant abhay ram died immediately. the further view of the learned sessions judge is that the plea of the appellant that he and his group were attacked by mukhtayar singh,..........has further held that the appellant does not deserve any leniency and, as such, he was awarded the death sentence.5. the high court has agreed with all the conclusions arrived at by the learned sessions judge. it has held, agreeing with the trial court, that the appellant and his group were the aggressors and that it was as a result of the injury caused by the appellant with the spear that abhay ram died. the high court also saw no extenuating circumstance to interfere with the sentence of death awarded to the appellant.6. before us, mr nuruddin ahmed stressed rather strenuously that the appellant's case deserves consideration at the hands of the court and that the alternative sentence of imprisonment for life would meet the ends of justice. in this connection the counsel pointed out.....
Judgment:

C.A. VAIDIALINGAM, J.

1. The appellant and six others had appealed against their conviction and sentences passed against them by the learned Sessions Judge, Meerut and confirmed by the Allahabad High Court. The appellant had been sentenced to death for an offence under Section 302 IPC, for having caused the death of one Abhay Ram. He and the other accused had also been convicted and sentenced for various other offences. Against their conviction and sentence all the seven accused had asked for special leave to appeal against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court. But this Court, by its order, dated August 4, 1969 granted special leave to Dharampal, limited to the question of sentence alone and declined to grant special leave in respect of the others. The only point that arises for consideration in this appeal now relates to the question whether the sentence of death, passed against Dharampal, requires any modification.

2. In view of the limited question of sentence which arises for consideration, it is not necessary for us to elaborately go into the facts of the case. According to the prosecution, consolidation proceedings took place in the area concerned and the villagers had taken possession of vacant land in pursuance of the orders of the consolidation authorities. It so happened that plots originally belonging to one Mukhtayar Singh were taken possession of by Gurji, father of Dharampal. On the morning of April 18, 1968 the Lekhpal, PW 4, had come to the village and demarcated the Bachat land by placing marks to denote its boundary. It is the case of the prosecution that as a result of the demarcation of the Bachat land, Gurji got lesser extent of land than was originally occupied by him. In consequence, Dharampal and the six other accused attempted to demolish the marks fixed by the Lekhpal with a view to extend the area of their land. This act of the accused led to an exchange of abuses. Mukhtayar Singh, Abhay Ram and certain others were sitting in their land and having a smoke and Chat. The appellant and his three brothers along with a friend of theirs, one Lakhi Ram who were also nearby at that time abused Mukhtayar Singh and others. Gurji, father of the appellant, and Sher Singh, the appellant's brother, who are also accused, came to the spot armed with Balkati, a sharp-edged weapon used for cutting sugarcane. Dharampal, along with four others who were with him, went and came back to the spot armed with spears and lathis. The appellant and his two brothers Anup and Rampal, had spears. On coming to the spot, the appellant immediately inflicted a spear blow on the abdomen of Abhay Ram, as a result of which the latter fell down and died on the spot. There were certain others also who were injured, with whom we are not concerned.

3. Dr Srivastava, who conducted the post-mortem, on the dead body of Abhay Ram, had found the following injuries:

“1. Punctured wound 1″ × ½″ cavity deep. Omentum was protruding outside on the upper part of abdomen right side 1″ away from the sternum. Margins were clean-out.

2. Abrasion on the left fore-arm posterior aspect middle part in an area of ½″ × ¼″. 3. Abrasion ¾″ × ¼″ on the back of the left hand.

4. Abrasion 1¼″ × ½″ on the back left arm middle part.”

According to the doctor, Injury 1 had been caused by some sharp-cutting object and Injuries 2 to 4 had been caused by friction against a hard substance. On internal examination the doctor acted that the peritoneum was found cut under Injury 1, cutting mesenteric vessels in greater omentum. The abdominal cavity contained about 1½″ pint blood. The left lobe of liver was cut to the extent of ¾″. In the opinion of the doctor the death of Abhay Ram was due to shock and haemorrhage as a result of injury to liver and mesenteric vessels and that Injury 1 was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

4. The plea of the appellant was that when the Lekhpal was making measurement of the land, Mukhtayar Singh claimed certain portion of the land to be allotted to his Chak and that was opposed by him, his father and others. As a result hot words were exchanged between him and Mukhtayar Singh. Some time later Mukhtayar Singh, Abhay Ram and five others came to the field when the appellant was engaged in cutting sugarcane along with his father Gurji and his brother Sher Singh. Mukhtayar Singh and others who were armed with lathis started assaulting the appellant and his father and brothers. He further pleaded that in self-defence he wielded a lathi that he had. He denied that he had a spear or that he pierced the abdomen of Abhay Ram as alleged by the prosecution. The learned Sessions Judge has disbelieved the defence plea. He has found that the case of the prosecution is fully established and that the appellant, along with his father, brothers and two others had formed an unlawful assembly with the common object of assaulting Abhay Ram and others and for this purpose they came fully armed with the intention of assaulting them. The Sessions Judge has further found that the appellant was armed with a spear and that he pierced the abdomen of Abhay Ram with that spear, and as a result of the injuries caused by the appellant Abhay Ram died immediately. The learned Sessions Judge has also found that Mukhtayar Singh, Abhay Ram and others, except protesting against the act of the appellant and his group in trying to disturb the boundary fixed by the Lekhpal, did not act aggressively or violently in any manner. The further view of the learned Sessions Judge is that the plea of the appellant that he and his group were attacked by Mukhtayar Singh, Abhay Ram and others is absolutely false. On these findings the learned Sessions Judge held that the appellant was guilty of an offence under Section 302 IPC, for causing the death of Abhay Ram. The learned Judge has further held that the appellant does not deserve any leniency and, as such, he was awarded the death sentence.

5. The High Court has agreed with all the conclusions arrived at by the learned Sessions Judge. It has held, agreeing with the trial court, that the appellant and his group were the aggressors and that it was as a result of the injury caused by the appellant with the spear that Abhay Ram died. The High Court also saw no extenuating circumstance to interfere with the sentence of death awarded to the appellant.

6. Before us, Mr Nuruddin Ahmed stressed rather strenuously that the appellant's case deserves consideration at the hands of the Court and that the alternative sentence of imprisonment for life would meet the ends of justice. In this connection the counsel pointed out that the appellant was a young man of about 22 years and he might have been swayed to act as he did because of the influence of his father and elder brothers. He pointed out that only one single blow was given and the appellant might not have intended, to cause the death of Abhay Ram. The incident itself was rather too trivial and the appellant's aged father and his three brothers had all been punished in connection with the incident. In view of all these circumstances, a very serious appeal was made by the learned counsel for altering the sentence of death.

7. Mr Rana, learned counsel appearing for the State, has drawn our attention to the fact that it is not as if that the appellant acted on the spur of the moment nor is there anything in the evidence to show that he acted under grave and sudden provocation. On the other hand, as found by the learned Sessions Judge and the High Court, the appellant along with his brothers, after exchanging hot words went and brought spears and other weapons and the appellant, without any justification whatsoever, inflicted an injury with the spear on Abhay Ram who was totally unarmed. The medical evidence, Mr Rana pointed out, clearly showed that the injury caused by the spear was sufficient, in the ordinary course of nature, to cause death.

8. We have given due consideration to the aspects mentioned by Mr Nuruddin Ahmed, but we see no reason to interfere with the sentence of death. There is nothing to show that the appellant was in any way goaded or induced to act in the manner he did, by his father and brothers. On the other hand the evidence discloses that the appellant has been very aggressive from the very beginning in picking up a quarrel with Mukhtayar Singh and his group. He had gone to the engine shed purposely with a view to equip himself with a weapon for the purpose of attacking the opposite group and that is evident from the fact that he came back along with his brothers armed with a spear. Without anything more, he suddenly inflicted a very serious injury in the abdomen of Abhay Ram who was defenceless and unarmed. The fact that he gave only a single blow with the spear is not a circumstance which will mitigate the offence in view of the medical opinion that the particular spear injury caused by the appellant is sufficient, in the ordinary course of nature, to cause death.

9. The result is that the appeal fails and is dismissed.


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