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Kanbi Purshottam Ladha Vs. State of Gujarat - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 88 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1979SC1758; 1979CriLJ1332; (1980)1SCC578; 1979(11)LC582(SC)
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 302
AppellantKanbi Purshottam Ladha
RespondentState of Gujarat
Excerpt:
.....act, s. i67(8i) of the sea customs act and s. 120b of the indian penal code. the additional sessions judge in appeal affirmed the said orders of conviction and sentences and the high court refused to interfere in revision. it was contended on behalf of the petitioners, who had, at an earlier stage, made an unsuccessful attempt to move this court under art. 32 and have the prosecutions quashed, that the orders of conviction and sentences passed on them by the courts below infringed the constitutional protection against double jeopardy afforded by art. 20(2) of the constitution. held, (per das, c. j., bhagwati, b. p. sinha and wanchoo, jj., subba rao, j., dissenting) that the contention was without substance and must be negatived. in order to sustain a plea of double jeopardy and to..........jurisdiction) act the case of the prosecution was that there was enmity between the family of the accused laljibhai for various reasons. one of the reasons was that laljibhai was alleged to have committed the murder of hirji the brother of the accused. in fact on account of the disputes in the village, laljibhai had moved to jamnagar. about two days prior to she occurrence he had come to the village from jamnagar for agricultural a operations. on 9th june, 1970, at about 11 a.m he alongwith labourers, p.ws. 3, 4 and 32 went to his field from the village at about 3.30 or 4 p.m they started to return to the village from the field. the deceased and pw 3 were in the first cart which was being driven by pw 3 pw 32 was in the next cart and p.w. 4 was in the last cats. they had to pass in.....
Judgment:

O. Chinnappa Reddy, J.

1. The sole appellant was acquitted of the charge of murder by the learned Sessions Judge of Jamnagar but, on appeal by the State, he was convicted by the High Court under Section 302 Indian Penal Code and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life He has preferred this appeal under the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Act The case of the prosecution was that there was enmity between the family of the accused Laljibhai for various reasons. One of the reasons was that Laljibhai was alleged to have committed the murder of Hirji the brother of the accused. In fact on account of the disputes in the village, Laljibhai had moved to Jamnagar. About two days prior to she occurrence he had come to the village from Jamnagar for agricultural a operations. On 9th June, 1970, at about 11 a.m he alongwith labourers, P.Ws. 3, 4 and 32 went to his field from the village At about 3.30 or 4 p.m they started to return to the village from the field. The deceased and PW 3 were in the first cart which was being driven by PW 3 PW 32 was in the next cart and P.W. 4 was in the last cats. They had to pass in front of the field of accused. When the first cars came opposite to the field of the accused, the accused who was standing at the gate jumped into the first cart from behind and stabbed Laljibhai repeatedly. The oxen were startled and started bolding. The accused got down from the cart and ran towards his field P.W 3 tried to control the oxen and ultimately took the cart to the village gate. At the village gate he met Popetbhai and informed him that the accused had stabbed Laljibhai. Meanwhile Tulsidas (P.W. 12), brother of the deceased, came there and P.W. 3 told him about the occurrence. P.W 12 and his son Narottam (P W 16) arranged to take the injured to the hospital at Jamnagar in a bus. Curiously enough P.W. 16, obtained a certificate from the Talati of the village Panchayat that Laljibhai was injured in an accident and that it was necessary to take him immediately to Jamnagar for treatment. P W 16 explained that she conductor of the bus would not otherwise agree to take the injured to the hospital at Jamnagar. By the time the bus reached Jamnagar Laljibhai expired P.W 12 gave a report to P.W. 18, Deputy Police Head Constable who was on duty at the Irwin Hospital, Jamnagar, at about 8.30 p. m. This report again makes interesting reading. P.W. 12 stated in the report that P.W. 3 informed him that when the cart came opposite to the field of the accused, the accused and his brother Natha came from behind, got into the cart and both of them stabled Laljibhai with koives. P.W 12 also mentioned in the report that P.W 3 further informed him that P.W. 16 had also come there at the time of the incident. The complaint of P.W. 12 was registered and the Police proceeded with the investigation. In the course of the investigation it transpired that Latha the brother of the accused was not present that day in the village and, therefore, he was dropped P W. 21 the Investigating Officer expressly stated to so in his cross examining P W 12 the brother of the deceased, also admitted that after coming to know that the brother of the accused was not in the village they gave the name of she accused only.

2. It is thus seen that at the earliest opportunity, when the First Information Report was given, it was attempted to implicate both the brothers, namely the accused and Natha, and to attribute identical act to each one of them, and that Nath's name was subsequently omitted only because the investigation revealed that he was not in the village that day. Hiving regard to the circumstance that the case arose out of deep seated enmity and there was a definite attempt at false implication at the very beginning, the learned Sessions Judge thought it unsafe to place any reliance on the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. In fact before the learned Sessions Judge the Public Prosecution conceded that P.W 4 was not a witness on whom any reliance could be placed. P W. 32 was not examined at the trial but was later examined during the pendency of the appeal, because of an order made by the High Court, P.W. 32 did not support the prosecution case at all. Before the Sessions Judge the Public Presecutor relied solidly on the evidence of P.W. 3 As already mentioned, the learned Sessions Judge thought that it was unsafe to set upon the prosecution evidence The learned Sessions Judge further noticed the complication introduced by P W 16 the nephew of the deceased who obtained a certificate from the Talati that the deceased was injured in an accident. The learned Sessions Judge, therefore, acquitted the accused.

3. The High Court took the view that the evidence of PWs 3 and 4 could be accepted not with standing the circumstance that not only the accused but his brother bad also been implicated in the First Information Report and attributed the same acts. The High Court took the view that the injuries found on the person of the deceased lent assurance to the evidence of PWs 3 and 4 and that their evidence was also corroborated by the evidence of PW 11 who stated that he heard PW 3 declaring in the village that it was the accused that had killed Laljibhai.

4. We have been taken through the evidence of PWs 3, 4, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 32 We are unable to say that the learned Sessions Judge had taken an unreasonable view of the evidence. The outstanding fact was that the prosecution case began with a report in which one out of the two persons named as the assaitants was admittedly falsely implicated If in the face of that report the learned Sessions Judge felt himself unable to accept the present version of the prosecution we cannot say that he took an unreasonable view warranting interference by the High Court in an appeal against an order of acquittal. The High Court should not have reversed the order of acquittal merely because another view of the evidence was possible. We, therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the High Court and restore that of the Trial Court.


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