1. This appeal by certificate is brought from the judgment of the Allahabad High Court dated 3rd August, 1967 in Criminal Appeal No. 2584 of 1966 along with connected Reference No. 150 of 1966.
2. The case of the prosecution was that on the5th October, 1965, the three appellants and the victim Moti had all gone to the Ramlila fair at Doharighat; that at about 5.30 p.m., the appellants launched an attack on Moti, in the course of which Bhagelu caught hold of his hair, While Jharkhande seized his arm and Dahari struck him in the abdomen with a knife. Moti managed to release himself from the clutches of the appellants and ran off towards the north. The appellants pursued him, but were in heir turn pursued by Constable Sheikh Israil, P.W; 4 and other persons who had seen the incident. The constable managed to capture Bhagelu and handed him over to another constable Ram Asrey Shukul, P.W. 8, while he himself went to see what had happened to Moti. Moti had collapsed and fallen down about 100 paces to the north of the place where Bhagelu had been arrested. His brother Suresh Chandra, P.W. 5, arrived on the scene at this time and constable Sheikh Israil asked him to take Moti to the police station and from there to the hospital. On the way Moti's condition deteriorated, and Suresh Chandra took him to the hospital where Moti expired. Thereafter Suresh Chandra went to the Doharighat Police Station and lodged the first information report, which was recorded at 7.00 p.m. In the first information report Ex.Ka-5 lodged by Suresh Chandra the case has been exaggerated, for not only the present appellants have been named as culprits but also two more persons; viz., Rama Nand Rai and Babu Ram Rao were named. The version of Suresh Chandra was that Rama Nand incited the others to attack Moti whereupon all the other four i.e. Babu Ram, Bhagelu, Jharkhande and Dahari stabbed Moti with knives. In support of the version given in the first information report, four, witnesses, viz., Chandrika Rai (P.W.6), Prasad (P.W.7), Ram Surat Rai (P.W.9) and Suresh Chandra (P.W.5) himself, were examined. The Sessions Judge did not believe these witnesses. On the contrary he accepted the version given by Abdul Rahman (P.W.1),Marachhu Rai (P.W.2), Shambhu (P.W.3), and constable SheikhIsrail (P.W.4). They all said that Bhagelu caught hold of Moti's hair, Jharkhande seized his arm and Dahari stabbed him in the abdomen. In addition, constable Ram Asrey (P.W.8) corroborated the story these eye-witnesses with regard to the arrest of Bhagclu. On the basis of their evidence, the Sessions Judge convicted. Dahari Rai under Section 302, I.P.C. for the murder of Moti and sentenced him to death. The other appellants, Bhagelu Rai and Jharkhande Rai were convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34, I. P. C. and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life. The appellants preferred an appeal to the High Court which was heard along with connected Reference No. 150 of 1967. The High Court by its judgment dated 3rd August, .1967 dismissed the appeal and maintained the convictions and sentences imposed on the appellants. The High Court also accepted the reference and confirmed-the death sentence imposed on Dahari Rai.
3. In support of this appeal Mr. Kohli argued, in the firstplace, that the High Court should not have accepted the evidence of constable Sheikh Israil (P. W. 4 ) as true. It said that P.W.4, Sheikh Israil was not mentioned in was the first information report by Suresh Chandra, P. W. 5. This omission does not appear to be important for P.W. 4 was examined by the investigating officer on the same day i.e. 26th October, 1965. The High Court has also given other important reasons for holding that constable Sheikh Israil has given true evidence. It1 is not denied that P. W. 4 Sheikh Israil and P, W. 8 constable Ram Asrey were posted on duty at the Ramlila fair at Doharighat and consequently their presence on the scene of occurrence at the time of the incident is probable. There is no suggestion that Sheikh Israil, P. W. 4 had any possible enmity against any of the appellants and there is no reason why he should falsely implicate them in this case. The evidence of Sheikh Israil is also corroborated by constable Ram Asrey, P.W. 8 with regard to the identity of the appellant and the arrest of Bhagelu. The evidence of SheikhIsrail is further corroborated by the statement of the Station Officer Amraj Singh, P. W. 12 who met the two constables while they were escorting Bhagelu to the police station. The High Court was, therefore right in' accepting the evidence of Sheikh Israil, P. AV. 4 with regard to the identity of the appellants and the particulars of the crime committed by them.
4. The next contention was that there were two versions of the occurrence given by two different sets of witnesses and since the first version of Suresh Chandra, P. W. 5 given in the first information report has not been believed by the lower courts, the judgment of the High Court convicting the appellants was illegal. In our opinion; there is no justification for this argument. It is true that there are two versions given in this case, but both the trial Court and the High Court have accepted as true the version given by Sheikh Israil, P.W. 4 in preference to the version given by Suresh Chandra in the first information report, Ex. Ka-5. The High Court has found that the version given by Suresh Chandrawas exaggerated and the true version of the occurrence was given by Sheikh Israil P. W. 4 which was supported by three witnesses. P. Ws. 1, 2 and 3. It is the normal practice of this Court not to interfere with concurrent findings and conclusion of the lower courts on questions of fact and the Court will not depart from the practice unless there are exceptional reasons for doing so.
5. As regards the sentence we consider that in the circumstances of this case the death sentence imposed on Dahari Rai should be reduced to imprisonment for life. Subject to this modification we dismiss the appeal.