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State Vs. Sewak Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 3 of 1966
Judge
Reported inILR1970Delhi237
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 447
AppellantState
RespondentSewak Ram
Advocates: T.C. Chitkara and; Inder Singh, Advs
Cases ReferredMata Din Singh Bharun Singh v. The State of Punjab A.I.R.
Excerpt:
.....possession :; (repelling the said contention) that the accused respondent had no right to the land in dispute and, in fact had never claimed any title to the land, and his dominant aim was to annoy the complainant. ; that the accused-respondent was guilty of the offence under section 447, i.p.c. on the facts and circumstances of the case. - - this contention is well founded. --the correct position in law may, in our opinion, be stated thus :in order to establish that the entry on the property was with the intent to annoy, intimidate or insult, it is necessary for the court to be satisfied that causing such annoyance, intimidation or insult was the aim of the entry; the argument, on behalf of the complainant, before the high court, was that jugna kuer and her husband must be deemed..........pradesh land revenue act, the revenue officer had ordered the eviction of the respondent from the land in dispute, in pursuance of the order of the revenue officer, the respondent was evicted from the land in dispute on the 9th november, 1963 by patwari halka karam chand (public witness .5). the dangu put up by the respondent was demolished. the crop sown by him was got grazed by cattle. the small plants grown by him were uprooted. the thorny fence was burnt. the report ex. p. e was prepared by karam chand about the dispossession of the respondent from the land four or five days after his dispossession, the respondent had again unlawfully taken possession of the land. ram singh (public witness .1) again put in the application ex, p. a under section 163 of the himachal pradesh land.....
Judgment:

Om Parkash, J.

(1) This appeal, by the State, is directed against an order of the learned Session Judge, Mandi and Chamba Districts, whereby he allowed the appeal of the respondent against an order of the Magistrate First Class, Mandi, and after setting aside the conviction and sentence of the respondent acquitted him of an offence under section 447, Indian Penal Code. The case for the prosecution against the respondent was as follows :-

Land, measuring 1-19-0 Bighas, comprised in Khasra Nos. 912 and 929 min situate in village Dhar Baganoo, Tehsil Sadar, District Mandi belonged to and was in possession of the Government. The respondent had taken unlawful possession of the land. On an application, made by Ram Singh (Public Witness . 1), under section 163 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, the Revenue Officer had ordered the eviction of the respondent from the land in dispute, in pursuance of the order of the Revenue Officer, the respondent was evicted from the land in dispute on the 9th November, 1963 by Patwari Halka Karam Chand (Public Witness .5). The dangu put up by the respondent was demolished. The crop sown by him was got grazed by cattle. The small plants grown by him were uprooted. The thorny fence was burnt. The report Ex. P. E was prepared by Karam Chand about the dispossession of the respondent from the land Four or five days after his dispossession, the respondent had again unlawfully taken possession of the land. Ram Singh (Public Witness .1) again put in the application Ex, P. A under section 163 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act for ejectment of the respondent from the land and for taking against him other necessary action for violating the law. The application was forwarded by the Tehsildar to the Girdawar Halqa, who, in turn, forwarded it to the Patwari Halqa for report. The Patwari Karam Chand (Public Witness . 5) made the report Ex. P.F, stating that the respondent had again taken possession of the land from which he had been evicted on the 9th November. 1963. Karam Chand had suggested that the respondent should be ejected from she land and also be proceeded against for an offence under section 447, Indian Penal Code. Under the orders of the Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, the report Ex. P.F and other relevant papers were sent to the Police Station Sadar, Mandi, for registration of the case against the respondent. The formal first information report Ex. P. W. 11/A. was prepared on the basis of the report Ex. P. F. After investigation, the respondent was challaned under section 44', Indian Penal Code.

(2) At the trial, the respondent denied the allegations made agains: him. The plea of the respondent was that he was in possession of the land in dispute for the last 25 or 30 years and had not been ejected either on the 9th November, 1963 or on any other date. The respondent denied that he had taken possession of the land in dispute four or live days after the 9th November, 1963. The respondent produced three defense witness-Sita Ram (DW.1). Saran (DW. 2) and Maya Ram (DW. 3). All the three, witnesses had stated that the respondent was in possession of the land in dispute for the last 25 or 30 years.

(3) On the evidence adduced before him, the learned Magistrate held that the land in dispute belonged to the Government and was its possession, that the respondent had taken unlawful possession that he was evicted from the land in dispute on the 9th November, 1963 and that after four or five days. he had again taken unlawlful passession of the land. The learned Magistrate, further, held that the respondent had entered upon the land with intent to annoy the Government. The respondent was held guilty under section 44'. Indian Penal Code and was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs, 200

(4) The respondent went up in appeal to the Court of Session, against his conviction and sentence. The learned Sessions Judge agreed with the learned Magistrate that the land in dispute belonged to the Government and that the respondent had taken unlawful possession and was evicted on the 9th November, 1963, in pursuance of an order passed under section 163 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Rev enue Act. The learned Sessions Judge also agreed that the respondent had again taken unlawful possession of the land. But the learned Sessions Judge disagreed with the learned Magistrate that the land was in the actual possession of the Government. The learned Sessions Judge was of the view that the land was in the actual possession of the, right-holders and that as the prosecution had not led any evidence to prove that any annoyance had been caused to the right-holders on account of the unlawful entry of the respondent it could not be inferred that the respondent had entered upon the land with intent to annoy the person in possession. The learned Sessions Judge was, further, of the view that as the respondent had been tilling the land for the last 25 or 30 years, his entry upon the land was in assertion of a bona fide claim of right and not with intent to annoy and that the trespass committed by him was civil trespass and not criminal trespass. As a result of his findings, the learned Sessions Judge set aside the conviction and sentence of the respondent and, as already stated, acquitted him of an offence under section 447, Indian Penal Code.

(5) The State has filed the present appeal against the acquittal of the respondent.

(6) The respondent was not represented by a counsel. Shri Inder Singh Advocate had argued the appeal on behalf of the respondent amices curias. The assistance rendered by Shri Inder Singh advocate in the disposal of the appeal is appreciated.

(7) The learned counsel for the State contended that the finding of the learned Sessions Judge that the Government was not in actual possession of the land was against the evidence on record and was erroneous. This contention is well founded. Ex. P.B is a copy of the Jamabandi, prepared at the time of Settlement. The entries in Ex. P. B show that the land in dispute belonged to the Government and was in its possession through the Forest Department. The land was not in possession of the right-holders. They had only certain rights of Bartan in the land, according to the schedule prepared by the Forest Department. The rights of Bartan e.g. right of grazing cattle, right of path were regulated and controlled by the Forest Department. The entries in the Jamabandi, copy Ex. P. B, are presumed to be correct. The entries in Ex. P. B raised a presumption that the land in dispute belonged to the Government and was in its possession through the Forest Department. The respondent did not lead any evidence to rebut this presumption. The presumption raised by the entries in Ex. P. B stood unrebutted. There was no evidence on record that the land in dispute was in possession of the right-holders. The prosecution witnesses, especially Ram Singh (PW. 1) and Dayalu Ram (Public Witness .2), who appeared to be right- holders, did not claim that the right-holders were in possession of the land. It is clear that the land was in possession of the Government through the Forest Department and the learned Sessions Judge was in error in holding that the land was in possession of the right- holders.

(8) It was, next, contended by the learned counsel for the State that the learned Sessions Judge also erred in holding that the respondent had entered on the land under a bona-fide claim of right and not with intent to annoy the person in possession and that the trespass committed by him was only civil trespass. The learned counsel pointed out that the respondent who had taken unlawful possession of the land was ejected on the 9th November, 1963 and that after that date the respondent has no right to take possession and his subsequent unlawful entry was with the intention to cause annoyance to the Government. The learned counsel cited Rash Behari Chattrjee v. Fagu Shaw and others : 1970CriLJ4 . On the other hand. the contention of the learned counsel for the respondent was that the subsequent entry of the respondent was with the intent to take possession of the land and not with the intent to annoy the Government or any other person. The learned counsel conceded that annoyance to the Government might have been the consequence of the respondent and that the respondent even might have known that his entry on the land might cause annoyance to the Government, but that. according to the learned counsel, was not sufficient to prove that the entry upon the land by the respondent was with intent to annoy the Government. The learned counsel relied upon Shrimati Mathri and others v. The State of Punjab : [1964]5SCR916 . Phut Kumari v. Sheodahin Tiwary and another : AIR1965Pat507 and Moti Lal v. Emperor : AIR1925All540

(9) In : [1964]5SCR916 supra, their Lordships had observed:--

'THE correct position in law may, in our opinion, be stated thus : In order to establish that the entry on the property was with the intent to annoy, intimidate or insult, it is necessary for the Court to be satisfied that causing such annoyance, intimidation or insult was the aim of the entry; that it is not sufficient for that purpose to show merely that the natural consequence of the entry was likely to be annoyance, intimidation or insult and that this likely consequence was known to the person entering; that in deciding whether the aim of the entry was the causing of such annoyance, intimidation or insult, the Court has to consider all the relevant circumstances including the presence of knowledge; that its natural consequences would be such annoyance, intimidation or insult and including also the probability of something else than the causing of such intimidation, insult or annoyance, being the dominant intention which prompted the entry.'

(10) The aforesaid passage was cited, with approval, in : 1970CriLJ4 . The facts in that case were that the appellant and his three brothers had instituted a suit against the respondent for ejectment and actual possession of land. , suit was decreed on 13th May, 1954 by the trial Court. The appeal of the respondent was dismissed by the District Judge and a second appeal was dismissed by the High Court. The appellant had taken out execution of the decree in September. 1962. The respondent had resisted and refused to give possession. However, on February 3, 1963, the possession was delivered to the appellant with the help of the police.

(11) The respondent had trespassed upon the land on the night of Fabruary 16, 1963. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court had, in the circumstances of the case, held that the main intent of the respondent was to cause annoyance to the appellant. In the present case, also, the respondent had been evicted from the land in dispute on 9th November, 1963 in pursuance of an order of the Revenue Officer passed under section 163 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act. There is a concurrent finding of fact on this point of the Courts below, supported by evidence. The respondent was dispossessed by Patwari Karam Chand (Public Witness .5). He had made the report Ex. P.E about the dispossession of the respondent. The report stated that Patwari Karam Chand had gone on the spot on the 9th November, 1963 and had removed the encroachment made by the respondent on the land in dispute. The report further stated that the danga put up by the respondent was demolished, that the thorny fence was uprooted and burnt, that the three plants of banana and one plant of lemon standing on the land were uprooted. The dispossession of the respondent was also deposed to by Ram Singh (Public Witness . 1, Dayalu Ram (PW.2), Jawahar (Public Witness . 3), Tulsu (Public Witness . 4) and Jai Singh (Public Witness .5) In face of the above documentary and oral evidence about the dispossession of the respondent his bald statement that he was not dispossessed and the evidence of his three witnesses that the respondent continued to be in possession were of no significance. Both the Courts below rightly rejected the defense evidence.

(12) The respondent whose unlawful possession had been removed by demolishing the danga and by burning the fence had again unlawfully entered upon the land. The respondent had not even a semblance of a claim of right to the land. In the circumstances of the case. the dominant intention of the Respondent 1n entering upon the land was to annoy the Government, which was the owner and in possession of the land. There was no other intention which could be attributed to the respondent. It was not merely a case of the respondent knowing that the natural consequence of his act would be to cause annoyance to the Government.

(13) With respect to the argument of the learned counsel for the respondent that the intention of the respondent was only to get possession of the land in dispute and not to cause annoyance, I may usefully refer to the case Mata Din Singh Bharun Singh v. The State of Punjab A.I.R. 1964 Pun 145 (s) decided by my Lord the Chief Justice when he was Judge of the High Court of Judicature for the State of Punjab. In that case a landlord had broken the lock of the house in possession of his tenant in his absence and had taken possession of the same. The tenant had filed a complaint under section 448, Indian Penal Code, against the landlord. The landlord was convicted for that offence. The conviction was affirmed on appeal by the Additional Sessions Judge. The landlord went up in revsion to the High Court. The argument, advanced on behalf of the landlord, was that his intention was to take possession of the property and not to cause annoyance to the tenant who was not present at the time of taking possession. My Lord, the Chief Justice, rejected the argument and observed :-

'REGARDING the argument that the intention of the petitioner was only to take possession of the property in dispute and not to cause annoyance, I am of the opinion that the distinction must be kept in view between the intention and objective, or, as observed by Stephen, between intention and motive. Although it may be correct that the object of the petitioner was to take possession of the house in question, his act shows that his intention was to cause annoyance to Krishan Chand. In this context, it would be useful to reproduce the observations of Stephen in Stephen's History of Criminal Law, Vol. 11, pp. 111 and 112, which are to the following effect:-

(14) The maxim (viz. that a man must be held to intend the natural consequences of his act), however, is valuable as conveying a warning against two common fallacies, namely, the confusion between motive and intention, and the tendency to deny an immediate intention because of the existence, real or supposed, of some ulterior intention. For instance, it will often be argued that a prisoner ought to be acquitted of wounding a policeman with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, because his intention was not to hurt the policeman, but only to escape from his pursuit. This particular argument was so common that to inflict .grievous bodily harm with intent to resist lawful apprehension is now a specific statutory offence; but, if the difference between motive and intention was properly understood it would be seen that when a man stabs a police constable in order to escape, the wish to resist lawful apprehension is the motive, and stabbing the intention, and nothing can be more illogical than to argue that a man did not entertain a given intention because he had a motive for entertaining it. The supposition that the presence of an ulterior intention takes away the primary immediate intention is a fallacy of the same sort.

(15) It was further observed :

'WHEN, thereforee, a man enters upon land in the possession of another, having reason to believe that, in all likelihood, such entry would, under the circumstances, cause annoyance to the latter, the entry is not merely an intention of trespass, but may further be held unless there be circumstances to rebut the presumption, to be in point of fact, a trespass with the specific intent to annoy the possessor. The final intent (i.e. the motive) may be to assert a right, but its presence cannot wipe ou he immediate intention. We should rather hold, in the circumstances above mentioned, that the trespasser entered upon the land in the possession of another, with intent to annoy the person in possession, being moved thereto by his desire to assert his title. In other words, we should be disposed to say that the trespasser committed criminal trespass in order to assert his right.'

(16) In view of the above observations, it is to be held, on the circumstances of the present case, that the intention of the Respondent 1n unlawfully entering upon the land was to cause annoyance to the Government, though his object might have been to take possession of the land.

(17) The cases, cited by the learned counsel for the respondent are distinguishable on facts. The facts, in brief, in : [1964]5SCR916 (supra) were that certain persons, armed with warrants of execution for delivery of possession of land whose date for execution had expired had gone on the land and had comanenced ploughing it. Hardly had they gone a short distance into the field, when they were attacked by a mob, including tenants, who were to be dispossessed from the land. Two of the persons Rattan Singh and Dharam Singh of the party which was armed with warrants of execution had died as a result of the injuries sustained in the attack. The persons who had attacked were hauled up for various offences. A question arose whether Rattan Singh and others who had gone on the land had committed the offence of criminal trespass. The Supreme Court answered the question in the negative. It was held that the intention which prompted and dominated the action of the persons armed with the warrants was to execute the warrants and not to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoyance.

(18) In : AIR1965Pat507 , a husband had made a gift of his properties in favor of his wife, Jugna Kuer. The deed of gift included 0.03 acre out of plot No. 916. After the gift in her favor, Jugna Kuer executed a registered sale-deed in favor of Radhika Devi and Bageshwari Devi who were related to the complainant. Under the sale-deed, Jugna Kuer purported to convey the entire O.25 acre in plot 916 to her vendees. A sum of Rs. 1,200.00 out of the consideration of sale-deed, was received by Jugna Kuer in cash and the balance was left with the vendees for redemption of the usufructuary mortgage. But the vendees did not redeem the mortgage and, thereforee, Jugna Kuer remained out of possession of the property mortgaged. Accordingly, Jugna Kuer instituted a money suit against her vendees for recovery of damages due to breach of contract. A decree was granted to her. In second appeal, by the vendees, the High Court dismissed the suit for damages holding that the sale-deed executed by Jugna Kuer was invalid inasmuch as she purported to sell O.25 acre in plot No. 916 although her interest in that plot was confined to O.03 acre only. The appeal was decided on the 3rd March, 1960. The complainant who was related to the vendees had filed a complaint against Jugna Kuer and her husband, staling that the complainant and the vendees were in possession of the house standing on plot No. 916 and that Jugna Kuer and her husband had forcibly taken possession of the house on the 25th July, 1969. Jugna Kuer and her husband were convicted for offences under sections 323 and 448, Indian Penal Code, by the trial Court but they were acquitted, on appeal, by the Additional Sessions Judge. The complainant filed an appeal, with special leave under section 417(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, against the acquittal of Jugna Kuer and her husband. The argument, on behalf of the complainant, before the High Court, was that Jugna Kuer and her husband must be deemed to have acted with an intention to annoy the complainant who was in possession of the house having regard to the well established principle that a person is deemed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his act. The High Court rejected the argument. After referring to : [1964]5SCR916 the learned Judge observed :-

'IN the back ground of events in which the occurrence took place, it is, in my opinion, impossible to hold that the dominant motive of the respondents was to commit an offence or to intimidate insult or annoy the complainant. The dominant motive of the respondents, after their failure in the two civil suits, was undoubtedly to take possession of the house, since the sale-deed of July 1951, which Jugna Kuer had executed in favor of the Bhaujais of the complainant had been declared invalid by this Court in the Second Appeal. It is manifest that the respondents thought that when the sale-deed had been found to be invalid, the property still belonged to them and even though they may not have been justified in entering upon the property without recourse to a court of law, there can be no doubt that their dominant motive was to take possession of the property which had not been validly conveyed to the vendees.'

(19) In the present case, the respondent had absolutely no right to the land in dispute. In fact, he had never claimed any title to the land.

(20) In : AIR1925All540 , the dispute was .between two persons, Kanhaiya Lal and Moti Lal, who claimed to be. the heirs of a deceased lady. Moti Lal had locked a house which belonged to the lady after a tenant had vacated it. Kanhaiya Lal filed a complaint unded section 448, Indian Penal Code, against Moti Lal. Moti Lal was convicted by the trial Court under section 448, Indian Penal Code. The conviction was affirmed by the Sessions Judge. On revision by Moti Lal, the conviction was set aside by the High Court. The High Court was of the view that Kanhaiya Lal was never in possession of the house and that Moti Lal, thereforee, could not be convicted under section 448, Indian Pe.nal Code. The High Court was, further, of the view that the intention of Moti Lal was to assert his title and to gain and hold the possession of the house as against Kanhaiya Lal and not to insult or annoy him. In the present case. as already shown, the dominant aim of the respondent was to annoy the Government.

(21) The result of the above discussion is that the finding of the learned Sessions Judge that Government was not in actual possession of the land in dispute and that the respondent had not entered upon the land with the intention to annoy the Government is patently erroneous. The acquittal of the respondent by the learned Sessions Judge cannot at all be justified on the facts and circumstances of the case. It is to be set aside.

(22) The respondent has stated, in this Court, that he has been dispossessed of the land in dispute. He has, further, stated that he gives an undertaking that he will not again trespass on the land. The voluntary undertaking appears to be a genuine expression of repentance by the respondent for his past unlawful acts. Keeping in view all the facts of the case, the ends of justice will in my opinion be served if only a small amount as fine is imposed on the respondent.

(23) The appeal is allowed. The order of the learned Sessions Judge acquitting the Respondent 1s set aside. The Respondent 1s convicted under section 447. Indian Penal Code, and is. sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 50.00 only. In default of payment of fine, the respondent will undergo simple imprisonment for one week. The Respondent 1s given one month's time to pay the fine.


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