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Roopa and anr. Vs. State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 305 of 1965
Judge
Reported in1966CriLJ298
ActsIndia Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 324 and 326
AppellantRoopa and anr.
RespondentState of Rajasthan
Appellant Advocate R.N. Bisnoi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.N. Gurtu, Deputy Govt. Adv.
DispositionAppeals allowed
Excerpt:
- - the rules for forming an opinion in these cases will, perhaps, be best deduced from commonsense and from good surgical authorities on injuries and their risks to life. 9. the above extracts clearly reveal:.....cause remote danger to life cannot be treated as dangerous to life. (2) that the concept of an injury dangerous to life cannot in the very nature of things be very precise. while there may be cases which can be easily placed either in the category of injury dangerous to life or in the other category, there may be marginal and border line cases where it may be very difficult to categories the injuries as dangerous to life or not and in such cases, the medical experts may also differ. (3) that the concept of injury dangerous to life being not very precise, it is necessary that the medical witness should not remain content with making bald statement that the injury in a particular case is dangerous to human life. he should place all relevant data namely, whether the injury caused.....
Judgment:

L.N. Chhangani, J.

1. The Sessions Judge, Bikaner, by his order dated 16th June, 1965, convicted the appellants Roopa and Gokul of an offence under Section 326. Indian Penal Code. Gokul was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment while Roopa was sentenced to 11/2 years rigorous imprisonment. It may be mentioned at this stage that during the course of the trial the injured Motaram and Moolaram and the accused had submitted an application praying for permission to compound the offence. The learned Sessions Judge holding an offence under Section 326, Indian Penal Code, proved, could not and did not permit the parties to compound the offence.

2. In this appeal, the learned counsel for the appellants raised no controversy on the facts. On the other hand, he conceded that on the evidence on record the infliction of injuries by the appellants to Moolaram and Motaram stands proved. His only submission is that the injuries suffered by Moolaram and Motaram have not been proved to be grievous in a satisfactory manner and that consequently the appellants could be held liable only for an offence under Section 324, Indian Penal Code. It was further submitted that an offence under Section 324, Indian Penal Code, being compoundable with the permission of the Court, this Court may be pleased to grant permission for compromise and to acquit the accused-appellants in terms of the compromise.

3. The only question, therefore, calling for determination in this appeal is whether the injuries inflicted by the appellants are of a grievous nature or not. The appellant Roopa is held responsible for injuries on the person of Moolaram. The injuries found on the person of Moolaram have been described by the Doctor Navab Ali P. W. 7 as follows:

1. Incised wound 1' x 1/2' with lateral and pointed and narrow and medial end broader.

2. Incised wound 1/8' x 1/8' communicating injury No. 1.

In the opinion of the Doctor, the injuries were grievous and were caused by a sharp edged weapon.

4. Gokul has been held responsible for injury on the person of Motaram, which has been described by the Doctor as follows :-

1. Incised wound 1/2' x 1/4' in the left hypochondria region 1' below the 9th costal margin in the nipple line on left side.

The Doctor also expressed the opinion that the injury was grievous and was caused by a sharp edged weapon.

5. With regard to the injuries to Motaram and Moolaram the Doctor while treating them as grievous did not state the grounds on which he held them to be of grievous nature. In answer to a question by the Court the Doctor, however, stated that the injuries received by Motaram and Motaram could, cause death. In connection with the injuries to Moolaram, the Doctor admitted in cross-examination that no damage was caused to any vital part or main artery of Moolaram. He also stated to have referred the case to the Medical Jurist, P.B.M. Hospital, Bikaner. When a specific question was put to him whether Moolaram's injuries were not deadly, he made a statement that he was not prepared to say so because he could not ascertain the extent to which the knife penetrated in the body. The Doctor had stated in his statement at the committal stage that the injuries would have been deadly had the knife remained in the body and not been taken out.

At the committal stage he had not expressed any opinion as to the effect of the injuries in case the knife had been taken out. Returning to the statement given by the witness at the committal stage he was called upon to explain the alleged contradiction between his statement at the committal stage and at the trial stage. It may be mentioned here that in fact there was no specific statement of the witness as to the effect of the injury in case the knife had been taken out. It was a case of omission and not of a contradiction and consequently, there was no occasion for the witness to be faced with the alleged contradiction and to be called upon to explain it. However, the witness explained the position by stating that in either case the injury would have been dangerous although there could be difference of degree. With regard to Motaram's injury, the witness admitted that he made no efforts to ascertain whether the injury touched the spleen, stomach and transverse column of large intestines which are vital parts.

6. I have given my due consideration to the statement of the Doctor and find that the statement is not of a type which can warrant a positive conclusion that the injuries caused by the two appellants were of a grievous nature. The only basis for treating the injuries as grievous is to be found in the answer given by the witness to the court that the injuries could cause death. This statement appears to me to be of little ambiguous type. It may mean that the Doctor merely contemplated a possible causal connection between the injuries and the likely deaths of the victims although the victims in the present case actually survived. If that was the witness's meaning then I fear the injuries could not be treated as grievous. There can be a causal connection between the injuries which need not necessarily be grievous and deaths of the victims.

The other possible interpretation of the Doctor's statement may be that he intended to say that the injuries were either sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death or were likely in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. If he meant to say so, then surely the injuries could be treated as dangerous. This ambiguity is the Doctor's statement acquires further importance on account of the fact that in cross-examination the Doctor had to admit that in the case of both the injured no vital organ was damaged For formulating the guiding principles to ascertain whether a particular injury should be treated as grievous on the ground of its being dangerous to life, it will be useful to refer to relevant observations made in the books on medical jurisprudence.

7. Taylor in his book 'Principles and Prectice of Medical Jurisprudence' Eleventh Edition, at page 230 stated as follows:

'The meaning of the words 'dangerous to life' is left entirely to the professional knowledge of a witness. It is not sufficient that he should make a simple assertion that the would was dangerous to life; he must be prepared to state to the court satisfactory reasons for this opinion; and these reasons may be rigorously inquired into by counsel for the defence.

Danger to life primarily depends upon haemorrhage, shock or damage to a vital organ; and secondly on the chance of complications such as infection leading to septicaemia, payaemia, tetanus or gas gangrene and of infection of particular parts or tissues--pneumonia, pleurisy, empyema, pericarditis, meningitis or peritenitis, or more remotely to the effects of scarring, causing stricture (of the urethra, oesophagus, gut etc.), paralysis, urinary infection, etc.

As a general principle, the court is likely to consider as dangerous to life in a legal sense only those wounds in which the danger is imminent. The law appears to contemplate the more immediate rather than the more remote possible dangers. If the last view were held, it is clear that the most trivial lacerations and punctures might be pronounced dangerous to life, since tetanus and other infections proving fatal have resulted from very slight injuries. A difference of opinion will often exist among the medical witnesses, whether a particular wound is or is not dangerous to life, but, after all, unanimity can hardly be expected even when the judgment and experience of the witnesses an equal. The rules for forming an opinion in these cases will, perhaps, be best deduced from commonsense and from good surgical authorities on injuries and their risks to life.'

8. Modi in his book 'Medical Jurisprudence and Texicology' Eleventh Edition, at page 224 states as follows:

'Danger to life should be imminent before the injuries are designated 'dangerous to life'. Such injuries are extensive, and implicate important structures or organs, so that they may prove fatal in the absence of surgical aid. For instance, a compound fracture of the skull, a wound of a large artery, or rupture of some internal organ, such as the spleen, should be considered 'dangerous to life'. But the injuries which prove fatal remotely by intercurrent diseases, such as tetanus, erysipelas etc. should not be considered as dangerous.

9. The above extracts clearly reveal:--

(1) That danger to life from an injury should be imminent to constitute it as a grievous one. Haemorrhage, shock or injuries implicating important structures or organs are instances of injuries causing imminent danger. Extensiveness of the injuries may also cause imminent danger. Injuries which only cause remote danger to life cannot be treated as dangerous to life.

(2) That the concept of an injury dangerous to life cannot in the very nature of things be very precise. While there may be cases which can be easily placed either in the category of injury dangerous to life or in the other category, there may be marginal and border line cases where it may be very difficult to categories the injuries as dangerous to life or not and in such cases, the medical experts may also differ.

(3) That the concept of injury dangerous to life being not very precise, it is necessary that the medical witness should not remain content with making bald statement that the injury in a particular case is dangerous to human life. He should place all relevant data namely, whether the injury caused haemorrhage or shock or implicated important structures or organs or was very extensive or otherwise caused imminent danger and should also state the various grounds on which he considers the injury to be a dangerous one.

(4) That in arriving at the finding whether an injury is dangerous to human life or not, the court should apply its mind to all the relevant data brought on record and to the reasons given by the medical witness or witnesses and record its finding after an overall consideration of the materials on record, giving reasons for its conclusion.

10. In the present case I find that the Doctor's statement is not very helpful in arriving at a proper conclusion as to the nature of the injuries. As pointed out earlier, his statement that the injuries could cause death is ambiguous and is capable of different interpretations. The Doctor admitted that in the cases of both the injured the vital organs had not been affected or damaged. It is also significant that although the Doctor referred the case to the P. B. M. Hospital, Bikaner, for the opinion of the Medical jurist, the Medical Jurist has not been examined to throw further light on the nature of the injuries and their probable effects upon the victims. Considering all the circumstances of the case, I find it difficult to hold with certainty that the injuries were necessarily of a grievous nature and in this view of the matter I am inclined to give benefit of doubt to the accused-appellants. I hold that the injuries have not been proved to be of a grievous nature and the accused-appellants could be held liable only for an offence under Section 324, Indian Penal Code.

The injured and the accused had compounded their differences and had sought permission of the court below for compounding the offence. The injured and the accused are residents of the same village and are said to be related to each other. They claimed that if the compromise is given effect to that will encourage peace and harmony between them and will avoid unnecessary bitterness and disharmony. In the interests of the peace in the village, I feel inclined to grant the permission to the parties tocompound the offence. The compromise petition is on record and I take it that it was presented in a proper manner in the court of Sessions Judge. I entertain no doubt as to the genuineness of the compromise petition on record.

11. I accept the compromise and acquit the accused-appellants in terms of the compromise. Their appeals are accepted and the convictions and sentences are set aside. The appellant Roopa is on bail and need not surrender. The appellant Gokul is in jail. He shall be released forthwith, if not required in connection with any other matter.


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