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Laxman and ors. Vs. the State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Criminal Appeal No. 32/77
Judge
Reported in1982WLN(UC)240
AppellantLaxman and ors.
RespondentThe State of Rajasthan
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....the prosecution case about snatching the 'danda' and the bi-cycle has been disbelieved even by the learned trial judge.;the prosecution case does not disclose the true facts of and the incident even if any, and it must not have taken place in the way prosecution alleges.;appeal allowed. - section 2(k), 2(1), 7 & 40 & juvenile justice (care and protection of children) rules, 2007, rule 12 & 98 & juvenile justice act, 1986, section 2(h): [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph, jj] determination as to juvenile - appellant was found to have completed the age of 16 years and 13 days on the date of alleged occurrence - appellant was arrested on 30.11.1998 when the 1986 act was in force and under clause (h) of section 2 a juvenile was described to mean a child who had not attained the age of..........them for entering into a compromise in a criminal case is substantiated from the statement of luna. luna (p.w. 1) has stated that narainsingh, station house officer had told the constables and the witness to bring the accused so that compromise may be effected. the witness has stated that they had told the accused that the sub-inspector was calling them for compromise. d.w. 1, rawat singh has also stated about the police telling the accused that 'thanedar' was calling them at agartia compromising the matter. d.w. 2, hazari has stated about the police asking the appellants either to accompany them to agartia or give rupees one thousand. similarly d.w. 3 gafoor has also stated about police the constables telling the accused that they were called by the station house officer at.....
Judgment:

Kanta Bhatnagar, J.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment passed by the Sessions Judge, Bhilwara dated January 19, 1977 by which the appellants were held guilty for the offence under Section 332 of the Indain Penal Code and sentenced to one years rigorous imprisonment each.

2. Briefly stated the facts of the case giving rise to this appeal are as under. On December 12, 1974 Constable Gopal Lal (P.W. 3) and Constable Ranglal (P.W. 5) went to arrest the five appellants in connection with some criminal case alleged to have been instituted against them at police station, Kotdi. The constables took Luna (P.W. 1) with them All the three then went to the house of the appellants. Constable Gopal Lai (P.W. 3) showed them the order for arrest. The appellants obstructed their arrest and gave a beating to the constables and Luna (P.W. 1). One 'danda' of constable Gopal Lal (P.W. 3) and bi-cycle of Luna (P.W. 1) are also said to have been snatched by the appellants. Gopal Lal (P.W. 3) sent a report of this incident to the Station House Officer Bhilwara through the Station House Officer Kotdi. A case against the appellants was registered on that report. The two constables and Luna (P.W. (sic)1) were medically examined by Dr. A.L. Parmar (P.W. 4). The Doctor noted one simply injury on the person of Gopal Lai (P.W. 3), two simply and one grevious injuries on the person of Ranglal (P.W. 4) and seven simple injuries on the person of Luna (P.W. (sic)1). All the injuries sustained by these persons were said to be caused by blunt object. After the arrest of the appellants, Megha appellant furnished information on April 13, 1975 for getting recovered the 'danda' and the bi-cyele. In pursuance of that information these articles were recovered.

3. Upon completion of necessary investigation, charge sheet against the appellants was filed in the Court of Munsif and Judicial Magistrate, Bhilwara. The learned Magistrate finding a prima facie case exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions committed the appellants to stand their trial in the Court of Sessions Judge, Bhilwara.

4. The learned Sessions Judge, charge sheeted the appellants for the offence under Sections 333 & 395 Indian Penal Code and on the denial of the appellants for the indictments, proceeded with the trial. Seven witnesses in all were examined from the proseccution side. In their statements under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the appellants denied the allegations levelled against them and stated that police demanded rupees one thousand from them and they had not given any beating to any body. Three witnesses were examined from the defence side. The learned trial Judge placed reliance on the prosecution evidence. The learned Judge did rot find any substance in the prosecution case regarding the allegations of snatching of 'danda' and bicycle by the appellants and therefore did not hold them guilty under Section 395 Indian Penal Code. The learned Judge believed the prosecution evidence about the injuries sustained by the two constables and Luna (P.W. 1) but in view of the fact that author of the injury of Ranglal, a fracture of meta-carple bone, could not be ascertained, the case under Section 333 Indian Penal Code was not held to be made out. The learned Judge, therefore, held the appellants guilty only for the offence under Section 332 Indian Penal Code and sentenced them as stated earlier.

5. The learned Counsel for the appellants streneously contended that there is no evidence to point out that there was any case pending against the appellants for which their arrest was to be effected. It has also been stressed by the learned Counsel that the persons who are said to be present at the time of the alleged occurrence have not been examined by the prosecution. Yet another point pressed by the learned Counsel for the appellants is that the version coming forth from the defence witnesses is plausible and the learned Judge has legally erred in not placing reliance on their statements.

6. The learned Public Prosecutor controverting these contentions submitted that from the statement of P.W. 6 Narain Singh, Station House Officer, it is proved that the appellants were required in a case under Section 406/420 Indian Penal Code instituted against them at police station, Kotdi. That, it is also proved from that witness that letters of authority were given to the constables Gopal Lai (P.W.3) and Ranglal (P.W. 5) to effect the arrest of the appellants and therefore, any obstruction caused by them was unjust. The learned Public Prosecutor referred to the statement of P.W. 1 Luna and submitted that the learned trial Judge has rightly placed reliance on the testimony of this independent witness.

7. The pertinent question in the case is whether there were authority letters by the Station House Officer with the two constables Rang Lai and Gopal Lai for the arrest of the five appellants and whether they had shown and explained those papers to the appellants. In this concern there is the evidence of the two constables and Luna (P.W. 1).

8. The relevant point for considaration is that only Gopal Lai (P.W.3) has stated about there being five authority letters for the arrest of the appellants. He has referred to Ex.P. 1 to Ex.P. 5. Rang Lal (P.W.(sic)) has only stated about Ex P. 1 to Ex.P. 4 being with them. Narain Singh (P.W.6), the author of these letters has stated about Ex.P. 1 to Ex.P. 4 only being written by him. Ex.P. 5 relates to the authority letter for the arrest of the appellant Megha. Narain Singh (P.W 6) does not speak about Ex.P. 5 and therefore, it can safely be said that Ex.P. 5 has not been duly proved. This brings the case to the point that so far as Megha is concerned, there was no duly executed authority letter with the constables for his arrest In view of this fact the learned Counsel for the appellants has built up the arguments that at least for Megha there was no authority letter for his arrest and therefore, even if the prosecution case is taken to be correct there was every reason for him and others to resist his arrest.

9. Before deciding the point whether there was any justification for the appellants to resist their being taken by the constables to the police station, the statements of the witnesses in the light of the inconsistencies upon which the learned Counsel for the appellants has placed much reliance are to be discussed. Gopal Lal (P.W. 3), Rang Lal (P.W. 5) and Luna (P.W. 1) have given different versions about their meeting the appellants in the village. Gopal Lal has stated that all the appellants were found out of the house & they were ready to accompany the constables initially but subsequently they declined to go with them, Ranglal (P.W. 5) on the other hand has deposed that first of all Roopa met them in the village & on being asked about the other appellants he informed them they were at the house and then he went to call the other appellants and after fifteen minutes all of them came there with lathis. A third version coming forth from the statement of Luna (P.W 1) is that it was Laxman who met them first of all and informed about the other appellants being at the well and then he brought Mingu and Roopa. The learned Judge has also referred to these inconsistencies but did not attach any weight to them considering them to be minor contradictions Ordinarilly contradictions in the statement of the witnesses as to which accused met first and where all of them were found would not have been important, but in a case like the present one when the prosecution case is that warrants were read over to the accused and they came armed with lathis and gave at beating to the person accompanying them These contradictions are of significance. In other words, it is important to find out as to who was the person who met the constables first of ail and what transpired between them, and in what way the accused assembled to resist their being taken by the police. In this view of the matter, these contradictions do not deserve to be lightly brushed aside.

10. Luna (P.W. 1) cannot be said to be an independent witness. He happens to be the real brother of Balu who is said to have lodged the complaint against the appellants at the police station. There is force in the argument of the learned Counsel for the appellants, that Luna being interested in the person inimical to the appellants might have been asked to accompany the police. It is note worthy that Rodsingh, an independent person residing at the place of occurrence has not been examined by the prosecution for the reasons best known to it According to Ranglal (P.W. 5) neither Rodsingh was there nor anyone else from the village had come there. The learned Counsel for the appellants urged that the witness has stated about the absence of Rodsingh or other persons of the locality because the presecution did not take the risk of examining independent persons who might have damaged its case. The argument has force in view of the statement of Luna, who has stated that the quarrel had taken place about one hour or quarter to an hour. That, the talk was there at the house of Rodsingh and Rodsingh was present there. That, when the quarrel was going on a good number of men, women and children had assembled there. There is no reason to disbelieve this version of the witness. Even if the names of the persons assembling could not be known, still there was no reason for the prosecution not to examine Rodsingh. This throws doubt on the fairness of the investigation and indicates that prosecution his withheld material witnesses who could have thrown light on the truthfullnces of the incident.

11. The defence version about the police demanding one thousand rupees may not be correct but the version about the police constables insisting upon the accused to accompany them for entering into a compromise in a criminal case is substantiated from the statement of Luna. Luna (P.W. 1) has stated that Narainsingh, Station House Officer had told the constables and the witness to bring the accused so that compromise may be effected. The witness has stated that they had told the accused that the Sub-Inspector was calling them for compromise. D.W. 1, Rawat Singh has also stated about the police telling the accused that 'Thanedar' was calling them at Agartia compromising the matter. D.W. 2, Hazari has stated about the police asking the appellants either to accompany them to Agartia or give rupees one thousand. Similarly D.W. 3 Gafoor has also stated about police the constables telling the accused that they were called by the Station House Officer at Agartia. The defence version coming forth from the three defence witnesses stands supported by the statement of Luna, who while supporting the prosecution case has admitted that the accused were called for entering into a compromise with Balu brother of the witness.

12. This being the position, the defence story about the accused being forced to accompany the police for entering into a compromise appears to be plausible. If the police insists upon a person to accompany it for the purpose of entering into a compromise, there cannot be any wrong' in that person not complying with the direction. If Rodsingh at whose house all the talk had taken place for about half an hour would have been examined by the prosecution, the truth of the case could have come to light, but the prosecution having not examined that independent witness nor interrogated any other of the locality, the conviction of the accused based on the statements of the two constables and Luna (P.W. 1) the real brother of Balu, complainant of the alleged criminal case against the appallant cannot be said to be justified. It is also note worthy that the statement of Luna (P.W 1) falsified the prosecution case that all the five appellants armed with lathies came out of their house and gave a beating to the constables. Luna has stated about a talk between the accused and the constables and the witness at the house of Rod Singh for half an hour. The exaggerated version about the prosecution case about snatching the 'danda' and the bi-cycle has been disbelieved even by the learned trial Judge.

13. In view of the above discussion, I am inclined to hold that the prosecution case does not disclose the true facts of the incident even if any, must not have taken place in the way prosecution alleges. On the other hand even from the statement of the prosecution witness Luna (P.W. 1) the defence version, that the appellants were being forced to go for the compromise in the matter at the instance of the Station Hause Officer stands substantiated.

14. In this view of the matter, it cannot be said that prosecution has succeeded in establishing the guilt against the appellants beyond all shadow of reasonable doubt.

15. Consequently, the appeal is allowed and the conviction and the sentences awarded to the appellants are set aside and they are acquitted of the charges. They are on bail and need not surrender to it. Their bail bonds stand discharged.


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