K.S. Sidhu, J.
1. The appellants Gurubachan Singh and Siikishan along with one Roop Narain, were tried by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge Gangapur City under Section 466, 467, 477A and 409 read with Section 120B IPC. By his judgment dated March 19, 1974, the learned Judge acquitted the accused Roop Narain. Gurubachan Singh & Srikishan, respectively, were however, convicted under Section 409 and 467 IPC Gurubachan Singh was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for two years and a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default of payment of fine further rigorous imprisonment for three months. Srikishan was sentenced for imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default of payment of fine to further rigorous imprisonment for one month.
2. As already indicated both Gurubachan Singh and Srikishan appealed from the order of conviction and sentence passed against them. Srikishan died during the pendency of the appeal some time in the year 1975. None came forward to continue the appeal on his behalf. The appeal has, therefore, abated. This judgment will, therefore, deal with the appeal of Gurubachan Singh alone.
3. The prosecution against Gurubachan Singh has arisen out of a complaint, Ex.P. 1, made by Kana PW to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Sawai Madhopur on December 26, 1968. The learned Magistrate forwarded the said complaint to the SHO concerned for investigation in accordance with the provisions of Section 156(3) CrPC. The allegations contained in the said complaint may be briefly recapitulated here.
4. The complainant Kana, who was an illiterate person, was working as a contractor cum labourer at the material time In the year 1967 he was awarded a contract for the construction of a well for the Gram Panchayat Isharda. It is alleged that the appellant Gurubachan Singh who was the Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat at the relevant time persuaded the complainant to execute the work for a sum of Rs. 8742 00. PW Janglia stood surety for the due execution of the work by the complainant. It is further alleged that in fact appellant Gurubachan Singh and Roop Narain, since acquitted, were both partners in the contract but since they could not directly participate in such a work, being officers of the Gram Panchayat, they entered into the contract in the name of the complainant.
5. The appellant paid the complainant a sum of Rs. 1000/- towards the contract in the presence of PW Janglia. A number of documents were got executed from complainant in the presence of Janglia and Laxmi Narain PWs. It is alleged that the appellant had promised to make further payment I after a few days. The complainant commenced the execution of the work. Gurubachan Singh and Roop Narain kept helping him in the execution of that work. The complainant fell ill. The accused kept up the execution of the work during his illness. From time to time, the accused persons took money from the complainant for payment to the labourer, with the result that the entire amount of Rs. 1000/- which had been paid by the appellant to the complainant in the beginning was expended in due course. The complainant requested the appellant for further payment so that the work could be continued and completed. The appellant did not make the payment and instead told the complainant to suspend the work.
6. The complainant's story further goes that on December 22, 1968, PWs. Prabhu Narain and Fakeer Ghand contacted him and told him that they had seen relevant registers of the Gram Panchayat for the year 1967-68 and found that according to the entries contained therein the complainant had received payment of Rs. 4000/- from the Gram Panchayat to wards the execution of the aforementioned contract. They reminded the complainant that inspite of that payment he had not executed the work The complainant was taken back on hearing this statement. He was at a loss to understand as to how the entry of payment of Rs. 4000/- to him could be made in the registers of the Gram Panchayat when in fact he had been paid a sum of Rs. 1000/-only.
7. The complainant made a grievance that the accused had cheated him by forging a receipt of Rs. 4000/- to him as against the payment of Rs. 1000/- only. He had executed the receipt on the accused representing to him that it was a receipt for Rs. 1000/- only. The complainant prayed that appellant Gurubachan Singh and Roop Narain should be punished for commission of offences against Sections 420 and 467 I PC.
8. On investigation, the police submitted a charge sheet against the appellant, Roop Narain and Srikishan under Sections 409, 420, 466, 467 and 477A read with Section 120B IPC. It transpired during the investigation that the accused Srikishan who was working at the material time as Secretary of the Gram Panchayat had scribed a receipt on which accused Gurubachan Singh and Roop Narain had obtained the thumb impression of the complainant, The said receipt was incomplete in the sense that after writing portion thereof, Srikishan had left some blank space between the writing and the thumb impression of the complainant. The receipt was subsequently forged to make it a receipt of Rs. 4000/-. The accused kept assuring the complainant that they had obtained from him a receipt of Rs. 1000/-only, although they had forged the said document to make it into a receipt for Rs. 4000/-. The accused made corresponding entries in the registers of the Gram Panchayat as if they had paid a sum of Rs. 4000/- to the complainant. The document expert whose opinion was obtained about the receipt stated that it was of a suspicious nature.
9. During the trial, the prosecution examined among others Kana, Prabhu Narain, Kalian, Janglia and Fakeerchand as witnesses in support of the prosecution case.
10. In their statements under Section 342 CrPC the accused denied the allegations against them. They protested their innocence and pleaded that they had been falsely implicated by the complainant at the instigation of PWs Prabhu Narain, Kalian and Fakeerchand who harbour enmity against them on account of rivalries during the elections of the Gram Panchayat. They placed reliance on documentary evidence including Ex D 4, D 5 and D 6, They also examined DW Jahoor as a defence witness.
11. The learned trial Judge came to the conclusion that no offence was proved against Roop Narain. He was, therefore, acquitted. He found the appellant Gurubachan Singh and Srikishan, deceased, guilty under Sees 409 and 467 IPC respectively.
12. After hearing both sides and going through the evidence on record I am of opinion that the charge under Section 409 IPC of which the appellant Guiubachan Singh has been convicted and sentenced has not been proved beyond doubt. It will be re called that in the complaint, Kana had made the allegations that the appellant Gurubachan Singh had himself prepared the documents including what he described as the incomplete receipt at the time of the payment of Rs. 1CC0/- to the complainant. He shifted this stand during the trial and deposed that the receipt in question had been written by Jahocr PW 1 who was the Secretary of the Gram Panchajatat that time. Since the receipt, Ex.P.9. which purports to have been executed by the complainant for Rs. 4000/- is admittedly written by Srikishan who was one of the co-accused in this case, it was suggested by the complainant that the receipt written by Jahoor was for Rs. It00/- only, and that, therefore, the same has been with held and replaced by the forged receipt scribed by Shrikishan deceased. DW Jahoor came on the stand and falsified the case of the complainant in that behalf. He testified that he was on leave at the material time and that he did not scribe any receipt or documents in respect of the complainant. It can, therefore, be safely concluded that the receipt in question had been scribed by Srikishan, deceased, and that the complainant was trying o suppress the truth in that behalf for reasons best known to him.
13. A reference to the resolutions Ex.D.4, D.5 and D.6 passed by the Gram Panchayat on May 29, 1968, June 29, 1968 and June 26, 1968 respectively, would show that the Gram Panchayat had infact paid Kana PW, Rs. 4000/- towards the execution of the contract & not Rs. 1000/ as is sought to be made out by the complainant. The authenticity of these resolutions cannot be seriously questioned, for PWs Prabhu Narain and Kalian who, it will be presently seen, are the moving spirit behind the present complaint were admittedly signatories to these resolution as members of the Gram Panchayat. Ex.D.4 recites that not withstanding the payment of Rs. 4000/- to Kana PW for the execution of the work he had not executed it and that, therefore, notice may be issued to him to show cause as to why action be not taken against him. A similar notice was sent to Janglia PW win had stood surety for the complainant for the execution of this work PW Kana admitted the receipt of the notice in which he had been reminded that he had received a sum of Rs. 4000/- from the Gram Panchayat. He, further admitted that he did hot send any reply to this notice dated May 29, 1968 until after filing the present complaint in December, 1968. Had Kana received a sum of Rs. 1,000/- only and not Rs. 4000/-, he would have immediately sent a reply to the Gram Panchayat explaining the true position in that behalf. His silence lends weight to the plea in defence that in-fact he had received Rs, 4000/.
14. PW Janglia, who according to the complainant, was present at the time of the payment in dispute and the execution of the receipt has categorically stated that the accused had paid the complainant a sum of Rs. 4000/-, and that the complainant had executed the disputed receipt in token of that payment.
15. PW Kana admitted in his deposition in the trial that he did not institute the present complaint until the end on December, 1968, although he had been notified by the Gram Panchayat in May, 1968 that he had failed to execute the work inspire of the receipt of Rs. 4000/- by him. He further admitted that but for the instigation of PWs Prabhu Narain and Kalian he would be not have filed the present complaint. PWs. Prabhu Narain. & Kalian had their own axe to grind in the matter Both of them admitted that they were members of the Gram Panchayat at the relevant time & that they belonged to the rival group They further, admitted that the appellant Gurubachansingh, who was also a member of the Gram Panchayat, was instrumental In getting them removed from the membership of the Panchayat They openly gave rent to their feelings of enmity against Gurubachan Singh by accusing him of misconduct as a member of the Gram Panchayat. They admitted that they had been making complaints against Gurubachan Singh to the higher authorities, & that since nothing came out of those complaints they were forced to hold separate meetings of the Panchayat,
16. For all these reasons the charge under Section 409 IPC framed against appellant Gurubachan Singh fails. He richly deserves to be acquitted of that charge. I would accordingly allow this appeal, set aside the order of conviction and sentence and instead acquit him. He is already on bail. His bail bonds are discharged.