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Satya Prakash Vs. State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1986)ACC15
AppellantSatya Prakash
RespondentState of Rajasthan
Cases ReferredIn Kurban Hussain Mohammedalli Bengawala v. State of Maharashtra
Excerpt:
- - in his cross-examination, he has stated that the electric-wire was in perfect condition before the bus had arrived at the spot. 15. in view of my above observations, i find that the learned magistrate as well as the learned addl. they have failed to appreciate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses......seat. satyaprakash seeing the broken electric-wire, bowed down his neck, but the said electric-wire struck against the neck of sohanlal, who was sitting behind satyaprakash on the vehicle. sohanlal fell down. he was at a distance of about 5 paces from the place of incident. in his cross-examination, he has stated that the electric-wire was in perfect condition before the bus had arrived at the spot. satyaprakash was about 10 paces behind the bus. on account of the said accident, one portion of the wire remained hanging on the pole, while the other portion fell down on the ground.7. hussaina pw 6 has also stated in the similar manner. he has stated that he and natthan were coming from the factory-side to alwar-side. near the bulb-factory, one bus was coming. they heard the sound of.....
Judgment:

Gopal Krishna Sharma, J.

1. This revision petition is directed against the judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge No. 1, Alwar, dated 19th January 79, by which, he confirmed the conviction and the sentence of the petitioner, passed by the Judicial Magistrate No. 3, Alwar, under Section 304A, IPC, vide his judgment dated 21st July, 77. The petitioner was sentenced to 10 months' RI and a fine of Rs. 1,000/-; and in default of payment of fine, to further undergo 4 months' RI. It was also directed that an amount of Rs. 500/- be also paid to the widow of Sohanlal deceased out of the amount of fine which would be realised.

2. The facts of this case are that on 13th August 75, a telephonic message was received at Police Station -- Alwar, to the effect that deadbody of Sohanlal was brought to the hospital, who died due to touching of electric-current. Thereafter, Jagannath, brother of deceased Sohanlal also filed a written report, wherein he stated that deceased Sohanlal was working as a Mason with the petitioner who is a contractor, and that, during the construction work which was carried out by the petitioner, a portion of the building fell down, as a result of which 3 persons died. Sohanlal had witnessed that occurrence. He refused to oblige the contractor-petitioner, and he refused to make any statement in his favour. At this, Satyaprakash-petitioner grew a grudge against him. On 13th August 1975, in pursuance of a pre-arranged plan, Satyaprakash came to the house of Sohanlal; forcibly took him on his motorcycle to the factory; and committed his murder by passing electric-current through his body. On this report, the police investigated the matter and challenged the petitioner under Section 304A, IPC.

3. The learned Magistrate, after completing the trial, found the petitioner guilty of the offence under Section 304A, IPC and convicted him and sentenced him as mentioned above. Aggrieved by the said judgment of the learned Magistrate, the petitioner preferred an appeal against his conviction. The learned Additional Sessions Judge No. 1, Alwar, dismissed the said appeal of the petitioner and maintained his conviction and the sentence.

4. Mr. Lodha, the learned Counsel for the petitioner argued that even from the statements of the prosecution witnesses, the entire complaint filed by Jagannath which is Ex. P. 2, is proved to be false. He argued that from the statements of those witnesses, it becomes clear that there was no negligence of the accused, while driving the motorcycle. The fact narrated by those witnesses shows that it was not the act of the petitioner which resulted in breaking of electric-wire and in passing electric-current in the body of Sohanlal resulting in his death. This is admitted position that the petitioner was driving the motorcycle and Sohanlal was sitting on the rear seat.

5. I have gone through the statements of PW 5 Nathan and PW 6. Hussaina. Both these witnesses are witnesses of the prosecution, and they have not been declared hostile. The entire prosecution-story falls on the ground on the basis of these two witnesses.

6. Natthan PW 5 in his statement, has stated that a bus was coming from Alwar side and going towards the lamp-factory, and that, when it came near the lamp-factory the bus struck against the electric-pole, and on account of that, the electric-wire was passing over the road, broke down. Behind this bus, Satyaprakash was coming on a motorcycle, and behind him, Sohanlal was sitting on the rear seat. Satyaprakash seeing the broken electric-wire, bowed down his neck, but the said electric-wire struck against the neck of Sohanlal, who was sitting behind Satyaprakash on the vehicle. Sohanlal fell down. He was at a distance of about 5 paces from the place of incident. In his cross-examination, he has stated that the electric-wire was in perfect condition before the bus had arrived at the spot. Satyaprakash was about 10 paces behind the bus. On account of the said accident, one portion of the wire remained hanging on the pole, while the other portion fell down on the ground.

7. Hussaina PW 6 has also stated in the similar manner. He has stated that he and Natthan were coming from the factory-side to Alwar-side. Near the Bulb-factory, one bus was coming. They heard the sound of breaking of electric-wire by that bus. They were 25-30 feet away from that place. When they reached near the spot, they found that Sohanlal was lying on the ground, and the petitioner, Satyaprakash was standing near him. He has stated the electric-wire had broken on account of that bus. There were four wires going along that pole, and out of them 2 had fallen down and were lying on the road. He has also stated that Satyaprakash was driving the motorcycle just 15 feet behind the bus.

8. From the evidence of these witnesses, it becomes clear that the bus was going ahead and Satyaprakash was along with Sohanlal on a motorcycle just 15 feet behind that bus. He was following the bus. The bus struck an electric pole, and on account of that accident, the electric wire which was on the pole, and going across the road, broke and fell on the ground. It is also in the evidence that as soon as Satyaprakash saw the electric-wire coming down, he saved himself by bowing his head, but Sohanlal could not save himself as the said wire had struck his neck. As the wire was having electric-current, Sohanlal fell down on the ground and died on account of the electric-current.

9. The point now to be seen is whether Sohanlal died on account of rash or negligent act of the petitioner; or he died on account of the wire which had struck his neck which had fallen down on account of the accident by the bus.

10. The charge which was framed against the petitioner, reads as under:

Ki aapne dt. 13-8-75 ko subah kareeb 8 baje Bulb factory lamp lighting factory ke paas aam sarak par motor cycle R.J.A. 2835 ko badi tejee wa laparwahee se chalaakar sarak par latak rahe bijlee ke taar se motor cycle ko theek prakaar se nahin bachaaya jiske parinaamswaroop Sohanlal jo aapkee motorcycle par peeche baitha tha bijlee ke taar se chu gaya jisse uski mratyu ho gayee. Aapkaa ukt karya I.P.C. ke dhara 304-A ke aadheen dandneey upradh hai.

11. The charge which was framed against him was that he was driving motorcycle with great speed and with negligence, on account of which, he could not save the motorcycle from the electric wire, and which resulted in the death of Sohanlal. I may say here that the charge framed by the learned Magistrate against the petitioner, is not at all, happily worded. I think, while framing charge, under Section 304A, IPC, the learned Magistrate did not peruse the papers submitted along with the challan. This was not the case of the prosecution that the accused by his negligent act, could not save the motorcycle from the electric-wire which was having electric current. According to the prosecution, the case is that he was driving the motorcycle so rashly and negligently that he could save himself, but could not save Sohanlal. I may say that this is a strange expectation from the petitioner. The petitioner was driving the motorcycle and Sohanlal was sitting behind him. He (petitioner) was just behind the bus which was going ahead. The bus struck the electric-pole resulting in falling electric wire on the road. Everything happened in a moment, and in that moment, the petitioner could not even imagine as to what had happened to the electric-pole. The bus was ahead of him, and on account of this, he could not see even the wire coming down from the pole on the road, as the bus after striking the pole, passed away, and he was just following the bus about 15 paces behind, and when he saw that wire was lying there, he bowed his head, but, unluckily, Sohanlal could not bow his head, and so, the wire struck his neck. At that point of time, it was not possible for the petitioner to have stopped the motorcycle and saved himself from the electric-wire. As the wire was at a height, he thought that he would be able to pass through, under the said wire. He instead of stopping his vehicle, continued with it. Thus, he was able in saving his own life, but as Sohanlal could not bow his head, the electric wire struck his neck, as a result of which he died. It can be said that it might be wrong decision of the petitioner to have proceeded on the motorcycle instead of stopping it before reaching the wire. But, here I may say that it was not a misjudgment of the petitioner. A person of ordinary prudence would act accordingly as the petitioner did in this case. It is unfortunate that the wire could not be seen by Sohanlal, and he could not bow down his head which ultimately struck his neck, and as the wire was having electric current, he died on account of that. But, in no case, it can be said that it was because of rashness and negligence of the petitioner in driving the motorcycle with great speed. It is a wrong assessment. There is no evidence on behalf of the prosecution which proves that the petitioner was driving the vehicle at a high speed. In such circumstances, in which the electric wire fell down on the road and struck the neck of Sohanlal it cannot be said to be a negligent act of the petitioner.

12. A person can beheld guilty of causing death by doing any rash or negligent act, if he had the knowledge that he was doing an act which was likely to cause injury to some other person. In this case, the petitioner did not strike the electric pole. It was on account of the accident by the bus, as there is no material on the record to say that it was not due to rashness and negligence of the driver of the bus. But the fact is that the bus had struck against the pole, and oh account of that, electric wire had fallen down on the road. So, the death of Sohanlal was not a direct act of the petitioner, but it was the direct act of the driver who was driving the bus which was going ahead the vehicle of the petitioner. On account of the act of the driver of the bus, might be negligent or bona fide. Sohanlal died, and for that act, the petitioner cannot be blamed. A person can be held guilty for such a criminal offence, if it is established that the act of that person was reckless or that it was in direct consequence of his own act. Here, the consequence was not on account of the act of the petitioner. The electric pole did not fall on account of act of the petitioner. The electric wire which had struck the neck of Sohanlal being broken down on the road, was not on account of the act of the petitioner, and it cannot be said that the death of Sohanlal was in consequence to the act of the petitioner. So, before punishing a person for the offence of causing someone's death by negligence, one has to prove that it was the criminal negligence of the accused. It is to be proved that it was the direct consequence of the act which was rash and negligent act. But, in the present case, I find that there is nothing on the record to prove that it was the direct consequence to the act of the petitioner. On the other hand, it is proved that the death of Sohanlal by electric-current was on account of the direct act of the driver of the bus which was going ahead the motorcycle of the petitioner. For that act, the petitioner cannot be held guilty.

13. In Kurban Hussain Mohammedalli Bengawala v. State of Maharashtra : [1965]2SCR622 , it was observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that the act must be direct result of rash or negligent act of the accused, and the act must be sufficient cause without intervention of another's negligence.

14. In view of the observation of Hon'ble the Supreme Court mentioned above, I am of the opinion that the death of Sohanlal was not the direct result of rash or negligent act of the petitioner. His death was caused on account of intervention of some other person's act, i.e., the act of the bus driver. Had there been no bus going ahead the motorcycle, the falling of electric pole or electric wire would not have occurred. It was, therefore, not the direct act of the petitioner. There was no accident by the motorcycle of the petitioner. But, it was because of the bus that this accident occurred. So, it was on account of intervention of another's act that the accident took place which resulted in breaking the electric wire, and as a result of which, it touched ultimately the neck of Sohanlal, who died on account of the said accident.

15. In view of my above observations, I find that the learned Magistrate as well as the learned Addl. Sessions Judge could not appreciate the provisions of law and the rulings regarding rash and negligent act, in a right manner. They have failed to appreciate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. The charge framed by the learned Magistrate was not happily worded. Even both the lower courts have erred in finding that the prosecution had successfully established the case against the petitioner. The findings of fact recorded by both the courts below, is perverse, which cannot be maintained. The conviction of the petitioner under Section 304A, IPC, is, therefore, illegal.

16. In the result, the revision petition accepted. The conviction and the sentence of the petitioner, passed by the learned lower courts under Section 304A, IPC, are, therefore, set aside. He is on bail. He need not surrender. His bail bonds are hereby discharged. Fine if already paid by the petitioner, be refunded to him.


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