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In Re: K. Palani Moopan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 573 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1952Mad172; (1951)1MLJ679
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 304; Madras Borstal Schools Act, 1926 - Sections 8; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 367 and 423
AppellantIn Re: K. Palani Moopan
Appellant AdvocateK.V. Ramaseshan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocatePublic Prosecutor
Cases ReferredThe Public Prosecutor v. Nagappa Pujary
Excerpt:
.....appellant be detained in borstal school for 3 years. - - i cannot accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that simply because there are some minor discrepancies in the evidence whether the beatings by the other accused preceded the stabbing by this appellant or the stabbing by this appellant preceded the beatings by the other accused, and, because of the observation of the lower court that it was not satisfied with the evidence of some of the prosecution witnesses who implicated this appellant, but was satisfied with the evidence of other prosecution witnesses who implicated him, the appellant should be given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted. , would not be justified, in the circumstances of the case, even if this appellant had caused the fatal injury, as..........and satisfactory, and, indeed, proved conclusively that it was the appellant who gave that fatal stab to the deceased, whereas the evidence regarding the other four accused was not at all consistent. i cannot accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that simply because there are some minor discrepancies in the evidence whether the beatings by the other accused preceded the stabbing by this appellant or the stabbing by this appellant preceded the beatings by the other accused, and, because of the observation of the lower court that it was not satisfied with the evidence of some of the prosecution witnesses who implicated this appellant, but was satisfied with the evidence of other prosecution witnesses who implicated him, the appellant should be given the.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is an appeal filed by Palani Moopan, the fourth accused in S. C. No. 64 of 1950 on the file of the Additional Sessions Judge, Coimbatore. He is a boy aged 19 years and has been convicted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge under Section 304, paragraph 2, Indian Penal Code, while acquitting him of the offence under Section 302, I.P.C., and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years. There were four other accused in the case. They have all been acquitted.

2. The facts are briefly these. The appellant and the deceased Palani Moopan were agnates and 'pangalis.' Owing to misunderstandings over a lease of land and a manure pit there was a sudden and unexpected quarrel just at sunset time on 1st February 1950 between the five accused on one side and the deceased and P.W. 5 on the other and all the five accused are said to have fallen upon P.W. 6 and the deceased. According to the first information report, the dying declaration and the evidence of P.Ws. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7, this appellant stabbed the deceased, in the course of the quarrel, on the right side of his abdomen with a spear. The deceased did not die at once but survived to state that it was this appellant that stabbed him thus and to give a dying declaration to that effect. He died on the next day (2nd February 1950.) The lower Court, after discussing the evidence, found the evidence not to be satisfactory as regards the other four accused and to be satisfactory regarding the offence under Section 304, paragraph 2, I.P.O., regarding this appellant, and, so convicted and sentenced him. It did not consider it fit to apply Section 562, Criminal Procedure Code to this appellant, and does not seem to have considered the applicability of Section 8 of the Borstal Schools Act.

3. I have perused the entire records and heard the learned Counsel for the appellant and the learned Public Prosecutor 'contra.' The learned Counsel for the appellant raised three main contentions. The first was that on much the same evidence the lower Court has acquitted the other four accused and so should have acquitted this appellant also, at least by giving him the benefit of the doubt. But, after perusing the evidence, I am of opinion that the evidence against this appellant was far more consistent and satisfactory, and, indeed, proved conclusively that it was the appellant who gave that fatal stab to the deceased, whereas the evidence regarding the other four accused was not at all consistent. I cannot accept the argument of the learned Counsel for the appellant that simply because there are some minor discrepancies in the evidence whether the beatings by the other accused preceded the stabbing by this appellant or the stabbing by this appellant preceded the beatings by the other accused, and, because of the observation of the lower Court that it was not satisfied with the evidence of some of the prosecution witnesses who implicated this appellant, but was satisfied with the evidence of other prosecution witnesses who implicated him, the appellant should be given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted. Such minor discrepancies on 'immaterial collatera' matters exist in almost every criminal case of this description. When they do not go to the root of the case, as here, and do not affect the credibility of the evidence regarding the fatal stab administered to the deceased by this appellant, there is no need to worry over much with those minor discrepancies. Nor can the learned Counsel for the appellant rely on the remarks of the lower Court regarding the credibility of some of the prosecution witnesses and attack the remarks of the lower Court regarding the reliability of the other prosecution witnesses without proving, from the original records, that the prosecution witnesses attacked by him and believed in by the lower Court are really persons unworthy of credence. This Court has got full seisin of the matter, in the appeal, and is not bound to accept every remark of the lower Court regarding the credibility or otherwise of the witnesses, though, naturally, it will not distrust a finding of fact arrived at by the lower Court which saw the witnesses and observed their demeanour. In this case, I see no reason whatever to disbelieve the evidence of P.Ws. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 who implicate the appellant regarding this fatal stab on the deceased with a spear. That evidence is corroborated by the statement of the deceased, who had no motive to implicate the appellant falsely in his complaint, and also by his dying declaration, and the medical evidence. That the deceased spoke to some spear injury inflicted on his son by the fifth accused is no ground for disbelieving his statement regarding this appellant. It is evident that a man attacked by five people, and fatally stabbed, and suffering terribly, may observe closely the person who stabs him, and be correct about it, while his observation of a stabbing at about the same time of another individual may be defective and inaccurate. He might have seen the fifth accused aim with his spear at his son and might have thought that his son had also been injured, whereas, the blow might have escaped the son. The important fact to remember is that the deceased had no enmity towards the appellant, and that his condition, after receiving the fatal injury, would have been so precarious that his memory cannot be expected to be precise regarding all the details he has observed about the occurrences that day. That will account for the discrepancies mentioned above.

4. P.W. 1 is the wife of the deceased. P.W. 2, is the son of the deceased. P.W. 3 Is the daughter of the deceased. None of these three also was alleged to have any motive to perjure against the appellant. P.W. 5 alone was said to have some enmity. P.W. 7 was the servant of P.W. 3's husband, and not of P.W. 5, and so must be held to have no motive himself to Implicate the appellant falsely. What is more, there was no particular motive for any one to implicate this appellant, a young boy, unnecessarily, leaving out the real culprit, when there was sufficient daylight to observe the real culprit. It was not also a case of rioting by a huge mob, there being only five persons involved in the entire attack on 2 or 3 persons. The story regarding the appellant's dealing the fatal stab on the deceased has been consistent from the very start to the very last, and has not been shaken in the least in cross-examination. We are not concerned here with the discrepancies regarding the beatings administered to the deceased by the other four accused who have been acquitted, or regarding the injuries received by some of the accused and some of the prosecution witnesses.

5. The next contention of the learned Counsel is that the conviction under Section 304, paragraph 2, I.P.C., would not be Justified, in the circumstances of the case, even if this appellant had caused the fatal injury, as there is nothing to show that he had a motive or intention to 'kill' the deceased, and that it may be that he wanted to deal a simple Injury but that it resulted In a fatal injury like this. I cannot agree. Every man must be presumed to intend the natural consequence of his act. So, while there is no need to infer an intention on the part of the appellant to 'murder' the deceased, an offence under Section 304, paragraph 2, I.P.C., would be clearly proved against him, in these circumstances, where a fatal injury was inflicted by this appellant on a vital portion of the deceased's body, the abdomen, with a deadly weapon, a spear, and the blow must have been dealt with terrific force Judging from the nature of the injury. The exceptional case referred to by the learned Counsel for the appellant will not apply here. That will be the case where a man Intends to inflict a stab on the leg of another, but by 'misfortune', the stab falls on the stomach or other vital spot of the other by the other turning a somersault or making an unexpected movement at the psychological moment and getting the stab in that vital spot. In this case, no such circumstance exists. So, the conviction must only be under Section 304, paragraph 2, I.P.C, I confirm the conviction of the appellant by the lower Court.

6. The learned Counsel for the appellant next urged that this was a fit case for applying Section 8 of the Borstal Schools Act to this appellant, who was only 18 or 19 years old, and who was proved by his act itself to be of criminal tendencies and to have been associated with contankerous persons. I agree. In two cases decided by Benches of this Court, viz., 'The Public Prosecutor v. Nagappa Pujary' 1948 2 M.L.J. 1530 and 'In re Chelliah : (1949)1MLJ282 to which latter case I too was a party, it has been held that the words 'criminal tendencies' occurring in Section 8 of the Madras Borstal Schools Act should not be given a narrow Interpretation and that Section 8 should be interpreted to mean that whenever an adolescent offender has been convicted of an offence he should ordinarily be given the advantage of being put in the Borstal School so that by the training therein he should become a useful citizen of the country, and that a 'criminal tendency' does not manifest itself only in acts involving dishonesty, such as theft or cheating, and that it can be inferred also In a person who, owing to lack of self-control or as a result of his environment or association, is unable to control himself and commits an offence of either grievous hurt or homicide, by using a deadly weapon without regard to the consequences for a 'very petty reason' as in this case.

7. In the result, I set aside the sentence of imprisonment for ten years awarded on this appellant by the lower Court, and substitute, instead anorder of detention in the Borstal School, Palamcottah, for a period of three years from the date ofthis order, and, for this purpose declare the age ofthis appellant to be exactly 19 today.


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