1. The appellant has been convicted by the learned Sessions Judge of Cuddapah and sentenced to death for the murder of one Bitti Chennugadu alias Laddugadu on the 19th August, 1939.
2. Bitti Chennugadu was undoubtedly murdered' on the 19th August at Buggajapalli where he lives. According to the evidence for the prosecution, P.Ws. 3, 4 and 5 and the accused were engaged at about noon in skinning a cow by the side of the Cuddapah-Rayachoti road. At that time Chennugadu, it is said, came and objected to their skinning the cow in that place because it was stinking aisd because it would provoke the anger of any inspecting officer who might come. He threatened to go and report the matter to the Village Munsif and so saying he turned away. When he had gone a few steps, the accused is said to have run after him and stabbed him in the back with the knife which he was using to skin the carcass. Chennugadu ran a few yards further away but the accused pursued him and stabbed him twice in the back and twice in front. The evidence of the doctor who made the post mortem examination the next day (P.W. 1) shows that one of the stabs inflicted from the front penetrated his heart and must have caused death instantaneously.
3. Besides the evidence of P.Ws. 3, 4 and 5 there was the evidence of P.W. 2 a brother of the deceased. He said that he was standing near a shop belonging to one Adam Sab which is close to the scene of the offence. He said that he saw two stabs inflicted. The Village Munsif was informed by one Dhollavadu (he lives half a furlong away). The Village Munsif took a statement (Ex. B) from P.W. 2 at about 2 P.M. and reported the occurrence to the police station at Cuddapah which is about 4 1/2 miles away. The Sub-Inspector of Police reached the village by 7-30 P.M. and held an inquest the same night.
4. The accused in the Sub-Magistrate's Court said that he knew nothing about the matter and in the Sessions Court also said that he had never seen the deceased and P.W. 2 but he filed a statement in writing in which he said that the' deceased Chennugadu, Venkatasubbadu and others beat him with stones and sticks and, being unable to bear that, he himself had beaten to protect himself. It was a fact that the accused was very severely injured on the same day. The Village Munsif found him lying unconscious in front of his own house when he, the Village Munsif, was coming towards the scene of the crime. The investigating officer (P.W. 14) found him lying still in the same' place when he reached the village. He made arrangements to send him to the hospital and the Resident Medical Officer (P.W. 6) examined him the next day. He had four lacerated Vounds on his head, an incised wound on his left ear and abrasions on his shoulder and side. He was unconscious at the time the Doctor saw him and the doctor says that he remained unconscious for 2 or 3 days. He was suffering from concussion of the brain and his own life was in danger for a considerable time. He was not discharged from the hospital till the 7th October, 1939. The mother of the accused preferred a complaint to the Sub-Inspector the same night on behalf of her son against P.Ws. 2 and 3 others. The Sub-Inspector says that after investigation he referred that complaint and, it does not appear that any further proceedings were taken on it by the mother of the accused.
5. The prosecution witnesses do not explain these injuries on the person of the accused and learned Counsel has invited us to discard the evidence of the prosecution witnesses for that reason. It is clear, he says, that they have not given a(full or wholly truthful account of what happened and therefore they ought not to be believed. This plea however cannot be accepted in the face of the accused's own statement that he caused the injuries on the person of the deceased in self-defence. Having set up the plea of self-defence the burden lay on him under Section 105 of the Evidence Act to prove it and in the absence of proof it is, not possible for the Court to presume the truth of the plea of self-defence. One witness was examined for the defence (the District Medical Officer of Cuddapah). He apparently was examined because some attempt was made in the Sessions Court to show that the accused was not in his right 'mind. The doctor's evidence however did not show that he was insane either at the time the offence was committed or at the time the trial took place. P.W. 3 when questioned about the injuries on the person of the accused said : 'Later on I saw the accused fallen near his dayadi's house. He had injuries. I do not know how they were caused. I heard that he got them subsequent to-the murder. I did not go near the accused.' As the learned Sessions Judge has pointed out, this is not itself evidence that the accused received his injuries after he had murdered the deceased. But it is not at all improbable that that was the case. When the evidence is clear that it was the accused ,who inflicted the fatal wounds upon the deceased, it is not possible to reject that evidence merely because, the prosecution witnesses do not explain how the accused himself came by his injuries. The accused has been properly convicted of the offence of murder and we cannot consider that the severe injuries which he himself received are a reason for mitigating his punishment. The attack upon the deceased was deliberate and was pursued to a fatal. end.
6. We confirm the conviction for murder and also the sentence of death and dismiss this appeal.