Govinda Menon, J.
1. Appellants 1 to 5 have been convicted by the learned Sessions Judge of Kistna of an offence under Section 201, Indian Penal Code, read with Section 149, Indian Penal Code and each of them sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for five years. The sixth appellant has been convicted of an offence under Section 323, Indian Penal Code, and sentenced to a term of one year's rigorous imprisonment. I shall first of all deal with the case of the sixth appellant. The evidence against him is that of a solitary witness P. W. 11, who says that she saw the sixth appellant hit the deceased above the left eye-brow with a stick. She has not been corroborated by any other evidence or by any other witness in the case Her statement that the fifth accused (fifth appellant) was then going ahead of the sixth appellant has not been accepted by the learned Sessions Judge. The learned Sessions Judge has also declined to rely on other circumstances against the sixth appellant. Such being the case I feel that it is unsafe to convict the sixth appellant on the solitary testimony of P. W. 11 of the offence under Section 323, Indian Penal Code. I therefore give him the benefit of the doubt and acquit him.
2. So far as appellants 1 to 5 are concerned, the question is whether, accepting the evidence of P. Ws. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 the act attributed to them would amount to an offence under Section 201, Indian Penal Code. Shortly stated the evidence of these witnesses is that on the morning of 7th March, 1947, each one of them saw the five appellants carrying the body of the deceased man and coming in the direction southwards from the No. 8 channel along the footpath marked in the plan. Each one of them deposes that on being questioned either one or the other of the appellants had given them certain versions all of which have now been found to be untrue by the learned Sessions Judge. It is also found that on being confronted and questioned by these witnesses the appellants left the body of the deceased near that footpath and went away from that place. It is difficult to say that these witnesses are not speaking the truth. Their evidence has been accepted by the learned Judge and I see no reason to reject the same.
3. Mr. Appa Rao contends that the circumstances in this case do not point to any irresistible conclusion that the appellants were doing the act of intentionally oncealing the evidence of crime. The direction in which the appellants were proceeding was towards the village munsiff's house which according to the evidence is only about 50 yards from the place where the body was found. That being so, it is contended, it is unnatural for the appellants to have carried the dead body to the vicinity of the village munsiff's house if they wanted to cause disappearance of the evidence of crime rather than to take it away from the village munsiff's house and hide it. This no doubt is a circumstance in their favour, but I am inclined to think that all the other circumstances put together leave one with no doubt whatever that the appellants knew that the man had been murdered. If that supposition is taken as the basis, then, the subsequent conduct of the appellants would necessarily show that their intention was to hide either the scene of murder or the murderer or to cause disappearance of other evidence of crime. It may be as is laid down by the Calcutta High Court in Nagendra Bhakta v. Emperor : AIR1934Cal144 that if persons are found carrying the dead body of a murdered man from a particular house to a pial of a mosque and leaving it there, that by itself cannot lead to an inference that they had an intention to screen the offender or to hide the scene of crime. But in the present case I am inclined to think that the fact that the appellants on seeing the witnesses left the dead body at that place and disappeared and most of them were arrested only the next day necessarily shows that their intention was to commit an offence under Section 201, Indian Penal Code. They did an act in furtherance of the intention of committing the crime though I am not satisfied that an offence under Section 201, Indian Penal Code, has been completed by the act. As a matter of fact there has not been any disappearance of any evidence of the commission of the offence. If the body had been taken away and secreted, or burnt, or buried, that might be something. But since the body was left in or near about the footpath in public view, one cannot say that any evidence of murder has been caused to disappear. I would therefore hold that the offence which the appellants 1 to 5 have committed is only an attempt to cause the disappearance of the evidence of the offence and that being so I modify the conviction from one under Section 201, Indian Penal Code, read with Section 149, Indian Penal Code, to one under Section 201, Indian Penal Code, read with Section 511, Indian Penal Code. The maximum sentence for an offence under Section 201, Indian Penal Code, read with Section 511, Indian Penal Code, is only half of seven years and in the circumstances of the case I impose a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for one year on each appellant.