1. The accused in this case 7 in number pleaded guilty to a charge under the latter part of Section 304 read with Section 149, Indian Penal Code. The circumstances which led to the death of Hem Kumar Hazra are as follows : On the 16th April last he was called out of his bed by Chandra Kumar Pal to a tank filled up land where ho was attacked by several people with fists and kicks and apparently the kicking was continued until he collapsed. He was carried homo and he complained of great pain in the abdomen. Thereafter he was taken to the hospital where the Assistant Surgeon examined him and found a number of injuries. On the 18th April, Hem Kumar died of peritonitis and it appears that that was due to the internal injuries received on his abdomen on the night of the 16th April. When the case was taken up before the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Howrah the accused pleaded guilty and the Judge accepted the plea and dealt with four of the accused namely Kanai, Bepin, Abani and Gopinath under Section 562 of the Code of Criminal Procedure; and he inflicted a fine of Rs. 150 each on Chandra Kumar, Khirode and Surjya Kuma; and he directed that the fines should be paid to the deceased's widow. It is against this decision that there is this application for enhancement of the sentence. We understand that the fines have been deposited but have not been accepted by the deceased's widow.
2. The present application is for the enhancement of the sentences of these accused persons. For the Crown it is acknowledged that the sentences are somewhat inadequate. In fact the Crown has joined with the petitioner in this case. The learned Counsel appearing for the accused contends that the offence committed was really one under Section 323, I.P.C. He points to an earlier incident that happened that night. It appears that at 9-30 p.m. there was a quarrel between Panna Lal and the deceased. There was a scuffle and the deceased had also two falls. He seems thereafter to have gone to bed without any complaint about any hurt to himself. The learned Counsel also points to the injuries simple enough as described by the Assistant Surgeon, and he contends that there was no serious offence committed. We have looked into the commitment record and we consider that the sentences passed on the accused are inadequate. No doubt the facts that there was an earlier occurrence, that the injuries at first were considered to ha simple and that there was a counter case, probably influenced the Judge in giving a lenient sentence; but it is the ultimate consequences of the acts committed by the accused which will have, to be taken into account. The earlier incident does not appear to us to have anything to do with the death of the deceased. There was a simple quarrel and the deceased thereafter went to bed and there was no complaint of any injury. On the other hand immediately after the assault by the accused the deceased complained of pain in his abdomen and he was taken to the hospital where peritonitis developed and according to the evidence of the Civil Surgeon the kicks and blows which he complained of are quite consistent with the injuries received. The Assistant Surgeon found the injuries to be simple on a cursory examination, but the injuries were internal and the man seems to have died as a result of such injuries.
3. In these circumstances we think that the sentence should be enhanced. The learned Counsel contends that there are no circumstances before us on which we can reasonably deal with the accused. But the evidence before the committing Magistrate is before us and we may take it that when the accused pleaded guilty to the charge, they more or less accepted that evidence. The evidence discloses the different acts which the different accused took in the case and I think we ought to deal with the case on that basis the learned Sessions Judge has dealt with four of the accused under Section 562, Criminal Procedure Code. Three of these are mere boys aged 16 or 17 years. Gopinath one of the accused is described as being about 21 years old. This Gopinath was before the Sessions Judge and 1 take it that the Sessions Judge was satisfied that Gopinath was below 21 years of age. I do not like to interfere with the sentence passed in the case of these four accused, namely, Kanai, Bepin, Abani and Gopinath. Making every allowance possible in the case of the others, namely Chandra Kumar, Khirode Prosad and Surjya Kumar. I consider that the ends of justice will be met if a sentence of one year's rigorous imprisonment be inflicted on each of them under Section 304 Part II read with Section 149 Indian Penal Code, and it is ordered accordingly. The fines if paid will be refunded to the accused.
4. I would add in respect of the sentence of the accused that are dealt with under Section 562 Criminal Procedure Code that I consider that we are going a long way in dealing with this case in that fashion, and we do so having regard partly to the circumstance that the older men engaged in this case were in some cases relatives of theirs and that it is just possible that some of these young lads might have taken some part in the occurrence which did not amount to very much.