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Union of India (Uoi) Vs. Amar Chand and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 8 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1965HP11,1965CriLJ169
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Section 403; ;Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Section 304A; ;Motor Vehicles Act - Sections 3 and 112
AppellantUnion of India (Uoi)
RespondentAmar Chand and anr.
Appellant Advocate Dina Nath, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Daulat Ram, Adv. for Respondent (Amar Chand) and; Inder Singh, Adv. for Respondent (Kishan Das)
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredPrabhudayal v. Surya Narain
Excerpt:
- .....was reiterated by their lordships of the supreme court in manipur administration v. thokchom bira singh, criminal appeal no. 6 of 1962: (air 1965 sc 87). the facts, in that appeal, were that bira singh respondent and others were hauled up, under sections 114/149, etc. i. p. c. and under section 7 of the criminal law amendment act for gathering in a public place in defiance of an order, promulgated under section 144, cri. p. c. on 25-4-60, and for doing other unlawful acts. previous to the institution of the above case, the district magistrate had filed a complaint, under section 188, i. p. c., against bira singh alone, alleging that bira singh had, on 25-4-60, disobeyed the order, promulgated under section 144, cri. p. c., and had, with other persons, formed an unlawful assembly......
Judgment:

Om Parkash, J.

1. The facts, involved in this appeal, by the Union of India, against an order of the learned Magistrate First Class, Mandi, acquitting the respondents, of an offence, under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act, are simple. Truck No. HIM-462, which belonged to the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department, had met with an accident on 17.1.62, near Kangu, Tehsil Sundernagar, District Mandi. Hardyal Singh, who was one of the occupants of the truck, had sustained injuries, as a result of the accident, and had, subsequently, died in the Hospital. The two respondents along with other persons, were hauled up, in connection with the accident. The allegations of the prosecution were that Amar Chand respondent was taking some members of his family to Salapper bridge in the truck and was driving the truck himself, that he was driving the truck rashly and negligently and was unable to negotiate a curve near Kangu, that the truck had slipped into a nullah and Hardyal Singh had sustained injuries, and that in order to cause disappearance of the evidence of the accident, the two respondents, with the help of other persons, had taken the truck out of the nullah. On the above allegations, Amar Chand respondent was hauled up under Sections 304-A/201 I. P. C. and Kishan Das respondent, who was conductor of the truck, and some other persons, were hauled up under Sections 304-A and 201 I. P. C., read with Section 109 I. P. C. A separate challan was, also, put up, under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act, against the two respondents, for driving the truck without a licence.

2. The learned Magistrate decided the main case, under Section 304-A etc., I. P. C., first. He acquitted all the persons, hauled up, including the two respondents. He held that the evidence, adduced by the prosecution, was conflicting, contradictory and unreliable and that some of the witnesses, especially, Hari Ram PW-2 and Kirpa Ram PW-10, had not seen the occurrence and had deposed falsely. He, further, held that the prosecution had failed to prove that either of the two respondents, Amar Chand or Kishan Das, was driving the truck at the time of the accident. The prosecution did not file any appeal against the order of acquittal.

3. The learned Magisrtate, then, tried, summarily, the case under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act, filed against the two respondents. The witnesses, cited by the prosecution, in that case, were Hari Ram and Kirpa Ram, who had already appeared as PW-2 and PW-10, in the main case, under Section 304-A, I. P. C. The learned Magistrate did not feel the necessity of examining Hari Ram and Kirpa Ram as he had already held that they had not seen the occurrence and their evidence was false and fabricated. On the basis of his finding, recorded in the main case, that the prosecution had failed to prove that either of the respondents was driving the truck at the time of the accident, he acquitted both the respondents, of an offence under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act.

4. It has been contended, on behalf of the appellant that the learned Magistrate committed a serious illegality in not examining Hari Ram and Kirpa Ram and in acquitting the respondents of an offence under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act, on the basis of the findings, recorded in the main case, under Section 304-A, I. P. C. etc., and that the order of acquittal was illegal. I am unable to accept this contention. The findings, recorded by the learned Magistrate, in the main case, that Hari Ram and Kirpa Ram had not seen the occurrence and that the prosecution had failed to prove that, either of the two respondents, was driving the truck on the day of accident, have, as a result of the acquittal of the respondents, become final and binding on the prosecution, and it was, by the rule of (issue?) estoppel, precluded from adducing evidence, in subsequent proceedings, to negative those findings. The first and foremost issue in the case, under the Motor Vehicles Act, was, whether either of the two respondents had driven the truck on the day of the accident. That issue had already been decided in the negative, by the learned Magistrate, in the main case, under Section 304-A, I. P. C. The finding was binding on the prosecution and it was debarred from leading evidence, in the case under the Motor Vehicles Act, to rebut that finding.

5. The principle of law that a finding, given in a previous criminal trial, is binding and conclusive, in subsequent proceedings, between the parties, was laid down in Pritam Singh v. State of Punjab, (S) AIR 1956 SC 415, wherein their Lordships of the Supreme Court approved the following observations, made in Sambasivam v. Public Prosecutor, Federation of Malaya, 1950 AC 458 :

'The effect of a verdict of acquittal pronounced by a competent Court on a lawful charge and after a lawful trial is not completely stated by saying that the person acquitted cannot be tried again for the same offence. To that it must be added that the verdict is binding and conclusive in all subsequent proceedings between the parties to the adjudication.'

6. The aforesaid principle was reiterated by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Manipur Administration v. Thokchom Bira Singh, Criminal Appeal No. 6 of 1962: (AIR 1965 SC 87). The facts, in that appeal, were that Bira Singh respondent and others were hauled up, under Sections 114/149, etc. I. P. C. and under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act for gathering in a public place in defiance of an order, promulgated under Section 144, Cri. P. C. on 25-4-60, and for doing other unlawful acts. Previous to the institution of the above case, the District Magistrate had filed a complaint, under Section 188, I. P. C., against Bira Singh alone, alleging that Bira Singh had, on 25-4-60, disobeyed the order, promulgated under Section 144, Cri. P. C., and had, with other persons, formed an unlawful assembly. Bira Singh pleaded, in his defence, in the complaint case, that he was not present at the scene of occurrence and that he had been falsely implicated. The Magistrate rejected Bira Singh's plea. He accepted the prosecution case and convicted Bira Singh of an offence under Section 188, I. P. C. On appeal, the Sessions Judge acquitted Bira Singh. The learned Sessions Judge held that the prosecution had failed to prove that Bira Singh was present on the scene of occurrence. In his trial under Sections 114, 149 etc. I. P. C., an objection was raised on behalf of Bira Singh, that the trial was barred by Section 403, Cri. P. C. by reason of his acquittal, under Section 188, I. P. C. The learned Sessions Judge did not accept the contention and convicted Bira Singh and others. On appeal, the learned Judicial Commissioner. Manipur, acquitted Bira Singh on the ground that the finding, recorded by the learned Sessions Judge, in the case, under Section 188, I. P. C., that Bira Singh was not present at the scene of occurrence on 25-4-50, was final and binding on the prosecution and that no evidence could be led to establish a contrary state of affairs, in the trial under Sections 144, 149 I. P. C. The acquittal of Bira Singh was upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The case, AIR 1956 S C 415, supra, and other cases were discussed and it was laid down, by their Lordships, that, issue (rule of ?) estoppel precludes evidence being led to prove a fact in Issue as regards which evidence has' already been led and a specific finding recorded at an earlier Criminal trial before a Court of competent jurisdiction.

7. In the instant case, there was a specific finding, in the main case, under Sections 304-A etc. I. P. C. that the prosecution had failed to prove that either of the two respondents was driving the truck on the day of occurrence. The prosecution was precluded from adducing evidence to prove the contrary in the trial, under the Motor Vehicles Act. The facts in Prabhudayal v. Surya Narain, 1962 (1) Cri L. J. 847 (Raj), were analogous to the present case. In that case, Surya Narain accused was challanned tinder Section 304-A, I. P. C., read with Section 279, I. P. C. for rashly and negligently driving a bus and causing the death of a two years' old baby. The complainant Prabhudayal, also, lodged a complaint, under Section 304-A, I. P. C. read with Section 279, I. P. C. The Magistrate consolidated the two cases. As Surya Narain had no licence for driving the bus, he was also, challanned, separately, under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act. This case was decided first and Surya Narain was acquitted of an offence under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act. The Magistrate held that it was not proved that Surya Narain was driving the bus at the relevant time. Thereupon, Surya Narain contended, in the two cases, under Section 304-A, I. P. C., read with Section 279, I. P. C., that the finding, in the case, under the Motor Vehicles Act, that he was not driving the bus, at the relevant time, was binding on the prosecution and that the two cases could not be proceeded with. The Magistrate accepted this contention and acquitted Surya Narain of the offences, under Sections 304-A etc. I. P. C. The acquittal was upheld by the High Court and it was held that the finding, in the case, under Sections 3/112, Motor Vehicles Act, that Surya. Narain was not driving the bus at the time of the accident, was binding on the prosecution in the cases, under Section 304-A, I. P. C., read with Section 279, I. P. C.

8. The conclusion, from the above discussion,is that in view of his findings, recorded in the maincase under Section 304-A, I. P. C., which havebecome conclusive and binding on the prosecution,the learned Magistrate was justified in not examining Hari Ram and Kirpa Ram and in acquittingthe respondents. The order of acquittal is validand is maintained. The appeal is dismissed.


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