IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.683 OF 2005
GANGAPPA NINGAPPA UGARKOHOD … APPELLANT
STATE OF KARNATAKA … RESPONDENT
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1064 OF 2005
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.47 OF 2007
J U D G M E N T
Aftab Alam, J.
1. These three appeals arise from a common judgment and order passed
by the Karnataka High Court. By the impugned judgment, the High Court
disposed of two appeals, which came to it from a common judgment and
order passed by the trial court. The High Court allowed the appeals insofar
as Smt. Nagavva (accused no. 2) and Doddappa Ningappa Ugarkhod
(accused no. 13) are concerned and acquitted them of all the charges. In
regard to the rest of the accused (the present appellants before this Court) the
appeals were dismissed and their conviction and the sentences given to them
by the trial court was confirmed by the High Court.
2. Criminal Appeal No. 47 of 2007 (that was the last among the three
appeals to come to this Court) is at the instance of Sataveer Basappa Hariyal
(accused no.1: He died on November 10, 2009 during the pendency of the
appeal), Honnappa Shiddappa Banni (accused no. 3), Beerappa Shiddappa
Huggi (accused no. 9) and Yallappa Kenchappa Vibhuti (accused no. 16).
Criminal Appeal No. 1064 of 2005 has been filed by Beerappa Demasheppa
Deshanur (accused no. 5) and Maruti Demasheppa Deshanur (accused no.
6). All the six appellants in these two appeals are convicted under section
302 read with section 149 and some other ancillary sections of the Penal
Code. For committing murder, they are sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs. 2,000/- each with the default sentence
of imprisonment for six months. They are also given some lesser
punishments for the various other offences but all the sentences are directed
to run concurrently.
3. Criminal Appeal No. 683 of 2005 (which was the first among the
three to come to this Court) is filed by Gangappa Ningappa Ugarkhod
(accused no. 12). His conviction is mainly under section 326 read with
section 149 beside some other ancillary sections of the Penal Code. He is
sentenced under section 326/149 to rigorous imprisonment for three years
and a fine of Rs. 2,000/- with the default sentence of imprisonment for six
months. The relatively lesser sentences for other offences in his case too are
directed to run concurrently with the main sentence.
4. Both the appellants-accused and the members of the prosecution party
belong to the same family and live in the same village. According to the
prosecution, Sataveer (accused no.1: appellant no. 1 in Criminal Appeal No.
47 of 2007) is the step brother of Siddappa. He carried a grudge against his
father Basappa and the step brother Siddappa due to his father’s refusal to
give him land in excess of his step brother. About three months prior to the
occurrence, giving rise to the present case, there was an incident of assault
by Sataveer and his mother Nagavva on Basappa. At that time Ningappa (the
Complainant) had taken Basappa to hospital and had also prevailed upon
Basappa to lodge a police report against Sataveer. Sometime later, the starter
of the electric pump set in the land of Ningappa was stolen. He suspected the
hand of Sataveer and his men in the theft and had filed a complaint with the
police against some of the accused in the present case. This had further
strained the relations between the two sides. Two days before the occurrence
the complainant’s son Rudrappa had gone to fetch water from the bore-well.
There the daughter of Beerappa (accused No. 9: appellant no. 3 in Criminal
Appeal No. 47 of 2007) quarreled with him and abused him. On the same
evening Beerappa and his people went to the house of the complainant and
gave threats that they would finish off the complainant’s men.
5. On October 12, 1991 when Ningappa, his son Rudrappa and his
younger brother Basavanneppa were in the farm house, Basavanneppa’s
wife Kasturi (PW.3) came there at about 7.00 a.m. and asked them to bring
the cattle from the house to the farm house. The complainant and his brother
then proceeded from the farm house for their house; Kasturi was also
coming behind them. On the way, as they passed in front of the Kannada
School in village Maradi Nagalapur, accused nos. 1 to 28, armed with
sickles and clubs came out from the side of the house of accused no. 9. They
were shouting at and abusing Ningappa. On hearing their shouts, Kasturi,
followed by Ningappa’s wife, Shanthavva (PW.4), Basavanneppa’s third
wife, Balavva and Ningappa’s second son, Anand (PW.7), also came there.
Ningappa’s younger sister, Gangavva (PW.5), also arrived at the spot. The
accused began to assault Basavanneppa. He was given stick blows by
accused nos. 1 to 5 causing grievous injuries. Accused nos. 1, 2, 5, 9 and 16
assaulted PW.1. Accused nos. 2, 3, 6, 9 and 16 also assaulted Basavanneppa,
who died as a result of the assault. PW.1 also received grievous injuries.
When PWs 3, 4, 5 and 7 tried to save PW.1, they were also assaulted by
accused nos. 16 to 28.
6. Ningappa (PW.1) lodged a complaint against the accused for offences
punishable under sections 143, 147, 148, 302, 326, 324, 506 and 504 read
with section 149 of the Penal Code. The injured on the prosecution side were
sent to the hospital for treatment.
7. In the meanwhile, some of the accused went to Belgaum and got
themselves admitted in Belgaum Hospital. On intimation, the PSI from
Belgaum P.S. went to the hospital and took down the statement of Sataveer
(accused no. 1) in which he made the allegation of assault on him and his
people by Ningappa and his party. On the basis of his statement a case was
registered against Ningappa and some of the prosecution witnesses which
was transferred to Bailhongal P.S. and was investigated along with the FIR
of the present case. After completion of investigation, a charge-sheet was
filed against the present appellants, accused in the case registered as S.C.
No. 84/1993. The counter case instituted on the basis of the complaint of
accused no. 1 was numbered as S.C. No. 71/1993.
8. Both the cases were tried together by the Additional Sessions Judge I,
Belgaum. In the counter case (S.C. No. 71/1993) there were nine accused
including PWs 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the present case. All the accused in that
case were finally acquitted by judgment and order dated September 7, 2001
passed by the trial court.
9. In the present case, the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be
tried. The prosecution in support of its case examined 28 witnesses; PWs 1
to 5, 7 and 8 are eye-witnesses; PW.6 is the doctor who medically
exmanined Ningappa, Ganganvva Nagappa Chandaragi, Smt. Shanthavva,
Balavva Basappa Chandaragi, Anand Ningappa Chandaragi and Smt.
Kasturi and proved their injury reports which were marked as Exhibit Nos.
P.2, P.3, P.4, P.5, P.6 and P.7 respectively. He also examined the two sticks,
six bamboo sticks and four pieces of stone, seized by the police and gave his
opinion that the injuries caused to the persons examined by him, except
injury no. 5 of Ningappa, could be caused by those articles.; PW.17 is
another doctor who had medically examined Ningappa and who proved his
injury report Exhibit No. P.15 before the court. PW.25 is the doctor who
held post-mortem on the deceased. He proved the post-mortem report made
by him which was marked as Exhibit No. P.27. PWs 26, 27 and 28 are the
police officers who investigated the case.
10. In course of the trial, two, among the 28 accused on trial, died. At the
conclusion of the trial, the trial court by its judgment and order dated
September 7, 2001 in Sessions Case No. 84/1993 acquitted 16 of the accused
but found the remaining 10 guilty of the charges and convicted accused nos.
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 16 under section 302/149 of the Penal Code, accused no.
12 and 13 under section 326/149 of the Penal Code and accused no. 25 under
section 324/149 of the Penal Code.
11. Out of the 10 convicted accused, 9 went to the High Court in two
appeals being Appeal Nos. 1490 of 2001 and 1491 of 2001 (accused no. 25
convicted under section 324/149 of the Penal Code did not file any appeal).
12. The High Court, by its judgment and order dated December 18, 2004,
acquitted accused nos. 2 and 13 but confirmed the conviction and sentence
given to the rest of the accused, who are now in appeal before this Court.
13. The medical evidence fully supports the prosecution case. We have
also gone through the depositions of the seven eye-witnesses and the ocular
account of the occurrence is quite unimpeachable.
14. However, the learned counsel appearing for the appellants strongly
submitted that some of the accused had received injuries and those remained
unexplained by the prosecution. He, therefore, contended that the occurrence
clearly did not take place in the manner presented by the prosecution and for
that reason alone the prosecution case deserved to be junked.
15. Both the trial court and the High Court have taken this aspect of the
matter in due consideration. The trial court has pointed out, and in our view
quite rightly that the defense in this case completely denied the occurrence.
According to the defense, the occurrence took place in a different manner
and at a completely different place as alleged in the counter case being S.C.
No. 71/1993. The trial court further observed that since the accused denied
the very occurrence, no reliance could be placed on the alleged injuries
suffered by them, insofar as the trial of S.C. No. 84/1993 is concerned.
Moreover, the defense story, which was the prosecution case in S.C. No.
71/1993, was disbelieved and hence, the alleged injuries suffered by the
accused were of no help to them in this case.
16. We are in agreement with the view taken by the trial court and the
17. However, having regard to the fact that, to start with, there were a
number of accused and many of them were acquitted by the trial court and
two by the High Court, we suggested to the counsel appearing for the
appellants to address the Court in regard to the individual roles of the
different appellants so that their individual culpability may be separately
18. The counsel, however, insisted on challenging the prosecution case in
19. Nonetheless, we have gone through the records to see the individual
culpability of the seven appellants but we find that the judgment of the High
Court is faultless and the conviction of the seven appellants has been arrived
at correctly and on a proper appreciation of the prosecution evidence.
20. We, thus, find no merit in these appeals which are accordingly
dismissed. The bail bond of Gangappa Ningappa Ugarkhod, appellant in
Criminal Appeal No. 683 of 2005, is cancelled and he is order to surrender
within 4 weeks, failing which the trial court is directed to take coercive steps
to take him in custody and to make him serve out the remaining sentence.
April 16, 2013