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In the absence of any specific overt acts no person should be convicted under sec.147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC – except for his role = PUTCHALAPALLI NARESH REDDY …. APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF A.P. & ETC. …. RESPONDENTS judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40884

 In the absence of any specific overt acts no person should be convicted under sec.147,

 

English: The supreme court of india. Taken abo...

English: The supreme court of india. Taken about 170 m from the main building outside the perimeter wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

148 and 302 read with Section 149  of  the  IPC – except for his role =

 

Apex court confirmed the high court orders except modified the sentence from life to simple injury for one of the accused who had not committed any serious acts except causing simple injury – High court reversed the acquittal orders of trail court and punished main accused with life etc.,=

 

 

 

where  admissible

 

      evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate  court  to  re-

 

      appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted =

 

 

 

In State of U.P. vs.  Anil Singh, A.I.R. 1988 SC 1998,  this  Court

 

observed as follows:

 

      “In an appeal against acquittal, in the great majority of  cases,  the

 

      prosecution version is rejected either for want  of  corroboration  by

 

      independent witnesses, or for some  falsehood,  stated  or  embroidery

 

      added by witnesses. 

 

In some cases,  the  entire  prosecution  case  is

 

      doubted for  not  examining  all  witnesses  to  the  occurrence.  The

 

      indifferent attitude of the public  in  the  investigation  of  crimes

 

      could also be pointed. 

 

The public  are  generally  reluctant  to  come

 

      forward to depose before the Court. 

 

It is, therefore, not  correct  to

 

      reject the prosecution version only on ground that  all  witnesses  to

 

      occurrence have not been examined. 

 

It is also not proper to reject the

 

      case for want of corroboration by independent witnesses  if  the  case

 

      made out is otherwise true and acceptable. 

 

With  regard  to  falsehood

 

      stated or embellishments added by the  prosecution  witnesses,  it  is

 

      well to remember that there is a tendency  amongst  witnesses  in  our

 

      country to back up a good case by false or exaggerated version. 

 

It  is

 

      also experienced that  invariably  the  witnesses  add  embroidery  to

 

      prosecution story, perhaps for the fear of being disbelieved. But that

 

      is no ground to throw the case overboard, if  true  in  the  main.  If

 

      there is a ring of truth in the main, the case should not be rejected.

 

      

 

It is the duty of the Court to cull out the nuggets of truth from  the

 

      evidence unless there is reason to believe that the inconsistencies of

 

      falsehood are so glaring as  utterly  to  destroy  confidence  in  the

 

      witnesses. 

 

It is necessary to remember that a Judge does  not  preside

 

      over a criminal trial merely to see that no innocent man is  punished.

 

      

 

A Judge also presides to see that a guilty man does not escape. One is

 

      as important as the other. Both are public duties which the Judge  has

 

      to perform.”

 

 

 

 

 

22.         In State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh, (2003)  11  SCC  271,  this

 

Court held as follows:

 

      “There is no embargo on the appellate  court  reviewing  the  evidence

 

      upon which an order of acquittal is based.  Generally,  the  order  of

 

      acquittal shall not be interfered  with  because  the  presumption  of

 

      innocence of the accused is further  strengthened  by  acquittal.  The

 

      golden thread which runs through the web of administration of  justice

 

      in criminal cases is that if two views are possible  on  the  evidence

 

      adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and  the

 

      other to his innocence, the view which is favourable  to  the  accused

 

      should be adopted. The paramount consideration  of  the  court  is  to

 

      ensure that miscarriage of justice  is  prevented.  A  miscarriage  of

 

      justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no  less  than

 

      from -the conviction of  an  innocent.  In  a  case  where  admissible

 

      evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate  court  to  re-

 

      appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted, for

 

      the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused committed

 

      any offence or not.”

 

 

 

who  had  made  a  statement  in

 

expectation of death, did not die.  =

 

In Maqsoodan & Ors. V. State of U.P., AIR 1983 SC 126,  this  Court

 

dealt with  an  issue  wherein  a  person,  who  had  made  a  statement  in

 

expectation of death, did not die.   This  Court  held  that  it  cannot  be

 

treated as a dying declaration as his statement  was  not  admissible  under

 

Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, but it was  to  be  dealt  with

 

under Section 157 of the  Evidence  Act,  which  provides  that  the  former

 

statement of a witness may be proved to corroborate later  testimony  as  to

 

the same fact.

 

 

 

liable to be modified.=

 

 

 

Shri A.K. Sanghi,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  A-2  –

 

Konduru Nagure Reddy, submitted that this accused has been charged  for  the

 

offences under Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149  of  the  IPC

 

etc.  

 

He pointed out that the only overt act attributed to him  by  some  of

 

the prosecution witnesses is that because  Pelluru  Murali  Reddy  (P.W.  3)

 

intervened during the attack, he beat the said PW 3 with the  blunt  axe  of

 

Chillakathi on his back side.  

 

This according to the  learned  counsel  only

 

resulted in a simple lacerated injury skin deep of about 1½” over  the  back

 

head of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3).  

 

The Medical Officer has opined  that

 

this injury is simple.  

 

In the circumstances, the  conviction  and  sentence

 

of A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, awarded by the trial  court  and  affirmed  by

 

the High Court is liable to be modified. 

 

We hold A-2, Konduru Nagure  Reddy,

 

guilty only for the offence punishable under Section 324 read  with  Section

 

34 of the IPC.  We, therefore, alter the conviction of A-2,  Konduru  Nagure

 

Reddy, from Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC  etc.

 

 to Section 324 read with  Section  34  of  the  IPC.    

 

In  our  considered

 

opinion, custody and sentence of 2 (two)  years  would  be  appropriate  and

 

sufficient.   The accused-appellant shall undergo imprisonment  for  a  term

 

of 2 years, if not already undergone, in terms of this order.

 



31.      In view of the above, we allow Criminal Appeal  Nos.  1093-1094  of

 

2011, filed by A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, to  the  extent  indicated  above.

 

Rest of the appeals are dismissed.

 

 

 

 

 
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 

CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos. 1521-1522 OF 2011

 

 

 

 

 

PUTCHALAPALLI NARESH REDDY ….
APPELLANT

 
VERSUS

 

STATE OF A.P. & ETC. ….
RESPONDENTS

 

WITH

 

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 1102-1103 OF 2011

 

WITH

 

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 1100-1101 OF 2011

 

WITH

 

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 1093-1094 OF 2011

 

 

 

JUDGMENT

 
S. A. BOBDE, J.

 

1. This batch of appeals is preferred by the accused against the
common judgment and order dated 23rd March 2004 in Criminal Appeal Nos. 954
and 956 of 2008. Criminal Appeal Nos. 1521-1522 of 2011 are filed by the
Accused No. 1; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1102-1103 of 2011 are filed by the
accused Nos. 2-7; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1100-1101 of 2011 by the accused
Nos. 8-12; Criminal Appeal Nos. 1093-1094 of 2011 are filed by the Accused
No. 2, Konduru Nagure Reddy. Since they arise out of the same
incident/judgment they have been taken up together for disposal.

 

2. The crime in question is the murder of Mudi Parandhami Reddy in an
agricultural field on 25.11.96 in Mettu village in Andhra Pradesh.
According to the prosecution, the deceased was a leader of the Congress
party in the area. He was suspected by the Accused No. 1 Puchalapalli
Parandhami Reddy, a leader of the Telugu Desam Party, as being responsible
for the murder of his father on 25.3.92. Land disputes also existed
between Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), his brother Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)
on one side and A-19, Pelluru Venu Reddy about the division of survey No.
116. Litigation was pending between them in a Court. Therefore, Pelluru
Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) sought the mediation of
the deceased Mudi Parandhami Reddy and it was decided that the deceased
would mediate on 25.11.96.

 

3. On 24.11.96, Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and his brother
Rajagopal engaged farm labour i.e. P.W. 1 (Vakati Ramanaiah), P.W. 2
(Rayapati Venkata Ramanaiah), P.W. 4 (Bandila Mutyhyalaiah) and P.W. 5
(Rayapati Kotaiah) for ploughing the land. On the next day, i.e. 25.11.1996
the deceased had come to the land and sat on a ridge in the field while the
ploughing was going on by the labourers. Around 8.00 a.m., A-19, Pelluru
Venu Reddy and A-20, Pelluru Sreedhar Reddy came there and asked that the
ploughing be stopped because there was a dispute over the land. Mudi
Parandhami intervened and said that the dispute will be resolved later and
asked the ploughing to go on. At this the accused went away. Around 10
a.m. the accused party came back. The accused no.1 hacked Mudi Parandhami
with a battle-axe on the head. After that A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy came
and when Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) intervened, A-2, Konduru Nagure
Reddy, hit him with the blunt edge of the chilla kathi. Then A-3, Konduru
Dayakar Reddy, hacked Mudi Parandhami with an axe on his head. When
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) intervened, A-3, Konduru Dayakar Reddy, hit
him on the left hand. After this A-4, Konduru Ramachandra Reddy, came and
stabbed Mudi Parandhami on his left shoulder. A-5, Putchalapalli Ramamohan
Reddy, then stabbed mudi Parandhami on his chest. A-6, Putchalapalli
Srinivasulu Reddy, then stabbed Mudi Parandhami with a spear on the left
side of his back. Thereafter A-7, Putchalapalli Niranjan Reddy, stabbed
Mudi Parandhami on his back. Then A-8, Avula Sudhakar, stabbed Mudi
Parandhami on his left ear and his abdomen. Thereafter A-9, Putchalapalli
Subrahmanyam Reddy, stabbed Mudi parandhami on the left side of the chest.
A-10, Yellasiri Masthan, then hit Mudi Parandhami with a stick on the left
temple. A-12, Chennur Venkataramana Reddy, gave a blow on the head to Mudi
Parandhami. When Rajagopal Reddy Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), intervened A-
12, Chennur Venkataramana Reddy hacked him on the head with the same battle
axe and felled him. In the incident Mudi Parandhami Reddy died. P.W. 3
(Murali Reddy) L.W. 2 (P. Raja Gopal Reddy) and L.W. 3 (Pelluru Karunakar
Reddy) were injured.
4. Since no doctor was available at Vakadu, one Subrahmanyamm Reddy
brought a car and Veluru Gopal Reddy, P.W. 6, Pelluru Murali Reddy P.W.3
took him in the car to the Government Hospital, Gudur. However, since his
condition was critical the hospital authorities advised them to take him
for special treatment to Tirupati. On 26.11.1996 the Additional District
Munsif, Tirupati recorded the Dying Declaration of P.W. 2 – P
Rajagopal Reddy (the injured) at the Government Hospital, Tirupati. P.W.
17, K. Bala Reddy, Inspector of Police, Vakadu conducted inquest over the
body of the deceased Mudi Parandhami Reddy and sent his body for post
mortem to the Government Hospital, where PW 13, Dr. M.C. Narashimhulu,
conducted post mortem over the body of the deceased.
5. First Information Report was lodged after about seven hours. The
Investigating Officer, Mr. K. Prasad Rao, P.W. 14, recorded the statement
of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) at the Government Hospital, Gudur and
registered Crime No. 175 of 1996 and recorded the confession of accused No.
2 (Konduru Nagure Reddy) and recovered M.Os 1 to 10. Rest of the
investigation was conducted by K. Bala Reddy (Inspector of Police), P.W.
17. The post mortem was conducted by Doctor M.C. Narasimhulu (P.W.13).
The wound certificate showed the following ante-mortem injuries:
“(1) A bone deep lacerated injury of about 3″ x 1/2″ extending from
middle of skull to the left parietal bone. Blood stains present with
congestion. Deeper to it sub scalp congested and dark. L shaped
fracture of skull in mid line for about 3 ½” and to the right side of
parietal bone. Brain coverings congested and dark. Subdural haematoma
present over the middle of brain. Brain matter congested and dark.
There is basal fracture of skull transversely from one petrous part of
the bone to the other and fracture of right parietal bone, blood clots
and congestion present over the base of skull and at the fractured
areas. Injury is ante mortem.
(2) Swelling over right fronto parietal area of skull. Deeper to it
sub-scalp congested with dark blood clots. Injury ante mortem.
(3) Cut injury cartilage deep of about 1″ over the upper part of helix
of left ear present. Blood stains present with congestion. Injury is
ante mortem.
(4) Skin discoloured dark with swelling over left parotid region and a
part of left face. Deeper to it dark blood clots with congestion
present. Injury is ante mortem.
(5) An incised injury of about 2 ½” x ½” x unknown depth in between
3rd and 4th intercostals space just medial to the mammary plane. Blood
stains and congestion present. Deeper to it fracture of 3rd rib,
severing the 3rd intercostals space entering the thoracic cavity
injured irregularly left lung by cutting irregularly and injured the
anterior part of heart muscle opening the heart chambers (auricle and
ventricle) for about 2 ½” . Blood clots and congestion present at the
intercostals region, over the lung injury and over the heart. Injury
ante mortem in nature.
(6) Another incised injury of about 2″ x ½” x unknown depth over the
4th intercostals area just medial to mammary plane on left chest.
Blood stains and congestion present. Deeper to it the 3rd intercostals
space opened and left 4th rib fractured and entered the thoracic
cavity. Congestion and blood clots present at the fractured site and
intercostals area. Injury is ante mortem in nature.
(7) A cut injury bone deep of about 2″ x ½” over the 5th intercostals
space in the left anterior axillary line. Blood stains and congestion
present. Injury is ante mortem.
(8) Another cut injury bone deep of about 1 ½” x ½” over the 7th left
intercostals space in the anterior axillary plane. Congestion and
blood stains present. Injury is ante mortem.
(9) Another cut injury bone deep of about 2 ½” x ½” in the mid
axillary line on 5th left intercostals space. Blood stains and
congestion present. Injury is ante mortem.
(10) Cut injury skin deep of about ½” x ½” in 7th left intercostals
area in the mamillary plane. Blood stains and congestion present.
Injury is ante mortem.

 

(11) Another cut injury of about ½” x ½” skin deep just below the
above injury.
(12) Another cut injury of about 2″ x ½” x unknown depth over the
lower aspect of back of left chest present. Internally the last rib
fractured on the back in the posterior mid line on left side entering
the abdominal cavity and injured the left kidney for about ¾.
Congestion and blood clots present over the injured areas internally.
Thoracic cage contained clotted blood for about 1 ½ liters. Blood
clots also present in abdominal cavity. Injury is ante mortem.
(13) Another cut injury bone deep of about 1 ½” x ½” over the line on
lumbar area. Blood stains and congestion hyoid bone, normal. Neck
tissues normal. Stomach contains of about 1 oz of coffee coloured
fluid. Genitals normal. Intestines normal.”
The doctor opined that the deceased died due to shock from head
injury and injury to the brain and heart and other multiple injuries and
hemorrhage.
6. Since Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) was injured and critical, his dying
declaration was recorded on 26.11.1996 by the IInd Additional District
Munsif, Tirupati.
7. At the trial the prosecution examined 17 witnesses. The defence
examined D.Ws 3 to 6 to prove their plea of alibi. P.W. 1 (Vakati
Ramanaiah), P.W. 2 (Rayapati Venkata Ramanaiah) and P.W. 11 (SK Ahmed
Basha) turned hostile. The prosecution did not examine Rajagopal Reddy
(L.W. 2), Mohan (L.W. 11) and Karunakara Redddy (L.W. 3). Charge-sheet
was filed against 20 accused under Sections 147, 148 and 302 of the Indian
Penal Code (IPC) against all the accused, under Sections 307 and 326
against A2, A3 and A12, under Section 307 read with Section 149 IPC and
under Section 326 read with Section 149 IPC against A-1, A-4 to A-11 and A-
13 to A-20. Upon considering the evidence and after hearing, the IIIrd
-Additional District & Sessions Judge (Fast Track), Nellore found none of
the accused guilty for the offences they were charged with and acquitted
them.
8. The plea of alibi has been rejected by the Trial Court as well as
the High Court. Rejection of this plea is based on complete improbability
of the plea and is not necessary to consider it any further, particularly,
since it was not pressed seriously before us. In Appeal and Revision, the
High Court considered the entire evidence on record and found that:
(a) Accused Nos. 1 to 12 are found guilty under Section 235 (2)
of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) for the offences under
Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of IPC for causing the
death of the deceased Mudi Parandhami Reddy and further under Section
324 read with Section 34 of IPC for causing simple injuries to P.W. 3.
They were awarded rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year each
for the offences under Sections 147 and 148 of IPC;
(b) Accused 1 to 12 were further sentenced to ‘imprisonment for life’
for the offence under Section 302 read with Section 149 of IPC and a
fine of Rs. 1,000/- (Rupees one thousand only) each, in default to
suffer simple imprisonment for one month each;
(c) Accused 2 and 3 were further sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for 6 months each for the offence under Section 324 read
with Section 34 of IPC;
(d) All the sentences were directed to run concurrently;
(e) Accused 13 to 20 were found not guilty for the offences with which
they were charged and the High Court confirmed the judgment of the
trial Court acquitting those accused. Both the criminal appeal and
the criminal revision were allowed in part and the judgment of the
trial court was set aside.

 
9. Shri Altaf Ahmed and Shri Mahabir Singh, learned senior counsel,
appearing for the accused Nos. 1, 2 and 3 respectively, relied on the
decisions of this Court in Rohtash vs. State of Haryana, (2012) 6 SCC 589
and Murugesan vs. State, (2012) 10 SCC 383, for the principles reiterated
by this Court for interfering with an order of acquittal. In Rohtash
(supra) to which one of us (Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.) was a party, this court
held that an order of acquittal is liable to be interfered with only in
exceptional cases where there are compelling circumstances and the judgment
in appeal is found to be perverse. Interference in a routine manner where
the other view is possible should be avoided, unless there are good reasons
for interference. In Rohtas (supra) this Court observed:
“27. The High Court interfered with the order of acquittal recorded by
the trial court. The law of interfering with the judgment of
acquittal is well settled. It is to the effect that only in
exceptional cases where there are compelling circumstances and the
judgment in appeal is found to be perverse, the appellate court can
interfere with the order of the acquittal. The appellate court should
bear in mind the presumption of innocence of the accused and further
that the trial court’s acquittal bolsters the presumption of
innocence. Interference in a routine manner where the other view if
possible should be avoided, unless there are good reasons for
interference. [Vide State of Rajasthan v. Talevar (2011) 11 SCC 666
and Govindaraju v. State (2012) 4 SCC 722].”

 

10. In Murugesan (supra), this Court has observed as under:
“21. A concise statement of the law on the issue that had emerged
after over half a century of evolution since Sheo Swarup is to be
found in para 42 of the report in Chandrappa and Ors. v. State of
Karnataka : 2007 (4) SCC 415. The same may, therefore, be usefully
noticed below: (SCC 432)

 
“42. From the above decisions, in our considered view, the
following general principles regarding powers of the appellate
court while dealing with an appeal against an order of acquittal
emerge:

 
(1) An appellate court has full power to review, re-appreciate
and reconsider the evidence upon which the order of acquittal is
founded.

 
(2) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 puts no limitation,
restriction or condition on exercise of such power and an
appellate court on the evidence before it may reach its own
conclusion, both on questions of fact and of law.

 
(3) Various expressions, such as, “substantial and compelling
reasons”, “good and sufficient grounds”, “very strong
circumstances”, “distorted conclusions”, “glaring mistakes”,
etc. are not intended to curtail extensive powers of an
appellate court in an appeal against acquittal. Such
phraseologies are more in the nature of “flourishes of language”
to emphasise the reluctance of an appellate court to interfere
with acquittal than to curtail the power of the court to review
the evidence and to come to its own conclusion.

 
(4) An appellate court, however, must bear in mind that in case
of acquittal, there is double presumption in favour of the
accused. Firstly, the presumption of innocence is available to
him under the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence
that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is
proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused
having secured his acquittal, the presumption of his innocence
is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the trial
court.

 
(5) If two reasonable conclusions are possible on the basis of
the evidence on record, the appellate court should not disturb
the finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court.
(Emphasis supplied)”
11. According to the learned counsel the trial court has rightly
disbelieved the prosecution case, particularly, in view of the evidence of
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and the non-examination of Rajagopal Reddy
(L.W. 2). Other witnesses from the initial list have also been examined.
As found by the trial court, the learned counsel submitted that the
depositions of several witnesses of the prosecution is without any
credibility and even the presence of some of them on the scene of the crime
is doubtful or, they are interested witnesses. A conviction based on such
evidence is not tenable. It was also submitted by the learned counsel that
the evidence of PW-3, who claims to be present, is itself doubtful.
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) is the younger brother of Rajagopal Reddy
(L.W. 2), whose son is K. Reddy. A-19, Pelluru Venu Reddy, is the elder
brother of PW 3. A-20, Pelluru Sreedhar Reddy is son of A-19, Pelluru Venu
Reddy. Admittedly, there is a dispute pertaining to land between Pelluru
Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) on one hand and A-19,
Pelluru Venu Reddy and A-20, Pelluru Sreedhar Reddy, on the other.
Therefore, the animus of this witness against the accused is clear.
Moreover, the evidence of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) is itself
unreliable because the witness deposed that the A-1 – Puchalapalli
Parandhami Reddy, hacked the deceased with a battle axe whereas the injury
on the head shows that it must have been caused by blunt side of an axe.
The injury in question i.e. injury No. 1, is as follows:
“(1) A bone deep lacerated injury of about 3″ x ½” extending from
middle of skull to the left parietal bone. Blood stains present with
congestion. Deeper to it sub scalp congested and dark. L shaped
fracture of skull in mid line for about 3 ½” and to the right side of
parietal bone. Brain coverings congested and dark. Subdural hematoma
present over the middle of brain. Brain matter congested and dark.
There is basal fracture of skull transversely from one petrous part of
the bone to the other and fracture of right parietal bone, blood clots
and congestion present over the base of skull and at the fractured
areas. Injury is ante mortem.”

 
12. The doctor has opined that this injury could have been caused by a
blunt object. According to the learned counsel the witness did not say
that the accused reversed the axe while hitting the deceased on the head as
the injury shows, and therefore he is lying or was not present. In the
first place, we find that other witnesses have given the same deposition.
It is possible that the statement of the witness is slightly inaccurate or
the witness did not see properly which side of the axe was used. It is
equally possible that the sharp edge of the axe is actually very blunt or
it was reversed just before hitting the head. It is not possible to say
what is the reason. That is however no reason for discarding the statement
of the witness that A-1 – Puchalapalli Parandhami Reddy hit the deceased
without a battle axe, as is obvious from the injury. Moreover, it is not
possible to doubt the presence of this witness, who has himself been
injured. Dr. M.C. Narasimhulu, P.W. 13, Medical Officer, has stated in his
evidence that on 25-11-1996 at about 3.30 p.m., he examined this witness –
P.W.3 – P. Murali Reddy and found the following injuries:
“(1) Diffused swelling with tenderness over middle 1/3rd and back of
left forearm.
(2) A lacerated injury skin deep of about ½” over the back of head.
Bleeding present with tenderness and swelling around.”

 
13. We are also not impressed by the finding of the trial court that
there is discrepancy between the statement of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)
and his oral testimony because he said in the statement that he saw the
tractor in which the accused had arrived just before the house of A-19,
Pelluru Venu Reddy and deposed that the house could not be seen from where
he was standing. Such a discrepancy does not detract from the basic
credibility of this witness, who along with his brother has been injured in
the attack.
14. Besides, the evidence of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3), there is a
similar deposition by P.W. 4 (Bandila Mutyhyalaiah) and P.W. 5 (Rayapati
Kotaiah) who were engaged by Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and his brother
and P.W. 6 (Veluru Gopal Reddy) and P.W. 7 (Manneti Chenchaiah), who had
accompanied the deceased.
15. The evidence of P.W. 4 (Bandila Mutyhyalaiah) and P.W. 5
(Rayapati Kotaiah) was attacked on the ground that they were engaged by
Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and P.W. 5 (Rayapati Kotaiah) and therefore
are interested witnesses and not reliable. Such a contention cannot be
accepted. There was no reason for these witnesses to falsely depose. It
is equally true that there is no mention of these witnesses i.e. PWs 4 and
5 in the F.I.R. We do not find anything significant in their non-mention
since they were apparently from a different village and it is possible that
their names were left out.
16. Their depositions are clear and consistent about the incident and
are on the following line. That at about 7.30 or 8 a.m., P.Ws. 1, 2, 4 and
5 were ploughing the land with nagallu. The deceased was sitting on the
northern side of the ridge. P.W. 6 (Veluru Gopal Reddy), Chenchaiah L.W.10
and Mohan L.W.11 were standing on the eastern side. Meanwhile, accused 19
and 20 came there and objected for ploughing the land. The deceased
intervened and informed that the disputes will be settled later and asked
them to plough the land. On that, A- 19 and 20 left the fields. On the same
day at about 10 a.m., A-1 came to the scene and hacked the deceased with a
battle-axe on the head. After that, A-2 came and when P.W.3 intervened,
accused No. 2 beat P.W.3 with the butt end of a chilakathi on the head.
Then accused No. 3 came and hacked the deceased with an axe on the head.
When P.W.3 intervened, accused No. 3 beat with the same axe on the left
hand of P.W.3. Thereafter, accused No. 4 came and stabbed the deceased on
the left shoulder. A-5 stabbed the deceased on the chest. A-6 stabbed the
deceased with a spear on the left side back portion. A-7 stabbed the
deceased on the back side. A-8 stabbed the deceased on the left ear and
also on the abdomen. A-9 stabbed the deceased on the left side chest
portion. A-10 beat the deceased with a stick on the left temple. A-11
stabbed the deceased with a chilakathi on the left side of the chest and on
the left tempo. A-12 beat the deceased with an axe on the head. When
Rajagopal Reddy L.W.2 intervened, A-12 hacked him with the same battle-axe
on the head. Due to that blow, he had fallen on the ground. After 15
minutes, Subrahmanyam Reddy, resident of Thimmareddyvagu, brought a tractor
to the scene. P.W 6, P.W.3 and Subrahmanyam Reddy took the injured
Rajagopal Reddy L.W.2 in the said tractor to Vakadu for treatment as his
condition was serious. As there was no doctor available at Vakadu,
Subrahmanyam Reddy brought a car and himself, Rajagopala Reddy L.W.2, P.W.3
and Subrahmanyam Reddy together took him to the Government Hospital, Gudur.
There they were advised to take the injured L.W.2 to Tirupati for expert
treatment and thereafter he returned back to the house.
17. Deposition of P.W. 6, who accompanied the deceased fully
corroborates the version of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3). He stated that
PW 3 and LW 2 came to the house of the deceased and requested him to
mediate the dispute among the brothers. The deceased promised to come on
the next day. On the next day what transpired is narrated by him as above.
There is no substance in the contention that this witness supported the
prosecution side in some earlier litigation, therefore, his testimony is
liable to be discarded. P.W. 7 (Manneti Chenchaiah) was also present when
the deceased was requested to mediate the dispute on the earlier date and
accompany him to the field on the next day. His narration of the incident
is similar to the deposition of other witnesses and have been believed by
the High Court. The prosecution case is fully supported by rest of the
witnesses and the evidence.
18. The prosecution in this case has sufficiently established the
motive, which is the political rivalry and the land dispute between the
parties; their preparation, which consists the accused party going to the
field of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3) and Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2) with
arms; the recovery of these arms at the instance of A-2, Konduru Nagure
Reddy; the discovery of blood stains on the knife and battle-axe and ante
mortem injuries inflicted on the deceased, as per the inquest and post
mortem report. The injuries were caused to the deceased by the accused,
which are as under:

 

“P.W. 3 – Pelluru Murali Reddy stated about the injuries on the deceased as
under:
A-1 – hacked the deceased on the head with battle axe.
A-3 – with axe – beat the deceased on the head.
A-4 – with bitchuva (knife) stabbed the deceased on the left side chest and
underneath of left arm pit.
A-5 – With Bitchuva (Knife) – stabbed the deceased Paradhami Reddy on the
left side of the chest and underneath, left arm pit resulting bleeding
injuries.
A-6 – Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion, resulting
bleeding injuries.
A-7 – Spear – on left side back portion of the deceased resulting bleeding
injuries.
A-8 – Chilakathi – stabbed the deceased on the left ear and on his abdomen.
A-9 – Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side chest portion and also
on umbilicus.
A-10 – Stick – beat the deceased on the left temporal region.
A-11 – Chilakathi – stabbed on the left side temple region near the left
ear and also on the abdomen causing bleeding injury.
A-12 – with battle axe – backed the deceased on the head caused bleeding
injury.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately with sticks and iron rods.
P.W. 4 – Bandila Mutyhyalaiah – spoke about the injuries on the deceased
as under:
A-1 – hacked the deceased – with battle axe on the head.
A-3 – with axe – beat deceased Parandhami Reddy on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the chest and
also underneath left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the chest and
also underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 –With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-7 – With Spear stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-8 – With Chilakathi – hacked the deceased on the left ear and abdomen of
the deceased.
A-9 – With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side of the chest and
also on the umbilicus.
A-10 – With Stick – beat the deceased on the left side temporal region.
A-11 – hacked the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side temple and also
on the left side of chest.
A-12 – hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately with iron rods and sticks.
P.W. 5 (Rayapati Kotaiah) – spoke about the injuries on the deceased as
under:
A-1 – With axe beat Parandhami Reddy on the head.
A-3 – hacked the deceased with axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the chest and
also underneath left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased with Bitchuva on the left side of the chest and
also underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 –With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side back portion.
A-7 – Armed with Spear – stabbed on the left side back portion.
A-8 – stabbed the deceased – with Chilakathi –on the left ear and abdomen.
A-9 – With Spear – stabbed the deceased on the left side of the chest.
A-10 – beat the deceased with spear – with stick temporal region.
A-11 – stabbed the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side of the chest
and on the left side of the temple region.
A-12 – hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
Other accused beat the deceased indiscriminately.
P.W. 6 – Veluru Gopal Reddy stated about the injuries on the deceased as
under:
A-1 – hacked the deceased with battle axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – Parandhami Reddy on the left shoulder.
A-5 – stabbed the deceased on the chest.
A-6 – stabbed the deceased with Spear on the left side back portion.
A-7 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left side.
A-8 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left ear and also on the abdomen.
A-9 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy on the left side chest portion.
A-10 – beat the deceased with stick on the left temporal region of deceased
Parandhami Reddy.
A-11 – stabbed the deceased with Chilakathi on the left side of the chest
and left side of the temple region.
A-12 – beat Parandhami Reddy with axe on his head.
P.W. 7 (Manneti Chenchaiah) stated about the injuries on the deceased as
under:
A-1 –axed the deceased on the head with battle axe.
A-3 – hacked Parandhami Reddy with axe on the head.
A-4 – stabbed – Parandhami Reddy with bitchuva on the left side of the
chest and underneath the left arm pit.
A-5 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy with bitchuva on the left side of the chest
and underneath the left arm pit.
A-6 – stabbed the deceased with Spear on the left side back portion.
A-7 – stabbed the deceased with spear on the left side back portion.
A-8 – stabbed the deceased with Chillakathi on the left ear and also on
the abdomen.
A-9 – stabbed the deceased with spear on the left side of the chest and
also on umbilicus.
A-10 – beat Parandhami Reddy with sticks on the left temporal region.
A-11 – stabbed Parandhami Reddy with Chilakathi on the left side of the
chest and left side of the temple region.
A-12 – beat the deceased on the chest with battle axe.”
19. We have found that the injuries on the deceased are completely
relatable to the injuries to the attack as deposed to by the prosecution
witnesses.
20. We have carefully examined the alleged discrepancies and we do not
find that the discrepancies and doubts are such as makes their testimonies
liable to be rejected, in view of the deposition of PWs 3, 6 and 7, which
is clear and consistent.
21. In State of U.P. vs. Anil Singh, A.I.R. 1988 SC 1998, this Court
observed as follows:
“In an appeal against acquittal, in the great majority of cases, the
prosecution version is rejected either for want of corroboration by
independent witnesses, or for some falsehood, stated or embroidery
added by witnesses. In some cases, the entire prosecution case is
doubted for not examining all witnesses to the occurrence. The
indifferent attitude of the public in the investigation of crimes
could also be pointed. The public are generally reluctant to come
forward to depose before the Court. It is, therefore, not correct to
reject the prosecution version only on ground that all witnesses to
occurrence have not been examined. It is also not proper to reject the
case for want of corroboration by independent witnesses if the case
made out is otherwise true and acceptable. With regard to falsehood
stated or embellishments added by the prosecution witnesses, it is
well to remember that there is a tendency amongst witnesses in our
country to back up a good case by false or exaggerated version. It is
also experienced that invariably the witnesses add embroidery to
prosecution story, perhaps for the fear of being disbelieved. But that
is no ground to throw the case overboard, if true in the main. If
there is a ring of truth in the main, the case should not be rejected.
It is the duty of the Court to cull out the nuggets of truth from the
evidence unless there is reason to believe that the inconsistencies of
falsehood are so glaring as utterly to destroy confidence in the
witnesses. It is necessary to remember that a Judge does not preside
over a criminal trial merely to see that no innocent man is punished.
A Judge also presides to see that a guilty man does not escape. One is
as important as the other. Both are public duties which the Judge has
to perform.”

 
22. In State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh, (2003) 11 SCC 271, this
Court held as follows:
“There is no embargo on the appellate court reviewing the evidence
upon which an order of acquittal is based. Generally, the order of
acquittal shall not be interfered with because the presumption of
innocence of the accused is further strengthened by acquittal. The
golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice
in criminal cases is that if two views are possible on the evidence
adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the
other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused
should be adopted. The paramount consideration of the court is to
ensure that miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of
justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no less than
from -the conviction of an innocent. In a case where admissible
evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon the appellate court to re-
appreciate the evidence even where the accused has been acquitted, for
the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused committed
any offence or not.”

 
23. Having regard to the above law laid down by this Court, the High
Court was fully justified in reversing the order of acquittal in respect of
accused Nos. 1 to 12.
24. At this stage, we might note that we are not impressed by the
submission advanced on behalf of the appellants that the prosecution case
fails because Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), who is said to be injured in the
attack, was not examined. LW 2, the brother of PW 3, is said to have
received one simple injury on the head in the attack. The witnesses stated
that he received several injuries on his head, however, the evidence of the
Medical Officer shows that the X-ray of the skull was taken on 25.11.1996
and there was one simple injury on his head on the date of the offence.
This witness obviously should have been examined but for reasons best known
to the prosecution was not examined. Though his dying declaration was
recorded by the IInd Additional Munsif, Tirupati on 26.11.1996, this
witness survived.
25. In Sunil Kumar & Ors. V. State of M.P., AIR 1997 SC 940, this
Court held as under:
“……….. that immediately after PW 1, injured witness was taken to the
hospital his statement was recorded as a dying declaration which,
consequent upon his survival, is to be treated only as a statement
recorded under Section 164, Cr. P.C. and can be used for corroboration
or contradiction. This statement recorded by the Magistrate at the
earliest available opportunity clearly discloses the substratum of the
prosecution case including the names of the appellants as assailants
and there is not an iota of materials on record to show that this was
the upshot of his tutoring. On the contrary, this statement was made
at a point of time when PW 1 was in a critical condition and it is
difficult to believe that he would falsely implicate the appellants
leaving aside the real culprits………that there was only some minor
inconsequential contradictions which did not at all impair his
evidence. Then again, as already noticed, the evidences of the doctors
fully supports his version of the incident.”
(Emphasis added).

 

26. In Maqsoodan & Ors. V. State of U.P., AIR 1983 SC 126, this Court
dealt with an issue wherein a person, who had made a statement in
expectation of death, did not die. This Court held that it cannot be
treated as a dying declaration as his statement was not admissible under
Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, but it was to be dealt with
under Section 157 of the Evidence Act, which provides that the former
statement of a witness may be proved to corroborate later testimony as to
the same fact.
27. In Ramprasad v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1999 SC 1969, a similar
view has been re-iterated by this Court as this Court observed:
“Be that as it may, the question is whether the court could treat it
as an item of evidence for any purpose. Section 157 of the Evidence
Act permits proof of any former statement made by a witness relating
to the same fact before “any authority legally competent to
investigate the fact” but its use is limited to corroboration of the
testimony of such witness. Though a police officer is legally
competent to investigate, any statement made to him during such
investigation cannot be used to corroborate the testimony of a witness
because of the clear interdict contained in Section 162 of the Code.
But a statement made to a magistrate is not affected by the
prohibition contained in the said Section. A magistrate can record the
statement of a person as provided in Section 164 of the Code and such
statement would either be elevated to the status of Section 32 if the
maker of the statement subsequently dies or it would remain within the
realm of what it was originally. A statement recorded by a magistrate
under Section 164 becomes usable to corroborate the witness as
provided in Section 157 of the Evidence Act or to contradict him as
provided in Section 155 thereof.”

 
28. The above view has also been reiterated by this Court in Gentela
Vijayavardhan Rao & Anr. V. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1996 SC 2791;
State of U.P. V. Veer Singh & Ors. AIR 2004 SC 4614; and Ranjit Singh and
Ors. V. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 2011 SC 255.
29. In this case, however, we are not inclined to go into the issue
since Rajagopal Reddy (L.W. 2), was not examined at all. No issue has been
raised whether a witness could have corroborated or contradicted on the
basis of the statement recorded by the IInd Additional Munsif, Tirupati.
30. Shri A.K. Sanghi, learned senior counsel appearing for A-2 –
Konduru Nagure Reddy, submitted that this accused has been charged for the
offences under Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC
etc. He pointed out that the only overt act attributed to him by some of
the prosecution witnesses is that because Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3)
intervened during the attack, he beat the said PW 3 with the blunt axe of
Chillakathi on his back side. This according to the learned counsel only
resulted in a simple lacerated injury skin deep of about 1½” over the back
head of Pelluru Murali Reddy (P.W. 3). The Medical Officer has opined that
this injury is simple. In the circumstances, the conviction and sentence
of A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, awarded by the trial court and affirmed by
the High Court is liable to be modified. We hold A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy,
guilty only for the offence punishable under Section 324 read with Section
34 of the IPC. We, therefore, alter the conviction of A-2, Konduru Nagure
Reddy, from Sections 147, 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the IPC etc.
to Section 324 read with Section 34 of the IPC. In our considered
opinion, custody and sentence of 2 (two) years would be appropriate and
sufficient. The accused-appellant shall undergo imprisonment for a term
of 2 years, if not already undergone, in terms of this order.

 
31. In view of the above, we allow Criminal Appeal Nos. 1093-1094 of
2011, filed by A-2, Konduru Nagure Reddy, to the extent indicated above.
Rest of the appeals are dismissed.

 
………………………………………..J.
[ DR.
B.S. CHAUHAN ]

 
……………………………………………J.
[ S.A. Bobde ]

 
New Delhi,
October18, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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