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Sections 143, 147, 148, 323, 324, 326, 307, read with Section 114 of IPC – Powers of Appellant court – when to interfere with acquittal orders – Trial court acquitted the all accused due to delay in FIR about 2 hours , serious contradictions in the evidence of eye witnesses – non-blood stained weapons – High court set aside the acquittal order of the lower court and punish the accused under sec.324 /34 to pay fine Rs.10,000/- for each count – Apex court set the order of High court and framed principles – general principles regarding powers of 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 emphasize 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 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.” =CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1381 of 2014 (@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.)NO.4018 OF 2012) C.K. DASEGOWDA & ORS. …..APPELLANTS VERSUS STATE OF KARNATAKA …..RESPONDENT = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41768

Sections 143,  147,  148,  323,  324,  326,  307,  read  with Section 114 of IPC – Powers of Appellant court – when to interfere with acquittal orders – Trial court acquitted the all accused due to delay in FIR about 2 hours , serious contradictions in the evidence of eye witnesses – non-blood stained weapons – High court set aside the acquittal order of the lower court and punish the accused under sec.324 /34 to pay fine Rs.10,000/- for each count – Apex court set the order of High court and framed principles – general principles regarding powers of 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 emphasize 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  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.” =

 

on  11.8.1999,  at  about  7:00 a.m.,

When the complainant  and  PW-3  were  coming

back, accused nos. 1 to 10 (A-1 to A-10) attacked them with deadly  weapons.=

It is alleged by the prosecution that 

A-1 assaulted PW-3 with iron blade  of a plough on his head. 

 A-3  assualted  PW-3  on  his  back  and  thigh.  

A-4 assualted PW-3 on both his legs with iron blade of plough. 

A-2 assaulted PW- 1 with iron rod on his left shoulder. 

A-6, A-8 and  A-10  kicked  PW-1.  

A-5 and A-7 assaulted Bhagyamma- PW-6 with iron blade of plough and  

A-9  kicked her.=

A complaint (Ex.-P1) was lodged on 11.8.1999 at 9:00  a.m.  before  the

police.

The  Crime  Case  No.  CC  728  of  2000  was  registered  by  the

Investigating Officer. The injured were taken  to  the  hospital  at  around

2:00 p.m.

PW-3 had sustained fracture of tibia, fibula and ankle.

PW-6  had

sustained simple injuries.

PW-4 Jalaiah  and  PW-9-  Shivanna  are  the  eye witnesses to the incident.=

on their voluntary instance, M.O.  1  to

M.O. 3 (clubs), M.O. 4 & M.O. 5 (iron blade of  plough)  and  M.O.  6  (iron

rod) were recovered.

However, the said weapons had  no  incriminating  marks like blood stains on them.

The accused were  charge-sheeted  for  committing offences under Sections 143,  147,  148,  323,  324,  326,  307,  read  with Section 114 of IPC =

Trial court 

In the evidence, 

PW-1 has stated that

 A-2 had assaulted him  with  iron rod, A-5 held him, 

A-1 assaulted PW-3 with iron rod. 

He further stated  that

A-4 assaulted PW-3 on his legs with iron blade of plough. 

A-3, A-6  and  A-7 were holding  clubs  and  assaulting  PW-3.  

A-1  instigated  other  accused persons to kill PW-1.

7.  The evidence of 

PW-3 also discloses that 

A-4  assaulted  him  with  iron blade of plough on his legs and hands. 

A-6, A-7 and A-5 assaulted  him  with clubs on his back, thigh and shoulder.  

The  other  accused  persons  kicked him.

8.  PW-6 in her evidence, stated that  she  was  assaulted  by  the  accused

persons but she could not name the persons.  

This  witness  was  treated  as hostile.

Accordingly, the trial court ordered the  acquittal  of

accused-appellant nos. 1 to 10 under Section 235(1)  of  CrPC  for  offences

punishable under Sections 143, 147,  148,  323,  324,  326,  307  read  with

Section 114 of IPC.=

High court held 

The High Court, on the basis of facts  and  evidence  on  record,  held

that with regard to the nature of offences, the evidence and facts  narrated

in the FIR discloses

that A-3 assaulted PW-3 with iron blade of  plough.

In

the evidence,

it is further stated that A-4 also assaulted  PW-3  with  iron

blade of plough.

But in the  wound  certificate,  there  is  no  mention  of presence or participation of A-4.

It is evident that there are fractures  in

the tibia and fibula which could have occurred because of fall from  bicycle

as well.

The fracture injury is not caused  intentionally.

Therefore,  from

the nature and manner of assault, as narrated, it can only be said that  the

accused is guilty under Section 324 read with Section 34 of IPC for  causing

injuries to PW-1 and PW-3 on separate  counts.  

Therefore,  the  High  Court

convicted and sentenced the appellants to pay a fine of [pic] 10,000/-  each

on separate counts and in default, to  undergo  simple  imprisonment  for  a

period of one year.=

Apex court 

we are of the opinion that the High  Court

erred in reversing the Order of the  trial  court  in  the  absence  of  any

substantial material evidence on record which regarded the decision  of  the

trial court as perverse.

However,  it  will  not

interfere with an order of acquittal lightly or  merely  because  one  other

view is possible,  because  with  the  passing  of  an  order  of  acquittal

presumption of innocence in  favour  of  the  accused  gets  reinforced  and

strengthened. =

The High Court would not be justified to  interfere  with  the

order of acquittal merely because it feels that sitting as a trial court  it

would have proceeded to record a conviction;

a duty  is  cast  on  the  High

Court while reversing an order of  acquittal  to  examine  and  discuss  the

reasons given by the trial court to acquit the accused and  then  to  dispel

those reasons.

If the  High  Court  fails  to  make  such  an  exercise  the

judgment will suffer from serious infirmity. =

BASIC PRINCIPLES FRAMED BY APEX COURT

From the above decisions, in our considered view, 

the following  

general principles regarding powers of 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

emphasize 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  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.”=

CONCLUSION 

We therefore, set aside the order of the High Court and reinforce  the

order of acquittal by the trial court.  The appeal is allowed.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41768

DIPAK MISRA, V. GOPALA GOWDA

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