INDIRA DEVI AND ORS. Vs. STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: HIMACHAL PRADESH)
Indira Devi And Ors.
STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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(1.) All the three appellants who are ladies were arrayed as accused alongwith Brij Lal, husband of appellant no. 1 and Dev Raj, husband of appellant no. 3, in FIR no. 198 of 2011 lodged by victim Shriram with Police Station Ghumarwin, District Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) for offences under Section 147/148/307 read with Section 149 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act. The learned Additional Sessions Judge Ghumarwin, Bilaspur accepted the prosecution case against all the five chargesheeted accused in Sessions Trial No. 10/7 of 2012 and imposed the sentence of rigorous imprisonment (RI) for five years and a fine of Rs.5,000/- each for the offence under Section 307 read with Section 149 of the IPC. RI for six months and a fine of Rs.1,000/- each was also imposed on all the convicts for offence under Section 148 of the IPC. Accused Brij Lal was further sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for two years along with a fine of Rs.3,000/- for offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act. In default of payment of fines, further substantive sentences of varying periods were also ordered by the trial court. In appeal the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla by the impugned judgment and order dated 2.1.2016 passed in Criminal Appeal No. 4015 of 2013, affirmed the conviction and sentences as noted above and dismissed the appeal as one without any merit.
(2.) On behalf of the three appellants a common argument has been advanced that both the Courts below failed to notice and appreciate vital contradictions in respect of overt act alleged against the lady accused persons, the appellants, as mentioned in the initial version of the occurrence contained in the first information report and in the subsequent deposition of the informant Shriram rendered during the trial. The argument has been further elaborated by urging that had the Courts below noticed the vital contradictions, they would have treated the subsequent specific allegations against the appellants as mere exaggerations and improvements fit to be discarded in view of specific role assigned in the FIR only against the two male appellants Brij Lal and Dev Raj, own brothers of the informant. As a further corollary it has been urged that the appellants were, in all probability present merely as on-lookers and hence they did not merit conviction by holding them guilty of sharing a common object with the assailants of the victim. In other words, as per learned counsel for the appellants the Courts below have erred in fact and in law in applying Section 149 of the IPC against the appellants for convicting them for the offences allegedly committed by the two male accused persons.
(3.) In order to appreciate the aforesaid submissions and arguments advanced on behalf of the appellants it is not necessary to go into details of all the materials and evidence available on record. It is sufficient to notice the allegations made by the victim informant in the FIR and in his evidence recorded in the course of trial along with the injuries as proved by the medical evidence adduced by the Doctor, PW-17.;
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