(1.) THESE two criminal appeals arise out of Session Case no. 19 of 1954 on the file of the Sessions Court of Quilon. A young man of twenty-two years of age named Madhavan Pillai Sadhasivan Pillai was the accused in the said Sessions Case. The charge against him was one for murder punishable under S. 302, IPC but the Sessions Judge found him guilty and convicted him only of the offence under Part I of S. 304 IPC For this offence, he was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years. Against the said conviction and sentence, the accused has filed Crl. Appeal No. 126 of 1954 and the State has filed Crl. Appeal No. 154 of 1954 against his acquittal on the charge of murder.
(2.) THE person whose death the accused is alleged to have caused was one Balakrishna Pillai, the husband of Pw. 5. He was a subscriber in a chitty conducted by the accused's mother Pw. 8. THE accused and his mother were living at Kadakkal in the Kottarakara Taluk, and the deceased Balakrishna pillai was living with his wife in Valia Vila Kizhakkeputhan Veedu at Paripally in the Quilon Taluk, about ten or twelve miles away from Kadakkal. Balarkrishna pillai prized the tickets which he had subscribed for in Pw. 8's chitty and received the prize amount through Pw. 3, who is also a person belonging to kadakkal. According to Pw. 8, the prize amount was paid to Balakrishna Pillai on the surety of Pw. 3. According to Pw. 3, Pw. 8 had paid to him a sum of Rs. 150/- out of the prize amount as desired by Balakrishna Pillai and he had subsequently paid that amount to Balakrishna Pillai. Since Balakrishna Pillai defaulted to pay the future subscriptions due from him, the accused and Pw. 8 went to Paripally about two months before the occurrence in this case and demanded the money from him; and after some quarrel between them, Balakrishna pillai got Rs. 10/- from Pw. 22 in whose tea shop he was then employed and paid it to them and promised to pay the balance later. But he made no further payments, and so on 14. 9. 1952, the accused and Pw. 8 went to the house of balakrishna Pillai's father at Oomannur and asked him to pay the amount. He refused, saying that they had not paid the amount to him and that they should ask Balakrishna Pillai for it. On the next day, i. e. 15. 9. 1952, they went to balakrishna Pillai's house at Parippally and demanded the money from him. It is said that Balakrishna Pillai told them that he had at that time no money with him and that he would pay them shortly after selling a property belonging to his wife. From Balakrishna Pillai's house, the accused and Pw. 3 and 8 went to the house of his wife's grand-uncle, Pw. 12, on the same day and requested him to effect a settlement of the transaction. As it was inconvenient for him to attend to this business for five or six days, he told them that he would go to their house at Kadakkal in a few days taking with him Balakrishna Pillai's father and effect a settlement and that if Balakrishna Pillai did not pay the amount he himself would pay it. Not satisfied with Pw. 12's reply, they went again to Balakrishna Pillai's house and asked for an immediate payment. Since balakrishna Pillai did not comply with their demand they tried to enlist the assistance of Pws. 4,11 and 13 to make him pay the money. Pw. 4 is a person who has married from Kadakkal. After the inmates of Balakrishna Pillai's house retired for sleep the accused and Pw. 3 came again at night to that house with pw. 4 and called Balakrishna Pillai. Balakrishna Pillai got up and opened the door and admitted them into the house. When they began to talk about the money balakrishna Pillai told them that they could go into the matter and settle the accounts on the next morning. THE prosecution case is that on the next morning, i. e. 16. 9. 1952, while Balakrishna Pillai and Pw. 3 were talking about the transaction at about 9 A. M. sitting on a narrow verandah in front of balakrishna Pillai's house, the accused, who was standing behind Balakrishna pillai, stabbed him with a dagger on the back below the neck and inflicted an injury which caused his death within a few minutes. According to prosecution, after stabbing Balakrishna Pillai, the accused ran away from the spot towards the south-east, and Balakrishna Pillai also ran behind him crying aloud that he was running away after stabbing him and should be caught. Balakrishna Pillai collapsed and fell down after he reached the southern yard of Pw. 7's house, and within a minute or two he died. Pw. 5 had witnessed the occurrence from the room adjoining the verandah and she too had run after her husband as he pursued the accused while the latter was fleeing away after stabbing him. But she fell down and fainted on seeing her husband falling down in the court yard of Pw. 7's house and the blood flowing from his wound. THE scene of occurrence is about eight miles away from the Paravoor Police station, and the first information was given at 6 p. m. on 16. 9. 1952 by Pw. 5's uncle Pw. 1, who came to Pw. 7's house after hearing the cries from there.
The accused pleaded not guilty. In his statement in the Sessions Court he admitted that he had stabbed Balakrishna Pillai, but he said that he had stabbed him with a pen-knife, and not with a dagger, and that the occurrence had taken place at the foot of a cashew nut tree in the compound of Balakrishna Pillai's house, and not in the verandah of the house. According to the accused, on the night of the 15th, Balakrishna Pillai had promised to give the money on the next morning, but while the accused and Balakrishna pillai and Pw. 3 were talking about the matter the next morning, standing at the foot of a cashew nut tree in the compound on the eastern side of balakrishna Pillai's house, Balakrishna Pillai said in an arrogant manner that he would not give any money to Pw. 8 and that she could go and attend to her business. The accused said in his statement that Pw. 3 thereupon reminded him of his previous promise to pay the money, that during the strained conversation which ensued the accused told Balakrishna Pillai that he was acting most improperly and highhandedly in refusing to pay the money after promising them to pay it and making them stay at Paripally for two days, that Balakrishna Pillai then seized the accused asking him "what have you said, fellow" and that, on account of the anger and sorrow caused by Balakrishna Pillai's conduct and fearing that Balakrishna Pillai might kill him, the accused stabbed him on the back and ran away from the spot. The prosecution had produced a dagger, m. O. 1, alleging it to be the weapon used by the accused in stabbing Balakrishna pillai. This dagger, according to the prosecution, was dug out and taken by the accused, after his arrest, from the place where he had buried it when running away from the scene of occurrence. In his statement, the accused denied the ownership of M. O. 1 and stated that he had not dug out and taken the dagger. According to him, he had stabbed Balakrishna Pillai with a pen-knife and not with a dagger.
The Sessions Judge found that the accused stabbed balakrishna Pillai while the latter was sitting in the verandah of his house talking with Pw. 3, and not when he was standing at the foot of the cashew nut tree as alleged by the defence, and that Balakrishna Pillai's death was caused by the injury inflicted by him. He also considered that the weapon used must have been one similar to M. O. 1. Taking the view that the accused must have stabbed Balakrishna Pillai on account of grave and sudden provocation caused by his refusal to pay the money during the conversation on the 16th morning, the learned judge held that the offence committed by the accused fell within exception I to S. 300, IPC and convicted him only of the offence punishable under Part I of S. 304, IPC and not under S. 302, IPC.
(3.) ABOUT the fact of Balakrishna Pillai's death and its cause there is no controversy. Pw. 4 deposes that while he was sitting in Pw. 7's house talking with PWs. 7 and 8 on the morning of 16. 9. 1952 he saw the accused running across the yard of the house and Balakrishna Pillai following him crying aloud "he is running away after stabbing me, catch him", that seeing and hearing this he also ran after the accused along with balakrishna Pillai, and that after proceeding a few steps more Balakrishna pillai turned back and fell down and died. When Balakrishna Pillai turned back, pw. 4 also turned back and went to him. There was a stab injury on Balakrishna pillai's back below the neck and blood was flowing from it all over his body. Pw. 8, who is the accused's mother, has also given evidence in similar terms. The only difference between her evidence and that of Pw. 4 on this matter is that, although she admits that Balakrishna Pillai had a bleeding injury at that time, she says that she does not know on which part of the body that injury was. Pw. 7 corroborates in full the evidence of Pw. 4. Pw. 6 is a woman who happened to pass along the court yard at the time Balakrishna Pillai collapsed and fell down there. She gave to the dying Balakrishna Pillai water to drink and bandaged his wound. According to Pw. 8 herself, Pw. 5 and her mother Pw. 9, also came running after Balakrishna Pillai as the latter was pursuing his fleeing assassin across Pw. 7's court yard. Pws. 8 says that seeing the blood pw. 5 fell down. Both Pws. 5 and 9 depose that Balakrishna Pillai fell down in pw. 7's court yard and died. Pw. 5 fell down and fainted on seeing her husband falling down and the blood flowing from his injury. Pw. 9 reached the spot just as Pw. 6 was giving water to the dying man. Ext. K is the report of the inquest which the Sub-Inspector of Police, Pw. 23, held on the dead body of Balakrishna pillai. The body was identified at the inquest by Balakrishna Pillai's wife, Pw. 5, and other near relatives. After the inquest, the autopsy was conducted by pw. 24, who was then as Assistant Surgeon attached to the Quilon District hospital. Ext. T is the post mortem certificate issued by him. It is seen from ext. T and the evidence of Pw. 24 that Balakrishna Pillai had sustained an antemortem transverse incised penetrating wound 31/2" x 1" on the back at the level of the fourth dorsal spine. The wound had entered into the right pleural cavity through the third inter-costal space and pulmenary artery was cut through. According to Pw. 24, this wound could be caused by a dagger like M. O. 1 or a sharp and pointed knife, and Balakrishna Pillai's death was due to syncope on account of haemorrhage resulting from it. There can, therefore, be no doubt of the fact that Balakrishna Pillai died at about 9 a. m. on 16. 9. 1952 and that his death was caused by the stab wound sustained by him on the back below the neck and described in the post mortem certificate Ext. T.
Regarding the events of the two days previous to the occurrence also, there is no room for doubt. The prosecution version of those events, stated in paragraph 2 of this judgment is fully supported by the evidence of PWs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8,11,12,13 and 22. The correctness of that version has also not been challenged by the defence either in the Sessions Court or in this court. In the statement which he made in the Sessions Court the accused practically admitted that the evidence of these witnesses about those events was correct.;