Basi Reddy, J. -
(1.) These two revisions, one arising out of a takenup matter and the other filed by the Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State, are directed against the manifestly illegal sentence passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge of East Godavari in Sessions Case No. 17 of 1962 on his file. After finding the accused in that case (Ravada Mohan Rao) guilty of the offence of murder with which he was charged, the learned Judge proceeded to deal with the accused under section 8 of the Madras Borstal Schools Act, 1926 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), and the operative portion of the order runs thus :
"Now the question of sentence arises. The accused has stated that his age is 15 or 16 years and P W 12 (doctor) after examining him in the Court has given his opinion of age as 19 years on the basis of secondary sexual characteristics and the number of teeth. From the outward appearance also he appears to l9 years old as has been recorded by me in the statement under section 342, Criminal procedure Code Thus the accused comes under the definition of adolescent offender "under section 2m the Madras Borstal Schools Act (V of 1926). In lieu of passing a sentence of imprisonment for life under section 302, Indian Penal Code, in the absence of eye-witnesses to the actual occurrence under Section 8 the said Act, I sentence the accused to detention in the Borstal School, Visakha patnim for a period of four years till he attains the age of 23 years. I declare his age to be 19 years on this day."
(2.) It is urged by the learned Public Prosecutor that the learned Judge has fallen into a grave error firstly, in applying section 8 at all to this case and secondly in thinking that because the accused had satisfied the requirement as to age and there were no eye-witnesses to the actual occurrence the provisions of the Act could be invoked. Since the notice given to the accused would amount to one calling upon him to show cause against the enhancement of sentence, we have heard the learned Advocate for the accused on the merits and have gone through the evidence to satisfy ourselves whether the conviction itself is correct. We have no doubt whatever that, on the evidence adduced in the case, the guilt of the accused has. been proved beyond a shadow of doubt.
(3.) The facts of the case are briefly these : The accused and the murdered man (Pathan Basheeruddin alias Baji) were working in the Railway canteen at Anaparthi. The owners of the canteen were P.W. 1 and his son, P.W. 2. Baji was aged about 25 vears at the time of his death while the accused, who gave his age as 15, was found bv the doctor on medical examination to be 19 years of age, and the learned trial Judge has also found that that was the correct age on the date of conviction. The occurrence took place on 6th February, 1962 at about 2 A.M. Baji used to work in the canteen, preparing tea and refreshments and serving them to customers. On 6th February 1962, a little before 2 A.M., the accused went there. P.W. 1, the master of the accused, and Baji happened to be there and asked the accused why he had come at that part of the night. The accused told him that he had a severe headache and wanted some tea. P.W. 1 told Baji to give some tea to the accused and he did so After a little while, both Baji and the accused went out to fetch one Survanaravana who had to relieve Baji at 3 A.M. Some fitfeen minutes thereafter P W 1 heard agonising cries coming from the kitchen, which is situated at a distance of about 50 yards from the canteen. P.W. 1 recognised the cries as those of Baii and he could even make out that Baji was crying out that Mohan Rao (the accused) was killing him. On hearing the cries, P.W. 1 woke up P.W. 4, a servant of his who was sleeping there and told him to go and find out what the matter was P.W. 4 went to the kitchen from where the cries were coming. He saw a country lamp burning there and noticed that Baji was lying in a pool of blood, with a number of incised injuries. P.W. 4 asked him how he got the injuries, to which Baji replied that the accused had brought him there saying that a girl was waiting for him and asked him for Rs. 2 for having a drink, but when he refused, the accused had hacked him. Baji requested P.W. 4 to bring P.W. 1. P.W. 4 went back and informed P.W. 1 of what he had seen and learnt and after taking P.Ws. 2 and 3 with them, all of them went to the kitchen. On being questioned by them, Baji told them that the accused had stabbed him. Just then, P.W. 2 and the others noticed the accused going at some distance towards Samalkota canal. P.Ws. 2, 3 and 4 ran after the accused. After chasing him for some distance, P.W, 2 overtook the accused and caught him. At that time, the accused was having a blood-stained knife (M.O. 1) in his hands. He was then marched off to the police station which was only a short distance away, and there he was handed over to the Sub-Inspector of Police. P.W. 15 was the Sub-Inspector of Anaparthi at that time. As soon as the accused was brought to the police station at about 2-30 A.M., P.W. 15 arrested him, seized his blood-stained clothes-a shirt, a banian and a knicker, and also the knife. After registering a case under sections 326 and 307,I.P.C., he went forthwith to the scene of the crime, that is, the kitchen attached to the canteen. There he found Baji lying in a pool of blood with multiple injuries on his body, but he was able to speak. So P.W. 15 recorded a statement from him. That statement is Exhibit P-3. In that statement, it was mentioned that the accused had taken him on the pretext of showing him a girl, that the accused had asked him for Rs. 2 and when he refused, the accused had hacked him with a knife on various parts of the body. After recording the statement, P.W. 15 seized another blood-stained knife at the scene of occurrence. It is important to note that the knife which was found in the kitchen near the injured man, which is M.O. 2 in the case, as well as the other knife, M.O. 1, which the accused had with him when he was apprehended, contained stains of human blood when they were tested by the Serologist. We are mentioning this circumstance to show that the statement given by Baji, does not appear to be wholly true because that does not account for the presence of a bloodstained knife at the scene of occurrence whereas, as will presently appear, that is accounted for by the confessional statement which the accused gave before P.W. 9 the Principal Judicial Second Class Magistrate, Ramachandrapuram, on 12th February, 1962.;