Decided on August 17,1954

STATE Respondents


- (1.) These are appeals against the judgment of the Court of Sessions of the Kurnool Division convicting the accused under section 302 and section 148, Indian Penal Code and sentencing them to death and also to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.
(2.) One Lingareddi was hacked to death on 18th January, 1954, at about 10 P.M. near a well called Kurakulavandla Bhavi in the village of Pedda Hothur in Eluru Taluk. The case for the prosecution is the 1st accused is the father of accused 2 and 3 and accused 4 and 5 are the illegitimate sons of a divided brother of the 1st accused. They were manufacturing arrack illicitly in the hillock Kuritegudda which is close by the field of Lingareddi, the deceased. Lingareddi was a fairly well-to-do ryot of respectability and he naturally protested against the activities of the accused. Not only did they not heed to his advice, but they also shifted the materials used for distillation close to the field of the deceased. Two months prior to the occurrence, the deceased broke the pots with a forked stick. Ten days prior to the incident, the 5th accused drove his flock of sheep into the field of the deceased and had his standing crop grazed. The deceased beat the 5th accused. At about 10 P.M. on 18th January, 1954, when the deceased, as usual, was going to his field to keep watch over the standing crop, the five accused, who were lying in wait in their maliga in the garden armed with deadly weapons, came to the Marakat rastha, surrounded him and stabbed him with spears and hatchets, which resulted in his death. Exhibit P-11, the plan filed in the Sessions Court, shows at a glance the locality, where the dastardly crime was committed. It will be seen from the plan that Marakat road is a cart-track, which starts from the village and leads to another village called Marakat in the north. The 1st accused owned a garden with a house and a well therein to the west of the cart-track. The deceased also owned fields on the western side of the cart-track and north of the accused's fields. Between the two, besides other fields, there is a cremation ground. On the eastern side of the Marakat road, after passing the fields of the accused, there is a well called Kurakulavandla Bhavi Prom that well, a foot path leads towards the east to Sekkanna's land. The dead body of the deceased was found at the point marked in the plan, which is 22 yards from the well.
(3.) That the deceased was hacked to death in a brutal manner is beyond dispute. The post-mortem certificate Exhibit P-6 shows that as many as 17 wounds were inflicted on his body. P.W. 5, the Civil Assistant Surgeon, who conducted the autopsy on the body, describes the nature of the wounds. According to him, injuries Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 could have been caused by sharpedged weapons such as hand axes and spears and that injuries Nos. 8, 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17 could have been caused by a blunt weapon like a stick. He expressed the view that death would have been instantaneous and might have occurred about 15 hours prior to his examination. When the weapons seized in the case viz., M.Os. 1 to 5, were shown to him, he gave his opinion that the injuries could have been caused with the said weapons. The persons, therefore, who caused the injuries to the deceased, must be held to be guilty of murder. But, the real question is whether the accused are the persons, who inflicted the injuries on the deceased and caused his death. Exhibit P-1 is the complaint dated 18th January, 1954, made by P.W. I, a nephew of the deceased to the village munsif. It purports to have been given at 12 mid-night on 18th January, 1954. In the complaint, the incident is described as follows : "At about 10 o'clock in the night, the deceased, after taking his meals, went for watching his field Kondachenu. Along with him Chakkala Siddappa also went. On the way when they were passing Kurakulavandla Bhavi, the five accused came from the field of Boya Burranna and began to abuse in foul language. The 5th accused pierced Lingareddi's neck with a screw spear. The and accused pierced him with a screw spear on his throat. The 4th accused cut his head with a hatchet. The 1st accused beat him on his head with a hatchet and the 3rd accused beat him with a stick on his back. After Lingareddi fell down, his body was pierced with screw spears and cut with hatchets, and he was killed. Chakkala Siddappa came running and informed these facts, to the complainant, who went to the scene of occurrence and saw Lingareddi's dead body.";

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