Decided on November 07,1973

Baishab Sa And Ors. Appellant
Laxmana Kumar Das Respondents


G.K. Misra, C.J. - (1.) THE Petitioners have been convicted under Section 379, Indian Penal Code and sentenced to Rs. 40/each in default to undergo R.I. for one month each.
(2.) PROSECUTION case is that the disputed lands were purchased by the complainant 's father in the year. 1964 from Jagannath Sa (d.w. 1) under registered sale deed, Ext. 1 dated 10 -6 -1964. In the year 1968, his name was recorded and rent was being paid by the complainant 's father all through. In 1970 after the death of his father, the complainant grew paddy and the accused persons cut away the same on 15,11 -1970 at 6 A.M. when the paddy was not ripe. Petitioners 1 to 3 claim the disputed lands to be theirs and they cut the paddy which they had grown. Petitioners 4 to 7 are labourers who were taken to cut the paddy. Prosecution has examined 1 to 4 of whom p.w. 1 is the complainant. The Petitioners examined 1 and 2. The learned Magistrate after thorough examination of the evidence accepted the prosecution witnesses as reliable, discarded the defence witnesses and came to the conclusion that the complainant was in possession of the disputed lands and he grew paddy. The oral evidence is supported by the registered sale deed, Ext. 1 and the record -of -rights, Ext. 5. After having gone through the evidence, I am satisfied that the Learned Magistrate took the correct view and there is no scope for interference in revision. On the finding that the complainant grew the crop and the Petitioners reaped away the paddy, the conviction under Section 379 , Indian Penal Code is well founded. The defence contention that in 1970 a few months prior to the occurrence a partition suit had been filed by Petitioners 1 to 3 including the disputed land in the plaint does not advance its case very far. If the complainant was in possession for the last 14 years, the mere fact that a partition suit was filed including these two plots in the plaint does not make the dispute bona fide. The statement in the plaint that the disputed lands were partible and did not belong to the complainant exclusively is a self serving statement of the accused, an admission in their own favour and is inadmissible in evidence. Under the pretence of including the two plots in the partition suit, the Petitioners took law into their own hands.
(3.) MR . Rao for the Petitioners next contended that Petitioners 4 to 7 are the labourers and had no animus and are entitled to acquittal. This contention is not also well founded in view of the fact that in their statements under Section 342, Code of Criminal Procedure they merely took the plea of denial. If there was no animus, the defence would have been that they had gone upon the land without knowing the fact that it is the complainant who grew the crop.;

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