DHANESWAR RAIPITAM Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
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R.N.MISRA, J. -
(1.) 58 persons, all belonging to village Jamunajharapada within the P. S. of Delang in the district of Puri were put on trial for several offences in Sessions Trial No. 16/32 of 1971. 19 of them have been convicted and have appealed to this Court. Appellants 1 to 5 have been convicted under Sections 302/149, 147 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code. Appellants 6 to 14 have been convicted under Sections 147 and 323 of the Code. Appellant No. 15 has been convicted under Sections 147 and 324. Appellants 16 and 17 have been convicted under Section 148 and appellant No. 18 has been convicted under Section 147 white appellant No. 19 has been convicted under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code. Those appellants who have been convicted under Section 302/ 149 have been sentenced to rigorous imprisoment for life. For the other offences various and varying sentences of imprisonment have been awarded.
(2.) The prosecution alleged that at about 3'Olock in the afternoon on 30th of November, 1969, P. Ws. 8 and 24 who were two watchmen employed by P. W. 30 heard the sound of cutting of wood in the Badatota area. They, therefore, went over to the place along with three other servants of P. W. 30, namely, P. Ws. 4, 6 and 14. On their approach, they found that appellants 16 and 17 were cutting a Khirakoli tree and the accused persons along with many others had collected with arms to provide cover. When these two witnesses challenged the cutters, the accused persons immediately appeared on the scene and accosted the witnesses for unnecessary interference in the cutting. Lathi blows were inflicted on them by some of the accused persons and accused Hata (who has not been convicted) was alleged to have thrown acid on Nidhi. When the injured persons shouted more people from the village were attracted to the spot. Sahadev (P. W. 2) was one of the persons who arrived being attracted by the shout. As he arrived some of the accused persons gave lathi blows to him. His father Kartika Naik, who had also come went to rescue his son. It is alleged that appellant No. 1 dealt a lathi blow on his head as a result whereof Kartika fell down. Soon thereafter, it is alleged, Pravakar, Lingaraj and Madhab (appellants 2, 3 and 4 respectively) trampled over his body. P. W. 23, wife of Kartika, rushed to the spot for giving water to Kartika, but he could not swallow it and soon succumbed to his injuries. Several of the witnesses for the prosecution who had rushed to the spot were beaten up. Ultimately the fight subsided. P. W. 2 with the help of some villagers carried the dead body of his father from the spot to his house. The Grama Rakshi (P. W. 26) who came to know of the incident from P. W. 13 lodged the First Information Report (Ext. 28) at the Delang Police Station at about 7 -30 P.M. in the same evening. In due course investigation was taken up. 12 of the accused persons were arrested and the others surrendered in Court.
(3.) The defence is one of denial. It is alleged that Badatota belongs to the State Government after abolition of the estate of P. W. 30. The villagers excepting the Bhoi Sahi people were grazing their cattle in the Badatota and were in possession of it. They had been disputing the claim of title and exclusive possession of P. W. 30 and the members of his family to the Badatota. It is alleged that at the instance of P. W. 30, some of his employees were cutting the Khirakoli tree on the date and the time of occurrence. Appellant No. 1 and some villagers went over there to protest. It is said that P. W. 30 was also present there with a gun and acid. The people of P. W. 30 gave a good beating to the villagers and as a result many of them were badly injured. In the mutual fight that followed many of the P. Ws. were also injured. On the basis of the counter F. I. R. (Ext. 46), a case was also instituted. Some of the accused persons took a specific plea of alibi.;
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