Decided on October 30,1978

Raghuram Sahu Respondents


MOHANTI,J. - (1.) THIS appeal has been preferred by the State of Orissa against an order of the learned Sessions Judge of Sambalpur acquitting the 12 respondents of the charges under Sections 302 and 323, both read with Section 34, I. P. C.
(2.) THE deceased Mitrabhanu Patnaik is the eldest son of P. W. 1 Sapneswar Patnaik. The respondents are all agnates. Prosecution case, as revealed at the trial by P. W. 1, the star witness of the prosecution is as follows: About 10 years prior to the date of occurrence the deceased drove out his wife and kept a concubine. P. W. 1 having taken exception to this, he was harassed by the deceased in various ways, so much so that he did not consider it safe to remain in his village Malidhi. He shifted to village Panpali with his wife (P. W. 14), his other son Kulamani (P. W. 2) and his grandson Kartika (P. W. 3) who is the son of the deceased through his married wife. P. W. 1 returned to his village in or about the year 1970 and learnt that the deceased had sold away about 62 decimals of joint family land to the respondent No. 1, Raghuram Sahu. In 1971, a dispute arose regarding the sale of land and it was referred to the Grama Panchayat. The Panchayat decided that the sale in question would remain valid subject to the conditions (1) that the deceased would give equal extent of land from the family properties to his brother Kulamani and the rest of the family properties would be divided equally between the two brothers and (2) that Raghuram would pay a sum of Rs. 600/ - to P. W. 1 and obtain from him in writing an acknowledgment of the sale. Thereafter, Raghuram continued to possess the land. In this background, it was alleged that in the early morning of 16.11.1973, P. Ws. 1 to 3 went upon the land and started reaping the paddy crops standing thereon. Sometime after, the deceased and his mother (P. W. 14) went there. Raghuram sent his three field servants including P. W. 15 to reap paddy crops from the land. But P. W. 1 and the deceased did not allow them to reap the crops and asked them to go away. Accordingly, P. W. 15 and two other field servants of Raghuram left the field. Soon thereafter Raghuram went to the land and protested against the action of P. W. 1 and his sons in reaping his paddy crops. P. W. 1 and the deceased told Raghuram that they would not reap paddy crops if the sum of Rs. 600/ - was paid to P. W. 1 as per the decision of the Panchayat. Then Raghuram returned to the village and at about 9 A. M. again went to the land along with the other accused persons. On their arrival, P. W. 1 entreated Raghuram with folded hands not to commit assault, but Raghuram dealt a blow on the deceased with a wooden lathi as a result of which he fell down. After he fell down, the other respondents also assaulted him. Raghuram and some of the other respondents also dealt lathi blows on P. Ws. 2, 3 and 14. The deceased succumbed to the injuries at the spot,
(3.) AT the trial, the respondents denied the charges and pleaded innocence. The plea of Raghuram was that when he protested against the action of the prosecution party in reaping his paddy crops, the deceased first dealt a knife blow causing injuries on his hand. Then the deceased and P. Ws. 2, 3 and 14 rushed at him to assault. He managed to snatch away a Suli from P. W. 3, Kartika and brandished it in self defence. The other respondents denied their presence at the place of occurrence and alleged false implication.;

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