Decided on July 05,1991

CHAMAN LAL Appellant


- (1.) The accused Chaman Lal and Parkash Chand have challenged the judgment dated 21-9-1990 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mandi, whereby they were convicted of an offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment for life. The victim was one Sh. Lobhi Ram resident of village Goda Gagal, Tehsil Sundemagar, District Mandi, who was murdered.
(2.) The prosecution case is that on November 22, 1988 at 8.00 A.M. the dead body of Sh. Lobhi Ram was noticed by the villagers of village Goda Gagal in front of the house of Soju Ram (P.W.4). Churamani (P.W.1) also heard about it and came on the spot. Thereafter, he went to Police Station Balh and lodged F.I.R. (Ex.P.A). He stated in the F.I.R. that on 21-11-1988 at 9.00 P.M. he had gone to the house of his aunt (mother's sister) Gulabi Devi wife of Soju Ram where he found the accused sitting in the company of Lobhi Ram and one Gorkha. All of them were taking liquor. According to Churamani, after some time, the accused and Lobhi Ram exchanged altercations and the accused started beating and giving kicks to Sh. Lobhi Ram with the shoes they were wearing. Churamani intervened and tried to rescue Sh. Lobhi Ram from the accused but in turn he also received kicks of shoes from the accused. Churamani further stated that the accused dragged Sh. Lobhi Ram out of the house of Solu Ram to the court yard and gave him more beatings there. Later on, they took him on the road below and gave him further beatings and kicks. At this stage, Churamani left the house of his aunt and went to his house. He made it clear in his statement that the Gorkha had already fled away from the place of occurrence out of fear.
(3.) The prosecution produced fifteen witnesses. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and gone through the record. Out of the fifteen witnesses produced by the prosecution, Churamani (P.W.1) and Soju Ram (P.W.4) are eye witnesses to a part of the occurrence. Churamani has corroborated his statement given in the F.I.R. As his statement was recorded after about a year in the Court, some minor discrepancies have crept in but these are not material. Though in the F.I.R. he has stated that the accused had dragged Sh. Lobhi Ram out of the house of Soju Ram and taken him to the court yard, yet, in his statement in the Court, he has named only Chaman Lal accused. He has also omitted to mention that the accused had dragged Sh. Lobhi Ram from the courtyard to the road below. But his statement is consistent that he saw both the accused giving blows and kicks with their shoes in the house as well as the compound of Soju Ram till he left that place to his house. He has further stated that he had noticed the corpse of Sh. Lobhi Ram near the house of Soju Ram in the morning on next day when he was going to lodge a report with the Police. He has also mentioned in his statement in the Court that on return to his house, he had told his mother that the accused had given beatings to Sh. Lobhi Ram. The material part of his statement is not shattered in the cross-examination. He has denied the suggestion put to him that it was he who had given beatings to the deceased and the accused had intervened to save Sh. Lobhi Ram. He has also denied the suggestion that he had gone to the house of Soju Ram for drinking liquor and had gone tipsy alongwith the accused and Sh. Lobhi Ram. Another eye witness Soju Ram (P.W.4) in whose house and court yard the incident took place, has not corroborated the prosecution version that he had seen the accused giving beatings to Sh. Lobhi Ram. According to him, when altercation took place in between the accused, Sh. Lobhi Ram and Churamani (P.W.1), he asked them not to fight and go away. Thereafter, all of them had left his place. This witness was declared hostile by the prosecution and he was cross-examined on the statement he had given to the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Mandi. He has stated that he had given statement (Ex.P.G) to the Judicial Magistrate under the threat of arrest by the Police. According to him whatever he has deposed in the Court was the truth. In cross examination on behalf of the accused, he has admitted that Sh. Lobhi Ram had brought two bottles of liquor from his house for consumption by the accused. He has also admitted that there was a row between Sh. Lobhi Ram and Churamani. His statement lends support to the prosecution case to the extent that the accused and Sh. Lobhi Ram were present in his hOl1se at the relevant time and there was a drinking brawl amongst them. One more witness Smt. Chhatanki Devi (P.W.6) mother of Churamani, has corroborated the statement of her son that he had told her on the night of occurrence, after returning from the house of his aunt, that the accused had given beatings to him and Sh. Lobhi Ram. She has stated that at that time she had found the face of Churamani badly bruised. She has, however, denied that when Churamani reached his house, he was badly drunk. Her statement that there were bruises on the face of Churamani is affirmed by Dr. K.K. Malhotra (P.W. 12) who had examined him. According to Dr. K.K. Malhotra, the injuries found by him on the person of Churamani could have been caused by kicks and rolling on the ground during scuffle. This opinion corroborates the statement of Churamani that he was also given beatings and kicks by the accused when he intervened and tried to save Sh. Lobhi Ram who was being thrashed and kicked by the accused.;

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