DULESHWAR Vs. STATE OF M.P.
LAWS(SC)-2020-1-56
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on January 21,2020

Duleshwar Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF M.P. Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

KESHAVA @ CHONI VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA [LAWS(KAR)-2021-5-12] [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF BIHAR VS. BACHESH KUMAR SINGH [LAWS(PAT)-2021-5-48] [REFERRED TO]
AKASH S/O PANDURANG JAHIRE VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-2021-9-195] [REFERRED TO]
MALLIKARJUN VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA [LAWS(KAR)-2022-7-672] [REFERRED TO]
BHUPENDRA VS. STATE OF M.P. [LAWS(MPH)-2022-1-30] [REFERRED TO]
ABDUL RAUF DAWOOD MERCHANT VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-2021-7-1] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

DINESH MAHESHWARI,J. - (1.)These three appeals are directed against the common judgment and order dated 12.09.2014, as passed by the High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur in Criminal Appeal No. 3336/1999 whereby, the High Court has upheld the judgment and order dated 26.11.1999 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh in S.T. No. 114/1999, convicting and sentencing the accused-appellants for multiple offences, including those punishable under Sections 147, 148, 302/149 and 325 of the Indian Penal Code ('IPC').
(2.)In a brief outline of the material aspects, it could be noticed that in the present case, the appellants, seven in number, being Accused Nos.1,2,5,7,8,12 and 131 were tried together with several other co-accused persons for the offences relating to the two incidents which took place in village Kodebod, police station Kurud, district Dhamtari (M.P. ­ now Chhattisgarh) on 15.10.1998: one at about 4.30-5.00 p.m., in which, the Prosecution Witness No. 1, Dhanwaram Hereinafter the Prosecution Witnesses are also referred to as PW-1, PW-2 et al. sustained grievous injuries; and another at about 5.30 p.m., which led to the death of one Govind Singh. Out of the 18 accused persons tried in this matter, 8 were acquitted by the Trial Court, essentially after finding that the charges against them were not proved beyond reasonable doubt. However, Bharosaram(A-1), Duleshwar(A-2), Chintaram(A-4), and Vivekanand(A-9) were convicted for the offence under Section 325 IPC for causing grievous hurt to PW-1 Dhanwaram. Moreover, Bharosaram(A-1), Duleshwar(A-2), Chintaram(A-4), Bhanjan Singh(A-5), Khemraj(A-6), Keshav Prasad(A-7), Khemuram (A-8), Nand Kumar (A-12) and Lakhan(A-13) were convicted for the offences under Sections 147,148, 302 and 302/149 IPC for forming unlawful assembly, rioting with deadly weapons and in furtherance of common object, causing death of Govind Singh by inflicting several injuries. The convicted accused persons were awarded varying sentences, including that of life imprisonment for the offence under Section 302/149 IPC. Except Vivekanand (A-9) was convicted only for the offence under Section 325 IPC and, as he was found to be minor on the date of incident, was awarded lesser sentence of one year and three months., other 9 accused persons preferred an appeal to the High Court against their conviction and sentence. A revision petition was also filed by the complainant against acquittal of the remaining accused persons. The High Court, however, found no ground to interfere and hence dismissed the appeal as also the revision petition and thereby, affirmed the decision of the Trial Court. As against the decision of the High Court, Bharosaram(A-1), Duleshwar(A-2), Bhanjan Singh(A-5), Keshav Prasad(A-7), Khemuram(A-8), Nand Kumar(A-12) and Lakhan(A-13) have preferred these appeals. However, no such appeal is preferred on behalf of the other convicted co-accused namely, Chintaram (A-4) and Khemraj (A-6).
2.1. Essentially, the conviction of the appellants under Section 302/149 has been questioned in these appeals; and the principal ground of challenge is that there is no cogent evidence about their involvement in the crime in question. The reliability of evidence led by the prosecution has also been assailed in these appeals apart from other contentions concerning the surrounding factors. The relevant facts and background aspects could be noticed, keeping in view the points arising for determination in these appeals. The relevant facts and background

(3.)The prosecution case has been that a dispute in relation to the fields and demarcation of ridge was going on between Biselal Sahu, brother of Mangalram (A-14) and Dhanwaram (PW-1), brother of the deceased; and a civil case related to this dispute was also pending. Due to the enmity because of this dispute, on 15.10.1998 at around 4.30-5.00 p.m., the accused persons Bharosaram (A-1), Duleshwar (A-2), Chintaram (A-4), Khemraj (A-6), Vivekanand (A-9), and Kedarnath (A-18) assaulted Dhanwaram (PW-1) with different weapons and caused him injuries. Parvati Bai (PW-6), who was passing by, saw the accused persons assaulting Dhanwaram; she ran screaming and informed Khilawan (PW-7), son of the deceased, about the incident that she had witnessed. Khilawan went to the place of incident with Ram Dhruv (PW-17) and found Dhanwaram lying unconscious on the ground. Khilawan and Ram Dhruv took Dhanwaram home. The accused persons, after assaulting Dhanwaram, went in search of Govind Singh, brother of Dhanwaram.
3.1. According to the prosecution, on the same day i.e., on 15.10.1998, another incident took place at around 5.30 p.m. in which Bharosaram, Chintaram, Khemraj, Bhanjan Singh, Khemuram, and other accused persons assaulted Govind Singh near Kalley Bridge and inflicted upon him varying injuries. When Santosh Kumar (PW-2) and Prahlad Yadav (PW-5) tried to intervene in the matter, they were threatened by some of the accused persons to stay away and else, they would also be done away with; and therefore, they stepped back. Thereafter, two of the accused persons dragged the deceased by his legs while the others kept on beating him with weapons; the deceased was dragged to a faraway place towards the canal, where he succumbed to his injuries.

It appears that on the same day and around the same time, but before the incident resulting in the death of Govind Singh, yet another incident took place involving the deceased Govind Singh and Mangalram (A-14). As per the statement of Tikuram Yadav (PW-16) at around 4.30 p.m., the deceased Govind Singh came to his farm on bicycle of Mangalram (A-14) with injuries on hand and head and on being asked by PW-16, the deceased told him that Mangal Patwari (A-14) had attacked him with sword. On the other hand, Mangalram (A-14) lodged a report at the police station alleging that Govind Ram attacked him with sword. On this report, FIR No. 185/1998 was registered.

3.2. The report relating to the incidents was made to the police by Khilawan (PW-7) at about 7.00 p.m. who narrated the aforesaid incident and alleged that after hiring a jeep and upon search, he found the dead body of his father across Kalley Canal with many injuries on his head, face, nose and whole of the body. The complainant alleged that Mukesh Nirmalkar, Duleshwar, Chintaram, Bhanjan, Khemraj, Keshav Prasad, Khemuram, Bharosaram, Vivekanand, Vasudev, Chemanand, Garibram and some other persons did marpeet with lathi danda to his father Govind Singh and uncle Dhanwaram due to which, Govind Singh died and Dhanwaram sustained serious injuries. On this report, FIR No. 186/1998 came to be registered and investigation was undertaken.

3.3. During the investigation, police obtained the post-mortem report of the deceased which confirmed that he succumbed to the injuries inflicted upon him. The injury report of Dhanwaram was also obtained. The site plan was prepared; tangiya, blood stained lathis, dandas, baniyans, lungis and shirts were seized and the statements of the witnesses were recorded. As per the chemical examination report of Assistant Chemical Examiner, Regional FSL Raipur, some of the seized weapons and clothes were found to contain blood stains. After completion of investigation, the charge sheet was filed in the Court of Special Judge, Schedule Tribe Prohibition of Atrocities, Raipur against 18 accused persons for causing rioting while being armed with deadly weapons, for causing murder of Govind Singh, and for attempting to cause murder of Dhanwaram. However, by the order dated 04.02.1999, the learned Special Judge held that the matter was not to be proceeded in the Special Court. Thereafter, the charge sheet was filed in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Dhamtari; and being sessions triable matter, the same was committed to the Sessions Court, Raipur and was ultimately tried in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Dhamtari in S.T. No. 114 of 1999.

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