Shivaraj V. Patil, J. -
(1.)In this appeal, the appellants are assailing the judgment of the High Court by which the order of acquittal passed by the trial Court was set aside and they were convicted for the offence under S. 302 read with S. 34, I.P.C. and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.
(2.)In brief, according to the prosecution, the deceased-Kuruva Naganna purchased a house site from one Harijana Madanna and erected a kottam and was running a hotel in it. Appellants 1 and 2 are the neighbours of the deceased. The deceased desired to sell the said site owing to losses sustained by him in running the hotel. Appellants 1 and 2 insisted that he should sell the site to them and threatened him that he should not sell the same to others except them. Thus, there were ill-feelings between the deceased and appellants 1 and 2. On 17-7-1991, while the deceased, P.Ws. 1 and 2, wife and daughter respectively, were in their kottam, the third parties came to see the site in order to purchase it and proposed to come the next day to settle the bargain. Appellants 1 and 2 came there at about 6.00 p.m. and questioned the deceased as to why he proposed to sell the said site to others ignoring them. The deceased asserted that he had every right to sell the site to any person of his choice, being its owner. On this, there were exchange of words between the deceased and the appellants 1 and 2. In the meanwhile, appellants 1 and 2 picked up sticks and beat the deceased on his knees. The deceased fell down after receiving injuries. Thereafter, the appellant No. 3 came armed with crow-bar and beat the deceased three or four times on his head. The incident was witnessed by P.Ws. 1 and 2. After assaulting the deceased, the appellants left the scene of offence with their weapons. P.W. 3, son of the deceased had gone for Hamali work. After coming to know about the incident, P.W. 4, the mother of the deceased, rushed to the scene and P.Ws. 1 and 2 narrated about the incident to her. At about 9.00 p.m., P.W. 3 came there and found the dead body of his father lying on the road near the house and he was told about the incident by P.Ws. 1 and 2. Thereafter, P.Ws. 1 to 3 proceeded to Kallur Police Station where P.W. 1 orally reported about the occurrence to P.W. 7, the Sub-Inspector of Police, at about 10.30 p.m. The report was reduced into writing and a case as Crime No. 70/91 was registered under S. 302, I.P.C. After the completion of investigation, a charge-sheet was filed.
(3.)The learned Sessions Judge, on the basis of material placed on record, framed charge against all the appellants under S. 302, I.P.C. and tried them for the said offence. The trial Court, after appreciating the evidence brought before it and looking to the infirmities appearing in the case, concluded that the prosecution could not bring home the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In that view, not finding the accused guilty under S. 302, I.P.C., giving them benefit of doubt, acquitted them.