B. P. Singh, J. -
(1.)This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment and order of the High Court of Judicature at Madras dated 17-4-2001 in Criminal Appeal No. 602 of 1992. There are four appellants in this appeal. Appellant No. 1, Subramani is the father of the remaining appellants namely, Venkatesan (appellant No. 2), Ganesan (appellant No. 3) and Govindaraj (appellant No. 4). They have impugned the judgment and order of the High Court whereby while setting aside their conviction under Sections 302 and 302/34, I.P.C., the High Court found them guilty of having exceeded their right of self-defence and found them guilty of the offence punishable under Section 304, Part I read with Section 34, I.P.C. The High Court also found the appellants guilty variously of the offences under Section 324 and Section 326, I.P.C. However, the High Court acquitted them of the charge under Section 447, I.P.C. on a finding that the land in question was in their cultivating possession as tenants and therefore in the facts and circumstances of the case they could not be held guilty of the offence of criminal trespass. Apart from the appellants herein, two others namely accused Nos. 5 and 6 were put up for trial before the Court of Session in Sessions Case No. 46 of 1992 charged variously of offences under Sections 302, 302/34, 324, 326, I.P.C. read with Section 149, I.P.C. as also under Sections 147, 148 and 447, I.P.C. The learned Sessions Judge, however, acquitted accused Nos. 5 and 6 finding no evidence against them, but found the appellants herein guilty and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment under different Sections of the I.P.C. Appellants Nos. 1 and 2 were convicted by the trial Court for the offence under Section 302, I.P.C. and appellants Nos. 3 and 4 for the offence under Sections 302/34. I.P.C., and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life. All the appellants were also found guilty of the offence under Section 447, I.P.C. for which they were sentenced to three months' rigorous imprisonment. Appellants 1 and 3 were found guilty of the offences under Sections 324 and 326, I.P.C. and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 2 years and 5 years respectively under the aforesaid sections. Appellants Nos. 2 and 4 were found guilty of the offence under Section 324, I.P.C. and sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment.
(2.)The occurrence giving rise to this appeal is alleged to have taken place on 20th April, 1991. The case of the prosecution is that the deceased Jayavelu purchased 1.83 acres of land in Survey No. 56/1 in Renukapuram from Murugesa Mudaliar and Savithri. However, appellant No. 1 herein who was the cultivating tenant of the aforesaid land was obstructing delivery of possession of the land to the deceased who had purchased this land. Panchayat had been convened which had decided that half of the land should be retained by the deceased purchaser and the other half should be given to appellant No. 1 who should pay the price thereof within three months. Appellant No. 1 did not pay the price of half portion of the land, and continued in possession of the entire plot. On the evening of 19th April, 1991, the deceased attempted to plough the said plot which was in possession of appellant No. 1, but the appellant No. 1 protested, which compelled the deceased to stop ploughing that land. After this incident the deceased went away. However, at about 6.00 a.m. on 20th April, 1991, the deceased along with PWs. 1, 2, 3 and Sikamani again went to plough the land and commenced agricultural operations. PWs. 2 and 3 were the daughters of the deceased while Sikamani (not examined) was his son. PW 1 is the husband of PW 2. When Sikamani was ploughing the land, PW 1 stood on the ridge and PWs 2 and 3 were manuring the land. On coming to know of this the appellants and accused 5 and 6 (since acquitted), came and protested against the ploughing of the land which was in possession of the appellants. The prosecution allegation is that appellants Nos. 1 to 4 had carried spade, crowbar, knife etc. while accused 5 and 6 came unarmed. Appellant No. 1 prevented the deceased from ploughing the land even though the deceased offered to pay the price of the land. The case of the prosecution is that thereafter appellants Nos. 1 to 4 assaulted the deceased with their weapons while accused 5 and 6 gave him blows with their fists. When PWs. 1, 2, 3 and Sikamani intervened to save the deceased they were also assaulted. Sikamani was assaulted by appellant No. 1 and accused Nos. 5 and 6. PW 2 was similarly assaulted by appellant Nos. 1, 3 and 4 while appellants Nos. 5 and 6 gave her fist blows. PW 3 was assaulted by appellants 1, 2 and 3 while PW 1 was assaulted by all the appellants and accused 5 and 6 since acquitted. As a result of the assault PWs. 1, 2, 3 as well as Jayavelu (deceased) suffered bleeding injuries and fell down. PW 6, daughter of the deceased, who was a little away from the place of occurrence saw the accused running away with their respective weapons, and also saw the injured lying in the field with bleeding injuries. She, with the help of PW 4 and one other person, removed the injured to the Government hospital at Vellore.
(3.)The injured were examined at the Government hospital, Vellore by the Medical Officer, PW-12. He examined the deceased at about 9.15 a.m. and his report is Ex. P.13. PWs. 1, 2 and 3 were also examined by him and their injury reports are Exs. P22, P17 and P19 respectively. It is not disputed that Jayavelu died shortly after his admission. Upon his death, death intimation Ex. P15 was sent to the police out-post and Sub-Inspector, PW 17 was accordingly informed who came to the hospital and recorded the statement of PW 1 (Ex. P1), on the basis of which a formal FIR was drawn up as Ex. P2 registering Crime No. 76/91.