Decided on July 31,2002

STATE OF BIHAR Respondents


- (1.)On the intervening night between 14th and 15th December, 1986, a ghastly incident took place in village Singhyahi, district Darbhanga wherein allegedly a mob of about 50 persons armed with bhalas, gadasas, lathis and chhuras attacked the house of the complainant, caused damage to the property and opened an indiscriminate assault on the complainant party with the several weapons with which they were armed. It was a moonlight night. The first informant kari Yadav (PW-8) claims to have identified 21 accused persons. The incident claimed the life of 3 persons assaulted by the accused persons and left several others injured. Upon the first information of the incident having been lodged with the police, usual investigation commenced leading to a chargesheet being filed against 22 accused persons. They were charged severely for offences under sections 302, 302/149, 147, 148 and 452 IPC. The trial court has upon a meticulous examination of the evidence held that as against 12 of the accused persons, the prosecution case was not proved beyond all reasonable doubt and therefore they were entitled to acquittal. Ten accused persons were held liable to be convicted variously. In the opinion of the trial court charge under section 452 ipc was made out successfully by the prosecution against all the 10 accused persons whereunder they were sentenced to undergo RI for 3 years each. As against accused no. 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 16 (7 in number) charge under section 302/149 held to have been made out. Accused nos. 10, 13 and 20 (3 in number) were held liable to be convicted under section 302 IPC. For these offences the accused persons found guilty have been sentenced to imprisonment for life. Charge under section 148 IPC was held to have been proved against accused nos. 9, 10, 13, 16 and 20 while charge under section 147 ipc was held to have been proved against accused nos. 1, 4, 6, 8 and 11. For the offence under section 148 IPC the trial court sentenced each of the accused persons found guilty to RI for 2 years. For the offence under section 147 ipc the accused persons found guilty have been sentenced to RI for 1 year each. All the sentences have been made to run concurrently.
(2.)The convicted accused-appellants preferred in all three appeals in the High court which have been disposed of by a common judgment. The division bench of-the High Court having made its own independent evaluation of the evidence found no fault with the finding of guilt as arrived at by the trial court. In the opinion of the division bench all the 3 appeals were devoid of any merit and liable to be dismissed and have been dismissed accordingly upholding the conviction and sentences passed by the trial court.
(3.)These appeals have been preferred by special leave by all the 10 accused-appellants. One of the accused persons convicted by the trial court and the High court, namely, Asheshar Yadav, died when the petition for special leave was pending and by order dated 23.2.2001 this Court directed his petition to be dismissed as having been rendered infructuous. As to the remaining 9 accused-persons the leave has been granted.

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