RAVI K. M. Vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Ravi K. M.
STATE OF KARNATAKA
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(1.)The appellants charged with offence under sections 143, 144, 148, 325 and 302 read with section 149 of the Indian Penal Code and stood acquitted by the learned trial judge in S.C. No. 17 of 1992, have come up before this Court on such acquittal being reversed by the High Court in an appeal filed at the instance of the State in criminal appeal No. 620 of 1996. The changes related an occurrence said to have taken place at about 2.30 p.m. on 14.1.92 resulting in the death of one K.T. Subbaiah and injury caused to PW1 by accused No. 4 who was charged in addition under section 324 IPC.
(2.)Before the trial court for the prosecution PWs. 1 to 16 have be0n examined, in addition to marking exhibits P-1 to P-28 and MOs Nos. 1 to 13 being brought on record. PWs. 1, 2, 4 and 10 were said to be the eye witnesses to the occurrence of which PW1 was an injured eye witness. The injury was said to have been caused by A-4 at the heel portion of the right leg by throwing the katti which he had, as she was running. The learned trial judge after noticing certain discrepancies, omissions and exaggerations in the evidence and also relying upon the alleged alteration of the time in exhibit P-1 as well as keeping into consideration the enmity between the accused and the complainant group chose to discard in its entirety the oral evidence of the eye witnesses, to ultimately return a finding of acquittal.
(3.)The learned judges of the Division Bench of the High Court after adverting to a decision of this Court in K. Ramakrishnan Unnithan v. State of Karnataka, 1999 AIR(SC) 1428 and on the view that neither the enmity nor the inconsistencies or omissions and exaggerations noticed by the learned trial judge were of such grave or vital nature as could provide sufficient grounds to totally discard the oral evidence, proceeded to appreciate the evidence independently. The trial Court was held to have also committed serious error in omitting to undertake any effort of separate the grain of acceptable truth from even the chaff of exaggeration of improbabilities and consequently thought fit to go into the evidence and undertook an independent evaluation and assessment of the same, in an attempt to find out whether the findings recorded by the learned trial judge could have been reasonably or possibly and properly arrived at all in the manner it has been done. Ignoring the factum of enmity which existed between the parties, which normally could cut either way being a double edged weapon in an individual case depending upon the peculiar facts, in any given case, the Division Bench found that the inconsistencies or infirmities noticed by the trial Court were not of such basic nature as to vitiate their evidence down to the core, warranting, a total discardation of the entire evidence. As a consequence thereof the learned judges undertook an elaborate discussion, analysis and reappreciation of the evidence of PWs. 1, 2, 4 and 10, and found in their opinion to be trustworthy and inspiring confidence for the acceptance of evidence on all broad and relevant and essential features of the case, necessary for adjudging the guilt or otherwise of the accused. In the view of the learned judges of the High Court the oral evidence sufficiently fixed not only the place of occurrence as well. as the matter of commission of the offence and role of each of the accused and therefore, the evidence of PWs. 1, 2, 4 and 10 were more than sufficient to convict the accused for the various charges, framed against them.
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