Arun Kumar, J. -
(1.)These appeals arise from a judgment of the High Court dated 24th February, 1994 acquitting all the accused persons of the charge of committing murder of Ram Lachhan and Rajendra. As a matter of fact, ten persons namely, Bhola, Lallan, Jagdeo, Sumer, Amardeo, Babban, Shrikishun, Jagdish, Deep Chaudhary and Sheoji were charged for offences under Sections 302/149/148/147 IPC for the murder of the said two persons. Out of the ten accused, two accused namely, Jagdish and Deep Chaudhary were discharged under Section 227 of the Criminal Procedure Code while the remaining eight were tried. The trial Court convicted all the accused persons. Accused Bhola, Lallan, Jagdeo, Sumer, Amar Deo, Babban, Shrikishun and Sheoji were each sentenced by the trial Court to undergo imprisonment for life under Sections 302/147, IPC. They were further sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years each under Section 307 read with Section 149, IPC. Accused Bhola, Lallan, Amardeep, Babban and Sheoji were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years each under Section 148 IPC and accused Jagdeo, Sumer and Srikishun were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year each under Section 147 IPC. All the sentences of the accused persons were directed by the Sessions Court to run concurrently.
(2.)According to the prosecution case, the accused persons formed an unlawful assembly on 10th July, 1978 at about 9.00 p.m. at the tube well of P.W. 1 - Ramraj in village Amghat, Police Station Bansdih Road with the common object of murdering family members of Ramraj. Accused Bhola and Lallan were said to be armed with guns, accused Babban and Sheoji were armed with revolvers while Amardeo had spear. Rest of the accused had lathis with them. In furtherance of the common object of the unlawful assembly, Ram Lachhan - father of Ramraj - P.W. 1 and Rajendra son of P.W. 4 (Sudama) were murdered. Sudama - P.W. 4 also received gun-shot injuries. Deceased Ram Lachhan along with his four sons - P.W. 1 Ramraj, P.W. 4 - Sudama, Sudarshan and Ram Nath was residing in a house in village Amghat. The house of Ram Lachhan was surrounded on three sides by the houses of the accused persons. The house of accused Lallan and Jagdeo adjoins the court-yard of the house of the deceased Ram Lachhan towards the east. The cause of trouble between the accused persons and the family of the victim is said to be that some of the accused were extending their houses so as to encroach on the court-yard of Ram Lachhan - deceased. Members of the family of Ram Lachhan were objecting to this. About 15 days before the incident, a quarrel had taken place between the families on this score. As a result of this, the efforts of Lallan and Jagdeo to encroach towards the house of the deceased could not fructify. Gangadhari, brother of the accused - Bhola was arrested in some other matter. However, the accused had the feeling that he had been arrested on account of the dispute between the two families referred to above. At the time of arrest of Gangadhari, he and his brother Bhola had threatened the family of the deceased to take revenge.
(3.)On the night of 10th July, 1978 at about 9.00 p.m., P.W. 1 - Ramraj and his brother Sudarshan and Ram Nath were sleeping on the roof of the tube well about three furlongs away from their house. Deceased Ram Lachhan and Rajendra along with P.W. 4 - Sudama - father of Rajendra were also lying on cots in the open space towards the east of the tube well room. There were three electric bulbs fixed at the tube well and in the adjoining court yard. The bulbs were of 100 watts strength and were lightened at the time of incident. All the accused persons came armed as mentioned earlier. They asked as to where P.W.1 - Ramraj was. Bhola remarked that these persons had got his brother arrested for which he would teach them a lesson. Sudama replied back that they had no hand in the arrest of Bholas brother - Gangadhari. However, Bhola exhorted the other accused to kill the persons of victims family and see that none of them escaped. Thereupon, the accused started firing with their fire arms injuring Rajendra, Sudama and Ram Lachhan. Hearing noise of gun fire. P.W. 1 - Ramraj and his two brothers silently creeped down the roof of the tube well. The noise attracted P.W. 2 - Firangi from the neighbourhood who came with lathi and torch. He saw the incident and raised an alarm. The accused thereupon ran away towards the south-west corner. P.W. 1 - Ramraj and P.W. 2 - Firangi came near the injured. Ram Lachhan was already dead. Rajendra also died a few moments later. Sudama was lying on the ground in a seriously injured condition. P.W. 1 prepared written report and signed the same. He arranged a cot for Sudama and sent Sudama to Bansdih Road Police Station with Sudarshan. The written report reached the police station at 10.15 p.m. Formal FIR was drawn on the basis of the written report and was registered. The Investigating Officer tried to record the statement of Sudama in which he succeeded only partly. Sudama was thereafter sent to hospital in a jeep. The Investigating Officer came to the spot at 11.00 p.m. and took the statement of Ramraj - P.W. 1. The dead bodies were sent for post-mortem. The statement of P.W. 2 - Firangi was also recorded. The Investigating Officer inspected the spot and prepared the site plan. He collected blood from the spot. He found pellets and bullets at the spot and collected them. Memos were prepared with respect to all these. During the course of investigation, the electric bulbs were found to be in working condition. The accused persons were untraceable. Accused - Bhola was arrested next day while other accused could not be arrested immediately. Ultimately all the accused except Sheoji surrendered in court. They were charge sheeted. Sheoji was declared as an absconder. During night at about 11.30 p.m. Sudama - P. W. 4 was examined by the Investigating Officer. Five injuries of serious nature were found on his body. The injuries were fresh. The injury report is Ex. Ka.2. The doctor gave the opinion that these injuries could have been caused on the same night at about 9.00 p.m. According to the doctor, the condition of the injured was precarious. The injured was sent to Varanasi for treatment. Doctor S. R. Sanyal - Medical Superintendent. District Hospital, Ballia - P.W. 9 performed the autopsy on Rajendra and Ram Lachhan on 11th July, 1978. The post-mortem reports gave details of injuries found on the dead bodies of Ram Lachhan and Rajendra. It is a long list which need not be reproduced. The injuries were found sufficient to cause death.