Decided on July 17,2002

S.K. Venkatesh Appellant


- (1.)Fifteen persons were involved in an incident on 5th Nov., 1993, at about 10.30 p.m. wherein P. W.] R. Nanjundappa was assaulted and his son-in- law Somasekharappa received fatal injuries apart from some others sustaining minor injuries. While put on trial, learned sessions judge, Chitradurga in S.C. case No. 17 of 1994 convicted the appellant under Sec. 302 Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000.00 in default to undergo RI for one year.
(2.)Turning on the factual score, the prosecution case runs as below:
The complainant Nanjundappa lodged a complaint as regards the kidnapping of his son, by accused nos. 1,2,9 and 11 who took his son to Shimoga and got. married to the daughter of accused No. 9 Shekharappa. It has been stated that the marriage was forcibly performed and the complainant had filed a police complaint in respect thereof. About four months later, the complainant got his son remarried to another girl and this incident gave rise to lot of hostility between the two groups even though they are related to each other. On the night of the incident, the accused persons, the prosecution case records, armed with clubs, knives, axes and other similar deadly weapons came to Nanjundappa's house at around 10.30 p.m. and had some oral altercation. Nanjundappa, however, was taken inside the house and the doors were closed when the accused persons are stated to have started breaking the doors and windows and also caused serious damage to. the tractor parked close by. The deceased Somasekharappa who happened to be the son-in-law came to the spot and raised objections thereto whereupon the accused No. 1 who was armed with a gandugodali or a large axe dealt a blow to the deceased which landed on his head and a second blow which landed on his shoulder. The deceased collapsed on the spot. In the course of the same incident, PWs. 11 to 14 had sustained minor injuries also along with PW1 : All the injured persons were taken to primary health centre for treatment. Somasekharappa, however, died few hours later. On the lodgement of the FIR, the investigation commenced.

(3.)Subsequently, as the records depict, all the 15 accused persons were charge sheeted for having committed offences for promotion of unlawful assembly, rioting, murder and causing simple hurt to the complainant and other prosecution witnesses. The learned sessions judge under Sec. 302 Indian Penal Code awarded the sentence of RI for life with a fine of Rs. 10 thousand against the appellant and also passed an order of acquittal as regards the other accused persons. It is against this finding, criminal appeal No. 551/1995 was filed by accused No. 1 before the High Court assailing the conviction and sentence and the state also challenged the order of acquittal of the other accused persons in criminal appeal No. 722/1995. Both the appeals. were, however, heard together and the High Court in conclusion ordered that the death of the deceased shall have to be devolved only on accused No. 1 despite the presence of as many as 15 persons and thus confirmed the sentence as against accused No.1 for the offence punishable under Sec. 302 Indian Penal Code.

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