(1.)With respect I regret for my inability to agree with the judgment rendered by my learned brother Justice Agrawal. At the outset, it requires to be stated that this case illustrates how faulty, delayed, casual, unscientific investigation and lapse of long period in trial affects the administration of justice which in turn certain shakes the public confidence in the system. Is it not possible for the authorities to find out ways and means for speedy, efficient, scientific investigation in at least heinous brutal carnage and for trying the case within few months of occurrence If this is not done, it is of no use to complain that accused are not punished in such cases. In any case, for deciding such criminal case, it is the bounden duty of the court to appreciate the evidence brought on record, as it is, in accordance with established law without being influenced by the allegations levelled by the prosecuting agency or by the incident. Before appreciating the evidence. I would refer to the observations of this Court in State (Delhi Admn.) v. Laxman Kumar [(1985) 4 SCC 476 at 505] observed as under:-
"Mankind has shifted from the state of nature towards a civilized society and it is no longer the physical power of a litigating individual or the might of the ruler nor even the opinion of the majority that takes away the liberty of a citizen by convicting him and making him suffer a sentence of imprisonment. Award of punishment following conviction at a trial in a system wedded to rule of law is the outcome of cool deliberation in the court room after adequate hearing is afforded to the parties, accusations are brought against the accused, the prosecutor is given an opportunity of supporting the charge and the accused is equally given an opportunity of meeting the accusations by establishing his innocence. It is the outcome of cool deliberations and the screening of the material by the informed mind of the Judge that leads to determination of the lis..."
(2.)In the present case, in gruesome carnage, 35 persons lost their lives, some houses/huts were burnt, number of persons were injured and in that case charged-sheet was submitted against 119 persons. Out of them, 13 were tried by the Designated Court of Sessions Judge, Gaya in G.R. Case No. 430 of 1992, Tekari Police Station Case No. 19 of 1992 under the provisions of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as "TADA Act") and under Section 302/149 etc. of Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as "IPC"). After recording the evidence, by judgment and order dated 8.6.2001, the Designated Court.
(a) acquitted A-1 Nanhe Yadav @ Dina Yadav, A-10 Nanhak Teli, A-11 Naresh Chamar and A-12 Ramashish Mahto;
(b) convicted A-5 Bir Kuer Paswan, A-8 Krishna Mochi. A-9 Dharmendra Singh @ Dharu Singh, A-13 Nanhe Lal Mochi and sentenced to death;
(c) convicted A-2 Bihari Manjhi, A-4 Ramautar Dusadh @ Lakhan Dusadh, A-6 Rajendra Paswan, A-7 Wakil Yadav and imposed life imprisonment;
(d) convicted A-3 Ravindra Singh and imposed RI for ten years. He has not filed any appeal.
(3.)A-2 Bihari Manjhi, A-4 Ramautar Dusadh @ Kakhan Dusadh, A-6 Rajendra Paswan and A-7 Wakil Yadav have challenged impugned judgment and order in Criminal Appeals Nos. 752 and 765 of 2001 and by a separate judgment of even date, these accused stand acquitted by this Court on the ground that there is no evidence against them except the confessional statement of A-2 Bihari Manjhi which we havenot relied upon for the reasons recorded therein.