Decided on August 22,2012

Tasleem And Ors Appellant
State Of Uttaranchal And Ors Respondents


- (1.) On 3 rd November, 1997, a First Information Report was lodged, where it was alleged that, while committing the dacoity at the home of the informant, the miscreants murdered the wife of the informant. It was alleged that the miscreants fled away with fifty thousand rupees and a gold bangle. In course of investigation, on 7 th November, 1997, Sunil (since deceased) and Sumit were arrested. At the time of arrest, a country made pistol was recovered from Sunil. Sunil and Sumit said to have confessed before the Police about their involvement in the dacoity and the murder. On the pointing of Sumit, currencies worth Rs. 7,000/- containing signatures/initials were recovered, when, also, a gold bangle and a knife were recovered. Sunil and Sumit said to have disclosed the names of Imran, Irfan and Tasleem in the commission of the offence. Imran and Irfan were arrested on 7 th November, 1997. At the time of arrest, a country made pistol was recovered from Imran, whereas, at the time of arrest, a Khukari and one Loi (blanket) were recovered from Irfan. Imran and Irfan accepted their involvement in the crime. On their pointing, one scissors, one silver plate and two silver bowls were recovered from a Nala. Lastly, Tasleem was arrested on 9 th November, 1997. From Tasleem, currency notes worth Rs. 18,000/- containing signatures/initials, were recovered alongwith a country made pistol. The investigation was, thus, completed. Police, accordingly, filed a charge-sheet. On the basis of the charge-sheet, Sunil, Sumit, Imran, Irfan and Tasleem were charged for having committed offences punishable under Sections 396 and 412 of the Indian Penal Code. For recovery of country made pistols from Sunil, Imran and Tasleem, they were separately charged for offence punishable under Section 25 of the Arms Act. Sumit and Irfan were, however, charged for offence punishable under Section 25/4 of the Arms Act. All the five accused persons denied their involvement with the offences charged against them. As a result, trial commenced.
(2.) The prosecution tried to prove the charge on the basis of recoveries made. While the informant, as PW1, proved the basic fact of dacoity committed at his home, when his wife was murdered, recognized in court the recovered bangle as the bangle of his wife, which was robbed at the time of dacoity. He also proved that the recovered silver utensils belonged to him and those were also robbed at the time of dacoity. He pointed out that the recovered currency notes contained his signatures/initials. In answer to questions under Section 313 of the Code, each of the accused persons held out that the recoveries have been planted and those have not been recovered at their pointing. In course of evidence tendered by PW1, one other fact came to light that Sumit worked as a servant in the house of PW1 and was removed from his engagement about seven days before the incident. That Sumit worked in the house of PW1, was not denied by Sumit in answer to questions put to him under Section 313 of the Code. While it was held out by the accused persons in answer to questions under Section 313 of the Code that the articles, alleged to have been recovered at their pointing, were planted, no attempt was made to establish the same. Principally, on the ground that the aforementioned recoveries were made on the pointing of the accused persons, the court below held in favour of the prosecution and convicted each of the accused persons except Sunil, who had by then died, under Section 396 of I.P.C. as well as under Section 412 of I.P.C. and sentenced them appropriately. The court below also separately sentenced Imran and Tasleem under Section 25 of the Arms Act and Sumit and Irfan under Section 25/4 of the Arms Act and also appropriately sentenced them. Aggrieved thereby, the present appeals have been preferred by Tasleem, Irfan, Sumit and Imran.
(3.) The learned counsel appearing in support of the appeals submitted that, having regard to the nature of evidence brought on by the prosecution, it was unwise on the part of the court below to place reliance on the recoveries. It was submitted that it is practically impossible for a person to put his/her signatures/initials on currency notes worth rupees fifty thousand at home. It was submitted that those currency notes were signed/ initialled subsequently. The fact remains that the recovery memos themselves show recovery of signed/initialled currency notes and the recovery memos have been signed respectively by those accused persons, from whom recovery of those notes were made. In course of trial, it was not contended that those signatures were obtained by force or coercion. It was submitted that the dacoity took place on 3 rd November, 1997 and on 7 th November, 1997 Rs. 7,000/- and later, on 9 th November, 1997 Rs. 18,000/- were recovered. It was contended that the accused persons, it is not believable, would keep with them signed/initialled currency notes for four to six days and expose themselves to the crime. The said submission is based on a hypothesis, which is not universally applicable and, accordingly, no presumption thereon can be taken. Unless such a presumption is taken, it will not be possible for the Court not to accept the recoveries made. Further, there is no straight-jacket rule that every person will act in a particular manner in every situation. It was next contended that the gold bangle and the silver utensils were planted, inasmuch as, the gold bangle was recovered from the house of Sumit, whereas the silver utensils were recovered from a Nala. It was contended that having had stolen the bangle, Sumit will not keep the same at his house. It was contended that having had stolen silver utensils, the same will not be tried to be concealed in a Nala, which is accessible to every one. Again, how one will act in a situation, being not universal, the Court cannot place any reliance on these submissions. Practically, no submission has been made as regards convictions awarded under Section 25 and Section 25/4 of the Arms Act. The fact remains, those recoveries have been acknowledged in writing by each of the appellants.;

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