Decided on December 03,2012

Saleem Ahmad and Anr. Respondents


Barin Ghosh, J. - (1.) THIS appeal is against two respondents, namely, Saleem Ahmad and Firoj. The appeal is against an order, by which, Saleem Ahmad and Firoj have been exonerated of the charge of committing an offence punishable under Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code. Accordingly, an Application, seeking special leave to prefer appeal, has been filed. The said Application and the appeal were presented to this Court 75 days' after time to prefer appeal expired. Accordingly, an Application for condonation of delay in preferring the appeal has been filed. The Application for condonation of delay in preferring the appeal was directed to be served upon Saleem Ahmad as well as Firoj on the address as was given of Firoj in the cause title. It was reported to the Process Server by the villagers of the village, where an attempt was made to serve Firoj, that no one by the name Firoj resides in the village. The Court, accordingly, directed furnishing of the correct address of Firoj and for effecting service upon him. The same was not done. In the circumstances, the Court passed an order directing furnishing of the correct address of Firoj and for effecting service upon Firoj within four weeks from the date of the Court's order dated 13th August, 2012. Neither the address of Firoj was furnished, nor any attempt was made to effect personal service upon Firoj, either within the time as mentioned above or even thereafter. In terms of the order of the Court dated 13th August, 2012, the Application for condonation of delay in preferring the appeal stands dismissed as against Firoj. Consequentially, the Application seeking grant of special leave to prefer appeal as well as the appeal, as against Firoj, stand dismissed. In the Application for condonation of delay in preferring the appeal, the reason for the delay has been shown as delay on the part of the District Magistrate in forwarding the case for permission to the Law Department and also delay on the part of the Law Department to apply its mind and, ultimately, to give permission to file appeal. These reasons are not convincing. If what could be done as was ultimately done, the same could be done within the time as prescribed in the Statute by the Legislature. However, having regard to the fact that the State is dependent upon the efficiency of its officers and, in the instant case, the officers of the State were not efficient enough, we cannot permit a cause to be closed merely because of such inefficiency. We, accordingly, allow the Application for condonation of delay in preferring the appeal, though reluctantly.
(2.) A three -year boy was taken by her mother to a shop situate in the vicinity of their house for the purpose of buying a toffee to the child. After the mother bought the toffee to the child, mother asked the child to return home. The child, accordingly, proceeded. Subsequent thereto, the mother returned to find to her surprise that the child had not returned. The father of the child, thereafter, lodged a missing report. On the selfsame date, Saleem Ahmad, a neighbour of the family of the child, came to the house of the child and informed the father and mother of the child that, on payment of Rs. 10 lacs, the child will return unhurt and safe. Saleem Ahmad also asked the mother and the father of the child to look for a letter. Having had said so, Saleem Ahmad left. The mother and the father, thereafter, searched for a letter and found the same. This was brought to the notice of the police by the father and the mother of the child. Police immediately arrested Saleem Ahmad. On the next date, the child was allegedly found in the custody of Firoj. After having had concluded the investigation, a charge -sheet was filed against Saleem Ahmad and Firoj in respect of commission of an offence punishable under Section 64A of the Indian Penal Code. The father and the mother of the child deposed. They stated in the court what has been stated above as regards Saleem Ahmad. In addition to that, a handwriting expert deposed on behalf of the prosecution, who had submitted a report and which report was tendered in evidence, to the effect that the handwriting of Saleem Ahmad, as taken by the police, matches the handwriting on the letter. The letter, too, was tendered in evidence, whereby a ransom of Rs. 10 lacs was claimed for the safe return of the child. The court below has refused to accept the report of the handwriting expert, inasmuch as, in course of tendering evidence, the handwriting expert could not state, for sure, that the handwriting on the letter is of Saleem Ahmad and of no one else. In other words, the evidence of the handwriting expert created a doubt, whether the handwriting on that letter was of Saleem Ahmad or not. In addition to the evidence pertaining to that letter, the other evidence was of what the father and the mother of the child allegedly heard from Saleem Ahmad. Evidence to that effect has no evidentiary value. The court below, accordingly, has exonerated Saleem Ahmad. We have not been persuaded to even take a prima facie view that the findings of the court below are interferable. That being the situation, we refuse to grant special leave to prefer appeal against Saleem Ahmad. Consequentially, the appeal fails and the same is dismissed.;

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