Prafulla C. Pant, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal, preferred under Section 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, is directed against judgment and order dated 26.05.2005, passed by Special Sessions Judge, Tehri Garhwal, New Tehri, in Special Sessions Trial No. 4 of 2000, whereby said court has convicted accused/appellants Kalam Singh @ Bheeru, Ranjeet @ Guddu and Raghu, under Section 302 read with Section 34 of I.P.C., under Section 323 read with Section 34 of I.P.C. and under Section 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Castes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The trial court has sentenced each one of the convicts to imprisonment for life and directed to pay fine of Rs. 2000/ - under section 302 read with Section 34 of I.P.C. and imprisonment for a period of six months under Section 323 read with Section 34 of I.P.C. and each one of them has been further sentenced to imprisonment for life and directed to pay fine of Rs. 2000/ - under Section 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Castes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Heard Ms. Gaura Devi Dev, Advocate/Amicus Curie, for the appellants and Mr. Vinod Sharma, Deputy Advocate General, for the respondent/State, and perused the lower court record.
(2.) BRIEF facts of the case are that on 22.10.1999, at about 6.00, am, accused/appellant No. 2 Ranjeet Singh @ Guddu went to the house of Guna Lal (deceased) in Village Unnana, Patti Chandrabadni, and took him to his house (in the same village). When by 7.00 a.m. Guna Lal did not come back to his house, his wife PW2 Mana Devi went to the house of her mother in law PW1 Kidi Devi and told that her husband has not came back from the house of Ranjeet Singh. On this PW1 Kidi Devi (mother of the deceased) went to the house of Ranjeet Singh, where she saw that accused/appellant Ranjeet Singh @ Guddu armed with knife, accused/appellant Kalam Singh @, Bheeru armed with LATHI (stick) and accused/appellant Raghu armed with stone were assaulting Guna Lal. She immediately intervened and attempted to rescue her son, but she too was assaulted by the three accused. Whereafter, she fell down. Meanwhile, her daughter 3 in law PW2 Mana Devi and PW3 Manoj Kumar (son of the deceased Guna Lal and Mana Devi) reached to the house of Ranjeet Singh. The First Information Report (Ex. A3) of the incident was got lodged by PW1 Kidi Devi on the very day of the incident by submitting the same to Sub Divisional Magistrate of Kirti Nagar. On the basis of said report Crime No. 532 of 1999 was registered at Police Station Devprayag, at about 4.15 P.M. on 22.10.1999, in respect of offences punishable under Section 302 and 323 of I.P.C., against the three accused namely Kalam Singh@ Bheeru, Ranjeet Singh @ Guddu and Raghu. It was also mentioned in the First Information Report that Guna Lal (deceased) and Kidi Devi (PW1) were members of Scheduled Castes (The accused were Thakurs of the same village). After the report was lodged, Police went to Village Unnana and took the dead body of deceased Guna Lal in their possession on 23.10.1999, and prepared the inquest report (Ex. A6) and sealed the body. The Police also got prepared the sketch of the dead body (Ex. A7), Police Form No. 13 (Ex. A8), Sample seal (Ex. A9) and letter to Chief Medical Officer (Ex. A10) requesting for post mortem examination. PW5 Dr. S.K. Gupta conducted post mortem examination on 23.10.1999. at about 11.00 a.m. and prepared the autopsy report (Ex. A1), in which, he recorded as many as ten ante mortem injuries. Strangely, he opined that the cause of death could not be ascertained. It appears that on the request of the Superintendent of Police of District Tehri Garhwal, Chief Medical Officer, Tehri Garhwal constituted the committee of three Medical Officers to give its opinion on the basis of the 4 autopsy report, as to whether, the deceased had died a homicidal death and as to whether, it can be said that the injuries suffered by the deceased was sufficient to cause his death. In reply to which, the team of three Doctors vide their report dated 13.12.1999 (Ex. A2) opined that the deceased had died a homicidal death, but they could not say that the deceased had died of the injuries suffered by him. Since the incident fell in the Revenue Area Police initially it was investigated by Revenue Officer but later transferred to PW7 Deputy Superintendent of Police, K.C. Balodi. The Investigating Officer, after interrogating the witnesses, inspecting the spot and on completion of investigation submitted charge sheet (Ex. A16) against the accused/respondents Kalam Singh @ Bheeru, Ranjeet Singh @ Guddu and Raghu for their trial in respect of offences punishable under Section 302, 323 of I.P.C. and one punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Learned Special Sessions Judge/Sessions Judge, Tehri Garhwal, on 08.03.2002, after hearing the parties, framed charge of offences punishable under Section 302/34 I.P.C. read with 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and under Section 323/34 I.P.C. read with 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to which, all the three accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried.
(3.) ON this prosecution got examined (PW1) Kidi Devi (injured eyewitness and informant), PW2 Mana Devi (widow of the deceased), PW3 Manoj Kumar (son of the deceased and eyewitness), PW4 Seeru (declared hostile), PW5 Dr. S.K. Gupta (who conducted post mortem examination on the dead body of the deceased) PW6 Assistant Sub Inspector N.S. Rawat and PW7 K.C. Balodi (the then Deputy Superintendent of Police, who investigated the crime). Oral and documentary evidence was put to the accused under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., in reply to which, the accused/respondents pleaded that the evidence adduced against them was false and they have been falsely implicated. However, no evidence in defence was adduced.;