(1.) In the instant case, victim Bhagwan Singh died of head injuries, which were lacerated wounds. The victim was found on the slope of a hill about 100 metres below the hill pathway, on 18th April, 1996 at around 10.00 p.m. He was taken to Doon Hospital. At Doon Hospital, he was examined by the doctors for the first time on 19th April, 1996 at about 5.30 p.m. Smt. Shanti Devi (PW1) wife of the victim lodged a First Information Report on 24th April. 1996 at about 2:20 p.m. In that, she had alleged that the victim was made to drink in excess by the respondent Madan Singh and one Matber Singh, who deposed as PW4. The said F.I.R. was registered under Section 308 of I.P.C. At about 3.10 p.m. of 24th April, 1996, victim died at the hospital. On receipt of this information, the First Information Report was converted into the offences punishable'under Sections 304 and 506 of I.P.C. The post-mortem of the dead body of the victim was conducted by Dr. H.J.S. Mandrawal (PW7). In that, it was opined that the victim died of ante-mortem head injuries. It was indicated that the deceased received two head injuries, which were by then stitched. Dr. A.K. Jain (PW6) examined the victim when he was taken to Doon Hospital. In the first medical report prepared by him, he had reported that the victim had received two lacerated wound injuries in the head region. After the investigation was completed, a charge-sheet was filed against the respondent for offences punishable under Sections 304 and 506 of I.P.C. However, at the trial, charge was framed in respect of an offence punishable under Section 304 of I.P.C. Through PW1, Jai Singh (PW2), Bachan Singh (PW3) and PW4, the prosecution tried to establish that on 18th April, 1996, victim went to work with PW2 and after completing the work in the evening, was returning to his home at around 6:30 p.m. He was then accompanied by PW4. On the way back, victim arid PW4 met the respondent. Respondent produced bottle containing liquor and insisted the victim and PW2 to join him to enjoy the liquor. Victim, PW2 and the respondent consumed liquor. Thereafter, the 'respondent hit the victim on his head with a stone and, thereafter, pushed him down at about 8.00 p.m. of the selfsame day, i.e. 18th April, 1996. Respondent threatened PW4 from divulging the incident. PW4, then, reached the home of the victim and there met PW1. PW4 informed PW1 that after having had consumed liquor, victim has slipped and has fallen from the road, a search will be organized for him on the next day. PWI insisted that the search should be conducted immediately. She organized the search, when she was assisted by PW3 and also by PW4. At around 10.00 p.m., victim was located, whereafter with the assistance of PW2, PWI mobilized man power and removed the victim from the place, where he was found, and later, victim was taken to Doon Hospital, where he ultimately died. Apart from the oral testimony of PW4 that the victim had consumed liquor, there is no evidence that victim had consumed liquor. In course of evidence, PWI did not hold out that PW4 was smelling liquor at the time PW 4 met PW 1 on 18th April, 1996. PW4 held out that the respondent made the victim and PW4 drink and then the respondent hit the victim with a stone and subsequent thereto pushed him into the gorge. PW4 was threatened by the respondent to divulge the incident to anyone else. Soon thereafter, PW4 met PWI. After meeting PWI, PW4 represented to PWI that the victim had consumed liquor and slipped. At that time, PW4 was not in the clutches of the respondent, nor the respondent was in the vicinity of PW4. If PW4 could divulge to PWI that the victim had consumed liquor and, thereafter, slipped in the gorge, what prevented PW4 from divulging to PWI, at that time, that the victim, in fact, did not slip, but was pushed after being hit by a stone, was not explained while evidence was tendered by PW4. Therefore, from the narration of the evidence, as tendered by PWI, PW2, PW3 and PW4, involvement of the respondent with the injuries that the victim sustained can only be established or linked on acceptance of the evidence of PW4. The question is. whether having regard to the conduct of PW4, as narrated above; it would be safe to place reliance solely on the evidence ofPW4 to convict the respondent. We think that the court below has correctly not placed reliance on the evidence of PW4 to link the respondent with the injuries that the victim sustained. Furthermore. Smt. Puma Devi (PW5) stated, in course of tendering evidence that she had seen PW 4 and the respondent searching for the victim in the evening of 18th April, 1996. If the testimony of PW4 is acceptable, then testimony of PW5 is not acceptable for according to PW4, he knew exactly when and how the victim fell into the gorge and also from which place and, therefore, question of searching for the victim by PW4 outside the gorge did never arise.
(2.) We, accordingly, hold that the prosecution having failed to establish the charge, as was levelled against the respondent, the court below had no other option but to acquit the respondent. The appeal, accordingly, fails and the same is dismissed.
(3.) Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the court below alongwith the lower court records.;