Decided on October 06,1955

STATE Respondents

Cited Judgements :-



Subba Rao, C.J. - (1.)The three appellants were accused 1 to 3 before the Court of Session, West Godavari. They were charged along with five other accused under different sections of the Indian Penal Code. Accused 4 to 8 were acquitted but accused 1 to 3 were convicted under section 302, Indian Penal Code and sentenced to transportation for life. They were acquitted on other charges.
(2.)The prosecution case may be briefly narrated. In the village of Gundugolanu, due to Panchayat elections, there were two factions in the village, one of the Velamas and the other of the Kapus. The 4th accused and one Bhogaraju Perraju stood for election to the office of Panchayat Board President. The accused supported the candidature of the 4th accused whereas the Kapus backed Perraju. The bad blood created by the election ended in the murder of two persons Chandrayya and Gangayya. In that connection, the deceased Thirupati, P.W.1, P.W. 3, Paidayya and Sanyasi, bothers of P.W. 1 were charged for murder. The Sessions Judge convicted Paidayya and Sanyasi and sentenced them to transportation for life and he also sentenced Thirupati and P.Ws. 1 and 3 to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year. The accused therein preferred an appeal to the High Court. Pending the appeal, Thirupati and P.Ws. 1 and 3 were let on bail. Accused 4, 5, 6 and 8 were prosectuion witnesses in that case. The 1st accused was also a prosecution witness, though he was given up during the trial. After Thirupati was let on bail, he came to stay in his ancestral houss but had to leave it as the 2nd accused and his brother threatened him. They also prevented P.W. 1 from repairing the compound wall. There were other disputes between them in connection with the lease of land belonging to the Board High School. In connection with that lease, on the night of 18th June, 1954, Thirupati and P.W. 1 wert to the house of P.W. 15 to request him to stand as surety for the lease amount. After getting his consent, at about 9 P.M., when coming home, Thirupati went inside the compound of the cinema to purchase a cigar while P.W. 1 was going towards his house. After Thirupati purchased a cigar and was smoking, accused 1 to 3 armed with sticks entered the cinema compound and beat him. When he was in a prostrated condition, the and accused dragged him out of the cinema compound and left him in the side drain. A little time later, accused 1 to 4 again returned with sticks and gave him another beating till he died. Accused 1 and 4 attacked P.W.1 in front of the 4th accused's house and beat him. When P.W. 2 came out of his house into the main road, he was attacked by accused 3 and 5 to 8 on the main road near the Bose's statue and was beaten. On those facts, accused 1 to 8 were charged under section 148, Indian Penal Code, on the ground that they were members of an unlawful assembly and, in prosecution of the common object to beat Thirupathi to death, committed the offence of rioting., Accused 1 to 4 were in addition charged under section 302 for having committed the murder of Thirupathi in the Course of the same transaction. Accused 5 to 8 were also charged under section 149 read with section 302, Indian Penal Code, for being members of an unlawful assembly with the common object of killing Thirupathi. All the accused were charged under different counts for causing gvievous hurt to P.W. 1 and P.W. 2 in prosecution of the aforesaid common object. The learned Sessions Judge held, on the evidence, that the prosecution had failed to prove by satisfactory evidence that the accused formed themselves into an unlawful assembly and had the common object of beating the deceased and the other injured persons. In that view, he discharged all the accused under the charges other than charges Nos. 1,2, 4 to 7. He also held that the prosecution failed to establish that accused 1 to 4 beat P.W. 1 So too in regard to the incident relating to P.W. 2, he was inclined to believe that P.W. 2 was beaten by some unknown persons. He expressed the view that the presence of the fourth accused was doubtful and, therefore, he gave the benefit of doubt to him. But he accepted the evidence of P.Ws. 4 to 10 and found that accused 1 to 3 gave the two beatings to the deceased in the manner described by them, which resulted in his death. On those findings, he acquitted all the accused on all the charges other than charge No.2. Under that charge, he convicted accused 1 to 3 under section 302 and sentenced them to transportation for life.
(3.)The learned counsel for the appellants, Mr. R.V. Rama Rao, vehemently argued that the three separate incidents were parts of an integrated design and that, as the prosecution failed to establish the part taken by the fourth accused in the two incidents or even in the first incident, the learned Judge should have rejected the entire version of the prosecution. He further contended that the Judge, having rejected the evidence of the prosecution witnesses in respect of the part attributed by them to the fourth accused, should not have relied upon that perjured evidence to convict the appellants. At the outset, we should like to make it clear that the appreciation of oral evidence by a Court cannot conform to certain set formulae or be measured by the yard stick common to all cases. Though certain observations are found in the various decided cases to the effect that ordinarily a Court should not convict an accused on the basis of evidence not accepted by it in connection with the other accused, unless the evidence is corroborated otherwise, the observations were not intended to lay down an inflexible rule of law but were directed to suggest a rule of prudence for the appreciation of evidence. They were not and could not have been intended to prevent a Judge of fact from appreciating the evidence that was placed Defore him, having regard to the circumstances of each case.

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