Decided on August 31,1955

Puli Mala Kondaiah And Others Appellant
Konduri Bala Venkata Reddy And Another Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



CHANDRA REDDY, J. - (1.)The 24 petitioners along with three others were tried by the Stationary Sub Magistrate, Kandukur on various counts including those under Sections 143 and 447, Indian Penal Code. All the accused were convicted under sections 143 and 447 I.P.C. but three of them have not chosen to file a revision petition in this court. The case against them all was this. A plot of land 2 acres and 61 cents in Survey Nos. 339 and 487 was assigned to the complainant for raising casuarina plantation. On the 11th of January, 1954, all the accused trespassed upon the land to lop off some branches and to carry them away. News about this was carried to the complainant who happened to live in a different village. Thereupon, he started proceedings against all the accused under sections 143, 379, 427 and 447 I.P.C. The trial Court convicted them under Sections 143 and 447 I.P.C. and fined each of them Rs. 10/- on each count. This was confirmed on appeal by the Sub Divisional Magistrate. Hence this revision case.
(2.)The findings of the courts below that the complainant was in possession of the land in question and that the petitioners trespassed thereon is not challenged by the learned counsel for the petitioners. But what is argued is that as the petitioners have been acquitted of specific offences, the conviction under Section 143 or under Section 447 I.P.C. is unsustainable. In support of this proposition reliance is placed on a judgment of Varma J. in Dodraj Mahton v. Emperor, A.I.R. 1934 Patna 505 There, certain persons were charged under section 430, I.P.C. for cutting the bund of a river and thereby causing diminution of supply of water for agricultural purposes. Charges were also framed under sections 143 and 144 I.P.C. for being members of an unlawful assembly with the common object of committing mischief by cutting the bund. They were acquitted of the charge under Section 430 I.P.C. as there was no diminution of water supply, but convicted under sections 143 and 144 I.P.C. by the courts below. In revision to the High Court, the learned Judge acquitted them on the ground that the acquittal of the accused under Section 430 I.P.C. established their innocence of both cutting the kodwa bund and causing diminution of the supply of water and also because it was not established that the accused cut the bund and there was the likelihood of its having been washed away by floods. He does not put it solely on the ground that because the accused were acquitted of the specific offences with which they were charged the charges under Section 143 and 144 I.P.C. must fail. This is what the learned Judge says in discussing this:-
"In this case unfortunately the prosecution case as framed relies upon the proof of the common object by saying that the kodwa bund was actually cut; and if that part of the story is not brought home to the petitioners, they cannot be held liable under Sections 143 and 144 I.P.C."

(3.)So I do not think that the learned Judge meant to lay down the proposition in such wide terms as is attributed to him. But that as it may, merely because the specific offences with which members of an unlawful assembly are charged are not proved, it does not mean that the common object of the unlawful assembly should be found to be non-existent. The acquittal based on the absence of proof regarding the overt acts attributed To an individual offender does not mean that the unlawful assembly was not animated by a common object to commit some offence. No authority need be cited for this proposition. This contention, therefore fails and is rejected.

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