Indian Penal Code, 1860 – S. 302/34 – Murder – Common Intention – Accused Nos. 1 and 2 inflicted knife blows on the abdomen of ‘J’ and snatched away gold chain worn by ‘J’ – Injuries are serious in nature and support the version of the prosecution about the assault with knife – do not find any merit as far as the appeal of Accused Nos.1 and 2 is concerned and affirm the conviction and sentence awarded to them – allowed the appeal of Accused No.3 by giving him the benefit of doubt.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Adarsh Kumar Goel and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ.
June 16, 2016
Criminal Appeal No. 388 of 2011
Kailas Namdeo Patil & Ors. – Appellants
State of Maharashtra – Respondents
For the Appellants :- Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, Abdul Qadir, Ms. Kanishka Prasad, Advocates; For the Respondents :- Nishant Ramakantrao Katneshwarkar, Arpit Rai, Advocates.
This appeal has been preferred by Kailas Namdeo Patil, Gurunath Chindhu Chandrakant Patil, Pandharinath Chindhu Patil and Namdeo Nanda Patil, Accused Nos. 1 to 4 respectively.
2. It is pointed out that Namdeo Nanda Patil, Accused No.4 has died during the pendency of this appeal. Accordingly, for him, the appeal stands abated.
3. The case of the prosecution is that on 22.12.1986, the complainant Prakash (PW-1) accompanied by his brother deceased Jagan had gone to Bhiwandi for recovery of certain dues in respect of sale of sand. They were returning about 7.45 to 8.00 p.m. by a rickshaw up to a particular point and thereafter by foot. The incident took place between 9.00 to 9.30 p.m. Accused Nos. 1 and 2 inflicted knife blows on the abdomen of Jagan and snatched away gold chain worn by Jagan. The complainant screamed for help. The accused ran away from the scene of occurrence. Jagan fell down. The complainant Prakash rushed to his home and narrated the incident to his brother and thereafter he came to the spot with his brother and Jagan was found dead. He lodged the First Information Report and after investigation, the accused were sent up for trial. The Trial Court convicted all the accused under Section 302/34 IPC and sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment, apart from fine. This was in addition to conviction and sentence under Section 392/397 IPC. The High Court has affirmed the conviction and sentence.
4. Learned counsel for the appellants referred to the statement of PW-1 which mainly is the basis of the impugned judgment and pointed out that only role attributed to accused Nos.3 and 4 is that they caught hold of the complainant and embraced him. Nothing is attributed to them for attacking the deceased.
5. In the circumstances, it is difficult to uphold the inference that they shared the common intention of Accused Nos.1 and 2 to cause death of the deceased. Moreover, the incident took place all of a sudden when the accused met the complainant party who were returning to their house. Accused Nos. 3 and 4, in the circumstances, could not be attributed common intention which Accused Nos. 1 and 2 may have in causing the death of Jagan.
6. It was also submitted that the evidence of PW-1 is not reliable as three other eye-witnesses of the locality have not supported the prosecution version. It was also pointed out that there were certain discrepancies in the statement of PW-1 with regard to the earlier incident when there was an altercation between the complainant and the accused party. In his statement in Court, the presence of deceased Jagan is not mentioned as was mentioned in the First Information Report. It was submitted that in view of the said statement in Court, the accused could have no motive against Jagan.
7. We are unable to accept this submission. Version of PW-1 has been accepted by the Courts below and the nature of discrepancy pointed out by learned counsel for the appellants is not enough to discard his testimony with regard to the actual assault on the deceased. The injuries suffered by the deceased are as follows:
“1. Incised penetrating wound on left iaframmary region in 5th ribs space 1″ away from mid clavicular line size 1 ½” x 2 ½” x cavity deep, direction away laterally and horizontal.
2. Incised and penetrating wound over central abdominal region in midline, above 2″ superior to unmilicus size 1″ x ½” x cavity deep, loops of intestine coming out, horizontally.
3. Incised and penetrating wound over left arillary lince size 11/2″ x ½” cavity deep, loops of intestine coming out, oblique direction.
4. Incised wound over right hypochondrium in lateral clavicular line 9th rib area, size 1 ½” x ½” x muscle deep.
5. Incised wound over proximal phalyex middle finger of left arm, size ½” x ½” x muscle deep.
6. Contused abrasion on neck, over sternal notch area, size, 1 ½” x ½”.”
8. The above injuries are serious in nature and support the version of the prosecution about the assault with knife.
9. We, thus, do not find any merit as far as the appeal of Accused Nos.1 and 2 (Kailas Namdeo Patil and Gurunath Chindhu Chandrakant Patil) is concerned and affirm the conviction and sentence awarded to them. However, we allow the appeal of Accused No.3 (Pandharinath Chindhu Patil) by giving him the benefit of doubt. He is said to be on bail. His bail bond stands discharged.
The appeal is disposed of.