Murder Trial; Dinesh Lal Vs. State of Uttarakhand [Supreme Court of India, 06-10-2015]

Penal Code, 1860 – S. 302 – Arms Act, 1959 – Ss. 4 & 25 – High Court has passed a cryptic order without appraising the evidence properly and scrutinising the depositions – The conclusion arrived at by the High Court in concurring with the findings of the Trial Court on the charges levelled against the appellant are based on proper appreciation of evidence is not sustainable in law for the reason that the High Court has not re-appraised the evidence on record while arriving at such conclusion.

(2016) 1 SCC 590 : JT 2015 (9) SC 210 : 2015 (10) Scale 451 : 2015 (4) Crimes 129 : 2015 ALL MR (Cri) 4499 : 2015 (4) JBCJ 387 : 2015 (3) PLJ (Criminal) 274 : 2016 (157) AIC 136 : 2016 (92) ACrC 526 : 2016 (1) SCC (Cri) 433 : 2016 (1) ECrC 5 : 2016 (1) AICLR 100


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

[T.S. THAKUR] AND [V. GOPALA GOWDA] JJ.

October 6, 2015

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1314 OF 2015

(ARISING OUT OF SLP (Crl.) NO. 10250 OF 2014)

DINESH LAL ………APPELLANT

Vs.

STATE OF UTTARAKHAND ……RESPONDENT

J U D G M E N T

V.GOPALA GOWDA, J.

Leave granted.

2. This criminal appeal by special leave is directed against the impugned judgment and order dated 3.7.2013 passed in Crl. A. No. 153 of 2010 by the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital whereby it affirmed the judgment and order dated 10.6.2010 passed by the District & Sessions Court, Tehri Garhwal, New Tehri (for short the “the Trial Court”) in Sessions Case No. 16 of 2009, convicting the appellant herein for the offence punishable under

Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

(for short “IPC”) and

Section 4/25 of the Arms Act, 1959

and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs.20,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC and two years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.10,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 4/25 of the Arms Act, 1959. Both the sentences imposed upon him for the abovesaid offences were to run concurrently.

3. Brief facts are stated hereunder to appreciate the rival legal contentions urged on behalf of the parties: On 11.03.2009 complainant Jotar Das submitted a written complaint to Naib Tehsildar, Jakhnidhar, District Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand regarding the murder of his daughter, Kumari Kusum (hereinafter referred to as “deceased”).

4. In the said complaint it was stated by him that a proposal for the marriage of the deceased was made by the appellant about 4 months back from the date of the said written complaint. The appellant used to visit the house of the complainant but he refused to give his daughter in marriage to the appellant after hearing complaints about his activities.

5. On 11.03.2009, it is alleged that at about 11.30 AM the appellant reached Vartyakhund, through jungle where the deceased was cutting grass along with her grandmother Smt. Madi Devi (PW-1) and her aunt Smt. Ram Maya Devi (PW-2). After reaching there the appellant attacked the deceased with a ‘khukri’ (a sharp edged weapon), at the left side below her heart, as a result of which she died on the spot. Thereafter, he hit himself with the same ‘khukri’ below his naval and fell unconscious. This information of murder was given to the complainant by his mother Smt. Madi Devi (PW- 1), who witnessed the murder of the deceased along with PW-2.

6. On the basis of the written complaint, FIR in Crime Case No. 02/2009 was registered against the appellant. The matter was investigated by the investigation officer and the charge sheet was filed against the appellant for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 309 of IPC and under Section 4/25 of the Arms Act, 1959.

7. The Trial Court convicted the appellant for the offences punishable under Section 302 of IPC and Section 4/25 of the Arms Act, 1959 and he was awarded the sentence of life imprisonment with a fine of Rs.20,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC and sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs.10,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 4/25 of the Arms Act, 1959. The above sentence was imposed upon the appellant for the offences referred to supra were to run concurrently.

8. Aggrieved by the decision of the Trial Court, the appellant filed an appeal before the High Court urging various grounds and prayed for setting aside the judgment and order passed by the Trial Court and acquit him of the charges framed against him. The High Court upheld the decision of the Trial Court holding that no attempt was made by the appellant to establish his plea. Hence, this appeal.

9. Mr. A.S. Pundir, learned Amicus Curiae for the appellant contended that the High Court has gravely erred in placing reliance on the depositions of Smt. Madi Devi (PW-1), Smt. Ram Maya Devi (PW-2), Smt. Shanti Devi (PW-3), Jotar Das (PW-4) and Ramesh (PW-8) as all were the members of same family and it was natural for these interested witnesses who have stated a concocted version against the appellant in order to save the main assailant Ramesh (PW- 8), who actually attacked the two victims i.e., the deceased and the appellant, in his outrage against the deceased. The said attack resulted into the death of the deceased and serious injuries caused to the appellant. He further urged that the courts below have erred in not noticing the concocted case set up by the prosecution against the appellant which is most unnatural. He further submitted that there is lot of inconsistency in respect of the time of occurrence of incident that was stated by Smt. Madi Devi (PW-1) and Ram Maya Devi (PW-2) in their statements of evidence, which is sufficient to show that none of said witnesses could have been available on the spot at the time of the incident.

10. He further contended that the High Court has failed to appreciate that the Trial Court erred in using the part of statement of the appellant made under