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Allahabad High Court dismisses appeal stating any punishment less than life imprisonment would be contrary to Section 302 IPC

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The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the appeal observing that any punishment/sentence less than the imprisonment for life shall be contrary to Section 302 of the IPC.

The Division Bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV passed this order while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Vakeel Quraishi and 2 Ors.

The criminal appeal has been preferred assailing the validity of the order dated 11.06.2018 passed by the Additional District & Sessions Judge, Moradabad, convicting the appellants under Sections 302/34 and 506 IPC and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for life under Section 302/34 IPC and to pay a fine of Rs 20,000/- each and in default of payment of fine to further undergo one year imprisonment.

They have been further sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment under Section 506 IPC and to pay a fine of Rs 2000/each, in default of payment of fine, further 15 days imprisonment was awarded.

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They have been further sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment under Section 506 IPC and to pay a fine of Rs 2000/each, in default of payment of fine, further 15 days imprisonment was awarded.

The prosecution allegations against the appellants, as were contained in the written report dated 30.05.2014, were that the informant namely Naeem, son of Mustkeem submitted a written report (Tehrir) on 30.05.2014 at Police Station Kotwali, District Sambhal, alleging therein that Vakeel and his family members of the same locality had enmity with him. The marriage of the informant was solemnized two days’ ago in which his brother Mukim had not invited Vakeel and his family members, on account of which they became annoyed.

On 30.5.2014 at about 10 o’clock in the night, when the informant and his brother Mukim were sitting alongwith Karam Ilahi and Zahid in front of the house of his uncle (Mamu) Karam Ilahi and were talking with them, at that time, Vakeel Kuraishi son of Allan along with his son Uvais and nephew Aarfeen, son of Khalil Kuraishi and brother in relation namely Iliyas son of Mustak, suddenly came there and told his brother Mukim that since he had insulted them in the community by not inviting them in the marriage of his brother (informant), he would be finished today. They had attacked his brother Mukim with knives with an intention to kill him. Once the informant rushed to save him, then they fled away from the spot by threatening to kill him. The informant took his brother to the Government Hospital Sambhal, wherein the doctor declared him as dead. The body of the deceased was kept in the Hospital.

On the basis of the written report, FIR was registered as Case under Sections 302, 506 at P.S Sambhal against the accused Vakeel Kuraishi, Uvais, Aarfeen and Iliyas on 30.5.2014 at 23.15 PM.

On the basis of investigation and evidence available on record, the Investigating Officer found that the accused persons were involved in the commission of the offence. Consequently, the investigating officer forwarded the charge sheet against the accused persons in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Moradabad for trial under Sections 302, 506 IPC.

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After taking cognizance on the charge sheet, the case was committed to the Court of Sessions Judge, Moradabad. Thereafter, the matter was transferred to the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Moradabad and he had charged all the accused namely Vakil Quraishi, Uvaish, Aarfeen and Iliyas, firstly on the charge that on 30.5.2014 at 10.00 PM in Mohalla Nala, P.S Sambhal, District Sambhal, in furtherance of their common intention, they committed the murder of Mukeem aged 25 years (brother of the complainant) by stabbing knife (Chhuri) intentionally causing his death and thereby, committed an offence punishable under Section 302/34 IPC and within the cognizance of the Court of Sessions.

Secondly, they were charged that on the said date, time and place, they committed criminal intimidation by threatening the complainant and others to kill and they thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 506 IPC and within the cognizance of the Court of Sessions. The accused persons pleaded not guilty and claimed for a trial.

After hearing the parties, the Trial Court vide the judgment and order impugned dated 11.6.2018, convicted the accused appellants with aforequoted sentences against which the appeal has been filed.

Umesh Pal Singh, counsel for the appellants submitted that convict-appellants were falsely implicated in the case due to previous enmity. The incident occurred on 30.5.2014 at 10 PM in the dark night and some unknown persons caused injuries to the deceased. No one had recognized the real assailants and later on, four accused persons including the appellants were falsely implicated in the case.

One of the accused Iliyas has been acquitted on the basis of the same evidence. There was no motive for the appellants to commit the crime in question. Moreover, two eye-witnesses namely Naeem and Karam Ilahi are close relatives being maternal-uncle (Mama) and nephew (Bhanja) of the deceased, therefore, their evidence was not reliable. The recovery of the knife at the pointing out of the appellants is false one and no blood stain was found on the said knife. The allegations are not reliable and the prosecution story is highly doubtful. There was no forensic report. The Court below has wrongly believed the prosecution evidence and therefore, conviction and sentence of appellants is bad in law and liable to be set aside. There are contradictions in the statements of witnesses, which have not been appreciated by the Court below and therefore, judgment is liable to be set aside.

Alternatively, he submitted that the appellants are languishing in jail since 04.6.2014 and they have already undergone more than 09 years of sentence with remission. The appellant Vakeel Quarishi is aged about 71 years’ old and he is seriously ill in District Jail, Moradabad.

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G.P Singh, AGA submitted that all the three appellants were involved in the case and the co-accused Iliyas had no motive to commit the crime in question. So far as appellants are concerned, they had motive to commit the crime in question. The incident was witnessed by the informant, who is the brother of the deceased, as well as by the eye-witness Karam Ilahi. The weapon of assault i.e knives were recovered at the pointing out of the appellants.

Another knife recovered was stained with the mud. The testimony corroborates the medical examination report of the deceased. The deceased received as many as seven injuries on his body which also includes an incised wound. There is no evidence on record which remotely indicates that the accused appellant was falsely implicated. The appellants have killed the deceased and this Court may not take a lenient view on the quantum of sentence.

The Court observed that,

We have carefully perused all the evidence on record and found that in the aforesaid Sessions Trial, arising out of Case, the appellants have been convicted under Section 302/34 IPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life for having committed the murder of one Mukim.

According to the prosecution, the accused Vakeel Quraishi, Uvaish, and Aarfeen had murdered the deceased Mukim for not inviting them in the marriage of his brother Naeem (informant), which furnished the motive for the murder of Mukim. The story of the prosecution is that on 30th May, 2014 at about 10.00 p.m while Mukim was sitting in front of the house of Karam Ilahi and talking with Karam Ilahi and Zahid, the appellants suddenly came there and attacked Mukim with knives, wherein he sustained serious injuries and finally succumbed to the injuries at the Hospital. The FIR was lodged on the same date at Police Station Sambhal. The police visited the spot and after usual investigation, submitted a charge sheet against the accused persons. The defence was that the incident occurred on 30.5.2014 at 10 PM in the dark night and some unknown persons caused injuries to the deceased. No one recognized the real assailants. The appellants have been falsely implicated in the aforesaid case. One of the accused Iliyas has been acquitted on the basis of the same evidence. No evidence has been given by the defence in support of their plea.

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On the other hand, the trial court has rightly appreciated and placed reliance on the testimony of eyewitnesses and found that the prosecution case, as alleged, has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. After appreciating the evidence available on record, the trial Court has convicted and sentenced the appellants as aforementioned. Moreover, the prosecution had also substantially proved the previous enmity between the parties. Perusal of the judgment as well as the record reveals that the trial court has scrutinized the entire prosecution evidence with care and caution.

In the aforesaid facts, we have also occasion to peruse the judgment of the trial court, which has discussed the entire evidence in detail and we have already recorded our reasons hereinabove for not accepting the stand taken on behalf of the appellants. We clearly find that the date, the time, the place and the topography of the occurrence stood established by the prosecution testimony which had been discussed hereinabove in detail. counsel for the accused/appellants had attempted a chance of dislodging the prosecution version but we do not find any good reason to dislodge the prosecution version. The recovery of the weapons, the utilization thereof and the manner of assault by the appellants all stood corroborated with each other and fortified by the post-mortem report. The inquest proceedings also do not admit of any doubt in the matter. The same has also been considered and recorded by the trial court as well as by us hereinabove. The defence on behalf of the appellants has not been able to create any reasonable doubt so as to extend any such benefit to the appellants applying the principles.

In the case, the appellants have caused fatal injuries by knives to the deceased, as a result of which he sustained grievous injuries and died. The prosecution has successfully proved guilt of the appellants beyond all reasonable doubt on the basis of evidence, and medical, adduced by it and after appreciating the evidence available on record, the trial Court has rightly convicted and sentenced the appellants as aforementioned.

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“Keeping in view of the facts of the case and on close scrutiny of the evidence, we do not find any reason to hold that the Court below has not correctly appreciated the evidence. In our view the appellants have rightly been held guilty of committing the offence alleged accordingly. There is no illegality or infirmity in judgment of conviction and order of sentence. We decline to reverse the judgment of the trial court, which is hereby confirmed.

Consequently, for all the reasons given above, the criminal appeal,being devoid of merit, is liable to be dismissed”, the Court further observed while dismissing the appeal.

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