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Allahabad High Court upholds life imprisonment awarded to convict

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The Allahabad High Court has upheld the life imprisonment order of a trial court against the convict and stated that the deceased died due to injuries sustained, and the benefit of doubt cannot be given to convict that he did not use any dangerous weapon.

The Division Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Renu Agarwal passed this order while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Rudra Pal Singh and Others.

The Criminal Appeal under section 374(2) CrPC has been filed against the order dated 02- 09-1987 passed by Mukteshwar Prasad, the then Ist Additional Sessions Judge, Sultanpur in Sessions Trial, convicting all the appellants under Sections 302/34 IPC and sentencing them to undergo to life imprisonment to each convict-appellants under Sections 302/34 IPC.

The convict appellants, Rudra Pal Singh, Sita Ram Singh and Ram Singh, had died during the pendency of the appeal and case against them has been abated vide order dated 05-12-2016. Thus, the appeal survives on behalf of appellant Rajendra Pratap Singh.

The facts of the case are that the complainant, Vijay Bahadur Singh, son of late Vishwanath Singh, stated in the FIR that his brother, Bajrang Bahadur and Ram Sahay Tewari, S/o Sri Ram Hit and Salikram Murai, S/o Ramjeevan, R/o of Kharagpur Ayodhya Nagar, were returning to their home on 03-09-1984 at about 1.30 P.M.

When they reached Bibi Tali Talab, the convict-appellants, Rudra Pal Singh, Sita Ram Singh and Sri Ram Singh, sons of Fateh Bahadur Singh and Rajendra Pratap Singh @ Mithu, son of Rudra Pal Singh attacked his brother, Bajrang Bahadur Singh with Lathi and Ballam.

When his brother Bajrang Bahadur Singh raised the alarm, Ram Sewak Tewari and Salikram Murai tried to save him. The convict appellants threatened them not to come forward to save Bajrang Bahadur Singh else they will bear the consequences.

Hearing noise at the place of occurrence, the complainant and Surya Narain Tewari, S/o Gayadin Tewari and Ram Lakhan Upadhyay, S/o Ram Dular and other villagers arrived at the place of incident and challenged the assailants. Then, the convict-accused ran away leaving his brother half-dead. The brother of the informant was badly injured and unconscious. He brought his brother on a cot to the police station with the help of Somai, Hari Ram Lal, Krishan Surya Narayan. When they were near a temple at Peeparpur Road, his brother died.

The complainant went to the police station with the dead body of his brother and lodged an FIR in writing.

The contents of the aforesaid information were taken down in the concerned Chik FIR as Case under sections 302/34 IPC, Police Station Piparpur, Sub District-Amethi, district Sultanpur on 03-09-1984 at about 3.15 P.M.

On the basis of the entries so made in the Chik FIR, a case was registered against the convict-appellants.

After conducting investigation, the Investigating Officer filed the chargesheet against all the four convict appellants, Rudra Pal Singh, Sita Ram Singh, Sri Ram Singh and Rajendra Pratap Singh under sections 302/34 IPC. The Magistrate concerned took cognizance and committed the case for trial to the court of sessions.

The trial court framed charges against all the four convict-appellants under sections 302/34 IPC. The convict-appellants abjured a charge and claimed to be tried.

The Court noted,

The trial court heard arguments from both sides and after analysing the evidence available on record, concluded that there is no reason to disbelieve the prosecution version. The presence of Surya Narayan Tewari is doubted on the spot by the convict appellants, but, Surya Narayan Tewari, denied the suggestions of the defence and affirmed that he saw the incident.

The trial court found nothing in the cross-examination to conclude that Surya Narayan Tewari is not an eyewitness and minor contradictions were discarded. The trial court concluded that prosecution has proved by reliable evidence that the deceased Bajrang Bahadur died on account of injuries caused to him by all the four convicts-appellants in furtherance of their common intention in the manner and at the place as identified. The trial court convicted all the convicts-appellants under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced them to suffer imprisonment for life.

Feeling aggrieved by the order of conviction and sentence, the convicts-appellants have filed the criminal appeal.

Amar Nath Dubey, counsel for the convict-appellants, argued that the trial court erred in convicting and sentencing the convict-appellant as there was no evidence found against him. The First Information Report is an ante-time document. The statements of the prosecution witnesses were highly contradictory. The trial court arrived at the conclusion from those contradictory statements. The investigation suffers from infirmities because there is inconsistency between the medical evidence and ocular evidence. The trial court did not look into the infirmities and contradictions in the case.

The counsel said convict-appellant Rajendra Pratap Singh is shown to have a lathi in his hands and the infliction of injuries by lathi is not corroborated in the postmortem report. Three puncture wounds were found on the body of the deceased. However, the deceased is not said to have any puncture wounds on the palms of his hands.

He further submitted that all the witnesses are the relatives of the deceased, therefore, this appeal should be allowed and the impugned judgment and order should be set aside.

On the contrary, Prabhat Adhaulia, Additional Government Advocate appearing on behalf of the State-respondent, argued that Vijay Bahadur Singh to Ram Sewak are the eyewitnesses and they have proved the prosecution case and submitted to uphold the order of trial court.

Counsel for the convict-appellants vehemently argued that death of the deceased is caused by shock and haemorrhage due to ante-mortem injuries. Haemorrhage is possible only by a wrestler’s mace and the convict appellant is not assigned any role to assault the deceased Bajrang Bahadur Singh by mace. The convict-appellant is said to have assaulted the deceased Bajrang Bahadur by lathi, by which no such injuries may result in death of the deceased, can be caused.

The Court said it is clear that all the four accused assaulted the deceased in furtherance of common intention to kill him and due to injuries sustained during this assault, the deceased Bajrang Bahadur died when he was being carried to the police station concerned, therefore, it cannot be said that convict-appellant, Rajendra Pratap Singh can be given any benefit to the effect that he did not use any dangerous weapon.

Counsel for the convict-appellant submitted that the post-mortem report is anti-time and when the inquest report was prepared, no crime number was allotted to the incident, therefore, it can be said that after preparation of the inquest report, the FIR in question was lodged. But, the court is not convinced with the argument advanced by the counsel for the convict appellants.

The Court observed,

We have perused the inquest report and found that Crime under Section 302 IPC on a paper book, Sultanpur is indicated to have been lodged on 03-09-1984 at 15.15 P.M. Therefore, the said submission advanced by the counsel for the convict-appellants is rejected. It is found that the inquest report was prepared only after an FIR was lodged at the police station.

No other material or circumstance has been alleged by the counsel for the convict-appellant and no major contradiction is mentioned in the statements of the witnesses.

In view of the aforesaid, we reach to the conclusion that the convict-appellant has failed to show that there were any major contradictions in the statements of the witnesses by which the convict-appellants can be benefited.

“In view of the foregoing discussions, the court is of the opinion that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant. The conviction and sentence of the appellant by the trial court for the offence in question is fully justified. Therefore, the impugned judgment and order passed by the trial court convicting and sentencing the appellant under Sections 302/34 IPC for imprisonment for life is hereby upheld,” the Court further observed while dismissing the appeal.

“The appellant, Rajendra Pratap Singh is in jail. He shall serve out the sentence awarded by the trial court. Let the certified copy of the judgment be sent to the trial court concerned for necessary action and forward it to the concerned Jail Superintendent where the accused appellant, Rajendra Pratap Singh is detained,” the order reads.

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