Sec. 324 = Existence of enmity - Alleged Eye Witnesses not witnessed the incident - Except sole evidence of interested person - No other evidence - Entitled for benefit of Doubt - Revision allowed as both court below misread the evidence = Budagala Nageswararao The State of A.P.Represented by its Public Prosecutor =Reported in http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/qrydispfree.aspx?filename=7744

Sec. 324 = Existence of enmity - Alleged Eye Witnesses not witnessed the incident - Except sole evidence of interested person - No other evidence - Entitled for benefit of Doubt - Revision allowed as both court below misread the evidence =

Thus, the evidence of P.W.1 alone remains for the offence proper.
Indeed, P.W.1 deposed that the accused beat her with a stick over her head.
Where admittedly P.W.1 and the accused are at loggerheads and do not see eye to  
eye with each other, I am afraid that the solitary testimony of P.W.1 would not
be sufficient to convict the accused. Added to it, four of the alleged
eyewitnesses in P.Ws.2 to 4 and 6 did not support the prosecution case. None of
them was present at the time of commission of the offence. I, therefore,
consider that it would not be safe to accept the uncorroborated testimony of
P.W.1 to convict the accused for the offence under Section 324 IPC.

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE K.G. SHANKAR      
CRIMINAL REVISION CASE.No.121 of 2006    

10-03-2011

Budagala Nageswararao

The State of A.P.Represented by its Public Prosecutor

Counsel for the Petitioner:  Sri A.Prabhakar Rao

Counsel for Respondent  :  Public Prosecutor

:ORDER:

        The sole accused is the revision petitioner. He was convicted by the
learned V Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Guntur for the offence
under Section 324 IPC for causing simple hurt to P.W.1. He was sentenced to
rigorous imprisonment for six months and fine of Rs.1,000/- with appropriate
default sentence. The learned trial Judge directed that Rs.500/- out of the fine
amount shall be paid to P.W.1 towards compensation. Aggrieved by the same, the 
sole accused preferred appeal. The learned I Additional Sessions Judge, Guntur,
allowed the appeal in part. The learned
I Additional Sessions Judge, Guntur confirmed the conviction of the sole accused
for the offence under Section 324 IPC. He also confirmed the fine and
compensation awarded by the learned trial Judge. The appellate court, however,
set aside the imprisonment recorded against the accused by the trial Court.
Aggrieved by the conviction, the sole accused preferred the present revision.

        2. Sri A.Prabhakar Rao, learned counsel for the sole accused/ revision
petitioner contended that the offence has not been made out and that the trial
Court and the appellate Court erred in finding the accused guilty for the
offence under Section 324 IPC. Admittedly, there are disputes between the
accused and P.W.1, victim in this case since a considerable time.

        3. It is the case of the learned counsel for the accused that P.W.1 sold
her house to One Bhulakshmi and that the accused purchased the house of P.W.1  
from Bhulakshmi. The accused thus became the owner of the property. It is also
the case of the accused that while P.W.1 paid rents to the accused for sometime,
P.W.1 subsequently stopped paying rents, so much so, the accused laid a suit for
recovery of the arrears of rents and also for the eviction of P.W.1. Thus, there
are civil disputes between the accused on the one side and P.W.1 on the other
side.

        4. Adding fuel to fire, one Yeluri Venkata Lakshmi committed suicide on
03.04.2004. It would appear that Venkta Lakshmi gave a Dying Declaration
implicating the accused as responsible for her committing suicide. Indeed, a
case under Section 306 IPC was laid against the accused, albeit the accused was
acquitted of the offence under Section 306 IPC for the death of Venkata Lakshmi.
It is the case of the prosecution that the accused suspected that P.W.1
instigated Venkata Lakshmi to implicate the accused in her Dying Declaration and
that the accused consequently bore grudge against P.W.1. Be that as it may,
admittedly there are ill-feelings between the accused and P.W.1. This is the
background of the case.
        5. The case of the prosecution is that the accused administered a blow
over the head of P.W.1 with a stick causing simple injuries to P.W.1. The
incident was allegedly witnessed by P.Ws.2 to 4 and 6. P.W.6 is one of the
neighbours of the house of P.W.1.
The house of P.W.1 and the house of the
accused are situate opposing each other in the same lane.
The house of P.W.1
means the house under the occupation of P.W.1, perhaps, owned by the accused  
having been purchased from Bhulakshmi.
P.W.6, who is a neighbour claimed that 
she was not an eye witness for the incident. She deposed that she heard that the
accused caused injury to P.W.1.
Curiously, she admitted in her cross-examination
that she was tutored immediately before she entered the witness box to depose.
At any rate, the evidence of P.W.6 is not the evidence of hearsay witness but
the evidence of a person, who did not witness the incident at all.
The evidence
of P.W.6 is that she suspects the complicity of the accused in causing injury to
P.W.1. Beyond that, P.W.6 did not state anything about the actual commission of
the offence.

        6. P.Ws.3 and 4 are also neighbours of P.W.1 and the accused. Both of them 
allegedly are eyewitnesses for the offence. 
Neither of them supported the prosecution story. 

They deposed that they did not know anything about the case.
P.Ws.3 and 4 were considered to be hostile.
The learned Additional Public
Prosecutor put leading questions to them with the permission of the trial Judge.
In any event, P.Ws.3 and 4 did not support the prosecution story.

        7. Curiously, P.W.2 who is no other than the son of P.W.1 also did not
support the prosecution story, in the sense P.W.2 claimed that he was not an
eyewitness although the prosecution cited P.W.2 as an eyewitness for the
incident proper. 
In the very first sentence, in his cross-examination, P.W.2
deposed that he was inside the house at the time of the incident and that the
incident occurred outside the house of P.W.1. 
Thus, the presence of P.W.2 at the
time of commission of the offence is ruled out. His evidence that the accused
beat on the head of P.W.1 with a stick therefore cannot be accepted.  

        8. Thus, the evidence of P.W.1 alone remains for the offence proper.
Indeed, P.W.1 deposed that the accused beat her with a stick over her head.

Where admittedly P.W.1 and the accused are at loggerheads and do not see eye to  
eye with each other, I am afraid that the solitary testimony of P.W.1 would not
be sufficient to convict the accused. 
Added to it, four of the alleged
eyewitnesses in P.Ws.2 to 4 and 6 did not support the prosecution case. 
None of
them was present at the time of commission of the offence. 
I, therefore,
consider that it would not be safe to accept the uncorroborated testimony of
P.W.1 to convict the accused for the offence under Section 324 IPC.
        9. Sri A.Prabhakara Rao, learned counsel for the revision petitioner, also
submitted that
there was a shift of the scene of offence in this case. 
He
pointed out that P.W.1 deposed that she was on the staircase when the accused 
attacked her, 
whereas P.W.2 deposed that the accused attacked P.W.1 outside the  
house of P.W.1. 
Ex.P.6 is the rough sketch of the scene of offence. 
The rough
sketch shows the scene of offence as the lane (fourth cross) outside the house
of P.W.1. 
Thus, the evidence of P.Ws.1 and 2 did not agree and the evidence of
P.W.1 and Ex.P.6 did not agree as to the exact scene of offence. 
However, this
inconsistency is in fact irrelevant where the evidence of P.W.1 would not have
been sufficient to convict the accused as the uncorroborated testimony of a
witness, who is at loggerheads with the accused. 
The inconsistency referred to
above, however, is an added dimension to the case of the accused that the
accused has not committed the offence under Section 324 IPC. 

        10.  In view of the uncorroborated testimony of P.W.1,
I consider it appropriate that the benefit of doubt should be given to the
accused acquitting the accused of the offence proved against him before the
trial Court and before the appellate Court. I consider that the trial Court and
the appellate Court erred in appreciating the evidence of P.W.1 without
sufficient corroboration. The revision deserves to be allowed.
        11. Accordingly the criminal revision case is allowed. The accused,
consequently, is found not guilty for the offence under Section 324 IPC and is
acquitted. His bail bonds stand discharged. The fine amount, if paid by the
accused, shall be refunded to him.

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