Case Name: Arjun Pawar vs State of Maharashtra and Anr.
Citation: Criminal Appeal No(s). 793/2016 The Supreme Court of India
Facts of the case:
Respondent No. 2 i.e., Baliram Junghare (A-5) and various others were liable for the offences under Sec 147, Sec 148, Sec 149, Sec 302, Sec 324 and Sec 337 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
All the accused along with Respondent No. 2 were from Village Hatna, Tehsil Manora of Washim District of Maharashtra. In Nov 1992 Panchayat elections were held in the village. There were in all 2 political factions present.
The leader of one group was Khandusing (A-1) and that of the other was Shriram (deceased). They were in the signature which was not digitally verified by Ashwani Kumar. Ashwani Kumar had dealt with the candidates. In the election,, Khandusing won whereas Shriram lose.
On 7th Mar 1993 at 07:30 p.m. Khandusing was under a tree and Shriram was in front of Nagorao Pawar’s house. Baliram (Respondent No.2), Bhurasing, Shankar, Duryodhon, Kishor, Baliram Chavan, Janardhan, Pralhad Pawar, Sitaram, Vasanta, and Vitthal Mankute came to Shriram.
When Shriram asked them what happened then Khandusing took a stick from one of the accuse and hit it on the head of Shriram. He was badly injured by this. Then all other accused also started beating Shriram with their sticks and stones.
Prakash, Durgadas, and Ulhas tried to help Shriram. But they were also injured by the accused and stones were thrown on the house of Durgadas. Then the accused ran from the spot. Later, Shriram died. The deceased was injured on the front side of his head from which the blood was coming out.
The injury was approximately 1½ in length and ½ in width. Also, it was about ½” deep. The injury was from the lower portion of the eye which continued till the left ear of the deceased. Then Shriram’s son (appellant) came to the Court for justice.
Issues of the case:
- Whether Khandusing and Baliram were liable under Sec302 IPC read with Sec 34 IPC or not?
- Whether Khandusing and Baliram were having intention to kill Shriram or not?
- Whether other accused are liable under of Sec 34 IPC or not?
Khandusing and Baliram were liable:
The Father of the appellant i.e., Shriram was sent to the hospital in Manora. Then he was shifted to the District Civil Hospital at Akola.
Due to the attack done by Khandusing, Shriram went into a coma and then died on 8th March 1993 at 07:15 a.m. Dr Gulab Nikam (PW-7) on 8th March 1993 done postmortem of Shriram. On 11th Sep 1998 Khandusing and respondent No.2 were punishable under Sec302 read with Sec 34 of IPC.
Accordingly, they were sentenced to imprisonment for life along with Rs.1,000/- fine for each. The other 10 accused were set free from their charges.
Due to this Khandusing and Baliram (respondent No.2) appealed the HC. Later, Khandusing died. The High gave its judgement on 25th July 2014 and rejected the appeal of respondent no.2.
The appellant (Son of Shriram) challenged this judgment of the HC. He filed a leave petition which was granted.
Later the accused claimed that the death of Shriram was accidental death under influence of liquor. But the Sessions Court stated that it is not an accidental death nor a suicidal death or natural death. It is a homicidal death.
Furthermore, it was not proved that the accused intention was to kill Shriram. According to PW-1, PW-2, and PW-3, it was said that Shriram was beaten by sticks and stones.
Hence, it was not proved that the accused were having deadly weapons. Furthermore, other than beating Shriram, another act was not performed by them. So we cannot call them rioters. So, they were acquitted from the charge of rioting.
Injuries to Prakash, Durgadas, and Ulhas:
Evidence were given by PW-1 Ulhas, PW-2 Durgadas and PW-3 Prakash that they were injured due to the harm given by the accused. But it was not clear that who exactly beat them. So, it was hard to interpret who caused those injuries.
Furthermore, PW-3 stated that stones were thrown on the house of PW-2. This was the only evidence present to prove that the safety of the people there was also put in danger. So, the Court rejected the offence made under Sec 337 IPC.
According to the Sessions Court, Khandusing (A-1) and Baliram (A-5) were authors of the assault. Other accused were not having the intention to kill Shriram. Hence, they are not liable under Sec 34 IPC. Khandusing and Baliram were punishable under Sec302 IPC read with Sec 34 IPC.
As A-1 and A-5 hit the stick on the head (vital body parts) of Shriram, they showed a common intention to kill Shriram. A learned counsel provided an eye witness according to whom Baliram (respondent No.2 and A-5) had also hit the stick on the head of Shriram.
The High Court observed the culpability of respondent No.2 (Baliram) after the death of Khandusing when their appeal was pending.
Baliram had intention to kill Shriram?
According to the learned counsel for the appellant which was related to the involvement of respondent No.2 in the act of killing Shriram.
Initially, it was given that PW-1, PW-2, and PW-3 have told that respondent No.2 hit the deceased. But, according to the record, one of the witnesses had not mentioned how the deceased was beaten or which weapon was used for that purpose.
Only two of them have stated that a stick was used to hit the deceased.
Therefore, it is clear, that only Khandusing was having the intention to kill Shriram. Hence, he hit him with a stick-on his head.
Whereas, it was stated by the witnesses that Baliram (respondent no. 2) hit Shriram. But, it was not stated by them as to where exactly did Respondent no. 2 hit Shriram.
The statements of the witnesses were recorded under Sec 161 of Cr. P.C by the investigating officer. In that,, there was nothing about respondent No.2. Hence, as there are no allegations against respondent No.2, he cannot be held liable under Sec 34 of IPC.
So, the statements which were stated in the Court were not of a proved version. As a result, the appeal is liable to fail.
In Pandurang & Ors. v. The State of Hyderabad case, the Court stated that if Sec 34 of the IPC is applicable then it should be proved that there was the common intention with a pre-arranged plan. Because according to the Court, a man can be held liable for the criminal act of another when the act is done with the common intention of all.
If there is no prearranged plan, then no common intention can be claimed though various persons attack a single person and each of them have the intention to kill that person and each one hit a separate fatal. In such a case, every person will be individually liable for the injury he had caused but no one will be vicariously convicted for the actions of another.
In the Noor Alias Nooruddin v. State of Karnataka case, the Court stated that if there is nothing on the record showing that the accused had harmed the person on his/her vital part of the body, then Section 34 of the IPC will not be liable.
The assault took place after the Gram Panchyat election. Khandusing was under a Neem tree on the Ota. The Shriram (deceased) and others were sitting in front of Nagorao Pawar’s house. Khandusing took a stick from one of the accused and hit Shriram on his head.
It was held that Khandusing was having the intention to kill Shriram. He was also punishable under Sec302 read with Sec 34 of IPC. Whereas, other accused were set free from their criminal charges. Respondent No.2 was not considered of having a common intention to kill the deceased Shriram as there were no evidence found to prove the pre-arranged plan.
If without any pre-arranged plan any person had the intention to kill the other person, then he will be liable for the injury he had caused to the other person but the thing is no one will be convicted for another’s actions.
Also, it was proved that in the absence of records that show that some harm is given to the person by the accused, the accused will not be held punishable under Section 34 of the IPC which tells about acts done by various persons with a common intention.
According to the section, when a criminal act is committed by various persons with the common intention of all, then each person will be liable for that act in the exact manner as if they were done by him lonely.
The assault took place after the election. The hatred would be the only reason for the crime. Though Khandusing won the election he was having anger towards Shriram.
He was disliking Shriram out of this hatred. Khandusing was having power, money but he did not use it appropriately. There was a lack of empathy in Khandusing. Due to which he injured Shriram so harshly due to which Shriram went into a coma and eventually die.
Such acts are always punishable by law and according to Khandusing suffered.