Kailash Prasad and Gatru Mal Kanodia, Appellants
State of Bihar, Respondent
AIR 1980 SC 106
This is a special leave appeal aimed against the Patna High Court’s verdict. The appellants Kailash Prasad Kanodia and Gatru Mal Kanodia were convicted under Section 302 and Section 326 respectively. Kailash was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Gatru was sentenced to three years, of rigorous imprisonment. The High Court and the Sessions Judge both accepted the prosecution case and upheld the appellants’ convictions, as stated above.
The only point raised before the court by Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Kohli was that the entire case must be dismissed because the statements documented by Officer-In-Charge D. P. Sharma, a police witness, on a rough piece of paper, were not made accessible to the appellants during the trial, causing serious prejudice to them.
The High Court and the Sessions Judge both reviewed this element of the case and determined that this error was insufficient to invalidate the trial. The prosecution had questioned three additional police officers who were eyewitnesses to the incident. D.P. Sharma was the informant, and he registered the F.I.R. at the Police Station, which is roughly 200 yards distant from the scene of the crime.
In terms of the eyewitnesses, there is no doubt that D.P. Sharma himself confessed that when he got to the scene. He recorded the testimonies of eyewitnesses but did not include them in the journal. This was a major mistake on his behalf, which resulted in his immediate suspension and a departmental investigation.
Mr. Mukherjee claimed that if the earlier statements had been made accessible to the appellant, they would have asserted that the true version of events was not put before the Court.
Should the appellants be convicted for the alleged violation of Section 303 and Section 306?
The court disregarded the evidence of the other eyewitnesses, except for two police witnesses, including D.P. Sharma, and determined that there was sufficient evidence on record to warrant the appellants’ conviction. D.P. Sharma said unequivocally in the F.I.R. that the first appellant hit his father with a bhala on the chest and the second appellant struck his brother.
And his testimony was entirely backed by the evidence of the second witness, Vishwanath, as well as the medical findings. To some extent, the evidence of these two witnesses was augmented by Lal Kanodia, the third witness, who arrived at the Police Station shortly after the F.I.R. was filed. In this regard, the court noted that its decision can be entirely supported by the testimony of these witnesses, even if the learned Counsel for the appellants’ remarks against the prosecution were true. The Doctor admitted that he had not discovered any significant fractures.
In these circumstances, the court was convinced that the charge under Section 326 had to fail, but the other appellant could not avoid conviction under Section 374, I.P.C. because it had been fully proved. Given the unusual facts and circumstances of this case, the court did not believe it was appropriate for the second appellant to be convicted and sentenced to prison. They overturned the jail term given under Section 326 and convicted the second appellant under Section 324, imposing a fine of Rs. 2,000 in default one month’s R.I. Which, if achieved, would be given in full to P.W. Bishwanath as compensation.
The sum was permitted to be paid as a fine over two months, and the bail bonds of the second appellant were instructed to be dismissed only once the payment was deposited. In contrast, the first appellant was allowed to surrender and carry out his sentence.
The appeal was dismissed.