In the case of RAMESHWAR AND ANOTHER VERSUS STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH, No.275 of 1995 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Gwalior Bench in and by which the High Court has affirmed the conviction of both the appellants (accused No.6 and 5) under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC, 1860 and the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon them along with fine of Rs.5,000/- each.
In this case on 08.01.1984 at about 10:00 am, complainant-Subhadra (PW-1), wife of deceased Ram Autar was cooking food in her house and deceased Ram Autar was taking the meals. After taking meals, deceased went out to the courtyard of the house for drinking water. At that time, appellant No.1-Rameshwar with whom the deceased had rivalry came to the courtyard armed with a farsa (axe) and five other accused persons armed with rifles and danda were also standing at the door of one Kedar Seth, neighbour and amongst them, appellant No.2-Balaram was also there. Appellant No.1 exhorted others to kill the deceased Ram Autar and thereafter, appellant No.1 attacked the deceased with farsa. Deceased ran out of the courtyard. Four persons standing at the door of Kedar Seth caught hold of deceased. Appellant No.1-Rameshwar and accused No.1-Ram Bharosey came there and joined the other co-accused. At that time, Tejabai, mother of deceased came and laid down on Ram Autar in order to save him.
Accused separated Tejabai and when Tejabai tried to catch hold of farsa from accused Rameshwar, she sustained injury near her ear. Case of prosecution is that accused Rameshwar and Ram Bharosey caught hold of deceased and accused Balaram fired gun shot at deceased Ram Autar which hit the back of deceased due to which deceased fell down sustaining the gun shot injury. Accused Rameshwar also is said to have taken the gun from accused No.3-Umacharan and fired at deceased Ram Autar due to which, deceased Ram Autar sustained injuries at the hands of accused Rameshwar also. When the villagers came, all the accused fled away from the spot.
On the complaint lodged by PW-1-Subhadra, wife of deceased, FIR in Crime Case No.08/84 was registered under Sections 452, 147, 148, 302, 302 read with Section 149 IPC and under Sections 11 and 13 of the M.P. Dakaiti Aur Vyapharan Prabhavit Kshetra Adhiniyam, 1981. The trial court held that the prosecution has established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt and convicted appellant No.1-Rameshwar and appellant No.2-Balaram under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced each of them to undergo life imprisonment along with fine of Rs.5,000/- each. Insofar as offence under M.P. Dakaiti Aur Vyapharan Prabhavit Kshetra Adhiniyam is concerned, the trial court held that there is no evidence on record to prove that the incident was done with the help of any dacoit and so, they were acquitted under the Act.
The trial court acquitted all other accused from all thecharges. Being aggrieved, the appellants have preferred appeal before the High Court. The High Court held that even though there are contradictions in the statement of PW-1 recorded in the court and her statement in the FIR, since the prosecution has proved that the appellants have shared the common intention to commit the murder of the deceased, the court can invoke Section 34 IPC and in such a situation, it was not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the gun shot injuries which has resulted in the death of the deceased was caused by which of the two appellants. The High Court affirmed the conviction of the appellants under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon them.
The case subsequently reached the supreme court, the court after hearing the matter held “In the result, the conviction of appellant No.2-Balaramunder Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him is affirmed and this appeal is dismissed qua appellant No.2. Since the appellant No.1-Rameshwar has passed away, the appeal against him is dismissed as abated. The appellant No.2 shall surrender within a period of six weeks from today to serve the remaining period of sentence, failing which he shall be taken into custody.”