An appeal was filed u/s 374(2) CrPC to quash & set aside the judgement passed by Learned Sessions Judge dated 21-11-2014 & acquit the appellant. The appellant, was charged for offences u/s 341,302 r/w 397 I.P.C. The trial court did not found him guilty for sec 394 r/w 397 I.P.C, but convicted him u/s 304(ii) I.P.C & sentenced him to 5 years of R.I & fine of Rs 5,000/-
Senthil Kumar, the deceased was a native of Mathur Village & had a property dispute with the family of Ponnusamy. The deceased sold one of his properties to a 3rd party on 06-05-2010. While they were going to register the documents at Sub-Registrar Office, Karuppasamy s/o Ponnusamy, Ponnusamy's brothers, Udayar & Jeyaraman & one Sabarimalai created an issue claiming right over the property.
The next day, when Senthil accompanied his wife, Annalakshmi (PW1) to hospital at Kalloorani as she was suffering from fever, while returning they were surrounded by Karuppasamy, Udayar, Jeyaraman & Sabarimalai at about 12:30 PM.
Karuppasamy stabbed Senthil on his chest, stomach & elbow. Senthil's wife carried him to the house of Jeyaraman, from there he was taken to the Government Hospital, Sivagangai on an auto. At around 1:45 PM when they arrived, the doctor declared him dead before he was brought.
The Sub Inspector of Police, Gurusamy on being intimidated recorded the statement of Annalakshmi (PW1) at around 4PM. The case was registered on the same day & four of them were charged u/s 342 & 302 I.P.C at 5:30 PM.
On receipt of information, Inspector of Police, N.Muthukumar (PW12) arrived at the place of occurrence & recorded the soil covered with blood. He then, arrived at the hospital where the deceased's dead body was lying & conducted an inquest. He requested an autopsy, in which injuries on the right - chest, lung, lower chest & left lower abdomen were found. Senthil's clothes were also recovered by him.
On 17-07-2010, appellant Balamurugan gave an extra judicial confession statement before Subramanian (PW6) who was the Kallangudi Group Village Administrative Officer in the presence of Rajangam, Village Assistant. He confessed that on the day of the incident, he saw Senthil walking in the area along with his wife & he attempted to snatch his wife's mangalsutra, but the deceased attacked him.
And so he stabbed him with a knife & ran away. His statement was recorded by PW6 & he was produced before the Thirupachethi P.S. The investigation officer arrested him & recorded his statement. Knife & mobile phone were recovered from him.
On orders of the CJM, investigation parade was conducted by Judicial Magistrate on 28-07-2010. The next day, PW12 recorded PW1 further statement. The further investigation was taken over by Poun, Inspector of Police (PW13) from 20-09-2020 as PW12 was transfered to Chennai.
He examined a lot of witnesses and after its completion filed the final report against the appellant u/s 302, 341 & 394 r/w 397 I.P.C. The trial court found the appellant guilty & convicted him. Therefore, the appeal was raised.
Appellant's Submission :
The learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted :
Respondent's Submission :
The government advocate appearing for the State submitted :
Observation of the Court :
The court called for CD file because of the lacuna/lapses found in the investigation. The CD file revealed lots of lapses in the investigation conducted. Therefore, the court pointed that the investigation was done in a very careless manner. The investigation agency worked in a casual manner to burry the truth & real accused from the clutches of Law.
The court found perfunctory & designed investigation from the available materials & decided to interfere with the judgement of conviction passed by the trial court. The court stated that due to the lapse in the investigation it would not be proper to sustain the conviction of accused & the appeal should be allowed.
The court held that a shabby investigation has been conducted. The investigation agency has not acted fairly, & in accordance with law. The court stated,
"One of the basic principles of the criminal justice system is that the benefit of doubt must always be extended in favour of the accused. 1000 culprits can escape, but, one innocent should not be punished".
The court referred to the case of Prakash Singh & ors v Union Of India (2006) 8 SCC 1, where the Apex Court issued directions, one among such was separation of investigation. The investigation by police should be separated from political/executive interference.
The court stated that default/omission on the part of the investigation agency would defeat the prosecution case & can set the accused free [Dayal Singh v State of Uttaranchal (2007) 8 SCC 263]. If any lapses takes place from the side of the department, it should be avoided & an innocent person should not suffer for decade or more.
The court allowed the appeal & set aside the conviction. Certain queries were placed by the Court to be responded by the State & DGP, therefore listed the matter for 22-09-2020.
Judge : Hon'ble Mr Justice B. Pugalendhi.
Case Courtesy : Balamurugan v State.