The decision of Andhra Pradesh High Court is Perverse in nature [P. Eknath v/s. Y. Amaranatha Reddy & Anr.]

P.Eknath v. Y. Amaranatha Reddy @ Babu & Anr

Criminal Appeal No 1792 of 2013

Before the Supreme Court of India

Decided on: February 09, 2007.

Bench: Pinaki Chandra Bose, Justice and Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice

Author of the Judgement: Pinaki Chandra Bose, Justice.

Counsel for the appellant-Complainant:  Mr. Suyodhan Byrapaneni

Counsel for the accused/Respondent No.1: Mr. V. Sridhar Reddy

Counsel for the State: Mr. Guntur Prabhakar 

Procedural history:

The trial court found the accused guilty of offences under sections 302, 307 and 324 of IPC and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life and to also to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000 with default stipulation. In the Appeal, the High Court set aside the conviction and sentence imposed by the trial Court for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 307 and 324 IPC and acquitted him. Thus the appellants have approached the Supreme Court through Special Leave.

Brief Facts:

  • On 18.09.2005, at about 10.00 p.m., the accused went to the house of P. Venkatramana (the deceased No.2) along with a sickle.
  • While the deceased No.2 and the accused were talking and when the others had retired for the night, at about 1.30 a.m., the accused took out the sickle and attacked the deceased No.2 and hacked him indiscriminately.
  • When P.W. 2 wife of deceased No.2 tried to intervene, he attacked her too and caused severe bleeding injuries.
  • W.1 (son of deceased No.2) witnessed the incident, and called his brother P.W.3 on the phone and informed him about the incident. As P.W.3 was sleeping, he could not understand the message of P.W.1, so he called back.
  • The accused lifted the phone and heard P.W.1 talking to P.W.3 and went to the bedroom of P.W.1 and attacked him and caused injuries which led to bleeding.
  • When the deceased No.1 tried to run down the stairs, the accused caught her on the staircase and hacked her to death.
  • Meanwhile, P.W.1 locked the doors of his bedroom. The accused also committed theft of Rs.2,500/- from the shirt of the deceased.

Arguments of the appellants:

  • The High Court erred in acquitting the accused without taking into consideration the well-reasoned judgment of the Trial Court.
  • The High Court completely ignored the evidence of P.Ws 1 and 2, who were the eyewitnesses and also the injured witnesses in the incident.

Arguments of the Respondent (accused):

  • The High Court is right in coming to its conclusion by observing that the prosecution has failed to establish the motive for the commission of offence by the accused.

Ratio:

  • After going through the evidence which has been placed before the Supreme Court, there was no reason to disbelieve the evidence of PWs 1 and 2 who are injured eye witnesses. The High Court has not even taken into account the evidence of PWs 20, 21 and 22 who just after the incident came to the spot in question.
  • It further appeared that some loan was taken by the accused and was not returned to the deceased No.2 victim as a result whereof these ghastly murders have taken place.
  • There is no discrepancy with regard to the ocular evidence or the evidence of the doctors who deposed before the Court. The weapon (sickle) which was used by the accused was recovered at the instance of the accused himself. The said sickle also contained human blood in terms of the FSL Report which was produced before the Court at the time of hearing of the matter in question.

Concurring opinion of Justice Rohinton Nariman:

  • The impugned judgment of the Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, dated 17th August, 2012, has been characterized by Justice Pinaki as “perverse”. Justice Rohinton entirely agreed that this judgment is “perverse”, and gave his own reasons as to why he thinks so.
  • Reasons why High Court decision is perverse:
    • The High Court concluded that injuries found on deceased no. 2 are not possible with a sharp edged weapon like a sickle.
    • It also went on to conclude that given the number of injuries, it is also possible that it could have been done with two distinct weapons.
  • The Division Bench judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court can be characterized as perverse on all counts and is therefore set aside.

Held: The Supreme Court held that except motive, the High Court has not given any other plausible reasons for setting aside the well-reasoned order of the Trial Court.

 

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