Libertatem Magazine

Karnataka HC allows the appeal and acquitted the accused in the offence punishable under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

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The Criminal Appeal under Section 374(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure was filed before The high court of Karnataka praying to set aside the judgment passed by special /Sessions Judge at Yadgiri, for conviction of accused/appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 447, 323, 504, read with sec 34 of IPC and under Sections 3(1)(x) and 3(1)(xi) of SC/ST(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was allowed.

Brief facts of the case

Complainant/ Devamma, who belongs to SC/ST when working along with her son Hanamanta in their land at Rachanahalli. Accused, having common intention criminally trespassed into the agricultural field of the complainant with their bullock cart, when objected by the complainant and her son, they assaulted both of them, causing hurt to them and also abused them taking the name of their caste and thus, have committed the alleged offences. The accused pleaded not guilty they were tried, wherein the prosecution examined ten witnesses from PW-1 to PW-10 and got marked documents from Exs.P-1 to P-8(a). No Material Objects were marked from the accused side, neither any witness was examined nor any documents were marked as exhibits. The Trial Court, after hearing both sides, convicted the accused for the alleged offences and sentenced them accordingly, aggrieved by the same the appeal was filed before the High court of Karnataka, Kalaburagi bench.

Arguments before the Court

Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that, the complaint was lodged after eight hours of the incident, he also submitted that though PW-2 – Devamma has stated that, after the incident, she went to the Government Hospital, the Investigating Officer has neither produced any Wound Certificate nor examined the Doctor alleged to have treated the complainant (PW-2), as such, it gives a serious doubt about the alleged incident and the alleged hurt said to have been sustained by PW-2 and PW-3. He also submitted that no independent witnesses have supported the case of the prosecution, as such the entire case of the prosecution is clouded with doubt, the benefit of which is required to be extended to the accused/appellants.

The learned High Court Government Pleader appearing for respondent /State submits that PW-2 and PW-3 being the injured witnesses have given a clear and complete account of the incident and have explained the role of each of accused in assaulting them, as such, even though PW-4 and PW-5 have not supported the case of the prosecution, still, the evidence of the injured witnesses is sufficient to prove the guilt against the accused. He further submits that the non-production of the Wound certificate or non-seizing of any articles is not fatal to the case of the prosecution, that too, when according to the complainant, in her complaint, no weapon much less a stick was used in the commission of the crime.

Decision of the Court

The impugned judgment of conviction passed by the learned Special/Sessions Judge at Yadgiri, was set aside. The accused /appellants, acquitted for the offences punishable under Sections 447, 323, 504 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3(1)(x) and 3(1)(xi) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Further, the bail bond stands cancelled. The fine amount deposited by the accused, if any was instructed to be returned.

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