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Chandra Bhal Versus The State of U.P.

1970 (2) TMI 144 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Dated:- 19-2-1970 - A.N. Ray and I.D. Dua, JJ. JUDGMENT I.D. Dua, 1. In this appeal by special leave the appellant Chandra Bhal challenges his conviction under Section 302, I.P.C. for the murder of one Lauwa on the night between 19th and 20th March, 1964. He was tried in the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Kanpur along with his brother Manuwa and his nephew Suresh. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life but his two co-accused who were charged under Section 302, I.P.C. read with Sectio .....

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ced the appellant in his trial for the alleged murder of Lauwa. The counsel in this connection emphasised that the appellant's acquittal in those cases on the plea of self-defence would also serve as conclusive proof of his plea of self defence in the present trial, It may, however, be said in fairness to the appellant's counsel that he did not invoke the principle of autrefois acquit underlying Section 403, Cr.P.C. which is now also embodied in Article 20(2) of the Constitution. No seri .....

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rouble originated. According to this report Chandra Bhal, Manuwa and Suresh went to his house at 11.00 on the night between the 19th and 20th March 1964, Chandra Bhal armed with a gun and the other two with lathis. Addressing Vishwa Nath in an abusive language, Suresh chased him with a lathi injuring his left hand finger. On alarm having been raised by Vishwa Nath, the people of the village started coming to the spot. Seeing them, Chandra Bhal started firing at them. Vishwa Nath' son Har Nar .....

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hal was moving in the village with his gun giving out a threat that any one who went to the police station would be killed. Shri Chari's contention is principally based on this report and according to him Lauwa having also been killed in the course of the same transaction which, according to Vishwa Nath's report, was a continuous one, separate trials were improper and have in addition prejudiced the accused in his defence. 4. It is true that the first information report does suggest that .....

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ssed on November 0, 1904 by the learned Additional Sessions Judge. That order so far as relevant for our present purpose, reads: According to the prosecution, all the offences do not appear to have been committed in the course of the same transaction nor do they appear to have been committed in furtherance of one common intention. From the prosecution story, as stated by the learned D. G. C. (District Government Counsel) it appears that originally the common intention of all the three accused wa .....

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used gave a lathi blow to Har Narain after he had fallen down. The accused chased the complainant and when he reached near the house of Madari, he was challenged by the accused and threatened with life. The complainant did not stop with the result that Chandra Bhal again fired gun shots injuring Jagannath, Sheo Prakash and Maiku, Mahabir also became a victim of gun shots and subsequently expired. The complainant then fled away and it was at this state that the common intention of beating or kill .....

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cording to the own case of the prosecution had nothing to do. It is conceded before me both on behalf of the State as well as on behalf of the defence that the case must be split up in three trials in any case, namely the first case should be in respect of Vishwa Nath being fired, the second in respect of murder of Lauwa and the third in respect of attempt to murder Sikru, Sheo Raj, Ganga Ram, Mauji Lal and Debi. 5. No doubt the first information report being on early record and the first versio .....

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t is, therefore, not intended to be treated as the last word of the prosecution in the matter. It merely marks the beginning of the investigation into the reported offence and its value must accordingly depend on the circumstances of each case including the nature of the crime, the position of the informant and the opportunity he had of witnessing the whole or part of the commission of the alleged offence. Now, if this be the legal position then the contents of the first information report canno .....

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rge. The broad object underlying the general rule seems to be to give to the, accused a notice of the precise accusation and to save him from being embarrassed in his defence by the confusion which is likely to result from lumping together in a single charge distinct offences and from combining several charges at one trial. There, are, however exceptions to this general rule and they are found in Sections 234, 235, 236 and 239. These exceptions embrace cases in which one trial for more than one .....

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e same transaction more offences than one are committed by the same person then he may be charged with and tried at one trial for every such offence. This exception, like the other exceptions merely permits a joint trial of more offences than one. It neither renders a joint trial imperative nor does it bar or prohibit separate trials. Sub-section (2) of Section 403 of the Code also provides that a person acquitted of convicted of any offence may be afterwards tried for any distinct offence for w .....

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pholding his plea of private defence should be held to be binding in this case on the basis of the issue-estoppel which is applicable to criminal trials and is accepted principal in India Separate trial on the charge for causing Lauwa's death, as already observed, is not contrary to law even if a joint trial of this offence along with the other offences were permissible. Let us see if a joint trial was permissible. That would depend on the question whether the present offence was committed i .....

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hold that the view taken by the trial court was erroneous or that the concession made by the appellant was either wrong or misconceived or that it has in any way prejudiced the appellant In fact our attention was not drawn to any material on the record suggesting prejudice to the appellant as a result of his separate trial. So far as the plea of private defence is concerned it was clearly open to him to plead it and in fact he did plead that he had fired the fatal gunshot at Lauwa in the right .....

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e same transaction in which the other offences were committed. On appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution it is not the practice of this Court to interfere with conclusions of fact and no special ground has been made out for departing from this settled practice. 8. This tikes us to the argument founded on the principle of issue-estoppel. This Court considered this aspect in Pritam Singh v. State of Punjab (1). In that case reference with approval was made to the following passage from the d .....

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icable to criminal than to civil proceedings. Here the appellant having been acquitted at the first trial on the charge of having ammunition in his possession, the prosecution was bound to accept the correctness of that verdict and was precluded from taking any steps to challenge it at the second trial. This Court (Subba Rao J (as he then was) and Raghuber Dayal J.) felling bound by the decision in Pritam Singh's case (1), acquitted the accused in Banwari Godara v. State of Rajasthan (3) In .....

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sputed. In Mohinder Singh v. State of Punjab (5) and in Kharkan v. The State of U.P. (6) the decision of the Privy Council and this Court's decision in Pritam Singh's case (1) were distinguished and in Kharkan's case it was observed as follows: There is nothing in common between the present appeal and the two cases relied upon by the appellants. In this case there is no doubt a prior acquittal but on a charge which was quite different from and independent of the charge in the present .....

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le to the present facts because the two offences were distinct and spaced slightly by time and place. The trials were separate us the two incidents were viewed as distinct transactions. Even if the two incidents could be viewed as connected so as to form parts of one transaction it is obvious that the offences were distinct and required different charges. The assault on Tikam in fulfilment of the common object of the unlawful assembly was over when the unlawful assembly proceeded to the house of .....

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ct of the conviction herein reached. In Manipur Administration v. Thokchom, Bir Singh (7) and again in Piara Singh v. The State of Punjab (8) this Court approvingly referred to the principle underlying the decision in Pritam Singh's case (1) but on facts that principle was held not to have been attracted. In England the Court of Criminal Appeal in R.V. Conally (9) dealing with the submission as to "issue-estoppel" without considering it necessary to decide whether it availed an acc .....

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