IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.703 OF 2008
Bishu Sarkar & Ors. ….Appellants
State of West Bengal …. Respondent
J U D G M E N T
Uday Umesh Lalit, J.
This appeal is directed against the Judgment and Order dated 06.06.2006
passed by Calcutta High Court in Criminal Appeal No.255/2000.
Six persons namely Tarit Kundu, Bishu Sarkar, Sahadeb Sarkar, Sasthi
Sarkar, Paresh Sarkar and Sukumar Ghosh were tried in Sessions trial No.18
of 1998 arising out of Raiganj Police Station case No.117 of 1995 for
having committed the murder of one Raju Bose on 27.03.1995. All the
accused were found guilty by the trial court vide its judgment and order
dated 05.08.2000 and sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for the
offences under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC. In Criminal Appeal
No.255 of 2000, the High Court acquitted accused Nos.5 and 6 namely Paresh
Sarkar and Sukumar Ghose but affirmed the conviction and sentence with
respect to other four accused. Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No.5755
of 2006 preferred by accused No.1 Tarit kundu was dismissed by this Court
on 01.12.2006. This appeal by other three convicted accused challenges
their conviction and sentence as affirmed by the High Court.
3. The prosecution principally relies on the testimony of PW 2 Nepal
Dey, PW 3 Gopal Dey and PW 5 Kanai Sharma. According to PW2 Nepal Dey,
“The occurrence took place on the western side of the National Highway-34.
I heard a hue and cry coming from the side of NH 34 when I was fixing up a
fencing in my house. As soon as I heard the hue and cry I gave a glance to
the place wherefrom there was raising of hue and cry. I saw accd. Tarit
Kundu, Sahadeb Sarkar, Sasthi Sarkar, Bishu Sarkar, Sukumar Ghosh and
Paresh Sarkar, in all six persons caught hold the collar of shirt of Raju
Bose and assaulting him by fist and blows.
Sukumar Ghosh and Paresh Sarkar gave the order to kill Raju Bose. Then
accd. Sasthi Sarkar, Bishu Sarkar, Sahadeb Sarkar had remained engaged in
catching hold of Raju Bose. Accd. Tarit Kundu gave a blow on the back of
Raju Bose with the help of a sharp-cutting weapon like ‘bhojali’.”
4. The testimony of PW3 Gopal Dey was to the following effect:-
“I was washing my hands and legs by the water of tube well within my house
at the relevant point of time. I heard hue and cry coming from the road
side. I gave a glance towards the road side and I saw that a dispute was
going on over there. I know the persons who were involved in this dispute.
Accd. Sasthi Sarkar, Tarit Kundu, Bishu Sarkar and Sahadeb Sarkar were
engaged in assaulting the victim Raju Bose by fist and blows. Accd. Tarit
Kundu gave a blow on the back of the victim Raju Bose with the help of a
‘bhojali’ which I noticed.”
5. According to PW 5 Kanai Sarma:-
“I had proceeded near the place of occurrence. I saw the accused Tarit
Kundu who had given a blow on the back side of Raju Bose with the help of a
‘bhojali’. Acd. Tarit Kundu, Sahadeb Sarkar, Bishu Sarkar, Sasthi Sarkar,
Paresh Sarkar and Sukumar Ghosh caught hold of Raju Bose and there was a
scuffle between themselves.”
6. The medical evidence on record was unfolded through PW 9 Dr.
Rashbehari Ghosh who found:-
“One stab-wound transverse like margin incised 2” long on the left side of
chest, 1½” from midline on the back. Tracing the track it is found to
perforate lung upper part of lower lobe through and through including other
soft tissues in the well causing fatal bleeding.
Opinion:- Death was due to shock as a result of ante mortem wound and
haemorrhage as stated, homicidal in nature.
……………………………………………………………………The wound was inflicted from backside and
perforated whole of the lung.”
7. The injury found in the post mortem report was completely consistent
with the ocular version of prosecution witnesses PW 2, PW 3 and PW 5 and
the author of this injury according to the witnesses was accused No.1 Tarit
Kundu. Special Leave Petition at the instance of Tarit Kundu having been
dismissed the question that now arises is with regard to the involvement of
the present appellants. The allegations coming from all the witnesses are
consistent that none of the present appellants had dealt any blow by any
weapon and all that they did was to participate in the scuffle. It is true
that PWs 2 and 5 assert that the present appellants had caught hold of Raju
Bose. But it is not clear from the record whether such act was so intended
to enable accused No.1 to deal the fatal blow. Further, PW 3 is completely
silent on this aspect.
8. In the circumstances we deem it appropriate to grant benefit of doubt
to the present appellants and acquit them of the charge under Section 302
read with Section 34 IPC. This Appeal is thus allowed and the conviction
and sentence recorded against the present appellants is set aside. The
appellants shall be released forthwith unless their custody is required in
connection with any other matter.
(Adarsh Kumar Goel)
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
March 09, 2017