Supreme Court of India
Yashwant vs The State Of Maharashtra on 4 September, 2018Author: ……………………J. Bench: M M Shantanagoudar, N Ramana REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION    C   RIMINAL APPEAL NO(S). 385­386 OF 2008  YASHWANT ETC.           …APPELLANT(S) VERSUS THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA                … RESPONDENT(S) With  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S). 299 OF 2008   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S). 387­388 OF 2008   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S). 182­187 OF 2009  JUDGMENT
 N. V. RAMANA, J. 

 “With great power comes greater responsibility”
1. At the outset it is important to note that our police force need
Signature Not Verified Digitally signed by
Date: 2018.09.04
15:24:17 IST to develop and recognize the concept of ‘democratic policing’,

wherein crime control is not the only end, but the means to 1 achieve this order is also equally important. Further the turn of events in this case obligates us to re­iterate herein that ‘be you ever so high, the law is always above you!’ 2. These   criminal   appeals   are   filed   against   the   impugned common order and judgment, dated 13.12.2007, passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, in Criminal   Appeal   Nos.   393,   394,   395,   397,   419   and   420   of 1995.   As   the   incident   is   same   and   contentions   canvassed individually,   being   similar,   we   proposed   to   deal   with   the judgment through this common order.

3. The prosecution’s case in brief are that on 23.06.1993, Police Inspector   (P.I)   Narule   (A­1)   was   on   duty,   when   one   head constable Telgudiya (PW­48), working at the concerned Police Station,  Deolapar   came to P.I  Narule (A­1) accompanied by three   persons   namely   Ganeshprasad,   Arunkumar   and Kashiram.   They   informed   P.I   Narule   (A­1)   that   they   were staying at India Sun Hotel and were looted eight days before. It may  be  relevant that they informed P.I  Narule (A­1) that they had not lodged any complaint concerning the incident.  2
4. On that night , the accused patrolling party which included P.I Narule (A­1), Assistant Police Inspector Yashwant Mukaji Karade (A­2), Sub­Inspector Rambhau Vitthalrao Kadu (A­3), Police   constables   Jahiruddin   Bashirmiya   Deshmukh   (A­4), Nilkanth   Pandurang   Chaurpagar   (A­5),   Namdeo   Nathuji Ganeshkar   (A­6),   Ramesh   Tukaram   Bhoyar   (A­7),   Ashok Bhawani Gulam Shukla (A­8), Sudhakar Marotrao Thakre (A­ 9)   and   Raghunath   Barkuji   Bhakte   (A­10),   along   with Ganeshprasad, Arunkumar and Kashiram, went to the house of   H.C.P   Telgudiya   (PW­48)   at   Police   Lines,   Ajni.   In   the meanwhile,   H.C.P   Telgudiya   (PW­48)   is   supposed   to   have found out that a Christian male by the name of ‘Anthony’ was responsible   for   the   looting.   Although,   the   H.C.P   Telgudiya (PW­48)   confirmed   that   there   was   no   ‘Anthony’,   but   he   is supposed   to   have   revealed that  one Joinus (deceased)  lives nearby, who was a known suspect from earlier robbery case. H.C.P.   Telgudiya,   took   the   police   party   to   the   residential quarters   of   Joinus   (deceased),   who   had   already   slept   after having his dinner and consuming some alcohol.  3
5. It was around 1:00 AM in the night, the police party reached the  house of  Joinus (deceased). He was taken into custody and his residential quarters were searched. It is alleged that during this process, some of the police men are supposed to have   molested   Zarina   (PW­1),   wife   of   Joinus   (deceased). Thereafter,   the   police   party   tied   Joinus   (deceased)   to   an electric pole outside and was beaten by the police personnel with   sticks.   Later   Joinus   (deceased)   and   his   other   family members   were   taken   to   various   locations   including   Rani Kothi,   Hill   Top   restaurant   wherein   he   was   given   beatings intermittently. At about 3:55 AM he was brought back to the police Station, wherein he was locked­up with two other cell mates. 

6. In   the   morning   of   24.06.1993   at   7:30   AM,   on   duty   police constables found Joinus (deceased) to be motionless and on examination  he   was found to be not breathing. Meanwhile, Magistrate   was   requested   to   conduct   an   inquest   and chemical analysis. The case was handed over to the State CID for   investigation   into   the   matter.   A   complaint   came   to   be registered   against one Anthony, being Crime No. 238/1993 under Section 420 of IPC at 10:20 PM on 24.06.1993 after
the death of Joinus. Thereafter, post­mortem was conducted, and investigation was conducted by P.I. Oza. After requisite sanction was granted by the Government for prosecuting the accused,   the   investigating   officer   laid   charges   against   ten erring officers in the following manner­
1.) That   you   all   the   accused   on   23.06.1993   at   about 23.00   hours   made   an   entry   in   the   Movement   Register   of Crime Branch at Sr. No. 26 that you left the Crime Branch Office   for   Night   Patrolling   and   thereafter   along   with Ganeshprasad   Thakur,   Arunkumar   Gupta,   Kashiram Barethia, Head Constable Madhorao Tenguriya drove in the police   van   Bearing   No.   MH­12/9887   and   forcibly   entered the house of the deceased Joinus Adam Yelamati at about 00.45 hours on 24.06.1993. The deceased was wearing his underwear and banian and was sleeping in his house. You all   the   accused   in   furtherance   of   your   common   intention pulled the deceased out of his house and took him on the road and tied him to the electric pole with a rope and he was   given   merciless   beating   with   the   stick.   The   deceased was made to sit in the said Crime Branch Vehicle and he was brought to the office of Crime Branch. You made him naked and also gave a heavy beating to the deceased with the stick in the Crime Branch office. At that time you all were   aware   that   such   merciless   beating   would   cause   the death of the deceased. You kept him in the lock up at about 3.55   a.m.   without   registering   any   offence   in   the   Crime Branch. In the morning, the deceased found dead. You did commit murder of Joinus Adam Yellamati and thereby you all committed an offence punishable u/s. 302 r/w. Sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code and within my cognizance. 
2.) Secondly, that you all the accused in furtherance of your   common   intention   entered   the   house   of   deceased Joinus Adam Yellamati at about 00.45 hours on 24.06.1993 and pretended to take the personal search of the wife of the deceased   namely   Zarina   and   under   the   pretext   of   taking search, touched the breasts of Zarina. Thereafter, you made her to sit in your police van and also took pinches on her body with an intention to outrage her modesty. Thereafter, she   was   brought   to   your   Crime   branch   office   and   you inserted   your   hand   in   the   petticoat   of   Zarina   with   an intention to outrage her modesty and by such assault you 5 all thereby committed an offence punishable u/s 354 r/w Sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code and within my Cognizance.
3.)   Thirdly, that you all the accused in furtherance of your common intention, wrongfully confined two children of the deceased namely Kumari Stenlos aged 10 years and boy Jorge   aged   8   years   and   the   brother   of   Zarina   by   name Richard   Abraham,   aged   19   years   and   another   cousin brother by name Stenly Patrik, aged 19 years and thereby committed   an   offence   punishable   u/s.   342   of   the   Indian Penal Code, and within my cognizance.
4.) Fourthly, that you all the accused in furtherance of your   common   intention,   on   the   aforesaid   day,   date,   time and   place,   voluntarily   caused   hurt   to   Joinus   Adam Yellamati, aged 42 years and Zarina w/o Joinus Yellamati for the purpose of extorting from the said Joinus Yellamati and Zarina w/o Joinus Yellamati certain information which might lead to detection of offence of cheating committed at Hotel “India Sun”, Nagpur, in respect of one Ganeshprasad Babulal   Thakur   and   one   Arunkumar   Gupta   and   thereby committed an offence punishable u/s. 330 r/w  Sec 34 of the Indian Penal Code and within my cognizance. 
5.) Fifthly,   that   you   all   the   accused   in   furtherance   of your common intention on the aforesaid day, date, time and place,   assaulted   Joinus   Adam   Yellamati   and   Zarina   w/o Joinus   Yellamati,   intending   by   such   assault   to   dishonor said   Joinus   Adam   Yellamati   and   Zarina   w/o   Joinus Yellamati   and   thereby   committed   an   offence   punishable u/s. 355 r/w Sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code and within my cognizance.

7. All   the   accused   pleaded   not   guilty   and   claimed   trial.   The Sessions Court in Sessions Case No. 416 of 1993, by order dated 22.09.1995, passed following order­ ACCUSED  SECTION PUNISHMENT/ACQUITTAL Accused 302 of IPC Acquitted No. 1­10 Accused 330 r/w. 34 Each   of   them   was   convicted   to   suffer No. 1­10 of IPC rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 500/­, in default three months further rigorous imprisonment.
Accused 354 r/w. 34 Each   of   them   was   convicted   to   suffer 6 No. 1­10 of IPC rigorous imprisonment for six months and to pay a fine of Rs. 300/­, in default three months further rigorous imprisonment.
Accused 355 r/w. 34 Each   of   them   was   convicted   to   suffer No. 1­10 of IPC rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 300/­, in default one month further rigorous imprisonment.
Accused 342 r/w. 34 Each   of   them   was   convicted   to   suffer No. 1­10 of IPC rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 300/­, in default one month further rigorous imprisonment.

The sentence was ordered to run concurrently. 8. The   reasons   provided   by   the   trial   court   for   the acquittal/conviction in short, are as follows­ i. That   reliance   is   placed   on   the   evidence   of   Dr. Kewalia/PW­49 (Ex. 296), to conclude that there was a possibility of death of the deceased, may have been due to asphyxiation.
ii. That the post mortem report or the medical evidence clearly indicates that the injuries in the Column No. 17 did not correlate with the asphyxial death. iii. That the injuries sustained simple injuries and were not sufficient to cause death of an individual. iv. That   the   presence   of   the   accused­officers   are admitted   and   the   same   cannot   be   dislodged   as   the same is proved by the movement register.
v. From   the   conspectus   of   other   evidence   it   was   clear that   injuries   were   caused   by   the   police   officer   to extract information, which would squarely fall under the four corners of Section 330 of IPC.

9. Aggrieved by the order of the trial court, accused­Bhaskar [A­ 1], Yashwant [A­2], Raghunath [A­10]) filed Criminal Appeal No.   393   of   1995,   Jahiruddin   [A­4],   Nilkanth   [A­5]   and Namdeo [A­6] filed Criminal Appeal No. 394 of 1995, Ramesh 7 [A­7],   Ashok   Bhavani   Gulam   Shukla   [A­8],   Sudhakar   [A­9] filed Criminal Appeal No. 395 of 1995, Rambhau [A­3] filed Criminal Appeal No. 397 of 1995, before the High Court. On the   other   hand,   State   of   Maharashtra   also   filed   Criminal Appeal   being   Criminal   Appeal   No.   419   of  1995   against   the judgment of acquittal and Criminal Appeal No. 420 of 1995 for enhancement of sentence.

10. By   order   dated   13.12.2007,   the   High   Court   dismissed   the appeal preferred by the State being Criminal Appeal No (s). 419   and   420   of   1995,   but   partly   allowed   the   appeals preferred by the accused officer by acquitting accused no. 1 to 9 of the offences punishable under Sections 354, 355, 342 read   with   34   of   IPC, however, upheld  the conviction  under Section 330 of IPC. Moreover, Raghunath Barkuji Bhakte (A­ 10) was acquitted of all the offences. The High Court passed the aforesaid order on the following grounds­ i. That the injuries to the deceased are established by the   Post­mortem   report,   corroborated   by   the photographs taken during the investigation. ii. That the benefit of doubt as to the cause of death was   not   result   of   the   injuries   sustained   by   the accused,   should   enure   to   the   accused   appellants herein.

8 iii. Even   though   there   are   many   discrepancies   in   the evidence  of   PW­1 [Zarina], the court separated the falsehood from the truth.
iv. That offence under Section 355 of IPC is not proved beyond   reasonable   doubt   as   there   are   stark discrepancies in this regard.
v. That the accused A­10’s presence is not proved and the   benefit   of   doubt   needs   to   be   given   to   him, thereby mandating his acquittal.

11. Still   aggrieved   by   the   High   Court   order,   accused­Yashwant [A­2]   and   Bhaskar   [A­1]   filed   Criminal   Appeal   No.   385   of 2008, Rambhau [A­3] filed Criminal Appeal No. 386 of 2008, Jahiruddin   [A­4],   Nilkanth   [A­5]   and   Namdeo   [A­6]   filed Criminal Appeal No. 387 of 2008, Ramesh [A­7] and Ashok Bhavani Gulam Shukla [A­8] filed Criminal Appeal No. 388 of 2008,   Sudhakar   [A­9]   filed   a   Criminal   Appeal   No.   299   of 2008, State of Maharashtra filed Criminal Appeals No. 182­ 187   of   2009.   This   Court   by   order   dated   22.02.2008,   while issuing notice in these cases, the appellant­accused were also issued   show   cause   notice   for   enhancement   of   sentence.   It may not be out of context to note that accused A­1 is said to have  passed  away after filing of these appeals, accordingly, the name of accused A­1 was struck off and the conviction against him stands abated.

12.  When the matter was argued, learned senior counsel, Mr. R. Basant and Mr. S. Nagamuthu, together contended that­ a. That   the   concurrent   opinion   of   the   court   below,   w.r.t non   applicability   of   Section   302   of   IPC,   need   not   be disturbed.
b. The   defence   of   superior   orders were  applicable  for   the other accused subordinate officers.
c. That in any case the charge under Section 330 of IPC could have been attracted in this case.
d. In   alternative,   he   pleads   that   only   Section   323   of   IPC may be maintainable which would suffice a punishment of the period already undergone.
e. In any  case  they plead that acquittal of Accused A­10 should not be interfered with.

13. On   the   other   hand,   Mr.   Nishant   Ramakantrao Katneshwarkar, leaned counsel for the State of Maharashtra has brought to our notice that the evidence of PW­49, who has   categorically   stated   that   the   effect   of   death   was   the cumulative   effect   of   the   injuries   caused.   Further,   it   is contended that the number of injuries are sufficient to prove the causal connection. In the end, the State has argued that the   custodial   torture   needs   to   be   taken   seriously   and punished appropriately. Alternatively, State seeks to press for charges under Section 304 Part II of IPC, in case Section 302 of IPC is not made out.

14. Having   heard   learned   counsels   for   both   the   parties   and perusing the documents on record, we are of the opinion that
10 we need to address only four questions herein, as the High Court has sufficiently considered other questions, which we need   not   interfere   with.   The   first   question   is   whether   the incident narrated above amounted to murder so as to attract Section 302 of IPC?

15. A   brief   narration   of   background   facts   may   be   necessary   to understand   the   circumstances   in   which   this   contention arose.   That   it   has   been   established   by   PW­21   (Kishan Khadode),  that the  lock­up in which Joinus (deceased) was found   was   suffocating,   dirty   and   bottle   guard   seeds   were found vomited in the place where the body of the deceased was found. PW­49 (Dr. Kewaliya), the doctor who conducted post­mortem,   opines   that   the   cause   of   death   was   due   to asphyxia,   as   there   were   indications   for   the   same   such   as defecation,   urethra   discharge   etc.   Even   though   PW­49   was not subjected to detailed cross­examination on the aspect of choking due to vomiting, However, the doctor does accept the possibility   of   asphyxiation   due   to   such   choking   from   the contents   of   vomit.   The   other   circumstance   was   that   the deceased was found to be in an inebriated condition, which as   per   the   medical   evidence   decreases   the   resistance   to
11 stress. Moreover, it is on record that the deceased was earlier suffering from Tuberculosis. 

16. It is a matter of record that both the courts below have taken a   concurrent   view   that   the   crime   narrated   above   did   not amount   to   culpable   homicide   as   the   cause   of   death   was asphyxiation and there was nothing on record to prove that the injuries were the cause of the death. It is well settled that in   order   to   be   called   a   murder,   it   needs   to   be   culpable homicide   in   the   first   place,   that   is   to   say   all   murders   are culpable   homicides,   but   the   vice   versa   may   not   true   in   all cases.   Therefore,   we   need   to   ascertain   whether   a   case   of culpable   homicide   is  made out herein in the  first place. In this   context,  we   need to  observe Section  299 of IPC  at the outset­ 299.   Culpable   homicide.—  Whoever   causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury   as   is   likely   to   cause   death,   or   with   the knowledge   that   he   is   likely   by   such   act   to   cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.
(emphasis supplied) 12
17. As   noted   above,   causation   is   an   important   ingredient   to determine as to whether a person commits culpable homicide in   the   first   place.   Causation   simply   means   “causal relationship between conduct and result”. In this respect we need to assess whether the contentions of the parties could stand the scrutiny of the law of the land. Section 299 of IPC indicates two types of causations, one the factual causation and   the   second   the   legal   causation.   Coming   to   the   factual causation, it is a matter of fact as to whether the action of the accused caused death of the person. But the second aspect concerns itself, whether the death can be sufficiently imputed to  the   accused’s   action  as being  responsible legally. In  our considered   opinion   this   case   turns   on   the   second   leg   of causal relationship wherein, could the injuries caused by the police officers be sufficiently imputed to be the cause of death of Joinus herein?

18. It is settled under common law wherein the principle of ‘take their victim as they find them’ is followed,1 meaning ‘A person who   does   any   act/omission   which   hastens   the   death   of another person who, when the act is done or the omission is 1 R v Blaue, [1975] 3 All ER 446 (CA)
13 made,   is   labouring   under   some   disorder   or   disease   arising from   another   cause,   is   deemed   to   have   killed   that   other person.’   This principle has been expressly ingrained under the Explanation 1 to the Section 299 of IPC. Without going into details on this aspect as this is not a case of multiple causation   requiring   us  to   consider  the   same,  rather  it  is  a case   wherein   the   deceased   died   of   asphyxiation   due   to contents   of   his   vomit,   hours   later   from   the   time   when   the injury   was   inflicted,   which   is   an   independent   reason   for cause of death herein.  

19. As elucidated above, various other circumstances which dis­ associate the cause of death to the actions of the appellant officers are available. It is on record that the injuries noted in the   post­mortem   report   clearly   indicate   that   the   nature   of these injuries were not grievous. The head injury noted does not show any internal fracture to the skull bone. Therefore, when, on facts, it is concurrently inferred by the courts below that the cause of death was due to asphyxiation, we do not see   any   reasons   for   accepting   a   different   factual   inference herein, as the same is not perverse. 

20. Further, we agree with the reasoning of the High Court on the aspect that the PW­1 (Zarina) has not been completely honest in her statements. She has at times deposed over­zealously, thereby   mandating   us   to   be   cautious   in   accepting   her evidence.   Further   no   witness   has   clearly   deposed   on   the aspect of injuries and how they happened to be, except for blank  statements that ‘beatings were given to the deceased Joinus’.   Further   we   may   note   that   the   surrounding circumstances   also   strengthen   our   conclusions   such   as firstly, the condition of the deceased was said to be good as per the statements of PW­21 (cell­inmate) and PW­42 (head constable) although he was suffering from tuberculosis, when he was admitted in the lock­up. Secondly, Joinus (deceased) was heavily inebriated when he was arrested and thirdly, the aspect of asphyxiation which is a significant cause to break the chain of causal link between the death of Joinus and the injuries inflicted by the appellants herein. 21. As   discussed   above,   the   causal   link   between   the   injuries caused to the deceased by the erring officers and the death is not connected, therefore, Section 299 of IPC is not attracted. 15 Accordingly, there is no question of attracting Section 302 or 304 of IPC.

22. In any case this Court in catena of cases has taken a view that, as regards the inference of facts, when two Courts have acquitted the accused­appellant of charges under Section 302 of IPC, then it would not be appropriate upon this Court to overturn   the   factual   finding,   unless   the   view   taken   by   the lower courts is shown to be highly unlikely or unreasonable or perverse. Although the learned counsel for the State has tried to argue that the cumulative effect of the injuries was responsible for the death, but the medical evidence itself, on the   other   hand   affirms the high possibility  of death due to asphyxiation. Further there is no material brought before us to portray that the courts below had taken a perverse view. In this   light,   when   two   reasonable   views   are   possible,   then reversal   of   concurrent   acquittal   would   not   be   appropriate herein [refer  Chandrappa v. State of Karnataka, (2007) 4 SCC   415;  Mahtab   Singh   v.   State   of   U.P,   (2009)   13   SCC 670].

23. It   may   not   be   out   of   context   to   note   that   it   is   generally difficult   to   prosecute   the   custodial   torture   cases   as   the
16 evidence available on record may not sufficient. It is in this context that Law Commission in its 113 th Report published in 1985   had   recommended   inclusion   of   Section   114­B   to   the Evidence   Act,   but   the   same   was   never   materialized   into   a statutory   law.     Further   this   Court   in  State   of   M.P.   v. Shyamsunder Trivedi, 1995 (4) SCC 262, appealed to the Parliament for considering such amendment.  24. The   Second   question   is   with   respect   to   the   defence   of superior order or infamously known as ‘Nuremburg defence’ pleaded by the accused­appellants (subordinate officers). The earliest known example, wherein such defence was pleaded was before an international ad hoc tribunal, can be traced to the trial of Peter Von Hagenbach for occupation of Breisach on the orders of Duke of Burgundy in the year 1474. 2 We are aware of the fact that IPC allows such a defence if conditions provided under Section 76 of IPC are fulfilled. A three­Judge Bench   of   this   Court   in  State   of   West   Bengal   v.   Shew Mangal   Singh   and   Ors.,   AIR   1981   SC   1917,   observed   as under­ 2 Y. Dinstein, “The Defence of Obedience to Superior Orders in International Law”, Leyden, 
17 Section 76 of the Penal Code provides that nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is, or who   by   reason   of   a   mistake   of   fact   and   not   by reason   of   a   mistake   of  law   in   good  faith   believes himself   to   be,   bound   by   law,   to   do   it.   The illustration   to   that   section   says   that   if   a   soldier fires on a mob by the order of his superior officer, in   conformity   with   the   commands   of   the   law,   he commits   no   offence.   The   occasion   to   apply   the provisions   of   the   section   does   not   arise   in   the instant case since the question as to whether the accused   believed   in   good   faith   on   account   of   a mistake of fact that he was bound by law to do the act which is alleged to constitute an offence, would arise only if, to the extent relevant in this case, the order   or   command   of   the   superior   officer   is   not justified or is otherwise unlawful.

25. It is a matter of record that accused A­1 has passed away and the   matter   against   him   stands   abated.   The   other   accused­ appellants, with a view to take advantage of this situation, as an after­thought have pleaded herein the defence that they were   merely   executing   the   orders   of   accused   A­1.   At   the outset we may indicate that it is not merely that the accused­ appellants have to prove that they have followed the order of the   superior   officer   (accused  A­1),  rather  they   need  to   also prove   to   the   Court   that   the  aforesaid  appellants  bonafidely believed   that   the   orders   issued   by   accused   A­1   were   legal. However,   our   attention   was   not   drawn   to   any   argument before the courts or evidence on record to this effect that the
18 accused­appellants were merely acting on the orders of their superiors on a bonafide belief that such orders were legal. It was not even their case from the beginning that the accused­ appellants were not aware of facts and circumstances, rather all   of   them   started   out   as   a   investigation   party   with   full knowledge and participation. On the perusal of the record, we may note that this argument is only taken before this court, to   seek   a   re­trial   and   such   attempt   cannot   be   taken   into consideration herein.

26. The third question concerns about the acquittal of Accused A­10 (Raghunath Bhakte). It would be necessary to deal with the individual liability of accused A­10, as he states that he was not present with the investigation party. Although some evidence points to his presence with the investigation party, but   the   fact   remains   that   all   the   other   accused   have unanimously stated that A­10 did not accompany them as he fell sick during the investigation and accordingly, went home. We   need  to  examine  the liability  of accused A­10, with the above premise in mind.

27. It   is   wrought   in   our   criminal   law  tradition   that   the  Courts have the responsibility to separate chaff from the husk and
19 dredge out truth. It may not be out of context to note that the legal   maxim   ‘falsus   in   uno,   falsus   in   omnibus’  is   not applicable   in   India,   thereby   the   courts   are   mandated   to separate   truth   from   falsehood.   [refer  Kulwinder   Singh   v. State of  Punjab,  (2007) 10 SCC 455;  Ganesh v. State of Karnataka,  (2008)   17   SCC   152;  Jayaseelan   v.   State   of Tamil Nadu, (2009) 12 SCC 275] It is not uncommon that in some   cases   witnesses   in   the   jealousness   to   see   all   the accused get conviction, may stretch the facts or twist them. In   those   instances,   it   is   necessary   for   the   Courts   to   be cautious   enough   to   not   ‘rush   to   convict’   rather   uphold justice. It is clear from the statements of all the accused as well as the evidence of PW­41 (Driver Vijay Thengde), PW­48 (HC Telgudiya)  and PW­66 (I.O Dy. SP. Godbole) that there exists a reasonable doubt as to the presence of A­10, during the   patrolling   party   and   thereafter.   Therefore,   we   are   not inclined   to   disturb   the   findings   of   the   High   Court   on   this aspect as well.

28. The fourth question, which we need to consider, concerns the punishment under Section 330 of IPC. At the outset, we need 20 to state that we do not find any material on record to interfere with   the   conviction   of   the   accused   under   the   aforesaid Section,   except   for   the   quantum   of   punishment,   which   we need to determine.

29. Recently, this Bench in  State of Rajasthan v. Mohan Lal and  Anr3,   following  Soman  v.  State  of Kerala, (2013) 11 SCC   382   and  Alister   Anthony   Pareira   v.   State   of Maharashtra, (2012) 2 SCC 648 observed as under­ From   the   aforementioned observations,  it is clear that   the   principle   governing   the   imposition   of punishment   will   depend   upon   the   facts   and circumstances of each case. However, the sentence should   be   appropriate,   adequate,   just, proportionate and commensurate with the nature and gravity of the crime and the manner in which the  crime is committed. The gravity of the crime, motive  for  the  crime, nature of the crime and all other attending circumstances have to be borne in mind   while   imposing   the   sentence.   The   Court cannot   afford   to   be   casual   while   imposing   the sentence,   inasmuch   as   both   the   crime   and   the criminal   are   equally   important   in   the   sentencing process. The Courts must see that the public does not   lose   confidence   in   the   judicial   system. Imposing inadequate sentences will do more harm to the justice system and may lead to a state where the  victim loses confidence in the judicial system and resorts to private vengeance.

3 Criminal Appeal No. 959 of 2018
30. From the facts portrayed it is clear that the police knew the identity of the deceased was different from the person, they wanted   to   investigate   initially.   The   manner   in   which   the deceased   and   his   family   members   were   taken   into   custody reflects   pure   act   of   lawlessness   and   does   not   befit   the conduct   of   the   Police.   The   High   Court   of   Lahore   in  Lal Mohammad v. Emperor, AIR 1936 Lah 471, had observed that there was a requirement to treat the crime under Section 330   with   stringent   punishments  in   order   to   have  deterrent effect, in the following manner­ In   my   opinion,   however,   conduct   of   this   sort   by responsible   police   officers   engaged   in   the investigation of a crime, is one of the most serious offences   known   to   the   law.   The   result   of   third degree methods or of actual torture or beating such as   in   this   case   must   be   that   innocent   persons might   well   be   convicted,   confession   being   forced from them which are false. In almost every case in which a confession is recorded, in criminal Courts, it   is   alleged   by   the   defence   that   the   police   have resorted   to   methods   such   as   these.   It   is   seldom, however, that an offence of this nature is or can be proved. It clearly is the duty of the Courts when a case of this kind is proved to pass sentences which may have a deterrent effect.

31. In  Ratanlal and Dhirajlal’s Law of Crimes  (27th  Ed.), the author while discussing the sentencing under Section 330 of IPC notes as under­ The   causing   of   hurt   by   a   responsible   police officer   engaged   in   investigation   of   a   crime   is one of the most serious offences known to law and   deterrent   punishment   should   be   inflicted on the offender.
(emphasis supplied) 32. The factual narration of the events portrayed herein narrate a spiteful events of police excessiveness. The motive to falsely implicate Joinus for a crime he was alien to was not befitting the police officers investigating crimes. The manner in which Joinus   was   taken   during   late   night   from   his   house   for investigation   ignores   the   basic   rights   this   country   has guaranteed its citizen. It is on record that injuries caused to the individual were in furtherance of extracting a confession. The  mala fide  intention of the officers­accused to undertake such  action  are  writ large from  the above narration, which does not require further elaboration. 

33. As the police in this case are the violators of law, who had the primary   responsibility   to   protect   and   uphold   law,   thereby mandating   the   punishment   for   such   violation   to   be 23 proportionately   stringent   so   as   to   have   effective   deterrent effect and instill confidence in the society. It may not be out of   context   to   remind   that   the   motto   of   Maharashtra   State Police   is   “Sadrakshnāya   Khalanīghrahanāya”   (Sanskrit:   “To protect   good   and   to   Punish   evil”),   which   needs   to   be respected.   Those,   who   are   called   upon   to   administer   the criminal law, must bear, in mind, that they have a duty not merely to the individual accused before them, but also to the State and to the community at large. Such incidents involving police usually tend to deplete the confidence in our criminal justice   system   much   more   than   those   incidents   involving private   individuals.   We   must   additionally   factor   this   aspect while   imposing   an   appropriate   punishment   to   the   accused herein.

34. In the facts and circumstances of this case, the punishment of three­year imprisonment imposed by the Trial Court under Section   330   of   IPC,   would   be   grossly   insufficient   and   dis­ proportional. We deem it appropriate to increase the term of sentence to maximum imposable period under Section 330 of IPC   i.e.,   seven   years   of   rigorous   imprisonment,   while 24 maintaining the fine imposed by the Trial Court. Accordingly, we modify the sentence to this limited extent. 35. In   light   of   the   afore­said   discussion,   we   partly   allow   the Criminal   Appeal   Nos.   182­187   of   2009   in   the   afore­stated terms.   Further   Criminal   Appeal   Nos.   385­386   of   2008, Criminal Appeal Nos. 387­388 of 2008, Criminal Appeal No. 299 of 2008 stand dismissed.

36. The appellants­accused are directed to surrender before the authorities for serving out the rest of the sentence forthwith. ……………………J.
                           (N.V. RAMANA)                        ……………………J.
        (MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR) New Delhi,
September 04, 2018   25

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