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First Version Of The Story Reliable; Exaggeration May Occur With Passage of Time: Gujarat High Court

PRIYANKA PREET
9 March 2022 1:57 PM GMT
First Version Of The Story Reliable; Exaggeration May Occur With Passage of Time: Gujarat High Court
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"In normal circumstances, we believe that, the first version is showing the true story of the complaint. If the version is changed at the time of deposition, it means there may be exaggeration in the version by passage of time," the Gujarat High Court has opined in connection with a challenge to the acquittal order of the Sessions Court. It was the Complainant's case that...

"In normal circumstances, we believe that, the first version is showing the true story of the complaint. If the version is changed at the time of deposition, it means there may be exaggeration in the version by passage of time," the Gujarat High Court has opined in connection with a challenge to the acquittal order of the Sessions Court.

It was the Complainant's case that Accused armed with an axe, stick, spear, sharp-edged weapon came to the house of the Complainant and tried to loot a water tanker worth INR 20,000 belonging to the Complainant. When the Complainant tried to prevent them, the Accused got provoked and demolished the household times, beat the family members of the Complainant and threatened to kill them. Accordingly, an FIR was filed under Sections 395, 427, 506(2) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code. Subsequently, during the trial, the prosecution presented 13 witnesses to bring home the charges. However, the trial court, after examining various evidence, acquitted the Accused.

The Bench comprising Justice Sandeep Bhatt noted that the land for which the incident had occurred chequered history. It was averred by the Respondent-Accused that there was a kaccha road and the village persons were facing difficulties in moving around. The Complainant had parked his water tanker outside his house which created difficulties. The Accused had requested him to remove it but the Complainant refused to move it in order for the kaccha road to be repaired. Due to this, a scuffle ensued between the Complainant and the Accused. Averring that there was no need to interfere with the impugned judgement, the Accused opposed the challenge to the order of acquittal.

However, Justice Bhatt primarily observed that there were material contradictions between the complaint and the deposition of the Complainant. In the entire complaint, the Complainant had not stated that the Accused had gone to the first floor and broken household times. However, this was mentioned in the deposition which was not believable. The Court opined that the first version of the story was reliable. Due to the passage of time, there may have been exaggeration in the Complainant's story.

The High Court affirmed the trial court's view that Section 395 of IPC could not be applied since there were material contradictions in the evidence. One of the Prosecution Witness had also averred that Accused No.1 had given a blow by the sharp-edged weapon at her back while the Complainant had stated that the blow was given on the PW's right hand.

Noting several such contradictions, the trial court had correctly refused to apply Section 509, per the Bench. Overall, the Bench observed that the water tanker was removed from the way of the village persons by the Government Official and there was no question of looting or dacoity.

While refusing to interfere with the judgment, the High Court referred to Ramesh Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat (1996) 9 SCC 225 wherein it was held:

"It is a cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence that in an acquittal appeal if other view is possible, then also, the appellate Court cannot substitute its own view by reversing the acquittal into conviction, unless the findings of the trial Court are perverse, contrary to the material on record, palpably wrong, manifestly erroneous or demonstrably unsustainable."

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Criminal Appeal.

Case Title: State Of Gujarat vs Natvarsinh Prabhatsinih Rathod

Case No.: R/CR.A/936/1999

Citation:

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD JUDGMENT


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