On finding a contradiction between the eye-witness testimony and the medical evidence, the Jodhpur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court set aside the conviction under Section 302 IPC (Murder). Instead, it convicted the accused in Section 323 IPC (Voluntarily causing hurt).
A Division Bench of Justices Sandeep Mehta and Vinod Kumar Bharwani relied on Dunga Ram v. the State of Rajasthan and Jugut Ram v. the State of Chhattisgarh, in which the facts were similar, and the offence of murder was altered to one of voluntarily causing hurt.
Under Section 374(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the appellants preferred an instant appeal challenging a judgment convicting the accused for offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused-appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 10,000/-.
In the prosecution's case, a written report was filed alleging that the appellant gave a blow to the temporal region of the deceased to kill him on the previous day. The deceased succumbed to the injuries. Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered, and an investigation followed. Upon conclusion of the investigation, a chargesheet was filed under Section 302 of the IPC.
Amicus Curiae Vivek Mathur represented the appellant and argued that the testimony of the eye-witness is unbelievable and in contradiction to the medical evidence. While eye-witnesses testified that the accused inflicted a lathi blow on the neck of the deceased, no such injury was found. The defense's case was that the deceased fell from the tractor, received injuries, and expired. Given the contradiction between eye-witness testimony and medical evidence, it was argued that, at best, a case could be made under Section 323 or Section 304 of the IPC.
In appreciation of the medical evidence, the Court concurred that it is more likely that the injuries were caused due to falling off the tractor. It also considered that the appellant might have inflicted a lathi blow while sitting on the tractor. However, it opined that the lathi blow did not result in any previous injury.
Noting that the Appellant has already served six years of incarceration, the maximum punishment under Section 323, the Court released the Appellant.
Case Title: Fula @ Fulchand v. State Through PP
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 173
Read The Order