D.G.R. Patnaik, J.
1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial Court in S.T. No. 274 of 1990 by which the appellant has been convicted under Section 302, IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life, and also convicted under Section 307, IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for five years. In addition, he was also convicted under Section 326, IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for three years and also convicted under Sections 324 and 352 and sentenced to undergo imprisonment of one year for each offence. The case relates to the murder of one Renu Bala Dey (or Renuka Bala Dey) and also to the injuries caused to other members of the family of the deceased, including Subhashish Dey (PW 2), Puranjay Dey (PW 1), Subhra Kumari Dey (sister) (PW 13), and Asha Bala Modi. The case was registered on the basis of the information lodged by the informant Subhashish Dey (PW 2).
2. Brief facts of the case is that on the evening of 6.10.1995 at about 9.00 p.m. the informant PW 2, returned home and found his father Puranjay Dey PW 1. mother (deceased), sister (PW 13) and grandmother Asha Bala Modi sitting in the Courtyard of his house and were gossiping. At that time, the appellant along with one accused Bhuwan Modi, another unknown person armed with a Bhujali entered into the Courtyard of the house. The appellant Arup Modi gave a blow on the neck of the PW 1 Puranjay Dey with bhujali as a result of which the victim sustained injuries and fell down on the ground. Repeated blows with bhujali were dealt on the victim by the appellant even after the victim had fallen down. When the informant (PW 2) tried to intervene, he was also assaulted with bhujali by the co-accused Bhuwan Modi compelling the informant to run away in fear of his life. On alarms raised by the informant, co-villagers namely PW 6 Kanti Shatrudhar, PW 11 Nav Kumar Gorain, PW 4 Bhuyan Gorain, PW 5 Alok Sheel, PW 10 Shyamal Gorai, PW 3 Kripa Gorai arrived along with whom the informant entered into the courtyard, but by then the assailants had made good their escape through the backdoor of the house. The informant, his mother, father, sister and grand mother were all in precariously injured condition. The injured victims were taken on a bullock cart to the nearby Siuri Hospital. On the way, the informant’s mother Renu Bala Dey succumbed to her injuries. The three other injured persons were admitted to Siuri Sadar Hospital where they were provided medical treatment for their injuries. The dead body of the deceased after preparation of inquest was sent for post mortem examination. On the basis of the information forwarded by the ward master of the hospital to the nearest police station, a UD case was initially registered in respect of the death of Renu Bala Dey. Meanwhile, on receipt of information regarding the violence and the fact that the injured were admitted to hospital, the officer incharge of the police station Tongra (PW 18) visited the hospital where he recorded the ftirdbeyan of the informant PW 2 Subhashish Dey and on the basis of which the case was registered against the accused persons.
3. All together 18 witnesses were examined by the prosecution at the trial. The witnesses include PW 2, the informant, and other two injured victims i.e. PWs. 1 and 13, co-villagers of the informant namely PW 3 Kripa Gorai, PW 4 Bhuvan Gorai, PW 5 Alok Sheel and PW 6 Kanti Shutradhar. The doctor who conducted post-mortem examination on the dead body of the deceased Renu Bala Dey was examined as PW 16. It may be noted that besides the present appellant herein, two more accused persons namely Nava Kumar Modi and Balram Modi alias Balai Modi were also put on trial for the same offences namely under Sections 452, 307, 326, 324 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
4. On consideration of the evidences of the prosecution witnesses, the trial Court recorded its finding of guilt against the appellant and convicted him for the offences, for which he was put on trial. However, on finding the evidence deficient against the two above named co-accused persons, the trial Court acquitted them.
In recording the finding of guilt for the above mentioned offences against the appellant, the trial Court has relied on the evidence, particularly of the injured victims namely PW 1 Puranjay Dey, and PW 13, Shubhra Dey, besides the evidence of the informant (PW 2) and has found support of the evidence of these witnesses from the statements of the co-villagers namely PWs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14 and also from the evidence of the doctor (PW 16) and the post mortem report recorded by him.
5. The appellant has challenged his conviction by the trial Court primarily on the ground that the trial Court has committed a serious error by placing implicit reliance on the evidence of PWs. 1, 2 and 13 without there being any corroboration of their testimony from any independent witnesses and ignoring the fact that all the three witnesses belong to the same family and were near relations of the deceased and therefore highly interested witnesses. Learned Counsel argues that the very FIR itself is not reliable and is rendered suspect, firstly on the ground of 18 hours delay in lodging the FIR and secondly, that information regarding the death of the Renu Bala Dey, (deceased) was received at the police station prior to the recording of the fardbeyan of the instant case and on the basis of which UD case was registered and this gives an obvious inference that the earlier report did not suggest or indicate in any manner the cause of the death of the deceased, or that the present appellant was responsible for the death of the deceased. Learned Counsel further adds that suppression of the FIR relating to the UD case gives a logical inference and supports the belief that names of the present appellant and other accused persons have been introduced at a later stage while recording the fardbeyan of the informant after about 18 hours of the alleged time of the occurrence. Learned Counsel further argues that the above fact, when seen together with the admitted case of the prosecution that there was previous enmity and dispute between the informant party and the accused appellant in respect of certain landed property, would indicate the motive for false implication of the appellant. Learned Counsel further adds that the FIR is, rendered suspect on account of the fact that initially, the fardbeyan contained names of only two assailants, namely the present appellant and one Bhuwan Modi, but at much later stage, the informant introduced names of two more persons of the family of the appellant alleging their involvement in the alleged offence. According to learned Counsel the fact that the subsequent introduction of the names of two more persons of the same family of the appellant also indicates that an attempt has been made by the informant to falsely implicate the entire members of the appellant’s family and, therefore, the contents of the fardbeyan as well as the deposition of the informant are not trustworthy, nor reliable and do not inspire any confidence.
Adverting to the other grounds, learned, counsel refers to the evidence of PWs. 1, 2 and 13 whom the prosecution has projected as eye-witnesses to the occurrence and submits that these witnesses while deposing as to the manner of the alleged occurrence have contradicted each other and their description about the weapons used for assault, is at variance to the evidence of the doctor, since the weapon as claimed by the witnesses to have been used by the assailants could not have caused the type of the injuries as found by the doctor on the person of the deceased. Learned Counsel also points out other contradictions by referring to the evidence of the PW 13 whose contention was that prior to the occurrence, the family had taken dinner but the post mortem report indicates that the stomach of the deceased was empty.
6. Learned Counsel for the State, on the other hand, while refuting the grounds taken by the appellant invites attention to certain facts, which have not been disputed by the defence. According to him, the fact of homicidal death of the deceased Renu Bala Dey is not disputed. Rather, it is fully confirmed by way of corroboration available from the evidence of the doctor (PW 16) and the post mortem report recorded by the doctor indicating presence of three sharp cut ante mortem injuries which proved fatal to the deceased.
On the issue relating to the delay in lodging the FIR, learned Counsel further refers to the evidence of the informant PW 2 as also that of the eye-witnesses (PWs. 1 and 13) and the evidence of the investigating officer (PW 18) and explains that the occurrence which took place on 6.10.1989 at about 9.00 p.m. within the house of the informant, is at a distance of about 15 Kms from the Police Station Raneshwar Tongra. Learned Counsel explains that according to the prosecution, almost all the members of the family of the informant who were present at the house had sustained injuries and the need of the hour was to provide immediate treatment to the injured persons in order to save their lives, and it was therefore natural that the Informant with the assistance of the co-villagers had taken the injured persons straightaway to the nearest Hospital situated at Siuri. One of the injured namely Renu Bala Dey had succumbed to her injuries while being taken to the hospital, while the surviving injured persons were attended to by the doctors. A report regarding the dead body of the deceased was conveyed by the Emergency Wad Master of the Hospital under O.D. slip to the concerned Siuri Police Station within whose jurisdiction the hospital lies. Learned Counsel explains that at that point of time, there was no occasion for the informant or any of the injured persons to visit the police station for lodging, the first information report. Referring further to the evidence of the investigating officer PW 18, learned Counsel explains that the investigation officer had received a general information about the violence at the PO village, and on the next day, i.e. 7.10.1989, after recording the information in the Station Diary, he had proceeded to the village where he had learnt that the injured victims were admitted to Siuri Hospital. He proceeded straightway to Siuri Hospital where he could meet the informant and record statement of the informant as his fardbeyan. The investigating officer (PW 18) has also explained in his deposition that on account of rain, he could not proceed promptly to the hospital. Learned Counsel submits that the delay, if any, has been adequately explained by the investigating officer.
Referring to the contention raised on behalf of the appellant regarding the purported delay in transmission of the FIR to the Court, learned Counsel for the State submits that the matter was considered by the trial Court as would appear from the impugned judgment and it has reasonably been explained that the FIR was dispatched promptly to the Court after registration of the case and it was received in the Court, but it was apparently not placed before the presiding officer-on the same day, but instead it was placed on 16.10.1989. Learned Counsel adds that since there is no delay in despatch of the FIR to the Court, the fact that the FIR was placed before the presiding officer after some delay does not in itself render the FIR as suspect. Regarding the circumstance in which the UD case was registered, learned Counsel explains that this issue was also considered by the trial Court in its judgment impugned in this appeal, and the explanation offered by the prosecution in this context is that the report concerning the dead body of the deceased which was received at the emergency ward of the hospital for forwarded in normal course by the ward master of the hospital directly, while the informant and the injured witnesses were engaged in obtaining medical treatment. Learned Counsel further adds that the Police Station to which the information was forwarded did not have jurisdiction over the place of occurrence and hence except a case of unnatural death, no other case could have been registered on such information. Learned Counsel adds further that mere non production of the report pertaining to the UD case cannot be considered as a circumstance to draw an adverse inference against the prosecution, since the report was forwarded by the person who was apparently not acquainted with the facts relating to the cause of death of the deceased and neither did he need to mention any cause of death, except the fact that it was a case of unnatural death.
On the issue relating to the appellant’s contention that no independent corroboration has been obtained by the prosecution to the evidence of the PWs. 1, 2 and 13, learned Counsel for the State submits that the prosecution has not withheld any independent charge sheeted witnesses. Rather, as many as five independent witnesses who happen to be co-villagers of the informant were examined by the prosecution and all of them have stated that on hearing alarms, they had reached at the informant’s house where they had seen members of the informant’s family in injured condition and they were told about the entire occurrence by the injured persons including the informant. Learned Counsel further adds that, the informant (PW 2) in his evidence has confirmed that it was on his alarm that the aforementioned witnesses had arrived at his house and had seen him and other members of his house in injured condition and to whom, the injured grand mother of the informant had narrated the occurrence. Learned Counsel further adds that the evidence of the co-villagers amply corroborate the fact that soon after the occurrence when the witnesses had arrived at the house of the informant, they had seen several members of the informant’s house lying in injured condition and from whom they had learnt about the violence at the house of the informant.
Referring to the contention of the appellant that the evidence of PW 1 cannot be considered reliable in view of the introduction of the names of the other two co-accused persons at a later stage by the informant in his statement recorded before the police under Section 161, CrPC though not mentioned in the fardbeyan, despite the said two accused persons being next door neighbours and members of the same family as that of the present appellant, learned Counsel for the State explains that the non-mention of the names in the fardbeyan may have occasioned on account of the fact that the said two accused persons are not alleged to have taken any active role or participation in the commission of the offence and furthermore, the mental condition of the informant cannot be ignored who, at the time of recording of the fardbeyan was under acute mental stress and strain due to his mother’s violent death and other members of his family lying seriously injured. Learned Counsel further adds that even otherwise, the FIR cannot be considered to be an encyclopaedia of the prosecution case and the absence of the names of the two co-accused persons in the fardbeyan cannot be taken as a ground to discredit the veracity of the fardbeyan.
7. From perusal of the impugned judgment, I find that the learned trial Court has duly considered the evidence of each witness examined by the prosecution and has discussed the evidence assigning reasons for placing reliance on the testimony of the witnesses, particularly the evidence of the informant and the injured witnesses. The prominent facts which surface from the evidence of the witnesses on record are that the occurrence had taken place in the house of the informant in the late hours of the night of 6.10.1989 and as a result of the violence, 4 persons namely, PW 2 the informant; PW 1 his father; grandmother Asha Bala Modi, and his sister Shubhra (PW 13) had sustained multiple injuries on their persons and his mother Renu Bala Devi had succumbed to the injuries and was declared dead by the doctor when she was brought to the hospital. The doctor (PW 16) conducted post-mortem on the dead body of the deceased and had found the following three injuries:
(i) A sharp cutting injury on the right shoulder below the lateral end of the cavity measuring 2″ x 1/2″ x 3″;
(ii) A sharp cutting injury on the left side of lower abdomen just above the mid point of iliac crest 2-1/2″ x 1″ x 3″ and coils of intestine protruding but through the injury inside;
(iii) A puncture would on the apex of the right lung.
The injuries in the opinion of the doctor were ante mortem which could be caused by a sharp cutting weapon like bhujali and the death was the result of the aforementioned injuries.
8.The informant (PW 2) in his deposition is categorical that at the time of the occurrence he was at his house and the members of his family, including PW 1, his father, grant-mother; sister (PW 13) and mother (deceased) were present in the house. It was at that time that the appellant along with the other accused entered into the house through backdoor, armed with bhujali and began assaulting the members of the house with bhujali. The informant managed to escape from the house and raised alarms inviting attention of the co-villagers namely PWs. 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14 and after their arrival, he entered along with them in the house and found the injured victims in a precarious condition. The narration of the occurrence, as given by the informant, finds ample corroboration from the evidence of PWs. 1 and 13, both of whom are the injured persons and are eye-witnesses to the incident. The weapon used for assault, the manner of assault and the parts of bodies of the injured persons on which injuries were inflicted has been vividly described by the witnesses and the same correspond to the ante mortem injuries found on the body of the deceased and also the injuries found on the person of the injured victims by the doctor PW 15 who had examined them.
9. It is relevant to note that PW 15, Dr. Tridip Majumdar, who had examined the injured Puranjay Dey PW 1 confirmed that he had found a deep cut injury on the left side of the neck of the injured, injury on the right arm measuring 2″ x 1/2″. He had also found a sharp cut injury on the left side of the forehead extending from their line to lateral side of left eye measuring 3-1/2″ x 1/4″ and another sharp cut injury on the right parietal bone 2″ x 1/4″. Likewise, he had also found a sharp cut injury on the right arm measuring 1″ x 1 /2″ in length with a swelling on lateral aspect arid fracture of right numerous of the injured Shubhra Dey FW 13. He had also found a swelling on the right side of back, just above the right iliac bone and a sharp cut injury 3″ x 1″ on the body of the injured Asha Rani Modi. Injuries found on the persons of the injured Shubhra Dey (PW 13) and Subhashish (PW 2) were grievous in nature. All the injured persons were admitted to the Male and Female Surgical Wards of the hospital for their treatment. The injuries do tally with the information given by the injured victims regarding the manner of assault, weapon used and the parts of their respective bodies on which injuries were inflicted.
10. It further transpires from the evidences that all the injured persons were carried to the nearest hospital, situated at a distance of about 25 kms from the house of the informant, on the night of the occurrence itself. They reached the hospital in the early hours of the next morning at about 3.00 a.m. From the evidence of PW 2, the informant as also the witnesses, namely PWs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 13 and 14, it transpires that while the injured persons were being taken to the hospital, the injured Renu Bala Dey succumbed to her injuries on the way to hospital and her dead body was carried to the hospital. The report pertaining to the dead body was forwarded by the ward master of the hospital to the Police Station at Siuri on the basis of which a station diary entry was made and UD case was registered. The officer incharge of Sheori PS visited the hospital in the morning on 7.10.1989. Before him, the dead body was identified by a sweeper Samal Dom who was present at the hospital, and in presence of the witnesses PW5 and PW7, inquest report of the dead body was prepared at the Hospital. These facts have been confirmed by PW 17 Shymlendu Kundu who is the Officer Incharge of Siuri PS as well as by PWs. 5 and 7. The dead body of the deceased was thereafter forwarded for autopsy which was conducted by PW 16 Dr. A.K. Mayur. PW 18 who is the investigating officer of the case has deposed that it was at the Police Station Raneshwar Tongra where he was posted as Officer Incharge in the morning of 7.10.1989, he received information about the violence at village Belkandi, i.e. the village of the informant. He entered the information in the station diary at the Police Station and proceeded to village Belkandi, where on the basis of the information obtained from the villagers, he went to the house of the informant, but did not find any member of the house present there. He was informed by the villagers that the informant Sub-hashish Dey (PW 2) and the members of his family had sustained serious injuries in the violence and were taken to Siuri Hospital in the night itself. The investigating officer thereafter proceeded to Siuri Hospital where he could contact PW 2 whose statements were recorded as the FIR (fardbeyan). The investigating officer had recorded statement of other injured persons, namely PWs. 1 and 13, besides the injured Asha Bala Modi and had also recorded statement of some witnesses, namely PWs. 3, 4, 6 and 11, who were present at the hospital. On being informed that inquest report on the dead body was prepared by the officer incharge of Siuri PS (West Bengal), he proceeded to Siuri PS and recorded statement of the officer incharge of Suri PS. (PW 17) and obtained inquest report which was earlier prepared by PW 17.
PW 18 has further clarified that on account of rain and consequent hindrance, he could not visit either the village of the informant or the hospital earlier and he could reach the hospital at 3 p.m. on 7.10.1989. Thus, form the circumstances, it is apparent that the violence at the house of the informant had occurred during the late evening of 6.10.1989 in which the entire members of the informant’s family had sustained severe injuries and they were promptly taken to the hospital directly on the same night where they had reached in the early hours of the next morning. It is therefore natural to expect that instead of visiting the police station, located at a distance of 15 Kms. from the village to inform about the occurrence on the same night, the informant and the injured persons were first taken to the hospital first for the treatment of their injuries. It is also notable that the occurrence had taken place within the confines of the informant’s house and the injured victims were the only persons present at the time of the occurrence who could give a clear and correct version of the occurrence. The witnesses namely PWs. 3 to 12 and 14 who are co-villagers had admittedly arrived at the informant’s house on hearing the informant’s alarms and they obviously could not have witnessed the occurrence since by the time of their arrival, the assailants had already retreated from the backdoor of the house. Nevertheless, as confirmed by PWs. 5 and 14, the witnesses arrived immediately at the house of the informant and they could learn about the occurrence from the informant and his injured family members and were also informed about the names and identities of the assailants. Their statements could not have been considered as eye-witness account by the police officer (PW 18) who had visited the village of the informant on the morning of 7.10.1989. The above circumstance coupled with the explanation given by the investigating officer (PW 18) offer adequate explanation for the delay in recording the first information report (fardbeyan) of the informant.
11. The contention advanced on behalf of the learned Counsel for the appellant that the evidence of the informant and the injured persons, all of whom happen to be members of the same family, do not find support or independent corroboration from any independent witness appears to be misplaced. The prosecution has examined altogether 11 independent witnesses who are co-villagers of the informant. Out of them. PWs. 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11 have been declared hostile by the prosecution but each of these witnesses has confirmed that in the late evening of 6.10.1989, they had reached the house of the informant hearing his alarms and had found all the members of the informant’s family including the informant in injured condition and they had assisted the informant and the injured persons to be removed to Siuri Sadar Hospital. The above referred witnesses, though have failed to support the prosecution case that they had learn about the occurrence and the identities of the assailants, from the injured victims, yet, PW 5 and 11 have acknowledged that they had learnt about the occurrence and the identifies of the assailants from PW 2, the informant immediately on their arrival at the house of the informant. Thus, even though these witnesses are not eyewitnesses to the actual assault, their respective evidences are relevant and admissible as res gestae and sufficient enough to offer support to the evidence of the injured victims. The evidence of injured victims, including PWs. 1, 2 and 13 are consistent, except for some minor discrepancies in respect of the person who was the first victim of assault. They are consistent on the fact that a lantern at the place of the occurrence had provided sufficient illumination to see and identify the assailants. The lantern was found and seized by the investigating officer from the place of occurrence at the time of his inspection of the place. The presence of these witnesses, being injured victims and members of the same family, at the house at the time of the occurrence is quite natural and there is no reason why their testimonies should be disbelieved merely because they are categorized as interested witnesses.
12. Learned Counsel for the appellant has tried to impress that the appellants and other co-accused persons have been falsely implicated in the case on account of previous enmity. To buttress this contention, it was argued on behalf of the appellant that the fact that instead of a case for offence of murder, a UD case being registered at the first instance indicates that the first report on the basis of which UD case was registered does not suggest that it was a case of murder and even otherwise, it did not contain the name of any of the assailants. Learned Counsel argues that the suppression of the written report on the basis of which UD case was registered does lead to an adverse inference against the prosecution. Learned Counsel has invited attention to certain suggestions put to the prosecution witnesses that the violence which had occurred at the house of the informant was on account of a dacoity committed in the house of the informant by unknown persons and submits that on account of previous enmity, the present appellant and his brothers were falsely implicated in the case as an afterthought by the informant whose statements, were recorded almost 18 hours after the alleged time of occurrence. The above argument of the learned Counsel also appears to be misconceived. As explained above, from the evidence of the injured witnesses and the informant as also PW 17, the dead body was received along with the injured victims in the emergency ward of the hospital in the early hours of morning at 3.00 a.m. and while the dead body was retained at the emergency ward, the injured victims were promptly shifted to the male and female surgical wards. Information regarding receipt of the deadbody of the deceased Renu Bala Dey was forwarded by the Ward Master to the Siuri Hospital within whose jurisdiction the hospital lies and it was in such circumstances, the case at the Siuri PS was registered in respect of an unnatural death of the deceased. PW 17, the officer-in-charge of Siuri PS wthin whose territorial jurisdiction the hospital lies (though not the place of occurrence) after recording information pertaining to the dead body in the Police Station diary, had proceeded to the hospital where the dead body of the deceased was identified before him by a sweeper at the Hospital and also by the witnesses PWs. 5 and 7, both of whom happened to be co-villagers of the informant and it was in their presence that the inquest report was prepared by PW 17. The contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant that even in the inquest report, name of the assailant is conspicuously absent, is of no consequence since such details are not necessarily to be recorded in the inquest report. The contention that a dacoity had occurred in the house of the informant and injuries were caused to the members of the informant’s family by some unknown dacoits appears to be a feeble attempt by the defence, that too by way of only a suggestion put to the witnesses without any supporting evidence whatsoever. On the other hand, the evidence of the eye-witnesses confirm that there was previous enmity between the appellant and his family members on the one side, and the informant’s family members on the other on account of property dispute. There is evidence of PWs. 1 and 2 that the relations with the appellant were extremely strained and frequent threats used to be issued by the appellant and his brother against PW 1 and against PW2 who happen to be maternal cousin of the appellant. The evidence of the co-villagers (PWs. 5 and 14) confirm that they had reached the house of the informant soon after the occurrence on hearing alarms and the details of the occurrence including the identifies of the assailants were stated before them by the injured victims, including the informant PW (2). The events were in such quick succession that in the condition in which the victims were suffering, there could not be any possibility for them to brood over and think of falsely implicating the appellant in the case.-Though the fardbeyan of the informant containing names of the assailants was recorded at 3.00 p.m. on the next day, but the identifies of the assailants were made known to the independent witnesses almost immediately after the occurrence, when they had reached the house of the informant on alarms of the injured victims. The possibility of false implication of the appellant is therefore ruled out.
13. As regards the absence of names in the fardbeyan of the two co-accused persons, who happen to be brothers of the appellant and the introduction of their names in the subsequent statement of the informant recorded under Section 161, CrPC, the trial Court has considered this aspect and he has given benefit of doubt to the two co-accused persons. Even if the introduction of names of the two co-accused persons at a subsequent state is taken to be a subsequent development over the original version of the informant, the same in itself cannot discredit the evidence of the informant, or the narration of the incident as given out in the fardbeyan of the informant. Even otherwise, neither the informant (PW 2), nor any injured witnesses has claimed that the two co-accused persons had indulged in the actual assault on them, or that they had entered within the premises of the informant’s house.
14. The trial Court has considered all aspects appearing in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and its findings based on inferences drawn are correct. The impugned judgment of conviction and sentence does not suffer from any infirmity. There is no merit in this appeal. Accordingly this appeal is dismissed.
Before concluding, we record our appreciation for the valuable assistance extended by Mr. Abhay Kumar Mishra, who has represented the appellant as amicus curiae.
R.R. Prasad, J.
15. I agree.