Topic: Thulia Kali vs The State Of Tamil Nadu - FIR

Thulia Kali vs The State Of Tamil Nadu
Equivalent citations: 1973 AIR 501, 1972 SCR (3) 622 - Bench: Khanna, H Raj - CITATION: 1973 AIR 501/ 1972 SCR (3) 622/
1972 SCC (3) 393 - CITATOR INFO : D     1983 SC1081     (18) - dated on 25 February, 1972

ACT:
Criminal Trial--First Information Report--Unexplained delay in the lodging of First information Report--Inference. Constitution of India, 1950--Article 136--Interference--if evidence afflicted with ex--facie infirmity,.

HEADNOTE:
This Court does not normally reappraise evidence in an appeal    under article 136 of the Constitution but that    fact would not prevent interference with an order of     conviction, if, on consideration of the vital prosecution    evidence in the case the Court finds it to be afflicted with ex-facie infirmity.

The appellant    was sentenced to death under s.     302 Indian Penal Code. The trial Court and the High Court based     the conviction of the appellant primarily upon the testimony of two witnesses one of whom according to the prosecution    case was present when the accused made murderous assault on the deceased and the other arrived soon after. Neither of    them nor anyone else who was told about the occurrence by the two witnesses made     any report at the police station for    more than 20 hours after the occurrence even though     the police station was only two miles from the place of occurrence. Setting aside the conviction,

HELD :     That the delay in lodging the    report    would raise considerable doubt regarding the varacity of the evidence of two witnesses and point to an infirmity in that evidence and would render it unsafe to base the     conviction of     the apPellant.

The first information     report in a criminal    case is an extremely vital and valuable piece of evidence for     the purpose     of corroborating the oral evidence adduced a'     the trial The object of insisting upon prompt lodging of     the report to the police in respect of commission of an offence is to obtain early information regarding the circumstances in which the crime was committed, the names of     the actual culprits and the part played by them as well as, the names of eye     witnesses present at there scene of     occurrence. Delay in lodging the first information report    quite often results     in embellishment which is a     Creature of after thought. It is therefore essential    that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained.    [626 H]

JUDGMENT:

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 165 of 1971.

Appeal    by special leave from the _judgment and order dated November 24, 1970 of the Madras High     Court    in Criminal Appeal No. 761 of 1970 and Referred Trial No. 50, of 1970. S. Lakshminarasu, for the appellant.

A. V. Rangam, for the respondent.

623

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by

Khanna, J. Thulia Kali (26) was convicted by Sessions Judge Salem under section 302 Indian Penal Code for    causing     the death of Madhandi Pidariammal (40) and under    section     379 Indian    Penal Code for committing theft of the ornaments of Madhandi deceased. The accused was sentenced to death on the former count. No separate sentence was awarded for     the offence under section 379 Indian Penal Code. The High Court of Madras affirmed the conviction and. sentence of     the accused. The accused has now come up in appeal to,    this Court by special leave.

The prosecution case was that Madhandi     deceased purchased land measuring 1 acre 62 cents from Thooliya Thiruman     (PW 5), elder brother of the accused for rupees one, thousand. The land of the accused adjoined the land sold to Madhandi deceased. The accused wanted Madhandi deceased to sell that land to him but the deceased declined to do so. Madhandi constructed a fence around the land purchased by her, as a result    of which the passage to the land of the accused     was obstructed. About a week before the present occurrence, the accused removed some jack fruits from the land purchased by the deceased. Complaint about that was made by the deceased to the     Panchayatdars. The Panchayatdars considered     the matter, but the accused declined to abide by the decision of the Panchyatdars.

On March 12, 1970 at about 12 noon, it is stated, Madhandi deceased left    her house situated in village    Sakkarapatti along with her daughter-in-law Kopia Chinthamani (PW     2), aged 10, for Valaparathi at a distance of about two miles from the village for grazing cattle.    Shortly     thereafter, Valanjiaraju (PW 1),    stepson of Madhandi deceased,    also went to Valaparathi and started cutting plants at a distance of about 250 feet from the place where the deceased     was grazing the cattle. At about 2 p.m. the accused came to the place where Madhandi deceased was present and asked     her whether she would give him the right of passage or not.     The deceased replied in the negative. The accused then took out knife Ex. 1    and gave a number of knife blows, to     the deceased in spite of her entreaties to the accused not to stab her and that she would give him what he wanted. Kopia PW raised alarm and ran from the place of occurrence.     She met Valanjiaraju PW and told him that the accused was giving knife blows to Madhandi. Accompanied by Kopia, Valanjiaraju then went towards the accused but he threatened them    with knife.    Valanjiaraju and Kopia thereupon went to the village and informed the husband of the deceased as well as a number of other villagers including Aneeba (PW 3) and Selvaraj     (PW 4). Valanjiaraju and a large

624

number    of other villagers then went to the place of occurrence A and found the dead body of Madhandi deceased lying there with injuries on her throat, face and other parts of the body. Both her ears were found to have    been chopped off. Her jewels had been removed.

According further to the prosecution, Valanjiaraju went to B the house of village munsif Muthuswami (PW 8) to inform     him about the occurrence.    Muthuswami, however, was-away    from the house to    another     village in connection with    some collection work. Muthuswami returned at about     10.30    p.m. and was told     by Valanjiaraju about the     occurrence. Muthuswami did not record the statement of Valanjiaraju at that time and told him that be would not go to the    spot where the dead body was lying on that night as wild animals would be roaming there and that he would go there on     the following morning' Muthuswami went to the spot     where    the dead body of the deceased was lying at about 8.30 a.m. on the following day, that is, March 13, 1970 and had a look at the dead body of the deceased. Statement P. I     of Valanjiaraju was recorded by Muthuswami at 9. a.m. at     the spot.    The statement was then sent by Muthuswami to police station Valavanthi at a distance of about two miles from the place of occurrence. Formal first information report P. 15 on the basis of statement P. I was prepared at     the police station at 11.45 a.m.

Head Constable Rajamanickam after recording first informa- tion report, went to the place of occurrence    and reached there at 2.30 p.m. Inspector Rajagopal (PW 13), on hearing about the occurrence at the bus stand, also went to     the place of occurrence. Inquest report relating to the dead body of the deceased was then prepared.     Dr. Sajid Pasha (PW 7) was thereafter sent for from Sendamangalam.     Dr. Pasha arrived     at the place of occurrence at 12.30 p.m. on March 14, 1970 and performed post mortem examination on the    dead body of Madhandi deceased.

Inspector Rajagopal arrested the accused, according to     the prosecution, at 5 a.m. on March 15, 1970 in a reserve forest about one mile from Seppangulam. The accused    then stated that he had kept ornaments and knife in the house of Chakravarthi (PW 9) and would get the same recovered.     The Inspector then went     with accused    to the     house     of Chakravarthi PW and from there recovered knife Ex. 1     and ornaments Exs.     2 to 8. The said ornaments    belonged to Madhandi deceased. The knife was taken into possession     and put into a, sealed parcel. The clothes which    the accused was wearing were got removed and put into a sealed parcel. The parcels were sent to Chemical Examiner, whose report showed that neither the knife nor the clothes of the accused were stained with blood.

625

At the trial the plea of     the accused    was denial simpliciter.According to the accused, the villagers came to know on the evening of March 12, 1470 that the deceased     had been murdered.    The accused along with the villagers went to the spot where the dead body of the deceased was lying and stayed    with them there during the night. On the following day, the accused was suspected by the villagers. They    gave him beating and tied him to; A tree.    Later on that    day, that is, March 13, 1970, the accused was taken to the police station     and kept there for two days.    The accused denied having    committed the murder of the deceased or     having     got recovered the    ornaments and the knife. No evidence     was produced in defence.

The learned Sessions Judge in convicting the accused relied upon the evidence of Kopia (PW 2), who had given eye witness account     of the occurrence, as well as the statement of Valanjiaraju (PW 1), who had been threatened by the accused with knife near the place of occurrence. Reliance was    also placed upon the recovery of knife and ornaments in pursuance of the     statement of the accused. The High Court agreed with the Sessions Judge and affirmed the conviction of     the accused.There can be no doubt that Madhandi deceased was the victim    of a 'brutal attack. Dr. Sajid Pasha, who performed post mortem examination on the dead body of Madhandi, found as many as 29 injuries on the body. Out of them, 24    were incised wounds and five were multiple abrasions. There    were a number of incised wounds on the face, neck, chest     and abdomen. The pinnas of the right and left ears had    been completely severed.Injuries were also found in the eyes     and laryngeal region. Death was     the result of different injuries, some     of which were    individually sufficient to cause death.    The case of the prosecution was that it     was the accused-appellant     who had caused the injuries to,Madhandi deceased. The accused has, however, denied    this allegation and has claimed that he has been falsely involved in this case on suspicion.

The trial court and the High Court have based the conviction of the accused-appellant, as stated earlier, primarily    upon the testimony of Kopia (PW 2) and Valanjiaraju (PW 1).    This Court does not normally reappraise evidence in an appeal under article 136 of the Constitution, but that fact would not prevent interference with an order of conviction if on consideration of the vital prosecution evidence in the case, this Court finds it to be afflicted with ex facie infirmity. There are in' the present case certain broad features of the prosecution story which create considerable doubt regarding the veracity of the aforesaid evidence, and. in our opinion, it would not be safe to maintain the conviction 626

on the     basis    of that evidence. According to Kopia     (PW 2), .the accused stabbed the deceased at about 2 p.m. Kopia raised alarm and immediately informed Valanjiaraju, who     was cutting     plants     at a distance of about 250 feet from     the place of occurrence.    Valanjiaraju and Kopia     then,    came towards the place where the    accused     had assaulted     the deceased, but    the accused threatened them    with knife. Valanjiaraju and Kopia thereupon went to the village abadi and informed the other villagers. Valanjiaraju     accompanied by other villagers then went to the place of occurrence     and found the dead body of Madhandi lying there with a number of injuries.

According to     document P. I    Valanjiaraju    made statement .about the occurrence to village munsif Muthuswami (PW 8)     at about 9 a.m. on March 13, 1970. Formal first information report on the basis of the above statement     was prepared at the police station at 11.45 a.m. The delay in lodging the report, according to the prosecution, was    due to the fact that Muthuswami PW was away to another village in connection with some collection work and he returned to his house at 10. 30 p.m. Muthuswami told Valanjiaraju    when the latter met him at night that he would     record     the satement only after having a look at the dead body on     the following morning.

It is    in the evidence of Valanjiaraju that the house of Muthuswami is    at a distance of three     furlongs from     the village of Valanjiaraju. Police station Valavanthi is    also at a    distance of three furlongs from the house     of Muthuswami. Assuming that Muthuswami PW was not found at his house till 10.30 p.m. on March 12, 1970 by Valanjiaraju, it is,     not clear as     to why     no report was lodged by Valanjiaraju at the police station. It is, in our opinion, most difficult to believe that even though the accused     had been seen at    2 p.m. committing the    murder    of Madhandi deceased and a large number of villagers had been told about it soon thereafter, no report about the occurrence could be lodged till the following day.    The police station was    less than two miles from the village of Valanjiaraju and Kopia and their failure to make a report to the police till     the following day    would tend to show that none of them     had witnessed the    occurrence. It     seems likely, as has    been stated on behalf of the accused, that the villagers came, to know of the death of Madhandi deceased on the     evening of March 12, 1970. They did not then know about     the actual assailant of the deceased, and on the following day, their suspicion fell on the accused and accordingly they involved him in this case. First information report in     a criminal case is an extremely vital and valuable piece    of evidence for the purpose of corroborating the oral evidence adduced at the trial. The importance of the above report can hardly be overestimated from the

627

standpoint of    the accused: The object     of insisting    upon prompt    lodging of the report to the police in respect     of commission of    an offence is to obtain early     information regarding the     circumstances    in which the     crime     was committed, the     names of the actual culprits and the    part played by them as well as names of eye witnesses present at the scene of occurrence. Delay in lodging the first     in- formation report quite often results in embellishment which is a creature of afterthought. On account of     delay,     the report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, danger    creeps in of the introduction of coloured version, exaggerated account or concocted story As a result of deliberation and consultation.    It is, therefore, essential that the delay in the lodging of the first information report    should be satisfactorily explained. In the present case, Kopia, daughter-in-law of Madhandi deceased, according to the prosecution case, was present when the accused    made murderous assault on the deceased. Valanjiaraju, stepson of the deceased, is also alleged to have arrived near the scene of occurrence on being told by Kopia. Neither of them,     nor any other villager, who is stated to have been     told about the occurrence by Valanjiaraju and Kopia, made any report at the police station for more     than 20 hours after     the occurrence, even though the police station is only two miles from the place of occurrence. The said circumstance, in our opinion, would     raise considerable doubt regarding     the veracity of the evidence of those two witnesses and point to an infirmity in that evidence as would render it unsafe to base the conviction of the accused-appellant upon it. As regards the alleged recovery of knife and ornaments at the instance of the accused, we find     that the evidence consists of statements of Inspector Rajagopal (PW 13),    Kati Goundar     (PW 6) and Chakravarthi (PW     9). According to Chakravarthi (PW 9), the accused handed over the ornaments in question to the witness when the accused came to     the house of the witness on the evening of March 12, 1970     and passed the night at the house.    The witness also found knife in the bed of the accused after he had left on the following day. According, however, to Kali Goundar (PW 6),     the accused, on interrogation by the Inspector of Police, stated that he had entrusted the ornaments to Thangam, wife of Chakravarthi (PW 9).    Apart from the    discrepancy on     the point as to whom was the person with whom the    accused     had kept the ornaments, we find that Thangam, with whom     the accused, according to Kali    Goundar     PW had kept     the ornaments, has not been examined as a witness.     In view-of the above statement of Kali Goundar, it was, in our opinion, essential for the prosecution to examine Thangam as a witness     and its failure to do so would make the Court draw an inference against the prosecution.

628

Ex. 1 in his bed in the house of Chakravarthi (PW 9) when he had ample opportunity to throw away the knife in some lonely place before arriving at the house of     Chakravarthi.     The knife in question was found by Chemical Examiner to be     not stained     with blood and according to the prosecution case, the accused had washed it before leaving it in the bed in the house of Chakravarthi. If the accused realised     the importance of doing away with the blood stains on the knife, it does not seem likely that he would bring that knife' to the house of Chakravarthi and leave it in the bed. Looking to all the circumstances, we are of the view that it is not possible to sustain the conviction of the accused on the evidence adduced. We accordingly accept the appeal,     set aside the conviction of the accused-appellant     and acquit him.

K.B.N.     Appeal allowed.

Re: Thulia Kali vs The State Of Tamil Nadu - FIR

First information Report
The basic purpose of filing FIR is to set the criminal law into motion and not to state all the minute details therein. The information under section 154 of Cr.P.C is generally known a s F.I.R though 'first is not used in the code. F.I.R is not the be all and end all of every criminal case and is not sunstantive evidence . It can be used only for limited purposes, like corroborating the maker thereof or as one of res-gestae or for being tendered in a proper case u/sec 32 (1) of Evidence Act or part of informant's conduct u/sec 8 of Evidence Act. (AIR 1963 AP 252).
http://www.legalservicesindia.com/artic … 126-1.html