Virupakshaiah vs. State of Karnataka & Ors
In The Supreme Court of India
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction
Criminal Appeal No. 640 Of 2012
Declared on: February 12th, 2016.
Pinaki Chandra Ghose, J.
Sheikh Hussain Sab and his colleague Basavna Gouda were working as Security Guards in the Aqua Mineral Factory. While taking food they heard bang sound from outside and immediately went out and saw a Jeep dashed against a Car in front of the Aqua Minerals. They saw four unknown persons pulling out two inmates from a Car and assaulted their head, face and hand with sharp-edged weapons, causing heavy blood injuries. However, after committing the act, the four people drove away. Both inmates of the car unfortunately died. One of the inmates was Bhimaneni Kondaiah and another was named Pavadappa. Soon, the FIR was filed by Hussain Sab in one of the nearest Police Station. After further investigation, charge sheet was filed against 12 accused and they were charged heavily with the offences.
Approach of the Trial Court & the High Court:
The Trial Court convicted all the accused for hatching a conspiracy and therefore, in furtherance of the conspiracy for killing the deceased and his driver and sentenced them to life imprisonment. Other shorter sentences for other offences too, were imposed by the Trial Court. The motive believed by the Trial Court was to avenge the death of four relatives of the accused, six months ago which was believed to be committed by the deceased Bhimaneni. Aggrieved by the judgment passed by the Trial Court, the accused further moved to the High Court where the Court too acquitted the accused of all the charges. However, the High Court believed that there was no positive evidence to prove the conspiracy.
The judgment passed by the High Court was challenged. Also, the discussion of the act committed was a conspiracy or not was still prevalent.
The Appellant’s side:
The Counsel for the appellant made various submissions based on the Trial Court judgment wherein, he contended that 4 of his witnesses have actually stated the number of persons present as well as the individual act committed by each respondent. Also, the further evidence of weapon and the car is not to be overlooked, since they play a pivotal role too.
And finally, above all the evidence of conspiracy has been established by individual witness.
The Respondent’s side:
The Counsel for the respondent put forward his submissions by stating that, the four witnesses pointed out by the appellant were not the material eye- witnesses and they have either not seen the incidence or they came to the spot after the incident occurred. Finally, above all, he contended that there is no iota of evidence to prove that it was an alleged conspiracy.
Approach of the Supreme Court:
The case totally revolved around the testimonies of the eye- witnesses, the existence of the conspiracy and the recovery of alleged weapons. There were 71 witnesses overall. The Court, further stated that two of the witnesses i.e.; Hussain Sab & Gouda saw the incident on the spot, and in their statements before the court, both of them made material additions and stated that there were eight assailants, but none of the witnesses could identify the accused. Therefore, there exist grave material alterations in the testimonies of the witnesses of other witnesses. The Last witness stated that when he reached the place of incidence there was no such thing as blockage or a huge gathering of people. Another evidence is the recovery of weapons. The High Court has thoroughly considered the recoveries and then further disbelieved them. Though the Forensic Science Laboratory Report was to be filed, it will not come to the aid of the prosecution as the recovery was not established. And also, the number of assailants in the case was doubtful since the beginning. Another aspect of this prosecution is the conspiracy. The cultivators of the respondent had prior plans to leave their place of cultivation. So, other witnesses were produced to testify about the conspiracy. Certain witnesses did accept it was a conspiracy while some of them did not clearly state about it. However, this evidence failed to hold any veracity as it seemed quite unnatural.
As the Supreme Court found no substantial reason to interfere with impugned judgment passed by the High Court the appeals are dismissed.