Shahid Khan vs. State Of Rajasthan
In The Supreme Court of India
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction
Criminal Appeal No. 1460 Of 2008
Criminal Appeal No. 1461 of 2008
Criminal Appeal No. 1462 Of 2008
Ashok Kumar looked after the factory of Kota Stones. The contract of the royalty of toll tax was obtained by Abdul Khalid in which Ashok Kumar was also a partner. However, Khalid was arrested for committing the murder of a person named Kallu in which Ashok gave assistance to Khalid. Making it a highlight, the companions of Kallu came to the factory and murdered Ashok Kumar. In the meanwhile, Mirza Majid Beg came from Kota to meet Ashok. And Mirza Majid happens to be Khalid’s father-in-law. Mirza Majid and his driver saw the occurrence where Ashok was being attacked. Both of them hid in the factory due to fear. Ashok’s brother took him to the hospital with the help of Maruti vehicle wherein reaching hospital he was declared dead. The Doctor who conducted an autopsy on his body contended that he died due to hemorrhagic shock.
After being done with the investigation, all the five accused-appellants were presented in the Sessions Court where they were declared guilty. Four accused were guilty of all the charges, but only one accused was not guilty of all the charge. Aggrieved by the sentences and imprisonment, all the four accused preferred an appeal to the High Court where during the pendency of the case one of the accused died hence, his abated. The High Court, however, dismissed the appeal preferred by the accused.
Was the evidence checked by the Sessions Court and the High Court genuine and corroborated as the entire case revolves around the eye-witnesses?
The Appellant’s side:
The Senior Advocate of the appellants stated that Mirza Majid and his driver who claimed to witness the occurrence are actually chance witnesses since their presence at the place is doubtful mainly because of three major reasons:
- They did not inform the relatives of the deceased when it happened.
- They did not file any police complaint.
- Their statements were recorded after 3 days of the occurrence.
Further on, it was contended that Mirza Majid falsely implicated the appellants because Khalid, his son-in-law was tried for committing the murder of Kallu and in the said case one of the accused gave evidence against him as a prosecution witness, resulting in conviction. Therefore, the sentences imposed on the appellants were not at all sustainable.
The Respondent’s side:
The presence of the eye-witnesses at the time of occurrence is established rightly which has been correctly relied upon by the Courts for convicting the appellants and so, the judgment is sustainable.
Facts disclosed in the Supreme Court:
(i)One of the witnesses on the occurrence did not support the prosecution case.
(ii) Mirza Majid stated that he reached the factory driven by his driver in the Maruti vehicle to meet Ashok. They both halted for 5-10 minutes at the toll post and went to meet Ashok in the factory where they heard the cries of the accused. They got down from the vehicle, ran inside, hid in the factory and then ran away from the said place to toll post where they did not found their vehicle and so boarded onto the truck to go to the hospital.
(iii)While reaching the hospital, both of them saw their car at the hospital and drove back to Kota.
(iv)Ashok’s brother Anil Kumar along with two of the witness rushed to the occurrence place but while investigation they did not state that they saw Mirza Majid and his driver.
(v)Anil Kumar and two other witnesses lifted the injured Ashok and put him in Maruti vehicle.
When the complaint was filed, the names of the assailants were not mentioned also, the names of the witnesses at the occurrence was not mentioned.
(vi)Mirza Majid accepted his car was used for shifting the injured but he did not help Ashok’s brother and the other two people in shifting.
(vii)There was no record at all to show that the vehicle used for shifting Ashok belonged to Mirza Majid.
Mirza Majid admitted that he has a criminal history and two cases under NDPS Act were imposed on him and he was also bound down under Sec.110 Cr.P.C.
Approach of the Supreme Court:
The statements made by Mirza Majid and his driver were being relied upon and also it was taken into consideration as to why their statements were recorded 3 days later the incidence. The Court made a point which made to question as to how the police came to know that the witnesses saw the occurrence. Also, the delay in recording the statements cast a serious doubt. The Court further stated that the delaying of statements did not appear to be wholly reliable witnesses. There is no corroboration of their evidence from any other independent sources either. They found it absolutely unsafe to reply on the evidence as to uphold the conviction and sentence of the appellants. The High Court has failed to advert the contentions raised by the appellants and re-appreciate the evidence thereby resulting in a miscarriage of justice. Therefore, according to their view, the case has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The conviction and sentences of the appellants are set aside. Hence, the appellants are on bail and their bail bonds shall stand discharged.
Case Brief prepared by Maheshwari