The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed against a verdict of the Patna High Court modifying the conviction and sentence awarded to a man from life term to five years in a 38-year-old case in which a person had died after he had sustained injuries in a scuffle over grazing of crops.
A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit, which observed that assessment made by the high court was "perhaps on a liberal side", refused to interfere with the August 2019 judgement. "We, therefore, see no reason to interfere with the judgement and order passed by the high court. Consequently, the instant appeal is dismissed," the bench, also comprising Justices S R Bhat and Bela M Trivedi, said in its December 14 order.
The apex court passed the order while hearing the appeal filed by the convict against the high court verdict. The petitioner and some other accused were convicted by a trial court in Bihar for the offences, including that of murder, and were sentenced to life imprisonment in the case. They had thereafter moved the high court challenging the trial court verdict. The high court, in its judgement, altered the conviction of one of the accused for the alleged offence punishable under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code to section 304 Part 1 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and sentenced him to a five-year jail.
All the other accused were acquitted by the high court. The convict approached the top court challenging the judgement of the high court. The apex court observed that acquittal of other accused is not under challenge and has attained finality. "We are thus concerned in this appeal by the appellant with regard to the correctness of the conviction and sentence recorded against him under section 304 Part-I of the IPC and whether he is entitled to acquittal like the other accused," the bench noted in its order.
It noted that according to the medical evidence on record, the person had suffered four injuries and the first injury, which was a head injury, finally proved to be fatal. "In the circumstances, the assessment made by the high court was perhaps on a liberal side but in any case, does not call for any interference in this appeal preferred by the appellant," the bench said. According to the prosecution, the incident had happened in February 1983 when a scuffle took place over the issue of grazing of crops. As per the prosecution, one of the persons sustained injuries and during the course of investigation, he died.
-With PTI Inputs