When, all the accused persons share common object, their conviction and sentencing can also be common for punishment.
Criminal Appeal No. 2147 of 2009
Bench: Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar; Justice C. Nagappan
Case Brief: In the facts of the case the accused person’s cattle caused damage to the Kundri Plants, and deceased person drew away his cattle and this has led to the gang attack upon the deceased person. The Prosecution witness no. 2- informant lodge a written complaint and registered FIR on the same day. After investigation, the police personnel filed charge sheet and the Trial court- Court of Sessions framed the charges and conducted the trial. And thereafter in result, the Trial court convicted seven accused persons (accused no. 1 to 5 and 10 and 25) and sentenced to undergo Rigorous imprisonment for 10 years each with fine of Rs. 1000 each with default clause to undergo further Rigorous imprisonment for 6 months each for their conviction under section 364/149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, also sentenced to undergo Rigorous imprisonment for 1 year each for conviction under section 148 of the Code, and further to undergo Rigorous imprisonment for 1 year each for conviction under section 324/ 149 of the code. Moreover, the High Court of Calcutta in an appeal also confirmed the conviction and sentence. Notably, all the 28 accused in that case were tried for offences under sections 148, 364/149, 302/149 and 307/ 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Out of these convicted accused, three (accused no. 2, 3 and 4) were died during the pendency of the appeal. Now, remaining four against preferred appeal before the Apex Court, where this bench after analysing the facts and circumstances in the case and observed that the case of prosecution shows that the accused armed with deadly weapons indulged in rioting and abducted deceased from his residence and murdered him. However, as per Trial Court, as the murder was taken place in the house of one of the accused, no dead body was found despite vigorous search, and hence the Trial court found no evidence to prove charge of murder. Further, this bench observed that in the facts of the decision of the lower courts, the testimony of two eye- witnesses were found to be credible and those witnesses had not named some of the accused in their testimonies, as such those remaining accused were acquitted. It was seen that the prosecution was required to establish two issues that whether the appellants were present and whether they shared a common object. Thus, it is finally observed by the bench that right from the beginning i.e. from the point from when the accused assembled, till the abduction of the deceased they shared common object of assembly at all stages, thus the High Court was correct in confirming the said decision of the Trial Court. And as such the bench has dismissed the appeal.
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