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Dacoity, criminal appeal of convict dismissed, trial court judgment upheld

August 2, 2018



Dacoity, appeal by convict dismissed by Supreme Court

A Bench of Judges, Justice N V Ramana and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer have allowed the Criminal Appeal filed by the convict in Raju Manhi V. State of Bihar, Criminal Appeal No. 1333 of 2009. This appeal has been filed against the judgment and order of the High Court of Madras dated 27.09.2013 and dismissed the criminal appeal filed by the convict and said that Failure to hold a test identification parade would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in Court.

The facts of the case are:

In the intervening night of 11th and 12th January, 1999 a group of assailants consisting 10 to 12 persons including the appellant herein, all aged between 20 to 25 years, barged into the house of one Kamdeo Singh of the village Banbareya, P.S. Moffasil, District Gaya and decamped with golden ornaments, pants and cash. In the protest by the inmates of the house, the assailants caused injuries to Kamdeo Singh, his father-in-law Kameshwar Singh, son Niraj Kumar (PW2), wife Sita Devi and daughter-in-law Reena Devi. The stolen items include golden bangle, golden rings, cash of Rs.5,000/- and altogether the worth of stolen property would be Rs.25,000/-. At about 2 am in the night, Kamdeo Singh lodged a complaint with the Moffasil police, on the basis of which a case under Section 395/412, IPC was registered against unknown persons. Zamil Ashgar (PW10)-Officer incharge of the Muffasil P.S. took up the investigation and rushed to the place of occurrence. He recorded statement (Ext. 4) of Kamdeo Singh (PW3), prepared injury reports in respect of the inmates of the house and sent them to hospital for treatment. As the injured Kameshwar Singh had succumbed to the injuries, charged under Section 396, IPC was replaced for the offence under Section 395, IPC against the accused. In the course of further investigation, police arrested some of the accused, recorded their statements, recovered some money from them. Out of the six accused persons charged with the offence, one Rameshwari Manjhi @ Umeshwari Manjhi has been declared as absconder. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to have been implicated falsely, therefore, wanted to be tried. At the trial, the prosecution in support of its case examined as many as eleven witnesses. Relying upon the incriminating material as well as depositions and confessional statements of the accused, the trial Court came to the conclusion that the prosecution could prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the trial Court convicted the accused for the offence punishable under Section 396, IPC and sentenced them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life and also to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- each, failing which to further suffer rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months.

All the aggrieved accused persons, including the appellant herein, carried the matter by way of separate appeals before the High Court. By an elaborate judgment which is impugned herein, the High Court dismissed the appeal affirming the conviction and sentence awarded by the trial Court. That is how the accused Raju Manjhi is in appeal before us.

The court observed that As regards the claim of appellant that non-identification of the accused by the witness would not substantiate the prosecution case, admittedly no prosecution witness has identified the accused-appellant which does not mean that the prosecution case against the accused is on false footing.



As a general rule, identification tests do not constitute substantive evidence. The purpose of identification test is only to help the investigating agency as to whether the investigation into the offence is proceeding in a right direction or not. In our view, non-identification of the appellant by any prosecution witness would not vitiate the prosecution case. It is evident from the confessional statement of the accused that at the time of occurrence he and another accused Rampati Manjhi were guarding outside the informant's house while other accused were committing dacoity inside. We do not think that there is any justification to the argument that as none of the prosecution witnesses could be able to identify the appellant, he cannot be termed as accused. In our view, such non identification would not be fatal to the prosecution case in the given facts and circumstances.

While dismissing the appeal Supreme Court said that "In view of the foregoing discussion and having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case we have no hesitation to conclude that the prosecution has proved the case against the accused-appellant beyond all reasonable doubts. We, therefore, find no infirmity or illegality in the impugned judgment passed by the High Court. Consequently, the appeal preferred by the accused being bereft of any substance, the same stands dismissed."



Read the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in Raju Manhi V. State of Bihar, Criminal Appeal No. 1333 of 2009 dated 02.8.2018



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