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Speed should not be the only criteria for deciding rashness and negligence on the part of the driver: High Court of Tripura

Mere driving of a vehicle at a high speed or slow speed does not lead to an inference that negligent or rash driving had caused the accident resulting in injuries to the complainant. In fact, speed is no criteria to establish the fact of rash and negligent driving of a vehicle. This auspicious judgment was passed by The High Court in Tripura in the case of Sri Biswajit Ghosh vs The State of Tripura [Crl. Rev. P No.21/2019] by Honourable Justice S. G. Chattopadhyay

The facts of the case are a face-to-face collision took place between two motorbikes according to the informant, the motorbike drove by Amar Deb collided with the motorbike driven by Biswanit Ghosh which was coming from the opposite direction. As a result of such a collision between the motorbikes, drivers of both the motorbikes got seriously injured. It was alleged by the informant that the accident occurred as a result of the careless driving of the said motorbikes.

The Learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that the case was registered against both the drivers of the motorbikes involved in the accident. Since one of the accused has died, a charge sheet has been filed against the other accused. if the evidence is to believe, the accused cannot be held guilty because, they have given no evidence in support of rash and negligent driving and the materials available on record do not justify the convict and sentence of the accused of rash and negligent driving.

Learned counsel on the other hand contends that prosecution evidence with regard to the charge of rash and negligent driving against the accused is so consistent that the concurrent findings of the courts below do not call for any interference in revision. Learned counsel, therefore, urges for dismissal of the instant petition.

The court relied on the Apex Court in the case of State of Karnataka Vs Satish, it was held that “Merely because the truck was being driven at a “high speed” does not bespeak of either “negligence” or “rashness” by itself. None of the witnesses examined by the prosecution could give any indication, even approximately, as to what they meant by “high speed”. “High speed” is a relative term. It was for the prosecution to bring on record material to establish as to what is meant by “high speed” in the facts and circumstances of the case.”

The court opined that “the prosecution has failed to establish the charges of rash and negligent driving against the petitioner by adducing sufficient, convincing and reliable evidence. Resultantly, the revision petition stands allowed and the accused is acquitted of the charges brought against him.”

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The court cannot doubt oral deposition made by natural witnesses who were present during the scene of the crime: High Court of Sikkim

Natural witnesses who were present at the time of the relevant events gave oral depositions. Except for the fact that the defense had not been able to prove the weapon of offence, their testimony cannot be questioned. This auspicious judgment was passed by The High Court Sikkim in the case Sudeep Rai vs. State of Sikkim [Crl. A. No. 01 of 2020] of by Honourable Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan.

The FIR was lodged by Sandeep Rai alleging that Randip Rai was hit on the head by his brother, the appellant, using a hammer and that he had been admitted to the Mangalbaria hospital. It was also asserted that he was hit on the verandah of his house. As per the prosecution, Randip Rai succumbed to his injuries. The investigation was conducted by the Police Inspector, who, on the closure of the investigation filed the charge-sheet dated alleging that an offence under section 302 IPC had been made out.

The learned counsel for the appellant submits that there are no eyewitnesses in the present case and therefore, it is a case based on circumstantial evidence. Further, it was submitted that the circumstantial evidence has not been proved in the manner required and there are broken links in the chain of circumstances.

The learned counsel on the other hand submits that the learned Sessions Judge had rightly convicted the appellant. He pointed out the various circumstances taken note of by the learned Sessions Judge in the impugned judgment and submitted that each of these circumstances was proved beyond reasonable doubt and they form an unbroken chain of circumstances leading to the only hypothesis that it is the appellant and the appellant alone who is guilty of the offence.

The court relied on The Supreme Court Judgment State of U.P. vs. Dr Ravindra Prakash Mittal wherein, it was held that “the essential ingredients to prove the guilt of an accused by circumstantial evidence are: (a) the circumstances from which the conclusion is drawn should be fully proved; (b) the circumstances should be conclusive in nature; (c) all the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of guilt and inconsistent with innocence; (d) the circumstances should to a moral certainty, exclude the possibility of guilt of any person other than the accused.”

While dismissing the petition court opined that “the oral depositions have been made by natural witnesses who were present during the relevant time. Their evidence cannot be doubted except for the fact that the prosecution had not been able to prove the weapon of offence.”

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It is necessary that the matters alleged to be defamatory must be stated in the complaint: High Court of Tripura

It is the obligation upon the complainant, at least to reproduce the substance of defamatory statements or words of imputation in gist alleged to have been uttered to enable the accused to know the nature of the allegations that he has to meet in trial. This was held in Sri Subal Kumar Dey V. Sri Gora Chakraborty & Ors[CRL REV. P NO.02 OF 2018] in the High Court of Tripura by single bench consisting of JUSTICE ARINDAM LODH.

Facts are that Petitioner was charged under S.500/501 IPC. The petitioner has thus filed criminal revision petition challenging the order passed by the learned Sessions, affirming the judgment passed by the learned SDJM, wherein the petitioner was sentenced to a fine for the offenses under Section 500/ 502(b) IPC.

The counsel for petitioner contended that there is nothing in detail in the averments, in the complaint or in the sole statement with reference to the imputation. Both the Courts below have failed to appreciate that ingredients of Section 499 Cr.P.C.were not met.

The counsel for respondent contended that there is no need to reproduce the contents of imputation published  and prayed for upholding the judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed by the Sessions court.

The court discussed the essentials requirements for a trial for defamation and made reference to the Apex court judgment in Balraj Khanna vs. Motiram, where in the court had held that, “The purpose or object will be served if the complainant is able to reproduce in his complaint or evidence in a substantial measure the words of imputation alleged to have been uttered. If the statements or the words placed before the Court by the complainant are held to be not defamatory, it will mean that the complainant will have to lose. Therefore, it is to his interest to get a proper adjudication from the Court that as far as possible the words spoken or the statements actually made and which h e alleges to be defamatory are before the Court. … From the point of view of accused also it is necessary that the matters alleged to be defamatory in the complaint must be so stated as to enable the accused to know the nature of the allegations that they have to meet.”

The court also referred to the judgement of Konath Madhavi Amma vs S.M. Sherief And Anr., wherein the Kerala High Court had made following observations, “in the absence of the imputation constituting the offense of defamation in the complaint, the Court cannot enter the complaint on defamation as the mere allegations contained in the complaint without imputation would not be sufficient for the accused as he is entitled to know about the imputation to face the charge.”

Considering the facts of the case and settled proposition of law the Court held,  that the complainant did not make any effort to rectify the defect in the complaint by way of incorporating the imputation alleged to have been made by the accused in his newspaper. Thus he deprived accused of knowledge about the actual cause of action and to defend himself properly. The court set aside the order of sessions judge and allowed the revision petition.

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In case of acquittal by Trial Court, there is double presumption in favour of the accused: High Court of Tripura

Unless there are substantial and compelling reason, judgment of acquittal cannot be overturned. An appellate court, is not open to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the learned Trial Judge unless such findings reached by him suffer from perversity or incompetence on his part. This was held in Kripesh Sabdakar V. The State of Tripura & Ors[CRL.A 12 OF 2018] in the High Court of Tripura by division bench consisting of JUSTICE MR. AKIL KURESHI and JUSTICE ARINDAM LODH.

Facts are that the appellant had lodged a complaint against assault of his nephew by the respondents. Appeal under S.378(4) of the Criminal CrPC read with S.372 of CrPC had been filed by the appellant against order of acquittal by the learned Sessions Judge.

The counsel for the appellant submitted that the learned Sessions Judge ought to have believed the eye witnesses. He Further argued that the discrepancies in the statements of the prosecution witnesses were minor in nature and should be discarded by the court and there was imminent clear common intention on the part of the accused persons to kill the deceased.

The counsel for respondent contended the prosecution failed to prove the actual place of occurrence of the alleged crime. He further contended that prosecution failed to prove that any of the related witnesses sustained injuries on their persons, and injury reports were produced before the court.

The court discussed the law on the appeal against acquittal and the scope and ambit of Section 378 of CrPC and made reference to the Apex court judgment in Chandrappa & Ors. Vrs. The State of Karnataka, where in the court had held that, “(4) An appellate court, however, must bear in mind that in case of acquittal, there is double presumption in favour of the accused. Firstly, the presumption of innocence is available to him under the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused having secured his acquittal, the presumption of his innocence is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the trial court.”

The court also referred to the judgement of Ghurey Lal v. State of U.P, wherein the following observations were made, “In dealing with the cases in which the trial courts have acquitted the accused, should bear in mind that the trial court’s acquittal bolsters the presumption that he is innocent. The appellate court must give due weight and consideration to the decision of the trial court as the trial court had the distinct advantage of watching the demeanour of the witnesses, and was in a better position to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses.”

Considering that there were material contradictions and discrepancies in the prosecution’s case and keeping in mind the settled proposition of law on the subject. The Court held that, the findings arrived at by the learned trial Judge could not be said to be perverse and there was no good and compelling circumstances to overturn the judgment of acquittal of accused persons on benefit of doubt.

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The document is Unreliable and the Document does not Bind the Person are Different Concepts: Supreme Court of India

The signatures in the translated copy do not tally with the Urdu copy is not sufficient reason to hold the surrender letter as unreliable as the translation can be incorrect but the correctness of the document in had not been disputed. This auspicious judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India in the case of Kiran Devi vs. The Bihar State Sunni Wakf Board & ors. [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6149 OF 2015] by The Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The present appeal was filed challenging an order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Patna whereby a writ petition was filed, holding that the Karta was not competent to surrender the tenancy rights in favour. The basis of such declaration by plaintiff was that, the great grandfather of the plaintiff, predeceased his brother who died issueless and his widow predeceased him. The brother handed over the possession of the hotel business to his nephew, the grandfather of the plaintiff. After his death, succeeded to tenancy as members of the Joint Hindu Family. On account of disputes over the management, the hotel was closed and it remain closed for several years. It was the plaintiff who wanted to resume the hotel business in the premises in question and thus communicated with the Wakf Board to continue the hereditary tenancy of the shop as Karta in his name. The cause of action was stated to arise when the plaintiff’s grandfather along with others broke the lock of the suit premises and removed the belongings available in the shop. The judgment of the Tribunal was set aside High Court and also a direction was issued to dispossess the appellant from the suit premises and to handover the vacant possession of the suit premises to the plaintiff.

The court opinioned that, “the petition styled as one under Article 226 would not bar the High Court to exercise jurisdiction under the Act and/or under Article 227 of the Constitution. The jurisdiction of the High Court to examine the correctness, legality and propriety of determination of any dispute by the Tribunal is reserved with the High Court. The nomenclature of the proceedings as a petition under Article 226 or a petition under Article 227 is wholly inconsequential and immaterial.”

The appeal was allowed by the court stating that, “Merely for the reason that signatures in the translated copy do not tally with the Urdu copy is not sufficient to hold the surrender letter as unreliable as the translation can be incorrect but the correctness of the document in has not been disputed by the executor or by the acceptor and on the basis of the statement of the plaintiff who is not a party to such transaction. It is one thing to say that the document is unreliable and another to say that the document does not bind the plaintiff. The document was validly proved and accepted by the Wakf Board. Therefore, the act of surrender of tenancy was for the benefit of the Joint Hindu family.”

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