Chaitu Gowala and Anothe Versus The State of Assam

Chaitu Gowala and Anothe Versus The State of Assam

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



 REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 325 OF 2020
Chaitu Gowala and Another …Appellants
Versus
The State of Assam …Respondent
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and
order dated 04.12.2018 passed by the Division Bench of the Gauhati High
Court in Criminal Appeal No. 62/2013, by which the High Court has dismissed
the said appeal and has confirmed the conviction of the appellants herein –
Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari - original accused Nos. 2 & 1 respectively,
convicting them for the offences under Sections 302/392/148/323/149 IPC and
sentencing them to undergo life imprisonment, original accused Nos. 2 & 1–
Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari respectively have preferred the present appeal.
 2
2. The appellants herein along with other co-accused (70 in numbers) were
tried for the offences under Sections 302/392/148/323/149 IPC for having
committed the murder of one Rupak Kumar Gogoi, Managing Director of the
Company in which the accused persons were working. At the relevant time,
the appellants herein were the President and Secretary of the Union. The
prosecution examined PW3, PW4 and PW6 as eye witnesses who had
identified the appellants and others accused. On conclusion of the trial and on
appreciation of evidence, the trial Court acquitted 57 accused, however,
convicted 13 accused including the appellants herein for the aforesaid
offences and sentenced them to life imprisonment and also awarded different
sentences for other offences. That the conviction of the thirteen accused
including the appellants herein came to be confirmed by the High Court, by
the impugned judgment and order.
2.1 In all, six accused filed the present appeal/special leave petition.
However, by order dated 25.03.2019, the special leave petition qua petitioner
Nos. 3 to 6 came to be dismissed. Therefore, the present appeal is for the
remaining accused, namely, Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari – original accused
Nos. 2 & 1 respectively.
3. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the accused has vehemently
submitted that as such there is no evidence against the appellants that they
caused any injury to the deceased and/or participated in commission of the
offences for which they are convicted. It is submitted that in fact the
3
appellants were there as office bearers of the Union and when the talks were
 going on, the labourers gathered and attacked. It is submitted that in fact the
appellants tried to control the situation, however, the mob attacked the
deceased – Managing Director who succumbed to the injuries. It is submitted
that there is no evidence that the appellants herein even instigated the mob.
It is submitted that even considering the deposition of the eye witnesses as it
is, it cannot be said that the appellants have committed any offence for which
they are convicted, more particularly Section 302 IPC. Learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the appellants has taken us to the deposition of the
relevant witnesses.
4. On the other hand, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State
while opposing the present appeal has submitted that it has come on record
from the deposition of eye witnesses PW3, PW4 and PW6 that the appellants
who were the office bearers came out when the mob came and then they
spoke something in their own language. It is submitted that therefore the
appellants are rightly convicted with the aid of Section 149 IPC. Learned
counsel appearing on behalf of the State has taken us to the deposition of
PW3, PW4 and PW6.
5. We have heard learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respective
parties at length. We have gone through in detail the judgment and order
passed by the trial Court as well as the impugned judgment and order passed
4
by the High Court. We have also considered in detail the deposition of the
relevant witnesses, more particularly PW3, PW4 and PW6, who were the eye
witnesses. On considering deposition of the eye witnesses, nothing is
forthcoming that the appellants caused any injury on the deceased and/or
participated in any manner in commission of the offences for which they are
convicted. If the entire evidence and the deposition of the eye witnesses are
scanned, it appears that in fact the appellants were present there as office
bearers of the Union. There were some disputes with respect to wages. Even
as per the deposition of PW3, on being called, the appellants entered into the
office room but soon both of them came out and told the assembled labourers
that the Managing Director would distribute their dues and asked them to go to
the place where dues were to be distributed. Despite the same, the labourers
protested that they would not accept anything other than the full dues and they
started shouting. The other labourers – co-accused snatched the carbine of
the PSO and to that the deceased – Managing Director asked the appellant –
Chaitu Gowala as to why the weapon of PW3 was snatched, he being a public
servant. It has come on record that on this, the appellant – Chaitu Gowala
told something to the labourers in their own language following which the
labourers became very agitated. Nothing is on record what was uttered by the
accused – Chaitu Gowala. Therefore, in absence of any concrete evidence
that the appellants attacked and/or caused any injury to the deceased and/or
5
even the PSO and in absence of any evidence what was uttered by the
appellants – accused in their own language and in absence of any evidence
that the appellants instigated the labourers – others co-accused, we are of the
opinion that the appellants cannot be convicted for the offence under Section
302 IPC with the aid of Section 149 IPC. We are of the firm view that the
conviction of the appellants, namely, Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari for the
offences for which they are convicted is unsustainable.
6. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court qua the appellants herein and
that of the trial Court convicting the appellants Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari
for the offences under Sections 302/392/148/323/149 IPC are hereby quashed
and set aside. However, the impugned judgment of the High Court and that of
the trial Court convicting the other accused are already confirmed. The
appellants herein – Chaitu Gowala son of Karma Gowalla and Ajay Ahari son
of Late Samro Ahari, original accused Nos. 2 & 1 respectively are hereby
acquitted for the offences for which they were tried and convicted. They be
released forthwith, if not required in any other case.
7. The instant appeal is allowed accordingly.
………………………………..J.
[M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; …………………………………J.
SEPTEMBER 07, 2022. [KRISHNA MURARI]
ITEM NO.1501 COURT NO.8 SECTION II
(For Judgment)
 S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
 RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Criminal Appeal No. 325/2020
CHAITU GOWALA & ANR. Appellant(s)
 VERSUS
THE STATE OF ASSAM Respondent(s)
Date : 07-09-2022 This matter was called on for pronouncement of
judgment today.
For Appellant(s) Mr. Manish Goswami, Adv.
 Mr. Rameshwar Prasad Goyal, AOR

For Respondent(s) Mr. Debojit Borkakati, AOR
Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.R. Shah has pronounced the reportable
judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and Hon’ble Mr.
Justice Krishna Murari.
The operative part of the signed reportable judgment reads as
under-
“In view of the above and for the reasons stated
above, the impugned judgment and order passed by the
High Court qua the appellants herein and that of the
trial Court convicting the appellants Chaitu Gowala
and Ajay Ahari for the offences under Sections
302/392/148/323/149 IPC are hereby quashed and set
aside. However, the impugned judgment of the High
Court and that of the trial Court convicting the other
accused are already confirmed. The appellants herein
– Chaitu Gowala son of Karma Gowalla and Ajay Ahari
son of Late Samro Ahari, original accused Nos. 2 & 1
respectively are hereby acquitted for the offences for
which they were tried and convicted. They be released
forthwith, if not required in any other case.
The instant appeal is allowed accordingly.”
Pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.
(NEETU SACHDEVA) (NISHA TRIPATHI)
ASTT. REGISTRAR-cum-PS ASSISTANT REGISTRAR
(signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)

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