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Injuries Not Sufficient To Cause Death

The golden rule in criminal cases is to prefer the probable to the possible. In the court's view, since the doctor stated that, in the normal course, the injuries found on the person of the deceased could not have caused his death, and a perusal of the injuries of the deceased also leads to the same inference, it would be safer to hold that no offense under Section 302 IPC read with Section 149 IPC would be made out against the respondents.

The trial court rightly held that the common object of the respondents was to cause grievous hurt to the deceased, and since their common object was to cause grievous hurt, only an offense under Section 325 R/W 149 IPC would be made out against the respondents.

For the said reasons, in the court's view, there was no merit in either criminal appeal. The acquittal of the respondents for the offense under Section 325 R/W Section 149 IPC should not be set aside, and they should not be held guilty for the offense under Section 302 read with Section 149 IPC. Additionally, in the court's view, there was no merit in the second prayer made in the aforementioned Criminal Revision Application, namely that the sentence of the respondents for the offense under Section 325 R/W 149 IPC be enhanced.

The court reached this conclusion not only because the grievous injuries sustained by the deceased related to non-vital parts of his body and it had not been specified by the eyewitnesses as to which of the seven respondents were responsible for causing them, but also because 16 years had elapsed since the incident took place, and there was nothing to indicate that the respondents had any criminal antecedents or adverse criminal history.

Apart from the above, the court also bore in mind the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in paragraph 15 of the oft-quoted case Bed Raj v. State of U.P. In that paragraph, it was held that the question of sentence is primarily a question for the trial court, and unless the direction has been capriciously exercised and the sentence awarded is manifestly inadequate, the appellate court would not be justified in enhancing it.

When the said ratio is applied to the facts of the case, the sentence awarded to the respondents cannot be stigmatized as manifestly inadequate and consequently does not warrant enhancement.

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