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Shekhar Amonkar-vs-State on 1 January, 1994

Bombay High Court Shekhar Amonkar-vs-State on 1 January, 1994
Equivalent citations:II (1994) DMC 486
Author: G Kamat
Bench: G Kawat, A Halbe

JUDGMENT

G.D. Kamat, J.

1. Being aggrieved by the conviction for offences punishable under Sections 478-A, 306, 323 and 506 (Part II) of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced for three years and a fine of Rs. 1,000/- under the first count, three years and a fine of Rs. 1,000/- on the second count, Rigorous Imprisonment for two months under the third count and Rigorous Imprisonment for six months under the fourth count, recorded by the Additional Sessions Judge, Panaji, in Sessions Case No. 46/92, the appellant has preferred this appeal inter alia contending that the prosecution evidence comprises of the evidence of close relations of the deceased; that the said evidence is a tainted evidence of interested witnesses; that the said evidence is not supported by any medical evidence and in that light of the matter the entire story canvassed on behalf of the posecution appears to be suspicious and accordingly, the conviction should be set aside, the appeal should be allowed and the appellant should be acquitted of all the charges and set at liberty waiving the sentence. We may here indicate that, the learned Additional Sessions Judge has made the substantive sentence to run consecutively and in view of this the matter is put up before the Division Bench.

2. Against these arguments on behalf of the appellant the learned Public Prosecutor has contended that if the evidence is examined from another angle, the conviction of the appellant under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is rendered inevitable and acquittal cannot be granted. He has also contended that the conviction under other Sections is warranted but even if on deciphering the prosecution evidence it is found that the conviction under the other Sections is not warranted, the conviction under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code should not be tampered with by this Court. He has further urged that the evidence of the close relations is the natural evidence since the relations of the deceased were close-door neighbours of the appellant and even if the evidence of neighbours not related to the deceased does not support the prosecution, there is no reason whatsoever to hold that the evidence of relations should be discarded solely on the ground that they are close relatives. These rival arguments shall have to be scrutinized in the background of the facts which have been canvassed on behalf of the prosecution and further the evidence led on behalf of the prosecution.

The deceased Sheila, alias Sonia Amonkar, was the daughter of Smt. Chandravati Naik. The deceased Sheila married the appellant/accused and it is claimed by the prosecution that it was a love marriage and there was no objection from the family of the deceased about this marriage. Only the father of the appellant did not like this wedlock. The marriage certificate on record shows that the marriage took place on 12th May, 1991. The initiale period witnesses the cordial relationship between husband and wife, but with the passage of time it seems that those relations became strained inasmuch as there was continuous physical harassment by the appellant to his wife Sheila. The continued harassment and cruelty inflicted by the appellant on the deceased culminated in Sonia committing suicide on 1st May, 1992, during the night hours.. Incidentally, we may refer to the F.I.R. which has been duly proved by the prosecution witness Rekha Naik, P.W. 5, The F.I.R. has been exhibited 5/A and it was lodged on 2nd May, 1992, at about 1.30 a.m. The story which has been depicted in this F.I.R. is that Rekha, the sister of the deceased had been residing at Shelpem, Duler, with her mother and brothers. According to the complaint, the appellant was addicted to drink and on 30th April, 1 992, the appellant had assaulted the deceased Sheila and Sheila talked about this assault to her (Reka) and other relations. Dilating on the incident of 1st May, 1992, the story of Rekha is that since this was happening she was indoors alongwith her mother. It does not seem to be in dispute that the appellant and the deceased have been residing in a part of the same premises at a very short distance. In view of this, Rekha has tried to say that on that day at about 1.30 p.m. the appellant and Dattaram Harmalkar, P.W. 8, were sitting in the house and were drinking liquor. Dattaram left the house after sometime and it is claimed by Rekha that the appellant Shekhar started assaulting her sister Sheila. She saw for herself from the entrance door that the appellant started giving kicks to Sheila alias Sonia. Not only that, he gave slaps to the deceased and her sister therefore cried out and rushed out of the house shouting that the appellant was assaulting her. Shekher chased the deceased, caught hold of her, removed her forcibly inside the house and at that time Rekha says that the mode of dragging Sheila was holding the hair of Sonia and dragging her forcibly. Rekha and her other sister and brother tried to intervene and rescue Sheila from the hands of the appellant, but according to Rekha the appellant pleaded with them that they should not interfere in the affairs between husband and wife. The further story narrated in the F.I.R. that the appellant removed forcibly the deceased and further started assaulting her. Again the sisters went to the rescue, but they were told firmly that it was not their business to interfere in the affairs of husband and wife. At that time Madhusudan Naik, P.W. 9, the brother of the deceased, tried to bring about reconciliation, but that did not deter the appellant from continuing to physically beat the deceased. At about 6 p.m. on the same day according to Rekha, the appellant went out and bought liquor. He consummed the liquor and started assaulting Sheila alias Sonia but it seems that the complaint Rekha thought fit not to interfere since the appellant had abused them and further threatened them saying that he would murder them. At about 8.30 p.m. the appellant left and possibly returned by about 9.30 p.m. Rekha spotted the appellant going to the house and giving kicks to the door. In consequence the door opened and Rekha stated that she heard the cries of the appellant, “Aye, aye”. Initially, they did not pay any heed to these cries, but when those cries were repeated they rushed to the house of the appellant and found to their honor that the deceased Sheila was hanging to a rafter. At that stage she had tied herself with a sari around her neck. Someone from the crowd brought down Sheila by cutting the sari. She was then removed to the Asilo Hospital where the Doctor examined her and declared Sheila as dead.

3. Incidentally, it is pertinent to note that the last paragraph of the F.I.R. highlights the previous abuse between husband and wife and in that regard Rekha has said that the appellant has been continuously assaulting her sister in consequence whereof her sister was forced to commit suicide and when the family members of the deceased tried to interfere, the appellant threatened all of them with dire consequences.

4. In the background of this F.I.R. the police went into action. The investigation was carried out under the stewardship of Deputy Superintendent of Police I.D. Shukla, P.W. 14 and Police Inspector, Mangaldas Dessai, P.W. 16. In the routine investigation, the police recorded the inquest Panchanama about the condition of the body of the deceased. The police recorded the statements of various relations and neighbours, who verified the constant allegation that the deceased was subjected to continuous physical harassment and that the deceased was perforce required to commit suicide. Necessary marriage certificate was also obtained. The Post Mortom notes were forwarded by the Medical Officer in regard to the enquiry into the cause of death and after the entire investigation, charge sheet was put up against the appellant for offences indicated.

5. On the charges being denied by the appellant, the learned Additional Sessions Judge recorded the evidence of as many as sixteen witnesses. On the assessment of both verbal and documentary evidence, the learned Additional Sessions Judge found the story canvassed on behalf of the prosecution as truthful and accordingly proceeded to convict and sentence the appellant under various offences which have been set out in the initial part of the judgment.

6. The main attack on the conviction as will as the evidence is with regard to the credibility of the evidence of relations. The learned Advocate for the appellant has vehemently contended that if all the aspects of the F.I.R. are to be believed, the medical evidence would have clearly shown that the deceased must have suffered various injuries either in the form of abrasions, wheal marks or other marks. If the deceased was subjected to ill-treatment throuhout the day i.e., on 1st May, 1992, it is unlikely that she would not sustain any injuries. He has laid emphasis on the evidence of Dr. Audi, P.W. 1. He has contended that except for ligature marks around the neck, there are no other visible injuries traced on the person of the deceased. The other injury which has been mentioned in the certificate is an abrasion with slight avulsion on the superficial layer of the skin on the dorsum of right big toe at naik bed. The dimention of that injury is 0.5 cm. x 0.5 cm. on the dorsem of right big toe at nail bed. He has tried to explain this injury by contending that at the time of Panchanama what was seen was–there was a chair on the cot and there was a copper pot on the chair. This was arranged by the deceased in order to raise the height so as to come within the range of the rafter to which she was ultimately found tied with the sari.

7. Before probing into the arguments advanced on behalf of the learned Advocate for the appellant, it would be appropriate to have a cursory glance at the examination of the appellant under Section 313 Criminal Procedure Code. The appellant seems to have committed himself to certium positive in his examination in that he was married to Sheila alias Sonia on 12th May, 1991. He also testifies to an important fact that Sheila died on account of hanging and that her death could be attributed to asphyxia as a result of hanging. This fact is well borne out from the post-mortem report. He has also admitted that Sheila was hanging with a sari around her neck, the other end of which was tied to the rafter of the house. Likewise he also admits that he was residing with Sheila in a part of the house of the mother of Sheila. He has also admitted that on the day of the incident he had consumed liquor in the company of Dattaram. So also he did not have any issue by Sheila. Now, in the residual question there is rendered an extensive answer by the appellant and that needs to be noted. According to the appellant he was a Pilot, that is he was riding motor-cycle and was carrying passengers on the pillion seat for hire. Being a motor-cycle pilot he was earning Rs. 30/- to Rs. 100/- per day, but according to him this entire causing was exhausted in meeting the needs of the family members of the deceased. There used to be quarrels between Sheila on one side and her brother, mother and sisters on the other and that made the life of Sheila miserable. Every now and then one of the members of the family called upon the deceased to secure money from the appellant and these repeated demands day in and day out made the life of Sheila miserable inasmuch as she counselled the members of the family not to put in such demands and put her in a predicament. That was because she was required to demand the amount from the present appellant. As a wife she never liked the idea of securing the amount from her husband not for herself but for her brother, sisters and mother. According to the appellant this situation has been prevailing right from the day of his marriage in May 1991 and this drove Sheila to commit suicide. The sum and substance of the stand taken by the appellant is that since he was a motor-cycle pilot he was earning a sizeable income; that the all members of the family of the deceased were dependent on him and they were making demands through the deceased from him, This was not to the liking of either the deceased or the appellant. The life of the deceased had become miserable and she out of sheer frustration and despondency, she committed the suicide. She did not see any way out from this predicament and hence this event. The further stand taken by the appellant is that because the links between the appellant and the members of the family of the deceased were snapped in the death of the deceased, the family members of the deceased have a concocted this false story against the appellant. This is a case where the witnesses were responsible for the death of the deceased, but they have tried to inflict in this incident on the appellant in order to provide him in this conviction. We find that suggestions to this effect have been made in the cross-examination of various witnesses to which we shall come later, but suffice it to say at this stage that a parallel story is being set up by the appellant vis-a-vis the prosecution story. It will have therefore to be examined whether this story appears probable and that the evidence of the eye-witnesses or the relations appears to be suspicious.

7. The prosecution examined P.W. 5 Rekha at Exhibit No. 9, P.W. 7 Narendra Naik, the brother of the deceased at Exhibit No. 11, P.W. 9 Madhusudan Naik, again a brother of the deceased as Exhibit No. 13 and P.W. 10 Chaddravati Naik, mother of the deceased at Exhibit No. 14. It may be stated at this stage that the neighbours P.W. 11 Akatai, at Exhibit No. 15 and Bharat Harmalkar, P.W. 12 at Exhibit 16, who were undisputably the neighbours of the appellant have not supported the prosecution story of the continuous illtreatment at the hands of the appellant towards the deceased Sheila. It would be thus evident that besides the evidence of close relations there is no other independent evidence to support the prosecution story. By way of legal proposition we may state that it is not an invariable rule that the accused/appellant is entitled to be acquitted in the absence of independent unbiased evidence, If the evidence of the relations inspires confidence, then nothing prevents the Court from convicting any accused. It is in this background that we shall proceed with the appreciation of the evidence of the witnesses. As indicated, four relations of the deceased have been examined. Turning to the evidence of Rekha Naik, P.W. 5, she had deposed that Sheila committed suicide on 1st May, 1992 and that the marriage of Sheila with the appellant took place in the year 1991. Since marriage the appellant and the deceased were residing in a hut which is a part of the hut occupied by Rekha and others. Both these premises are however separated by a gap and the room in occupation of the appellant has separate entrance. According to Rekha, the marital relations between the deceased and the appellant had been quite cordial during the initial part of the wedded life, but with the passage of time those relations became strained and according to Rekha she became aware that the appellant was illtreating her sister by assaulting and pinching her now and then. The story of physical beating is canvassed by Rekha. There was love marriage between Sheila and the appellant and the marriage was celebrated at Sawantwadi. She has also deposed that she used to see swelling on the face of the deceased on account of illtreatment and when she used to question the deceased in that regard the deceased used to keep quiet, meaning thereby that the deceased did not talk of illtreatment. She has further deposed that on the day of the incident the appellant had come drunk in the afternoon. The appellant had consumed liquor in his own house and after taking liquor he started assaulting her sister. From the evidence of Rekha it will be manifest and clear that the illtreatment of Sheila at the hands of the appellant started right from 1.30 p.m. She has further deposed that Dattaram Harmalkar, P.W. 8, was also seen in the company of the appellant. He was in the habit of coming for drinks at the house of the appellant. There was a drinking session and Dattaram left consuming liquor. At that stage also the appellant started assaulting Sheila. He kicked the deceased, pulled her hair and her sister shouted. “Ayege” and she further cried that she was assaulted by the appellant. It would be pertinent to note that although Rekha was inside the house she did not come to the rescue of the deceased and merely relied on the story of beating sequel to the cries given by the deceased. Her further story is that her sister came out running and the appellant chased her, caught hold of her and dragged her inside his house and at that stage her mother and brother asked the appellant as to why he was assaulting the deceased. We are inclined to observe that inspite of the repeated assaults by the appellant on the deceased Rekha did not care to rush to the house of the deceased and see for herself as to the manner in which the appellant was assaulting the deceased. According to Rekha the cause behind this assault was that Sheila did not have a child. Continuing with the incident she stated that accused went out and came back by about 6.30 p.m. and at that time also he had consumed liquor. Once again he assaulted the deceased, but at this time none of the members of the family or Rekha intervened. At about 8.30 p.m. the deceased came out of her house and pleaded with her mother not to ask anything about the incident to the appellant. She further told her mother that she should not intervene in the affairs of husband and wife and that Sheila should be left alone to die at the hands of the appellant. Now, this admission on the part of Rekha appear to be eloquent of an important fact that the deceased did not want any of the family members of Rekha to intervene in their affairs. On the other hand. Sheila expressed her readiness to meet the consequences in her relations with the appellant and this, according to us, rattier shows that even Sheila did not like her relations to intervene between herself and the appellant. Rekha’s further story is that at about 9.30 p.m. her brother Narendra came and Narendra talked to her about the assault on the deceased. She heard some cries of the appellant/accused “Ayege, Ayage” and as these cries were repeated all the family members rushed to the house of the appellant only to find that the deceased was hanging to thereafter of the roof and the appellant catching hold of the legs of the deceased, apparently for the purpose of rescuing the deceased. Now, this circumstance again reinforces the suggestion by the defence that the deceased committed the act of committing suicide on her own add when the appellant was rather shocked to see the deceased hanging, he caught hold of her legs and started to pull her with a view to rescue her. This circumstance is incompatible with the guilt of the appellant according to us. Her further story is that while she was attempting to bring down the deceased from her hanging position, the appellant pushed her away as a result of which she fell down. Now, from the F.I.R. we find no such story is rendered by Rekha at that time. Had she really fallen down she would have sustained injury, but as she record shows Rekha was not sent to the medical officer for being checked up by him. That apart, Rekha does not narrate in her F.I.R. that appellant pushed her. Incidentally, we may observe here that one of the brothers of Rekha has tried to improve the version of Rekha by saying that at this stage the appellant slapped Rekha for which we find charge under Section 323 being framed against the appellant. To that evidence we shall turn later, but suffice it to say that Rekha does not disclose about the assault by appellant on her in her F.I.R. and the story to the extent appears to be an embellishment at the stage of trial. It could also be assumed that in a given grave situation, the appellant in his desire to rescue the deceased might have turned aside in order to see that the deceased was rescued immediately. In that background, it cannot be said that the appellant intended to cause hurt to Rekha.

8. Now turning to the cross-examination of this witness, we find that she seems to be working in a bulb factory at Karaswada and on that day she did not attend the factory because it was a holiday. She also stated that her brother Narendra is working as a driver, whereas the other brother Madhusudhan is a mechanic. Besides, there are no other earning members in the family. The family comprises of six members. She has also admitted that initially the appellant was a pilot and that her sister was earning from embroidery work. Now regarding the incident at about 1.30 p.m. she has stated that she was then indoors and obviously, had no occasion to see Dattaram and the appellant consuming liquor at their house. She has also stated that when the assault took place none of the neighbours rushed to intervene and that nobody bothered to take notice of the assault by the appellant. She has, of course denied the further suggestion of the defence that the deceased committed suicide because Rekha and others were demanding monies from Shekhar.

9. P.W. 7, Narendra Naik, has also deposed to the assault by the appellant on the deceased, but be personally did not see or any occasion the appellant assaulting the deceased. All that he says is that because of the cries rendered by the deceased he inferred that the appellant was assaulting the deceased. He has further stated that at the time of marriage some gold ornaments were given to the deceased and the appellant was demanding those said ornaments in order to make provision of liquor. However, as the deceased was refusing to meet the demands of the appellant, the appellant was assaulting her. He talks about the suicide committed by the deceased and has further stated that on hearing the cries of the appellant they went to the house of the appellant and saw Sheila hanging from the roof. He had indeed caught hold of the appellant when the appellant was trying to assault his sister, but it would be pertinent to note that in cross-examination he has stated that he did not see any assault at the hands of the appellant. In cross-examination he has stated that he has not personally witnessed the quarrel between the appellant and the deceased. He only used to hear quarrels from his house. He never questioned the deceased as to what was happening at her house and this would therefore show that this witness did not see actually for himself the assault perpetrated by the appellant on the deceased. It is also necessary to observe one detail and that is according to Narendra he had gone to bring the vehicle to remove the deceased from the house, but before the Police he did not state that he had gone to bring the vehicle and that the deceased was removed to the hospital by somebody else. Now this is a fact which has been omitted by the witness in his submission before the Police and this assumes importance because that reflects on the mode of removal of the deceased from the house and to that extent the evidence of Narendra is rendered suspicious. We are assured in many more ways that so far as Harendra is concerned he did not see quarrel between the deceased and the appellant.

10. Madhusudan Naik, P.W. 9, the brother of the deceased has also stated that he used to hear shouts of the deceased and that led him to infer that the deceased was assaulted by the appellant. He had questioned the appellant on two or three occasions about this ill treatment to which the appellant replied that this was an affair between husband and wife and that there was no reason for Madhusudan to know about it. He had gone to the extent of deposing that he had asked the appellant as to why he was often assaulting the deceased to which he has stated that because the deceased had no child that was why he was assaulting the deceased. He has also stated that the appellant slapped his sister Rekha and dragged the deceased by pulling her hairs. We may here indicate that this is an exaggeration on the part of Madhusudan when as a matter of fact Rekha never speaks of the appellant slapping her at any time. This is an attempt on the part of Madhusudan to add to the gravity of the incident, but in his attempt to do so he exposes himself as an untruthful witness In cross-examination he has stated that when the appellant assaulted the deceased on the day of the incident at about 2.30 p.m., Rekha was with him and Rekha also saw the incident. We have indicated here before while discussing the evidence of Rekha that she did not witness the assault by the appellant on the deceased. We are therefore inclined to observe that in order to aggravate this story Madhusudan has indulged in falsehoods.

11. The last witness Chandravati Naik, P.W. 10, the mother of the mother of the deceased, has deposed that the deceased was presented with finger ring, earings and Mani to the Mangalsutra at the time of marriage. In the evidence of the other witnesses we find that they talked about these ornaments including this Mangalsutra. Although this may be an insignificant fact, there is a systematic attempt on the part of the brother and sister of the deceased to see that this story becomes as aggravated as possible. She also speaks about the ill-treatment by the appellant after the passage of about three months of marriage. She did not herself come to the house of the deceased on hearing her cries. She has denied the suggestion in cross-examination that the full marriage expenditure was met by the appellant. From the evidence of Rekha, Madhusudan, Narendra and Chandravati, it appears that none of them saw actually the assault by the appellant on the deceased. We have also endeavoured to show that these witnesses have indulged in exaggeration and embellishment, but in the F.I.R. the story appears to be altogether different. Whereas according to Madhusudan Rekha was slapped by the appellant, Rekha herself does not testify to this. It is also indicated that on the day of the incident the appellant had drinks with Dattaram Harmalkar in the afternoon, but in the evidence of Harmalkar at Exhibit 12, the story appears to be somewhat different. He has stated that on the day of the incident i.e. 1st May. 1993, he met the appellant/accused in his office. He closed the office by 2.10 p.m. and went to his house. He was driving a car and he took the appellant with him. On the way he expressed the desire to drink and accordingly Harmalkar gave him Rs. 20/- The appellant purchased the liquor bottle from the shop and both of them went to the house of the appellant. They consumed liquor and thereafter Harmalkar went to his house. He does not know as to how Sheila commit ed suicide. However, in the cross-examination he has stated that immediately after the accused came to him they both left together for lunch but the appellant had not become drunk. Now this admission on the part of Harmalkar in his cross-examination would go a long way to defeat the story of the prosecution that the appellant has consumed liquor at 1.30 p.m.

12. This now takes us to the evidence of the other witnesses namely P.W. 11 Akatai at Exhibit 15 and P.W. 12 Bharat Harmalkar at Exhibit

16. Both of them are indisputably neighbours of the deceased and they have stoutly maintained that they did not see any quarrel between the appellant and the deceased. They have departed from their respective Police statements Akatai has stated that her statement was recorded in Marathi and that she did not see any statement in Konkanni nor her statement was explained to her in Konkanni. Likewise Bharat has also stated that his statement was recorded after eight days. This would also show that the statement of the neighbours was recorded long after the incident.

13. The evidence of the Police witnesses in our view is not of much importance except about having complied with the legal formalities required under law. We will not also examine the evidence of one Kannekar P.W. 13, the photographer.

14. How turning to the general assessment of the evidence what transpires from the evidence of Rekha, her two brothers and mother is that the deceased was subjected to continuous illtreatment i.e. physical ill-treatment and that the deceased committed suicide. Even on the day of the incident the appellant had repeatedly assaulted the deceased and if this story is to be accepted as truthful the same should have been reflected in the medical evidence. But we have indicated herebefore that the medical evidence is not at all consistent with the prosecution story of the repeated assaults by the appellant. Except the ligature mark around the neck, there was no other visible significant injury on the person of the deceased. If the deceased was slapped or kicked repeatedly, if the deceased was subjected to assaults repeatedly, then a number of injuries should have been seen in the certificate issued by Dr P. Audi, but Dr. Audi has deposed that except the ligature mark no other serious injury was noticed on the person of the deceased. There was an abrasion to which we have adverted upon herebefore and have ruled that there was a possibility of the deceased sustaining this injury in her attempt to push the copper vessel put on the chair.

15. The learned Public Prosecutor has suggested that looking to the presumption under Section 118-A Evidence Act read in juxtaposition with Sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, there is a story established that the deceased committed suicide within one year of her marriage. There is also an evidence of illtreatment by the appellant and this fact should persuade the Court to hold the appellant guilty at least of the offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. On the presumption of harassment under Section 306 Indian Penal Code, we find the evidence totally wanting. Under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code a person shall be deemed to have abetted a thing if he instigates any person to do that thing, or engages one or more other persons in conspiracy for doing that thing, or intentionally aide by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. None of the elements envisaged under Section 107 have been brought forth by the prosecution. There is no instigation, there is no engagement or abetment. The broad prosecution story is that because of the repeated illtreatment the deceased was prompted to commit suicide. None of the elements required under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code has been proved by the prosecution. Now, turning to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, what is required to be established by the prosecution is that the husband should subject the wife to cruelty and cruelty has been defined in the explanation (a) according to which it means any wilful conduct which if of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of the woman. Now, here we have recorded that there is no truthful evidence to show that the appellant had subjected the deceased to cruelty. In the evidence of the witnesses to which we have adverted upon herebefore, there is no direct evidence to show that the appellant subjected the deceased to cruelty and if this piece of evidence is wanting, we feel that guilt under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code cannot be brought home against the appellant. We have also indicated that the evidence under Section 323 and Section 506 Part II is totally wanting from the prosecution. In that light of the matter we feel that the appellant is entitled to the benefit of doubt.

16 Since we have decided to over confer benefit of doubt in the appellant the inevitable result is that the appellant has to be acquitted of all the charges against him. Accordingly we proceed to pass the following order :

The appeal is allowed. The judgment of conviction and sentence passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Panaji, is set aside. The appellant is acquitted of all the charges levelled against him. The appellant shall be released from jail forthwith unless required in any other case.

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