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State Of Himachal Pradesh vs Kehar Chand R on 12 January, 2018

IN THE HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH, SHIMLA

            Cr. Appeal No. 234 of 2008

.

                Reserved on:     27.12.2017

      Decided on:       12.01.2018

State of Himachal Pradesh …Appellant.

      Versus

Kehar Chand  r …Respondent.

Coram

The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vivek Singh Thakur, Judge.

Whether approved for reporting? Yes.

For the appellant:      Mr.   Pankaj   Negi,   Deputy   Advocate

General.

For the respondent: Mr. R.P. Singh, Advocate.

Vivek Singh Thakur, Judge. 

Instant   appeal   has   been   preferred   by   State

against   the   acquittal   of   respondent­Kehar   Chand   vide

judgment, dated 15th  February, 2008 passed by the learned

Sessions Judge, Shimla in Criminal Appeal No. 25­S/10 of

2007,   whereby   the   conviction   and   sentence   imposed   upon

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respondent­Kehar Chand vide judgment, dated 14 th  March,

2007 passed by Judicial Magistrate 1st  Class, Court No. 3,

.

Shimla in Criminal Case No. 82/2 of 2001, convicting and

sentencing   respondent­Kehar   Chand   for   commission   of

offence under Sections 354, 325 and 341 of the Indian Penal

Code (hereinafter referred to as “IPC”), has been reversed.

2.

Prosecution case, in brief, is that on 10th August,

2001, at about 8.00 a.m., respondent­Kehar Chand assaulted

and   used   criminal   force   to   PW­1   Sheetal   Devi,   wife   of

complainant PW­2 Suraj Kumar with intention to outrage

her modesty and on objection raised by PW­2 Suraj Kumar,

caused grievous hurt to him with fist blow.

3. As per prosecution story, PW­1 Sheetal Devi and

PW­2 Suraj Kumar had a night stay on 9 th August, 2001 in

New Sidharth Hotel, Ram Bazar, Shimla and checked out on

10th  August,   2001   at   about   8.00   a.m.     When   they   were

leaving the hotel, respondent­Kehar Chand pulled the shirt

of PW­1 Sheetal Devi from back side which was objected by

PW­1   Sheetal   Devi   and   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,   whereupon

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respondent hit PW­2 Suraj Kumar with fist blow on his nose

causing injury and bleeding in his nostrils and also pushed

.

PW­1   Sheetal   Devi.     PW­1   and   PW­2   approached   Police

Station Sadar at 8.20 a.m. whereafter, in pursuance to FIR

recorded,   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar   was   medically   examined   at

IGMC Shimla at 8.50 a.m. by PW­5 Dr. R.P. Chauhan and

on his advice, PW­3 Dr. Usha Sharma, Radiologist, got the

x­ray   of   nose   of   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar   conducted   in   her

supervision, which discovered fracture in nasal bone of PW­2

Suraj Kumar.   Thereafter, investigation was completed by

receiving   MLC   Ex.   PW­5/B   and   opinion   of   Doctors,

preparing the spot map Ex. PW­7/A, recording statements of

witnesses and taking into possession extract of register Ex.

PW­4/A and check­in slip Ex. PW­7/B vide seizure memo Ex.

PW­2/B.  On completion of investigation, finding prima facie

complicity   of   respondent­Kehar   Chand   in   commission   of

offence, challan was presented in the Court by PW­8 SHO

Jagdish Sharma.

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4. Prosecution   has   examined   nine   witnesses   to

prove its case.  After recording statement under Section 313

.

of   the   Code   of   Criminal   Procedure   (for   short   “CrPC”),

respondent   had   chosen   not   to   lead   any   evidence   in   his

defence.  On conclusion of trial, respondent was held guilty

for commission of offence under Sections 354, 325 and 341

IPC.     In   appeal   preferred   by   respondent­Kehar   Chand,

learned Sessions Judge has acquitted him.   Hence, present

appeal by the State.

5. I have heard learned counsel for the parties and

have gone through the record.

6. PW­1   Sheetal   Devi   and   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,  in

their   deposition   in   Court,   have   corroborated   their   version

with regard to the incident reported to the police in FIR Ex.

PW­2/A   by   reiterating   that   after   checking   out,   when   the

couple was coming out of the hotel and PW­1 Sheetal Devi

(wife)   was   following   her   husband   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,

respondent­Kehar   Chand   pulled   her   shirt   from   behind,

which  was  objected  by  the  couple,  whereupon  respondent­

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Kehar Chand physically assaulted PW­1 Sheetal Devi and

PW­2   Suraj   Kumar   in   a   manner   which,   besides   causing

.

injury   to   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,   amounted   to   outraging   the

modesty of PW­1 Sheetal Devi and she was also pushed from

her chest by respondent­Kehar Chand.

7. PW­1 Sheetal Devi in her statement fairly stated

that she was not able to identify respondent­Kehar Chand in

the Court at the time of her deposition as the incident had

taken place about four years ago.   She also stated that in

case accused was shown to her in the Court, perhaps, she

might   be   identifying   him.     Thereafter,   she   was   declared

hostile   on   this   point   whereafter,   on   cross­examining   by

learned   Assistant   Public   Prosecutor,   she   stated   that   the

accused   present   in   Court   shown   to   her   was   perhaps   the

same Manager but she was not sure.

8. PW­2 Suraj Kumar was also declared hostile for

resiling   from   his   statement   to   the   extent   of   the   act   of

respondent pushing PW­1 Sheetal Devi from chest and he

was cross­examined by learned Assistant Public Prosecutor,

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wherein   he   admitted   that   accused   present   in   Court   had

pushed his wife from her chest.   In his statement, he had

.

identified respondent­Kehar Chand as the person who had

assaulted him and his wife.

9. The   incident   had   taken   place   on   10th  August,

2001  and  the  statements of PW­1 and  PW­2  in the Court

were recorded on 2nd  November, 2006.   The capability and

capacity of reception, attention and narration always differ

from person to person and  it is but natural to have some

discrepancies in the statements recorded in the Court after

about five years of the incident.   The statements of PW­1

Sheetal   Devi   and   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,   in   its   totality,   are

indicating that these witnesses were not tutored one but had

deposed   in   natural   manner   in   the   Court.     Whatever   they

remembered they deposed and what they did not remember

was not deposed.  There is no parrot like narration on their

part   so   as   to   ensure   the   conviction   of   respondent   at   the

instance of prosecution.   Their statements in the Court are

natural statement.

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10. PW­1 Sheetal Devi had expressed her hesitation

to   identify   respondent   with   surety   for   gap   of   four   years,

.

however, PW­2 Suraj Kumar had identified the respondent

in clear terms by stating that it was respondent who had

assaulted   him   and   his   wife.     Further,   PW­4   Gurcharan

Kukreja,  owner  of  the  hotel,  also  identified respondent   as

the person serving in the hotel on the day of incident.   He

also   proved   staying   of   couple   in   his   hotel   by   proving

photocopy of the relevant page of Entry Register Ex. PW­4/A

and   Entry   Form   of   hotel   Ex.   PW­7/B.     In   his   cross­

examination, a specific question was put to PW­4 Gurcharan

Kukreja,   which   was   admitted   by   him,   that   respondent­

Kehar  Chand  was  waiter  in his  hotel,  which corroborated

that respondent  was an employee of the hotel at relevant

point of time.

11. By putting a positive suggestion to PW­2 Suraj

Kumar in his cross­examination that it was correct when the

couple was coming out of the hotel, PW­1 Sheetal Devi was

following   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,   presence   of   couple   at   the

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relevant   time   was   admitted.     Further,   it   is   case   of   the

prosecution   that   wife   (PW­1)   was   following   her   husband

.

(PW­2)   when   her   shirt   was   pulled   by   respondent­Kehar

Chand, which stood duly corroborated by the suggestion put

to PW­2 Suraj Kumar by respondent­Kehar Chand himself.

12. PW­1 and PW­2 were strangers in the city who

had come to attend ailing mother of PW­2 admitted in the

hospital.     They   were   not   having   any   enmity   or   proximity

with   respondent   and   there   was   no   reason   for   them   to

implicate   the   respondent   in   a   false   case   as   they   had   no

scores to settle with him for any reason.   Neither any such

suggestion was put to them nor any evidence to this effect

was brought on record.  The defence under Section 313 CrPC

was denial simpliciter.

13. As per extract of Entry Register Ex. PW­4/A, the

couple had checked out from the hotel at about 8.15 a.m.,

FIR Ex. PW­2/A was lodged at 8.20 a.m. stating therein that

incident had taken place at 8.00 a.m.   PW­2 Suraj Kumar

was medically examined immediately thereafter and as per

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MLC   Ex.   PW­5/A,   he   was   examined   at   8.50   a.m.     These

timings   indicate   that   immediately   after   the   incident,   the

.

couple while leaving the hotel for hospital, had visited the

police station and after lodging the FIR, PW­2 Suraj Kumar

was medically examined at 8.50 a.m., i.e. within one hour of

the incident.  As per medical examination, injuries caused to

him were corroborated by the medical evidence.  There is no

delay in the action of the victims and the police, rather there

is promptness.   Had there been no incident, there was no

occasion for the couple to suffer the harassment of visiting

the   police   station,   getting   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar   medically

examined   and   to   engage   themselves   in   the   police

investigation,   particularly,   when   mother   of   PW­2   Suraj

Kumar   was   admitted   in   the   hospital   and   moreover,   they

were not even residents of the same town having any grudge

against respondent.

14. Plea of respondent that statements of PW­1 and

PW­2 cannot be relied upon for conviction of respondent for

the  reason  that  both  of  them  were  declared hostile  is  not

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tenable.  It is settled law that testimony of a witness, which

has been declared hostile, is not to be discarded only on the

.

ground that the said witness has been declared hostile, but

the same can be considered in favour of either of the parties

on  finding  corroboration  by  other   evidence  on  record  with

any reliable portion thereof.  

15.

In   present   case,   PW­1   was   declared   hostile   on

her   failure   to   identify   the   accused   with   certainty   but   the

said failure stands duly explained in her statement wherein

she clarified that for long gap between the incident and her

deposition   in   the   Court,   she   was   unable   to   identify   the

respondent with certainty.  Rest of her statement finds due

corroboration   with   other   evidence   on   record   and   inspires

confidence.  

16. PW­2   was   declared   hostile   when   he   failed   to

depose the sequence of incident, but thereafter, he had duly

corroborated   the   prosecution   story   in  consonance   with   his

earlier statement on material particulars.  He also identified

the   respondent   and   his   testimony,   as   a   whole,   is   duly

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corroborated by the other evidence available on record and is

sufficient to rely upon to convict the respondent.

.

17. Contention of respondent, that pushing a female

by   touching   her   chest   during   scuffle   may   not   amount   to

outraging the modesty of a woman in all cases and it may

have happened in natural manner without any intention to

outrage   the   modesty   of   PW­1   Sheetal   Devi,   may   be

acceptable and such an act in isolation may not be construed

as   commission   of   offence   under   Section   354   IPC,   but,   in

present case, it is not only this act of respondent which has

invited   to   charge   him   under   Section   354   IPC,   but   the

initiation   of   the   incident   started   from   pulling   the   shirt   of

PW­1   Sheetal   Devi,   which   definitely,   as   has   happened   in

present   case,   amounts   to   commission   of   offence   under

Section 354 IPC.

18. For   determining   as   to   whether   respondent   has

committed   an   offence   under   Section   354   IPC,   it   would   be

relevant to have a glance at Section 354 IPC, which reads as

under:

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“354.   Assault   or   criminal   force   to
woman   with   intent   to   outrage   her
modesty.   ­  Whoever   assaults   or   uses

.

criminal  force  to   any  woman,   intending

to outrage or knowing it to be likely that
he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall
be punished with imprisonment of either

description for a term which shall not be
less than one year but which may extend
to five years, and shall also be liable to
fine.”

19. Section 354 IPC provides punishment for assault

or use of criminal  to a woman with intent to outrage her

modesty.   Criminal force and assault have been defined in

Sections 349, 350 and 351 IPC, which read as under:

“349. Force. ­  A person is said to use force
to   another   if   he   causes   motion,   change   of
motion, or cessation of motion to that other,

or   if   he   causes   to   any   substance   such
motion, or change of motion, or cessation of

motion as brings that substance into contact
with any part of that other’s body, or with
anything   which   that   other   is   wearing   or

carrying, or with anything so situated that
such   contact   affects   that   other’s   sense   of
feeling:   Provided   that   the   person   causing
the   motion,   or   change   of   motion,   or
cessation   of   motion,   causes   that   motion,
change of motion, or cessation of motion in
one of the three ways hereinafter described.

First. ­  By his own bodily power.

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Secondly.  ­  By  disposing any substance  in
such a manner that the motion
or   change   or   cessation   of

.

motion takes place without any

further   act   on   his   part,   or   on
the part of any other person.

Thirdly. ­  By   inducing   any   animal   to
move,  to  change  its  motion,  or
to cease to move.

350.   Criminal   force.   ­  Whoever

intentionally   uses   force   to   any   person,
without   that   person’s   consent,   in   order   to
the committing of any offence, or intending
by the use of such force to cause, or knowing

it to be likely that by the use of such force he

will cause injury, fear or annoyance to the
person to whom the force is used, is said to
use criminal force to that other.

351. Assault. ­ Whoever makes any gesture,
or any preparation intending or knowing it
to be likely that such gesture or preparation

will cause any person present to apprehend
that   he   who   makes   that   gesture   or

preparation is about to use criminal force to
that person, is said to commit an assault.

Explanation. ­ Mere words do not amount to
an assault.   But the words which a person
uses may give to his gestures or preparation
such a meaning as may make those gestures
or preparations amount to an assault.”

20. PW­1   Sheetal   Devi,   in   her   statement,   has

deposed   that   respondent­Kehar   Chand   had   pulled   up   her

shirt,   which   was   objected   by   her   whereupon   her   husband

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had also objected the same.   PW­2 Suraj Kumar has duly

corroborated  this   statement   and   the   FIR   Ex.   PW­2/A   was

.

also recorded by stating the same version immediately after

the incident.

21. As per Section 350 IPC, intentional use of force

to any person without that person’s consent, intending  by

the use of such force to cause or knowing it to be likely that

by the use of such force, he will cause not only injury but,

even only fear or annoyance to the said person, is said to be

use of criminal force to that other.   Every prudent person

understands that pulling up shirt of a woman is definitely

an act, which will likely to cause annoyance to the woman.  

22. As per Section 349 IPC, a person is said to use

force   to   another   by   causing   motion,   changing   motion   or

cessation   of   motion.     Section   351   IPC   provides   that   any

gesture  or  any preparation,  intending  or  knowing  it to be

likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person

present to apprehend  that he, who makes that gesture or

preparation, is amount to use criminal force to that person

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will   be   said   to   be   committing   an   assault.     Causing

annoyance to a person amount to use of criminal force.   In

.

present case, by pulling up the shirt of PW­1 Sheetal Devi,

respondent­Kehar Chand has used criminal force to her and

has definitely committed an assault to outrage her modesty.

Therefore, he is liable to be convicted under Section 354 IPC.

23.

It   has   come   in   evidence   that   respondent   had

stopped   the   couple   outside   the   hotel   and   assaulted   PW­2

Suraj   Kumar   as   well   as   PW­1   Sheetal   Devi.     The

complainant   couple   was   proceeding   to   the   hospital   and

respondent,   by   his   act,   had   caused   obstruction   in   their

movement, which has resulted restraining the couple from

free   movement,   which   amounts   to   wrongful   restrain

resulting into commission of offence under Section 341 IPC.

24. Commission   of   offence   by   respondent   under

Section   325   IPC   stands   proved   in   statements   of   PW­1

Sheetal   Devi   and   PW­2   Suraj   Kumar,   which   finds

corroboration in FIR Ex. PW­2/A, medical evidence, i.e. MLC

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Ex. PW­5/B and testimony of PW­3 Dr. Usha Sharma and

PW­5 Dr. R.P. Chauhan.

.

25. Learned   Sessions   Judge   has   reversed   the

findings of the trial Court on the ground that the respondent

was   not   duly   identified   on   record   and   no   independent

witnesses   were   associated   during   investigation.     As

discussed above, though, PW­1 Sheetal Devi had expressed

her   hesitation  to  identify  the  respondent,   but  PW­2  Suraj

Kumar identified the respondent, in unequivocal terms, as

the same person, who had assaulted the couple.  Further, it

was the respondent who was on duty on the day of incident

as   has   also   been   corroborated   by   statement   of   PW­4

Gurcharan Kukreja and the positive suggestion put to PW­2

Suraj   Kumar   also   indicates   that   presence   of   respondent­

Kehar   Chand   on   the   spot   and   his   involvement   in

commission  of  offence.    Therefore,  respondent   stands  duly

identified as offender and the findings of learned Sessions

Judge on this count are contrary to the record.

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26. Learned   Sessions   Judge   has   referred   the

admission of the witnesses in cross­examination that there

.

were   many   shops   on   both   sides   near   the   hotel   and   large

number of people remained present in the market, but he

has failed to take note of the fact that the incident had taken

place at about 8.00 a.m. and usually, the market opens at

about   9.00   a.m.     At   8.00   a.m.,   shopkeepers   cannot   be

supposed to be present in front of or in their shops in the

market. So far as other passers­by present on the spot are

concerned, they cannot be supposed to remain present there

as the markets are having floating visitors, who normally

are not available or identifiable even after a few seconds of

the   incident,   what   to   say   of   the   minutes.     There   is   no

convincing evidence or even suggestion in cross­examination

to   prove   or   to   suggest   that   at   the   time   of   incident,   large

number of persons were present on spot.   There is general

suggestion that large number of people remain present in

the market which cannot, at any stretch of imagination, be

proof of presence and availability of independent witnesses

12/01/2018 23:17:20 :::HCHP
18

on spot. Therefore, keeping in view the timing of incident,

possibility of availability of independent witnesses moving

.

in the market was least in the present case.  PW­1 and PW­2

are   natural   witnesses   of   the   spot.     Therefore,   learned

Sessions   Judge   has   committed   an   error   in   acquitting   the

respondent on this count also.

27.

Scrutiny of evidence on record reveals that the

trial   Court   had   appreciated   the   evidence   completely   and

correctly.     There   was   no   perversity   in  the   findings   of   the

trial   Court   and,   thus,   the   respondent   is   held   guilty   for

commission of offence under Sections 325, 341 and 354 IPC.

Accordingly, impugned judgment, dated 15th February, 2008

passed   by   learned   Sessions   Judge   Shimla   in   Criminal

Appeal No. 25­S/10 of 2007 is set aside and judgment, dated

14th  March,   2007   passed   by   Judicial   Magistrate   1st  Class,

Court   No.   3,   Shimla   in   Criminal   Case   No.   82/2   of   2001,

convicting respondent­Kehar Chand under Sections 325, 341

and 354 IPC is affirmed.

12/01/2018 23:17:20 :::HCHP
19

28. Before   directing   respondent­convict   to   serve

substantive sentence imposed upon him, it would be in the

.

interest of justice to consider plea of learned counsel for the

respondent, who has also argued in alternative that in case

respondent is found guilty for commission of offence, then

also, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case

and also that the respondent has suffered trauma of facing

criminal   trial   for   seventeen   years,   that   too,   including

trauma   of   being   convict   after   suffering   judgment   of

conviction by the trial Court, it is a fit case for extending

benefit of Probation of Offenders Act to the respondent as he

was a first offender and is not involved in any other case

thereafter.

29. Considering   the   submissions   made   by   the

learned   counsel   for   the   respondent   and   the   fact   that   the

incident had taken place in the year 2001, the respondent

was convicted in the year 2007 and has faced the criminal

proceedings for seventeen years and further that at the time

of   incident,   he   was   a   young   boy   of   22   years,   instead   of

12/01/2018 23:17:20 :::HCHP
20

awarding   substantive   sentence,   benefit   of   Probation   of

Offenders Act may be extended to respondent.  But, prior to

.

that,   it   would   be   appropriate   to   call   for   report   of   the

Probation Officer.  The respondent is permanent resident of

Village Mashog, Tehsil Karsog, District Mandi.   Therefore,

Probation   Officer,   Karsog   is   directed   to   submit   his   report

2018.

r to
under   Probation   of   Offenders   Act   on   or   before   9th  March,

30. List   on  16th  March,   2018,  on   which   date   the

respondent­convict shall remain present in the Court.

              (Vivek Singh Thakur)

                 Judge
January 12, 2018

                   ( rajni )

12/01/2018 23:17:20 :::HCHP

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