Sunday, November 27, 2011

State of Haryana V/s.Rajmal & another



               CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2203 OF 2011

          (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.372/2011)

State of Haryana                              ....Appellant(s)
                            - Versus -

Rajmal & another                              ....Respondent(s)

                         J U D G M E N T


1.    Leave granted.

2.    This   Criminal   Appeal   is   directed   against   the 

      judgment   and   order   dated   20.04.2010   of   the   High 

      Court   of   Punjab   and   Haryana   in   Criminal   Revision 

      No.669/2000,   whereby   the   High   Court   acquitted   the 

      respondents-accused          persons         (hereinafter         "the 


      accused   persons")   from   all   the   charges   levelled 

      against   them   under   Section   8   of   the   Punjab 

      Prohibition              of          Cow         Slaughter               Act,          1955 

      (hereinafter   "the   Act").  By   this   impugned   order, 

      the   judgment   and   order   passed   by   the   Sub-

      Divisional   Judicial   Magistrate,   Ferozepur   and   the 

      appellate   order   passed   by   the   Addl.   Sessions 

      Judge, Gurgaon were set-aside by the High Court in 


3.    The accused persons were convicted under Section 8 

      of   the   Act   and   sentenced   to   undergo   rigorous 

      imprisonment for a period of one year by the Court 

      of   Sub-Divisional   Judicial   Magistrate,   Ferozepur 

      vide   judgment   dated   14.09.1998   in   Crl.   Case 

      No.23/96.   On   Appeal,   this   order   of   conviction   and 

      sentence          was          confirmed              and         upheld         by         the 

      Additional   Sessions   Judge,   Gurgaon   vide   order 

      dated 01.06.2000 in Criminal Appeal No.20/98. 


4.    The   facts   and   circumstances,   which   are   relevant, 

      are as under:

 a) According   to   the   prosecution,   on   01.01.1996   Head 

      Constable         Satyabir/p.w.-3                         (hereinafter                 "the 

      Investigating               Officer")                received           a         secret 

      information            that         the         accused           persons              were 

      slaughtering   cows   in   their   house   and   if   any   raid 

      was   conducted,   the   accused   persons   could   be   caught 

      red-handed.   Consequently   the   investigating   officer 

      along with Head Constable Bir Singh/p.w.-2 formed a 

      raiding   party   and   raided   the   house   of   the   accused 


 b) On   seeing   the   Police   party,   both   the   accused 

      persons   by   scaling   the   wall,   fled   away   from   their 

      house by taking advantage of the darkness.

 c) However   the   investigating   officer   found   70   kgs   of 

      fresh   beef,   one   skin   of   cow,   one   axe,   two   blood 

      stained   daggers   and   four   weak   and   infirm   cows. 

      Those   were   seized   and   taken   into   custody   vide 

      recovery   memo.   Thereafter   ruqa   was   sent   to   the 


  police   station,   on   the   basis   of   which   FIR   was 

  registered and the case was investigated.

d) Thereafter   the   accused   persons   were   arrested   and 

  charged under Section 8 of the said Act.

e) At   the   Trial,   P.W.-3/investigating   officer   and 

  P.W.-2/Bir Singh, who were eye-witnesses, supported 

  the   case   of   prosecution   and   categorically   deposed 

  that accused were known to them from before and on 

  seeing   the   police   party,   they   ran   away   from   the 

  place by scaling the wall.

f) The   accused   persons   did   not   lead   any   evidence   in 

  their defence.

g) After   the   appreciation   of   evidence,   vide   judgment-

  dated   14.09.1998   the   Trial   Court   convicted   the 

  accused persons under Section 8 of the said Act and 

  sentenced   each   of   them   to   undergo   rigorous 

  imprisonment for a period of one year.

h) The   accused   persons   challenged   the   aforesaid 

  conviction and sentence, by filing an appeal before 


       the   Additional   Sessions   Judge,   being   Criminal 

       Appeal no. 20 of 1998.

 i) By   an   order-dated   01.06.2000   the   Additional 

       Sessions           Judge,         after         a         re-appreciation         of 

       evidence,   confirmed   the   order   of   conviction   and 

       sentence passed by the Trial Court.

 j) Against that order, the accused persons preferred a 

       revision before the High Court.

 k) By   impugned   order-dated   20.04.2010   the   High   Court 

       allowed   the   revision   and   set   aside   the   order   of 

       conviction of the accused persons. 

5.          The   High   Court   in   its   revisional   jurisdiction 

            while   reversing   the   concurrent   finding   of   the 

            Courts below indicated the following reasons:

      I.           No independent witness from the locality was 

                   present at the time of conducting raid.

      II.     No evidence has been led to prove that the 

              accused persons were the owners of the house.


      III.           It   has   also   not   been   established   that   the  

                     accused   persons   were   in   the   exclusive         

                     possession   of   the   house   and   as   such   they  

                     cannot be said to be in conscious possession 

                     of the house.

      IV.            The   accused   persons   were   not   identified   and 

              it     is   the   prosecution   case   that   the   accused  

                     persons fled away by scaling the wall and by 

                     taking advantage of the darkness.

6.      We   are   not   satisfied   with   the   reasoning   of   the 

        High   Court,   as   none   of   the   grounds   put   forward   by 

        the   High   Court   in   the   impugned   judgment   is 

        sustainable.   If   we   take   up   the   last   ground   first, 

        it   is   clear   that   the   aforesaid   conclusion   of   the 

        High   Court,   being   a   conclusion   on   pure   questions 

        of fact, is against the evidence on record.

7.      The   Trial   Court   has   found   that   there   is   cogent 

        evidence   on   record   to   show   that   both   the   accused 

        persons   were   known   to   the   witnesses   from   before 

        and   they   ran   away,   by   scaling   the   wall,   after 

        seeing   the   police   party.   The   Trial   Court   also 

        recorded   a   finding   of   fact   that   accused   persons 


      have   not   made   out   any   case   of   animosity   of   the 

      official witnesses against them.

8.    In   the   appellate   forum,   the   Sessions   Judge   has 

      also   recorded   that   P.W.-3/Investigating   Officer 

      has   clearly   stated   that   he   knew   the   accused 

      persons because he had apprehended them in another 

      case   and   the   said   statement   of   the   P.W.-3   was   not 

      challenged   in   cross-examination.   Nor   has   the 

      accused persons ever questioned that the witnesses 

      knew them prior to the date of the occurrence. The 

      appellate forum also recorded that accused persons 

      have   not   suggested   that   they   were   falsely 

      implicated in the case.

9.    In   view   of   this   admitted   factual   position,   this 

      Court   cannot   accept   the   reasoning   of   the   High 

      Court   in   its   revisional   jurisdiction   whereby   the 

      High   Court   found   that   in   the   absence   of 

      independent   local   witness   the   prosecution   case   is 

      not   worthy   of   credence.   The   factual   conclusion   of 


       the   High   Court   is   contrary   to   the   evidence   on 


10.    In   this   connection,   it   may   be   noted   that   in 

       upsetting   the   concurrent   finding   of   the   courts 

       below,   about   the   identification   of   the   accused 

       persons, the High Court has not given any reason. 

11.    In  State   of   A.P.  vs.  Pituhuk   Sreeinvanasa   Rao 

       [(2000)   9   SCC   537]   this   Court   held   that   the 

       exercise   of   the   revisional   jurisdiction   of   the 

       High   Court   in   upsetting   concurrent   finding   of   the 

       facts   cannot   be   accepted   when   it   was   without   any 

       reference,   to   the   evidence   on   record   or   to   the 

       finding   entered   by   the   trial   court   and   appellate 

       court   regarding   the   evidence   in   view   of   the   fact 

       that         revisional         jurisdiction         is         basically 

       supervisory in nature. 

12.    It  has been  also held  by this  Court in  Amar Chand 

       Agarwala  vs.  Shanti   Bose   and   another  [AIR   1973   SC 

       799]   that   the   revisional   jurisdiction   of   the   High 


       Court   under   Section   439   Cr.P.C.   is   to   be 

       exercised, only in an exceptional case, when there 

       is a glaring defect in the procedure or there is a 

       manifest   error   on   a   point   of   law   resulting   in   a 

       flagrant   miscarriage   of   justice.   [para   20,   page 

       804 of the report]

13.    Going   by   the   aforesaid   principles,   it   cannot   be 

       held   that   the   interference   by   the   High   Court   on 

       the   question   of   identification   of   the   accused 

       persons   in   facts   of   the   case   is   either   proper   or 

       legally sustainable.

14.    Now let us examine the first question on which the 

       High   Court   has   interfered,   namely   the   legality   of 

       the search procedure. 

15.    A   three-Judge   Bench   of   this   Court   in   the   case   of 

       Radha   Kishan  vs.  State   of   Uttar   Pradesh  [AIR   1963 

       SC   822]   while   construing   similar   provision   in   the 

       Cr.P.C.   of   1898   held   that   an   illegal   search   does 

       not   vitiate   the   seizure   of   the   article.   The   only 


       requirement of law in such cases is that the Court 

       has   to   examine   carefully   the   evidence   regarding 

       the         seizure.         But         beyond         this         no         further 

       consequences   ensues.   (para   4,   page   824   of   the 


16.    This   principle   is   being   consistently   followed   by 

       this   Court   and   by   different   High   Courts   since 

       then. Herein if we follow the aforesaid principle, 

       we   do   not   discern   any   error   committed   by   the 

       Courts   below   by   proceeding   on   the   material 

       collected,   as   a   result   of   the   seizure   of 


17.    The other two points on which the High Court chose 

       to interfere, namely the ownership of the house or 

       the   conscious   possession   of   the   house   as   a   valid 

       requisite before the accused persons could be held 

       guilty under Section 8 of the said Act, is clearly 

       based   on   a   misreading   of   the   clear   provision   of 

       the Act.


18.    The   said   Act,   which   has   been   enacted   to   give 

       effect   to   the   provisions   of   Article   48   of 

       Directive   Principle   of   State   Policy   and   which   is 

       still in force, prohibits cow slaughter in Section 

       3 thereof in following terms-

       "3.         Prohibition                        of         cow             slaughter       - 

       Notwithstanding anything contained in any other 

       law for the time being in force or any usage or 

       custom   to   the   contrary,   no   person   shall 

       slaughter   or   cause   to   be   slaughtered   or   offer 

       or cause to be offered for slaughter any cow in 

       any place in Punjab: 

              Provided that killing of a cow by accident 

       or   in   self   defence   will   not   be   considered   as 

       slaughter under the Act."

19.    Under   Section   4   there   are   certain   exceptions   to 

       section 3. Those exceptions are as under:

       "4.   Exceptions.   -   (1)   Nothing   in   section   3 

       shall apply to the slaughter of a cow - 

              (a)whose   suffering   is   such   as   to   render 

                   its   destruction   desirable   according   to 

                   the         certificate                       of         the         Veterinary 

                   Officer   of   the   area   or   such   other 

                   Officer            of               the             Animal           Husbandry 

                   Department as may be prescribed; or


              (b)which   is   suffering   from   any   contagious 

                or   infectious   disease   notified   as   such 

                by the Government; or

              (c)which   is   subject   to   experimentation   in 

                the   interest   of   medical   and   public 

                health   research   by   a   certified   medical 

                practitioner   of   the   Animal   Husbandry 


       (2)    Where   it   is   intended   to   slaughter   a   cow 

       for   the   reasons   specified   in   clause   (a)   or 

       clause   (b)   of   sub-section   (1)   it   shall   be 

       incumbent   for   a   person   doing   so   to   obtain   a 

       prior   permission   in   writing   of   the   Veterinary 

       Officer   of   the   area   or   such   other   Officer   of 

       the   Animal   Husbandry   Department   as   may   be 


20.    The   expression   "slaughter"   is   defined   in   Section 

       2(e) of the Act, which is as follows:

       "2(e) - "slaughter" means killing by any method 

       whatsoever   and   includes   maiming   and   inflicting 

       of physical injury which in the ordinary course 

       will cause death."


21.    If we read Section 3 and Section 4 together, it is 

       clear   that   the   person   contravening   Section   3 

       cannot   put   up   a   defense   that   the   act   of   slaughter 

       was being done in a place, of which he is not the 

       owner  or in  respect of  which he  does not  have the 

       conscious   possession.   Slaughter   of   Cows,   subject 

       to   exceptions   under   Section   4,  in   any   place,   is 

       prohibited   under   Section   3   and   penalty   for   doing 

       so is provided under Section 8.

22.    The   High   Court's   finding   that   the   guilt   of   the 

       accused persons has not been proved in the absence 

       of         proof         of         their              ownership         or         conscious 

       possession   of   the   house   where   slaughter   took 

       place,   is   a   finding   which   is   de-hors   the   said   Act 

       and   is   clearly   not   legally   sustainable.   Slaughter 

       of the Cows is clearly prohibited under Section 3, 

       subject   to   the   exceptions   in   Section   4.   The   case 

       of   the   accused   persons   is   not   covered   under   the 

       exceptions   in   Section   4.   No   such   defense   was   ever 



23.    Therefore the impugned order of the High Court is, 

       with         respect,         legally         not         sustainable.         We 

       therefore   are   unable   to   accept   the   reasons   of   the 

       High   Court.   The   appeal   is   allowed.   The   order   of 

       the   High   Court   is   set-aside   and   that   of   the 

       learned Sessions Judge is affirmed.


                                                (ASOK KUMAR GANGULY)


New Delhi                                       (JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)

November 25, 2011


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