(2021) 9 SCC 191
JUSTICE DR. CHANDRACHAUD
JUSTICE MR. SHAH
The present case deals with charges which are levelled against the accused person for rioting and interrupting in the process of election conduction. Here the accused was convicted under section 323,307,147,149 and 379 of the IPC.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
On dated 26/11/1989, an FIR was lodged by Rajiv Ranjan at Paatan Police Station who was working as a worker of Bhartiya Janta Party at village Golhana Booth No.132on the evening of general election. He was issuing slips to the voters 200 yards north away from polling booth. Meanwhile the accused person belonging to village Naudiha came armed with lathis, sticks, their country made pistols and asked him to stop issuing slips and also asked him to hand over voting lists in his possession. After refusal by Rajiv Ranjan, the accused persons started physically beating him with fists, hands, lathis and also by sticks. Thereafter upon knowledge of the incident, the brother of the first informant came to rescue him and at that time the accused named Dinanath fired gun shot with his country made pistol, due to which he received pellet injuries and another accused Ajay Singh fired at Dinesh Tiwari due to which he was injured. Thereafter due to scuffle accused Hira Singh snatched wrist watches of Rajiv Ranjan and his brother and then all the accused persons ran away towards their village.
- Whether the offence commit under section 323 of IPC is valid?
- Whether the accused persons can be convicted under section 147 of IPC?
- Whether the injury report is brought on record and whether the accused persons can be convicted under section 323 of IPC?
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:
- Shri Manoj Swarup, learned senior advocate appearing on behalf of appellants contended that the learned trial court and also High Court have committed a grave error in convicting the accused under sections 323, 147 of IPC.
- He further submitted that aforesaid witnesses are untrustworthy and unreliable and also motive has not been established or proved.
- He further submitted there is no recovery of lathis and sticks.
- It was submitted before the court that injured eyewitnesses are trustworthy and reliable.
- It was submitted that all the three witnesses were thoroughly examined and cross examination was also done.
- It was submitted that all appellants have been guilty and punishable for the offence under section 147 of IPC.
The Supreme Court observed that the evidences of injured witnesses are entitled to great weight, trustworthy, reliable and cogent, convincing grounds are required to discard their evidence. Here the supreme court upheld the decision of conviction of appellants under sec 323 and 147 of IPC. The court then relied on the case the People’s union of civil liberties and Anr vs union of India in which it was held that freedom of voting is a part of freedom of expression and is necessary to strengthen democracy. The court further held that “essence of the electoral system should be to ensure freedom to voters to exercise their free choice Therefore, any attempt of booth capturing and/or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands because it ultimately affects the rule of law and democracy. Nobody can be permitted to dilute the right to free and fair election”.
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