The Supreme Court has acquitted two men who were convicted for causing the death of the Managing Director of a company where they were employed.

The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari observed that there was no evidence to prove that the Appellants had instigated the labourers to attack the deceased MD or cause any injury to him.

The Court thus held –

"…in absence of any concrete evidence that the appellants attacked and/or caused any injury to the deceased and/or even the PSO and in absence of any evidence what was uttered by the appellants – accused in their own language and in absence of any evidence that the appellants instigated the labourers – others co-accused, we are of the opinion that the appellants cannot be convicted for the offence under Section 302 IPC with the aid of Section 149 IPC."

AOR Rameshwar Prasad Goyal appeared for the Appellants while AOR Debojit Borkakati appeared for the State before the Apex Court.

In this case, the Appellants along with other co-accused who were 70 in number were tried for the offences under Sections 302/392/148/323/149 IPC for having committed the murder of the Managing Director of the company in which the accused persons were working. At the relevant time, the Appellants were the President and Secretary of the Union.

The Trial Court had acquitted 57 accused, however, convicted 13 accused including the Appellants for the offences and sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment. Conviction of the 13 accused came to be confirmed by the High Court.

In all, six accused filed the appeal and SLP, however, by order the SLP qua the Petitioner Nos. 3 to 6 came to be dismissed. Therefore, the appeal was preferred by the Appellants before the Apex Court – Original Accused Nos. 2 & 1 respectively.

The Apex Court noted that on considering the deposition of the eyewitnesses, nothing was proved that the Appellants caused an injury to the deceased and/or participated in any manner in the commission of the offences for which they were convicted.

The Court held that if the entire evidence and the deposition of the eyewitnesses are scanned, it appears that in fact the Appellants were present there as office bearers of the Union and there were some disputes with regards to the wages.

Further, the Bench also noted, "It has come on record that on this, the appellant – Chaitu Gowala told something to the labourers in their own language following which the labourers became very agitated. Nothing is on record what was uttered by the accused – Chaitu Gowala."

Thus, the Bench observed, "We are of the firm view that the conviction of the appellants, namely, Chaitu Gowala and Ajay Ahari for the offences for which they are convicted is unsustainable."

Accordingly, the Court set aside and quashed the impugned judgment of the High Court convicting the Appellants for the offences under Sections 302/392/148/323/149 IPC, acquitted the Appellants and directed for their release.

Cause Title - Chaitu Gowala and Another v. The State of Assam

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