Four acquitted after 19 years
A family of four, sentenced to three years imprisonment for allegedly assaulting their neighbours in 1992, was acquitted by the Bombay high court on Tuesday.mumbai Updated: Apr 13, 2011 01:46 IST
A family of four, sentenced to three years imprisonment for allegedly assaulting their neighbours in 1992, was acquitted by the Bombay high court on Tuesday.
Justice ND Deshpande set aside the sentences awarded to Sadashiv, Aakaram, Shivram and Sanjay Ghate by the Kolhapur sessions court on October 30, 1996.
While acquitting them, justice Deshpande observed, “When two counter cases are pending before the trial court, judgment should have been pronounced only after the entire evidence was recorded. Therefore the trial court’s judgment of conviction cannot be sustained in law.”
The trial court had acquitted the family of the charge of murdering Shivram Koli, observing that it was not an assault with the intention of murdering him. Koli had died of his injuries two weeks after the assault.
The Ghates and Kolis had been locked in a dispute from 1986 over an open space outside the house of Dayanand Koli in Surkurd village, Kolhapur. A suit had been pending in the city civil court in the matter.
According to the prosecution, the Ghates and Kolis got into a fight on April 24, 1992.
Both families were armed with axes, sickles and sticks and assaulted each other. They even threw stones at each other and everybody was injured.
Members of the Koli family were prosecuted for assaulting the Ghates. However, the trial court acquitted them after the Ghates were found guilty. Their appeal was pending in the high court.
Finding fault with the trial court judgment, the high court observed that the conviction [of Ghate family] was pronounced without decision or appreciation of evidence in the counter case, which had resulted from common investigation when the trial was held before the same court.
“It is strange to see that the Ghate family were held as ‘aggressors’ and convicted for causing injuries to witnesses Rajkumar Koli and complainant Dayanand Koli and Shivram Koli with axes, sickles and sticks,” the court said.
Acquitting the Ghates, justice Deshpande said, “After going through the evidence, it cannot be said that the Ghates alone were the ‘aggressors’ which was the reason given by the trial court for holding them guilty. Admittedly, the Ghates had also sustained injuries and those were not considered. There was no discussion in the judgment.”