The prosecution's case commences with the testimony of Nagamma, spouse of Accused No. 5, wherein it is alleged that the deceased, Marthandappa, engaged in an extramarital relationship with her. This purported illicit affair caused tension between Marthandappa (the deceased) and Accused No. 1 to 8. On the fateful day of 28.06.1997, Marthandappa, along with Prosecution Witnesses 3 and 4, were traveling in a bullock-cart from Aidbhavi village to Nagaral village for agricultural purposes. Departing from the residence of PW-2 (the deceased's father) at approximately 9 A.M., they journeyed towards Nagaral village on the bullock-cart, crossing Shantpur village en route. At approximately 4 P.M., while nearing Balwantappa Channur's land, Accused No. 1 to 8 emerged from concealment and intercepted the bullock-cart. As per the prosecution's account, A3, A4, and A6 were armed with axes. The accused individuals proceeded to threaten Marthandappa, accusing him of disrupting the peace of the village women due to his alleged misconduct.

Subsequently, they launched a concerted attack on Marthandappa, aiming to cause him fatal harm. A3 inflicted injuries to Marthandappa's right leg with an axe, while A4 struck him five/six times on the right side of the abdomen. A5 used a knife to assault Marthandappa's lip and back. A6 targeted Marthandappa's right and left temple regions and chin with an axe, also inflicting injuries to his lap. Continuing the assault, A7 struck Marthandappa's head with a bullock-cart peg. A1, A2, and A8 used clubs to assault Marthandappa's back. Witnessing the brutality, PW-4 attempted to flee but was subsequently attacked by A3 with an axe, resulting in injuries to his head, back, and scrotum, rendering him unconscious. Observing the apparent demise of Marthandappa, Accused No. 1 to 8 departed the scene. Subsequently, feeling safe to approach, PW3 discovered Marthandappa's lifeless condition.


The trial Court acquitted appellants-accused nos.3, 4 and 5 for the commission of murder of one ‘M’. However, the High Court reversed the order of acquittal and held the appellants guilty of the commission of murder. Whether the High Court was correct in reversing the order of acquittal of the trial Court and thereby convicting the accused persons u/s. 302 IPC.


In the instant case, the case of prosecution substantially rests on the testimonies of PW-3 and PW-4 read with various documents, especially the reports of medical examination and post mortem – The conduct of PW-3 renders his very presence at the place of incident as doubtful – Despite a heavy assault by multiple accused persons, he did not suffer any injury at all – That too when he was indeed chased by A-3 while attacking PW-4 – It is extremely doubtful that the assailants simply chose to give up on PW-3 and did not pursue him behind the bushes, despite knowing that PW-3 could turn out to be an eye witness of the incident – The story that follows the story of hiding behind the bushes is equally doubtful and leaves one speculating – The timelines, the route taken by PW-3, complete disregard for severely injured PW-4, failure to inform the police post despite access to it etc. are some of the factors that raise a reasonable doubt on the entire story – The chain of circumstances created by the testimony of PW-3 is not consistent with the outcome of guilt – The version of PW-4 is that he was attacked from the back by A3 and thereafter, he fell unconscious – As per his testimony and the testimony of PW-3, PW-4 was attacked by an axe on his head, back and scrotum – The first point of corroboration is to be seen from the circumstances following the assault – The assault on PW-4 took place at around 4 P.M. and he was admittedly unconscious thereafter – He remained as such until he was “selfadmitted” in the hospital at around 12:30 P.M. the following day – The second point for corroboration of this version could be taken from the wound certificate issued by PW-8 during the treatment of PW-4 at Government Hospital – The Trial Court relied upon the wound certificate and noted a contradiction between the condition of PW-4 at the time of admission – In the certificate, PW-4 is stated to be “self-admitted” but at the same time, he is stated to be unconscious – The injuries found on PW-4, as per the wound certificate, were simple in nature – PW-8 gave some treatment to PW-4, however the nature of treatment is not indicated – In the ordinary course of natural events, an injury inflicted by an axe, that too in a manner that the injured immediately fell unconscious and remained unconscious for almost 20 days, could not have been a simple injury – The High Court omitted to take note of two material aspects-the fact that the statement of PW-4 was recorded after a period of one month from the date of incident and the factum of family relationship between the deceased and PW-4 – The former aspect raises a grave suspicion of credibility, whereas the latter raises the suspicion of being an interested witness – The High Court went on to reverse the decision by taking its own view on a fresh appreciation of evidence without recording any illegality, error of law or of fact in the decision of the Trial Court – Thus, the High Court had erred in reversing the decision of acquittal, without arriving at any finding of illegality or perversity or error in the reasoning of the Trial Court.

Thus, it was held that if Trial Court's Acquittal Is A Plausible View, Then High Court Shouldn't Convict Accused by Reappreciating Evidence.