Dharam Singh & Ors Vs. The State of
Uttar Pradesh  INSC 91 (9 March 1962)
Criminal Trial-Conviction by Sessions
Judge-Appeal to High Court-Difference between Judges hearing appeal Reference
to third Judge-Duty of third Judge-If must treat opinion of acquitting Judge as
judgment of acquittal-Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898) s. 429.
The appellants were convicted of offences
under s. 302 read with s. 34 and s. 201 read with s. 34 Indian Penal Code by
the Sessions judge. On appeal to the High Court there was a difference of
opinion between the two judges who heard it and the case was referred under s.
429 Code of Criminal Procedure to a third judge. The third judge upheld the convictions.
The appellants contended that where a case was referred under s. 429, the
opinion of the judge acquitting the accused had to be treated as a judgment of
acquittal and that the third judge must consider all the reasons given by the
acquitting judge and his judgment should indicate the reasons for disagreeing
with the opinion of the acquitting judge. The appellants further contended that
there were certain circumstances proved by the evidence on the record which
showed that the eye-witnesses could not be relied upon.
Held, that there was nothing in s. 429 which
required the third judge to whom the reference was made to act as though he was
sitting in appeal against acquittal. He had to consider the opinion of the two
differing judges and to give his own opinion.
Held, further (per Kapur and Das Gupta JJ.
Dayal.J. contra) that the judgment of the High Court suffered from such
infirmities as placing the onus of proof of certain facts on the appellants and
using of inadmissible evidence. The case was full of so many inconsistencies
and improbilities and peculiarities that it made it difficult to rely upon the
testimony of the eye-witnesses and to hold that the case against the appellants
was established beyond reasonable doubt.
Per Dayal J. The circumstances urged by the
appellant did not make out a case for interference with the findings of facts
of the High Court.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal No. 2244 of 1959.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated 1959, May 5 of the Allahabad High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 1049
of 1958 and Government Appeal No. 1766 of 1958.
Jai Gopal Sethi, O. L. Sareen and B. L. Kohli
for the Appellants.
G. C. Mathur and C. P. Lal fur the
1962. March 9. The Judgment of Kapur and Das
Gupta, JJ. was delivered by Kapur, J. Dayal, J., delivered a separate Judgment.
KAPUR, J.-The appellants and Prithviraj Singh
were tried by the Sessions Judge, Hamirpur, the former for offences under s.
302, read with s. 149 and s. 201 read with s. 149 and of them some under 8. 147
and others under s. 148 and the latter under s. 201 read with s. 149 of the
Indian Penal Code. From amongst the accused persons Nathu Singh was acquitted
and so was Prithviraj Singh but ten others were convicted under s. 302 read
with s. 149 and s. 201 read with s. 149 and two of them were convicted under s.
147 and others under 9. 148. The Sessions Judge sentenced the convicted persons
to imprisonment for life under s. 302 read with s. 149, to three years'
rigorous imprisonment under s. 201 read with s. 149, two of them to two years'
rigorous imprisonment under s. 141 and others to three years' rigorous
imprisonment under s. 148 but all the sentences were concurrent. Against that
order the convicted persons took an appeal to the High Court at Allahabad and
the State appealed against the acquittal of Nathu Singh and also applied for
enhancement of sentences against the convicted persons. The High Court
dismissed the appeal of the convicted persons and allowed the appeal against
Nathu Singh. Thus 11 persons were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for
life 771 and to other concurrent sentences and they have appealed to this court
by special leave.
The appellants and Prithviraj Singh are
residents of village Kharela and they were on terms of enmity with the deceased
Raja Ram Singh. On July 28, 1957, at about 3-30 p.m. the appellants collected
in front of the house of Kali Charan appellant, two of them armed with lathis,
two with pharsas and seven of them had spears. Dharam Singh appellant asked
RajaRam Singh as to why he, had been abusing him to which the reply given by
Rajaram Singh was that he was not in the habit of abusing anybody at his back
and if he felt like abusing anybody he would do so to his face and he fixed his
spear in the ground and stood there. Appellant Dharam Singh threw away the
spear, rushed towards Rajaram Singh, caught hold of him by the waist and asked
his ten companions to beat the enemy. Rajaram Singh was thereupon attacked with
various weapons as a result or which he, fell down severely injured. He was
still alive when appellants Sheo Rattan Singh and Gulab Singh struck on his
neck with pharsas and partially severed it. At the instance of Dharam Singh,
his cart was brought by others and Prithviraj Singh also arrived at the spot.
Dharam Singh asked him to go home and bring his Dharam Singh's) gun which
Prithviraj Singh did and handed, over the gull and the bandolier of cartridges
to Dharam Singh who loaded the gun, put the dead body of the deceased on the
bullock cart and the ten persons then took away the dead body from the village
and it is alleged that they left it in a nullah near village Jataura.
There is a police post in the village of
which Head Constable' Shivsewak Singh is incharge and there is also is an armed
guard there.At 3-45 p.m. Shyam Lal who is the brother-in-law (wife's brother)
of Rajaram Singh made a report at the police 772 post and at 7-30 p.m. he made
a report at the police station Muskara which is 8 miles away from village
Kharela. This occurrence was witnessed by five persons P. W. Babu Singh.
P. W. Shivnath Singh, P. W. Ram Narain, P. W.
Mulain Singh and P. W. Brij Rani. While the corpse was being taken in the
bullock cart three witnesses deposed to having seen it being carried in the
cart. They are Ram Nath P. W. 21, Tijiwa P. W. 22 and Jurkhan P. W. 23.
In the High Court the appeal was heared in
the first instance by Cak and Verms JJ. There was a difference of opinion
between the learned judges and the matter was referred under s. 429, Criminal
Procedure Code to Desai J., who agreeing with Cak J., upheld the conviction of
the ten appellants who were convicted by the Sessions Judge and set aside the
acquittal of Nathu Singh. Thus 11 persons were convicted and they have appealed
to this court by Special Leave.
It was contended on behalf of the appellants
that under s. 429, Criminal procedure Code where there is difference of opinion
between the judges constituting a Division Bench and the matter is referred to
a third judge the opinion of the Judge acquiting the accused has to be treated
in the same manner as the judgment of acquittal by the trial court and even
though it may not be necessary 'to find compelling reasons for disagreeing with
the opinion of the acquiting judge it is necessary that the judgment should
show that all the findings and the reasons given in the opinion of the
acquitting judge are mentioned in the opinion of the third judge and the
judgment should indicate the reasons for disagreeing with the opinion of the
acquitting Judge. We can see no warrant for this contention, Section 429 of the
Criminal Procedure Code Provides:
773 " When the Judges composing the
Court of appeal are equally divided in opinion, the case, with their opinions
thereon shall be laid before another judge of the same Court, and such Judge,
after such hearing (if any) as he thinks fit, shall deliver his opinion, and
the judgment or order shall follow such opinion".
All it says is that the opinion of the two
judges who disagree shall be laid before another judge who after giving such
hearing, if any, as he thinks fit, shall deliver his opinion and the judgment
or order should be in accordance with such opinion. Now it is obvious that when
the opinions of the two Judges are placed before a third Judge be would
consider those two opinions and give his own opinion and the judgment has to
follow the opinion of the third judge Consequently on that opinion is based the
judgment of the court. For all practical purposes the third Judge must consider
the opinions of his two colleagues and then give his own opinion but to equate
the requirements with appeals against acquittals is not justified by provisions
of s. 429 or by principle or precedent.
Desai J., was of the opinion that the eye
witnesses had seen the occurrence and their evidence must be accepted but there
are certain circumstances proved by the evidence on the record which when
considered materially affect the force of the finding in regard to oral
evidence and which have to be considered in order to adjudicate on the
correctness or otherwise of the prosecution case. The first point is whether
the murder was committed in the village as is submitted by the prosecution?
According to the prosecution the murder was committed in the village at 3.30
p.m. in the mouth of July in broad daylight on a public road and the number of
injuries caused to Rajaram Singh are such that there must 774 have been a fair
amount of blood spilt at the place.
According to the prosecution evidence after
the murder was committed Dharam Singh sent for his bullock cart which must necessarily
have taken a little time. Meanwhile Babu Singh P.W. went and informed Shyam Lal
who went to make a report at the police post in the village. It is stated to be
about 4 furlongs away. It is contended by the appellants that if the murder had
taken place as stated and there was an armed guard in the village, it would
have been difficult for the appellants to have sent for the cart, to put the
dead body on it and take it out of the village and that within the time between
the commission of the murder and the time of the making of Report at the police
post; that there is a considerable doubt about the occurrence having taken
place in the village because no blood was found at the place of the murder; at
least no evidence has been produced to show that there was any blood there. On
behalf of the prosecution it was submitted that the evidence discloses that
after the murder the blood was washed away by throwing a, good deal of water
and plastering the place and thus no blood was found when the place was visited
by the investigating Sub-Inspector. It was also submitted that some blood was
found on the wall of the chabutra in front of the house of the appellant Kali
Charan which was collected in a small tin and was sent to the Chemical
Examiner. It may here be pointed out that when the dead body was to the place
where it was found 6-1/2 miles away from the place of occurrence the neck was
cut and taken away and only the headless body was 'found there. That place was
in the dry bed of a nullah. According to the prosecution; witness Ram Avtar
there plenty of blood there but P. W. Raziuddin stated that blood was found in
drops lying in adjacent places but it was not found in heavy quantities at one
place. Blood-stained earth was taken from the 775 wall of the chabutra of Kali
Charan. Unstained earth was also taken from the same place which was also put
in a small tin. Blood stained earth was also taken from the place in the bed of
the nullah where the dead body was found. All these tins were sent to the
Chemical Examiner. It is not quite clear what exactly was his finding but he
found that the earth in two tins was blood-stained but blood has not been shown
to be of human origin. It is not clearly shown as to what was the extent of the
blood on the wall of the chabutra of Kali Charan. Desai J., was of the opinion
that a lot of blood must have been spilt at the place where the murder was
stated to have been committed but Kali Charan poured water over the spot,
therefore no blood was visible at the spot and the Investigating Officer found
the place wet when he examined it at night and that no explanation was given by
the appellants as to bow blood came to be on the wall of the chabutra. It does
not appear from the examination of the appellants under s. 342 that any
question was put to Kali Charan in ragard to the finding of the blood on the
wall of his chabutra nor was any of the other appellants asked this question.
The High Court should not have used this fact against the appellants.
Another circumstance which has been pressed
at great length on behalf of the appellants is that no attempt was made to take
any earth from the place and no investigation was made as to whether there was
any blood at the spot or not. If at man's neck is cut and he is caused the
number of injuries that the deceased had, the amount of blood spilt there must
have been in a fairly large quantity and it is difficult to imagine that just
by pouring water over the spot and plastering it no blood was visible and even
if it was not visible no blood could be found if any effort was made. No
attempt seems to have been made to take the earth from there and send it. to
the Chemical Examiner for the purpose 776 of examination. Desai J., has
observed that the Investigating Officer found the ground to be wet. The
Investigating Officer came there at II p.m. on the night of occurrence which
was a dark night and if he found the place to be wet it is not clear whether it
was wet because of water or because of blood. It was the month of July when any
water poured at 3-30 p.m. should have dried up by 11 p.m. another point which
has been pressed on behalf of the appellants is that no trail of blood was
discovered from the place where the murder is alleged to have been com. mitted
to the place where the dead body was ultimately found in the dry bed of the
nullah. Although the evidence is conflicting there was some amount of blood at
the place where the dead body was found. The head had been completely severed
and taken away. In the cart also there was some blood and a blood stained axe
was also found there. Therefore if the head was out at the place where the dead
body was found and there was blood oozing out at that time it is difficult to
imagine that there would not be any blood oozing all the time and there would
be no trail of blood. But none has been found. It may be pointed out that there
was blood on the planks of the cart on which the dead body is alleged to have
been taken. According to the books on Medical Jurisprudence blood does not
coagulate till after four hours. Therefore the submission of the appellants
that there should have been some trail of blood from the place where the murder
was committed to the place where the dead body was taken has considerable force.
The judgement of Desai, J., seems to indicate
that the onus of certain matters was placed on the appellants which is
unwarranted by law. For instance, the learned Judge said that the appellants
were asked in the Magistrate's court about the 777 evidence that they had
killed Rajaram Singh at 3-30 p.m. in the abadi and had then carried away his
dead body in the cart of Dharam Singh. and they contented themselves by denying
all the allegations and none of them had said that the deceased was not
murdered in the abadi and in the day time. The learned Judge then observed:"If
he was not murdered in the adadi and in day time they must have heard when and
where he was murdered. Their statements were not evidence governed by the
Evidence Act and they could say that they had heard. Yet when they refrained
from saying anything about it, it just shows that they had not heard that Raja
Ram Singh was murdered elsewhere and at another time".
This, in our opinion, was an erroneous
approach to the question.
At another place in his judgment the learned
Judge again seems to have placed the onus on the appellants and that was
concerning the ownership of the cart in which the dead body was taken. The
finding of the bloodstained bullock cart was relied upon by the prosecution in
support of their case.
That evidence was attacked on the ground that
there was no identification parade of the cart and the bullocks. The learned
Judge said in regard to this matter that there was no necessity for any
identification proceedings because if the Investigating Officer believed the
witness who stated that the cart belonged to Dharam Singh then he was not
required to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses by asking them to identify
the cart and the bullocks. He then observed:"Dharain Singh, Babu Singh and
Prithviraj Singh appellants denied that the cart and the bullock produced were
theirs but did not say to whom they belonged and how they were obtained by the
police. They also did 778 not produce any evidence to rebut the evidence of the
prosecution witnesses about their ownership".
In that very connection the learned Judge has
also relied on the fact that the bullock cart was brought from the bara of Ram
Adhin Singh and the site plan prepared by S.H.O. showed that there, were signs
of fresh removal of the bullock cart from the bara. Now this again is not
admissible evidence because nothing shown on the plan unless deposed to by
witnesses is evidence against the appellants. It was so held in Santa Singh v.
State of Punjab (1) and Tori Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2). There is
another significant fact in regard to this cart According to prosecution
witness Babu Singh, the bullock which were yoked in the cart belonged to Ram
Adhin Singh when he was asked to identify he said one of them was the same but
the second one was not the same which was yoked in the cart at the time when
the dead body was being taken. It is an extraordinary circumstance that the
bullocks which are alleged to have belonged to Ram Adhin Singh, and which were
yoked to the cart carrying the dead body, which all the time remained in police
custody got changed so that one of the bullocks is not the same.
Another circumstance which is equally
significant is the finding of the yoke of prosecution witness Tijiwa with the
cart. It is stated that Tijiwa met the appellants when they were driving the
cart away from the village. At the time Tijiwa was returning home bringing his
Tijiwa's yoke was borrowed because the yoke
of the cart driven by the appellants got broken and Tijiwa's yoke was found at
the place where the cart was subsequently discovered. What happened to the
broken yoke is not shown, how Tijiwa took his own cart back without the yoke to
the village is not shown. This circum(1) A.I. 1956 S.C. 526.
(2)  3S.C.R.
779 stance does not seem to have received the
attention of the High Court which it deserved.
The appellants have vigorously pressed before
us another argument which deals with the First Information Report and
investigation by the police. According to the prosecution the occurrence was at
about 3-30 p.m. and an information was given at the police post at 3-45 p.m.
and according to the evidence of the prosecution witness Raziuddin, the Head
Constable and two constables of the armed guard proceeded to recover the dead
body and follow the murderers by following the track of the cart. They left the
police post of Kharela at 3-45 p.m., and from there they went to the house of
the appellant Kali Charan and then they followed the track of the bullock cart.
At a distance of four or five paces from the place of occurrence they met
Pancham Singh who does not seem to be a witness; so what he stated to the
constable is not evidence. They then followed the track of the bullock cart and
found the dead body lying in the nullah about three furlongs away from the'
abadi of village Jataura. The dead body was headless. They left the two armed
guards at the place and proceeding a little further they found the bullock cart
with the two bullocks and there was no one near the bullock cart. Head
Constable Shivsewak Singh bad gone at 12 noon to Balatal for appearing as a
witness. There are no entries in the Police Duty Register at the Police Post as
to his return nor as to his going with Raziuddin and others following the track
of the cart.
Leaving the armed guard at the place where
the dead body was found Head Constable Shivsewak Singh went to Jataura and
called Chowkidar Sumera. At about 10 or 11 in the night he sent Chowkidar
Sumera to Thana Charkhari to give information and it is stated that as a result
of the 780 information given by Chowkidar Sumera the Sub Inspector in-charge of
Charkhari Police Station came to the place where the dead body was found and he
started the investigation on the morning of July 29, 1957. He took the dead
body into possession, held the inquest report and took bloodstained earth and
the cart into possession. There is no reason why the Head Constable should have
sent Sumera to the police station Charkhari when the offence was committed in
the village in the jurisdiction of police station Muskara.
It is next stated that the Officer-in-Charge
of Muskara Police Station, Sub-Inspector Basu Deo came to village Kharela at 11
p.m. There is no entry in the Register at the Police Post showing his coming to
the place of the occurrence. He has deposed that he went to the place of
occurrence and noticed that outside the house "'Some water appeared to be
lying and at places it appeared that the ground had been washed with hand and
water". How in the middle of a dark night he could have seen all that has
been explained and the appellants rightly challenge his very coming to the
village at that time. From these circumstances the appellants submit that there
is a great deal of doubt as to the time of the making of the First 'Information
Report and the time and place of murder. We have these facts which cast a good
deal of doubt as to the authenticity of the report or the investigation by the
police of Muskara into the alleged occurrence.
(1) if the information was given at the
police post soon after the occurrence, as is alleged, there is no reason why
the police should not have reached the place and prevented the removal of the
dead body which was after all being carried on a bullock cart.
(2) It is not shown by the entries of the
Duty Register that the Head Constable returned from Balatal at 4 O'Clock and
came back to the village 781 (Kharela) and then proceeded to follow the track
of the bullock cart in which the dead body was alleged to have been carried.
(3) There is no reason why when the dead body
was found near the nullah at about 6-30 p.m. the Head Constable should have
sent the Chowkidar of Jataurs to Police Station Charkhari to make a report at
that place and why the investigation should have.been carried on by the police
of that police station and not by the police of Muskara Police Station when the
latter had come to know of it about 6-30 p.m. that murder had been committed in
(4) There is no reason why the Police Sub-Inspector
Kharela Police Post should go at 11 p.m. and in a most casual manner to the
place of occurrence, see water lying at the place and that in the hot mouth of
July. Why the next day he did not take any earth from that place is also a very
(5) There is total absence of blood at the
place of the occurrence. It is stated that there was some blood on the wall of
chabutra of Kali Charan what was the extent and nature of the blood is not
shown. How far the chabutra was from the exact place of murder is not shown.
(6) There is no evidence at all that any
earth was opened with human blood.
(7) There is total absence of entries in the
Therefore the coming of Sub-Inspector Basu
Deo is also doubtful. There is no indication that there was any trail of blood
even for a short distance from the place of occurrence.
(8) The evidence in regard to the borrowing
of the yoke from prosecution witness Tijiwa is highly suspicious in the
circumstances of this case.
782 (9) Lastly we find that the approach of
the learned Judge to the case is not in accordance with law in that as to two
or three matters he has approached the question as if it is for the defence to
disprove certain facts. For instance the failure of the defence to produce reliable
evidence to contradict eye witnesses there failure to state that the murder was
not committed in the village ; there failure to say as to whom the cart
belonged if it did not belong to Dharam Singh.
Desai J., was of the opinion that no blood
was found by Raziuddin on the way from the abadi to the nullah and no trail of
blood could be expected because the bleeding must have stopped before the cart
left the abadi. On what evidence he found that bleeding must have stopped is
not clear. The learned Judge also relied upon the fact that Chowkidar Sumera
made a report at the police station Charkhari about certain facts which are
Sumera is not a witness. Therefore what he
stated cannot be evidence in this case.
It appears that the learned Judge also took
into consideration the fact that the appellants were absconding and that they
gave no explanation as to their absconding but they do not seem to have been
asked any question in regard to it. In regard to the witnesses Ram Nath, Tijiwa
and Jurkhan who saw the dead body being carried in the cart, the learned Judge
said that he found no reason to disbelieve their testimony. At another place in
the judgment the learned Judge observed that when witnesses talked about the
neck of Rajaram Singh being out they must have been tutored about it. In this
view of the matter and taking other material improbabilities in the testimony
of these witnesses which the learned Judge does not seem to have considered it
is difficult to place any reliance on their evidence.
783 The whore case is full so many
inconsistencies and improbabilities and peculiarities that it must be said that
the case has not been established against the appellants beyond reasonable
doubt. We are opinion that the High Court's failure to consider the important
circumstances disclosed by the evidence, and the error in wrongly placing onus
on the accused has resulted in miscarriage of justice.
The case therefore falls within the rule laid
down in Pritam Singh v. State (1) and calls for our interference.
In these circumstances the conviction of the
appellants must be set aside and the appeal must be allowed. The appellants are
acquited & must be released forthwith unless required in some other case.
RAGHUBAR DAYAL, J.-I have bad the advantage
of perusing the judgment prepared by my learned brother Kapur, J.
I agree with the interpretation of s. 429,
I am, however, of opinion that the
circumstances urged for the appellants do not justify interference with the
verdict of the High Court on questions of fact. They have all been considered
by Desai J., in forming his opinion. He has relied on the statements of the
It is argued for the appellants that the
circumstances tend to throw doubt on the correctness of the prosecution story
that the incident took place inside the village abadi and that therefore the
appellants' conviction should be set aside.
The first circumstance is that the incident
took place at 3.30 p. m., information about it reached the police outpost four
furlongs away at 3.45 p.m., the armed guard at the outpost then proceeded to
the spot and yet it is said that the (1)  S.C R. 453.
784 accused could remove the dead body from
the spot prior to the arrival of the armed guard. The getting of the bullock
cart and the loading of the corpse would have taken sufficient time and the
arrival of the armed guard could have been within that time. In this
connection, it is to be noticed that Babu Singh, P. W. 1, an eye-witness, left
the spot after the body had been removed on the cart. It was he who informed
Shyam Lal about the incident. Thereafter, Shyam Lal left for the police
outpost. Babu Singh states :
"After the cart left I rain to the house
of Raja Ram Singh. There we met Shyam Lal... I told Shyam Lal all what I
witnessed. He went to the police outpost to make a report and I went
home." The first information report was lodged at the thana at 7.30 p.m.
It mentions the fact of the dead body being taken away on the cart. In view of
this fact it is clear that the armed guard could not have reached the spot in
time to prevent the removal of the corpse.
Another fact against the circumstance urged
is that the incident did not take place at 3.30 p. m., which was really the
time when Babu Singh informed Shyam Lal Shyam Lal dictated in the first
information report :
"At about 3.30 p.m., Babu Singh... came
to my house and informed me as follows...". The incident therefore must
have started much earlier, say at about 3 O' clock and the body must have been
removed by about 3.25 p.m.
The other circumstance urged is that no
bloodstained earth was found at the spot and that therefore this throws doubt
on the incident having taken place at the spot alleged. It is in the
prosecution evidence that some of the accused washed the 785 ground where blood
had fallen and plastered it. According to the Sub-Inspector, P. W. 27,
bloodstained earth was taken in possession from the door of the accused
Kalicharan Singh, which really means, from the front of his house. Siya Ram,
P.W. 26, stated that a few places in the Chabutra where blood stains were
detected were scraped and that the stains were on the walls of the Chabutra.
The recovery list Ex. K-29 mentions :
"blood stained earth was scraped from in
front of the house of Sri Kali Charan, son of Bhan Singh, Thakur, ;and from the
'Chabutra' (platform), whereon there appeared to be some stains of blood."
Blood stained earth from the place where the dead body was recovered was also
taken in possession. The two samples of earth so taken in possession were sent
in different packets to the Chemical Examiner who found them stained with
The Serologist could not determine the nature
of the blood due to disintegration. In vie* of this evidence, it cannot be said
that no blood-stained earth was found at the alleged spot.
Further, Raziuddin, P.W. 17, who went with
the armed guard to the spot stated;
",When at first I visited the house of
Kali Charan I had noted that in front of his house there were indications of
the washing of the ground at places. It appeared that somebody had removed
things from that place with hands and legs by spreading water at different
places." This supports the statement of the other witnesses about the
washing and plastering of the spot.
Sub-Inspector Basudeo, P.W. 27, stated that
when he reached the house of Kali Charn at about 11 p.m., he noticed that
outside it some water 786 appeared to be lying and at places it appeared that
the ground had been washed with hand and water. It is true that the night was
dark and he did not carry out the local inspection due to want of a suitable
light. But these facts can hardly affect his testimony. He could not have
mistaken the nature of the witness and should have been able to distinguish
whether it was from water or from blood. The witness of the ground is not to be
doubted even though about 8 hours had elapsed since the washing took place.
Raziuddin has deposed that there had been
rain-fall two days earlier. The incident had taken place on the 28th of July.
The ground could have been went from before
and fresh washing could have wetted it more. In fact, the more the spilling of
blood, the more would have been the water used to wash it away.
Another circumstance urged is that no trail
of blood was noticed between the village and the actual place where the dead
body was recovered, a distance of over six miles. The corpse was laid on the
planks of the cart. They got bloodstained. Any dropping of the blood from the
cart on the track would have depended on the extent of the flow of blood and on
the openings between the planks. It is not expected that blood would have
fallen in a continuous stream. Some drops could have fallen down at places.
They could' be easily pressed upon by the accused's feet, some of whom would
have been walking behind the cart. The armed guard and others who followed the
cart in pursuit were more.
concerned with the following of the marks
left by the art than with noticing some minute drops of blood which might have
fallen here and there on the track. Absence of blood on the passage, therefore
cannot discredit the prosecution case.
787 When the cart was produced in Court, it
had one of the bullocks used at the time when the corpse was removed and
another bullock substituted for the other one. Much has been made of this
change in the other bullock. The Sub Inspector has stated in his evidence.
" I had entrusted the recovered bullocks
and carts to the custody of Binda Lodhi of village Kharedi. One bullock which
is white in colour could not be brought here as it is suffering from
small-pox." The questions put to the accused mentioned the allegation
about the other bullock suffering from small-pox and in their replies this fact
was not denied. The police was not, in charge of the cart and the bullock and
explanation has been given for not producing the other bullock in Court.
This circumstance too cannot therefore affect
the correctness of the prosecution case.
It has also been urged that the carts and
bullocks found near the dead body were not put up for identification by
witnesses. Desai, J., has rightly observed that when witnesses could recognize
the cart and bullocks there could be no point in having the cart and bullocks
formally identified before a Magistrate. Only such articles and accused are put
up for a test identification as are notknown to the witnesses. Those known are
never put up for identification. The statements of the witnesses who recognized
them are judged from other circumstances. Further, the evidence about the
ownership of the cart was only by way of corroborating the statements of the
prosecution witnesses. Any cart which could be available to the accused could
be used for the purpose of transporting the dead body.
Tijwa, P. W. 22, stated that Arjun Singh,
accused, stopped the cart about a mile from the village abadi when he was
returning home from his 788 fields and replaced the yoke of the cart with that
of Tijwa's as the former bad broken. It is urged that the absence of evidence
with respect to what happened to the broken yoke and how the cart of Tijwa
reached the village, important circumstances, had not been noticed by the High
Court in its judgment. These circumstances cannot be said to be important. In
fact, they were very remotely relevant to test the veracity of Tijwa. Tijwa was
not cross-examined about it. He stated that the broken yoke was also taken away
in the cart of Arjun Singh. It should follow that Tijwa's cart remained on the
passage till its owner Mahadev Brahmin could have brought it back.
It may be mentioned that the recovery memo,
Ex. K. 22, did not mention about the finding of the broken yoke in the cart.
The broken yoke is said to have been tied with a towel. It might have been that
the accused had removed the towel and thrown away the broken pieces. The police
party had no knowledge about the broken yoke when the cart was recovered and
could not therefore have looked for the broken parts. It may equally be that
the broken yoke was used by Tijwa. His cart had to go 'a much smaller distance
that the cart which took the dead body to the nala. When the accused started
with the cart they expected the broken yoke to serve the purpose of driving the
cart to the nala and back. It was just accident that they happened to meet
Tijwa on the way and borrowed his yoke. However, I consider these matters very
insignificant in assessing the correctness of the prosecution case.
Another matter severely commented upon for
the appellants is the conduct of Sheo' Sewak Singh, P. W. 20, Head Constable,
Kharela Police Outpost, and the Investigating Officer, Basudeo, P. W. 27,
mainly on account of the absence of entries in the duty register of the outpost
about 789 Sheo Sewak Singh's return there at about 4p.m., and about the
Sub-Inspector's visit to it at about 11 p.m., on 28th July. The Sub-Inspector
has stated :
"It is not necessary to make any arrival
and departure (entry) at police out-post Kharela, when I visit that post in the
record, of that outpost." The statement is with reference to making an
entry about his arrival and departure. He further stated:
"I did not make any entry of my
activities in the night between the 28th and 29th July 1957, in the record of
police out-post at Kharela nor it was necessary to note them there." And
"Entries are made in the record at
Kharela outpost about the duties allotted to the staff during duty hours."
Sheo Sewak Singh, P.W.20, deposed:
"I do make entries in the records at the
police out-post Kharela about my arrival there and also about my departure from
These entries are made in the general diary
by way of allotment of duty." Sheo Nandan Singh, P.W.19, Constable at that
"This (Ex.K.5) is not a general diary in
which cases are registered and entered. It is a register in which duties that
are allotted and the Amad and Rawangi of the police staff are noted.
When the Sub-Inspector attached so Muskara
comes to the police out-post at Kharela 790 he notes his arrival and departure
in the register kept at police outpost Kharela. No entry of his arrival and
departure is made in the register in the night between the 28th and 29th of
July 1957." Police officers do write their arrivals and departures in the
general diary at the police station and may also be doing so at the out-post
duty registers, if Sheo Nandan Singh's statement is to be preferred to the
statements of the Sub-Inspector and the Head Constable. But even then such
entries are usually made when the arrival of an outside police officer is in
connection with some work at the outpost. A casual visit on his way to another
spot may not be required to be noted. Similarly, the return of a member of the
police force at the out.post would be noted when he finally returns to duty.
His mere return to his quarters at the out,post may not be noted. Anyway, any
omission to make an entry the duty register at the out-post is not to discredit
the entire prosecution evidence about the incident and the course of the
After the recovery of the dead body, Sumera,
Chowkidar, was sent to Police Station Charkhari, in whose jurisdiction the dead
body was found. He lodged a report there at 3 a.m., and stated in it what had
taken place earlier.
Ram Autar Dixit, P.W.14, the then second
officer at Thana Charkhari, went to the spot, took in possession the dead body
and the cart, prepared the inquest report and took other necessary steps.
Criticism. is made of Sumera's being sent to Charkhari police station and of'
this Sub-Inspector making an investigation in connection with an offence said
to have been committed in the jurisdiction of police station Muskara. The
criticism is unjustified. The recovery of the corpse had to be 791 reported to
the nearest police station and was properly made at Charkhari Police Station in
whose jurisdiction also the dead body was found. It was the duty of the
Sub-Inspector to proceed to the spot to prepare the inquest report and to take
such other action as was necessary in the circumstances with respect to the
recovery of the various articles (s. 174 Cr. P.C.). He was not questioned about
his bona fides or about his jurisdiction to do what he stated to have done.
The fact that Sumera was sent to report the
recovery of the dead body to police station Charkhari can hardly lead to the
conclusion that this was done as no incident had taken place in village Kharela
as alleged by the prosecution.
Lastly, grievance is made of certain
observations of Desai, J., generally to the effect that the accused had not
stated something or had not led evidence to rebut the prosecution evidence on
certain points. It is urged that be therefore wrongly placed on the accused the
onus of proving the defence version negativing the prosecution version. I am of
opinion that he made references to this as a factor supporting the conclusions
hi) had already arrived at on the consideration of the evidence and
circumstances. He did not base his findings on such conduct of the accused. He
based his conclusion on more solid grounds. Some of such observations are :
(1) 'That the accused gave no explanation as
to how the blood came to be on the wall of the Chabutra'. The accused were not,
questioned about it and therefore their omission to explain it could not go
against them. However, the fact that blood was found on the wall of the
platform or in the earth in front of Kali Charan's house was proved from the
positive evidence on record.
792 (2) After Desai, J. had expressed his
opinion about the reliability of the eye-witnesses, he stated :
"Kharela is a large village and if the
murder did not take place inside the abadi and at 3.30 p.m. it would not have
been difficult for the appellants to produce reliable evidence to contradict
the eye-witnesses, but they did not produce any evidence .... None of them said
that Raja Ram Singh was not murdered in the abadi and in day time. If he was
not murdered in the abadi and in day time they must have heard when and where
he was murdered. Their statements were not evidence governed by the Evidence
Act and they could say that what they bad heard." I am of opinion that there
is nothing wrong in this observation when the incident is alleged to have taken
place in broad daylight in the village abadi and yet the accused did not
examine any witness to establish that no such incident took place in the
village. of course, a finding that the incident did take place in the village
as alleged by the prosecution could not have been based on such consideration
alone and the finding to that effect has not been so based.
(3) Similarly, Desai, J., made reference to
certain accused not stating as to whom the bullock.,-; .belonged and how they
were obtained by the police. A finding about the ownership of the cart and
bullocks is based on the evidence of Tijwa and other witnesses and not on the
omission of the accused to state as to whom they belonged.
Desai, J., was certainly wrong in using a
note in the site plan when the subject matter of that note was not deposed to
by any witness in Court, but this error with respect to the note that there
were fresh marks of a cart in the cart enclosure of Dharam Singh had no
significant bearing on the 793 In connection with Sumera's Report at Police
Station Charkhari, Desai, J., observed in his judgment :
"Neither H.C. Sheo Sewak nor P.C.
Raziuddin nor the armed guard had any interest in concocting a false case
against the appellants on their own. Therefore, when the information was
conveyed through Sumera Chaukidar that Kharela police had gone in search of the
murderers, it must be accepted that information was received at the out-post at
about 3-45 p.m. about the murder in the Abadi and that the outpost police went
at once in search of the murderers. In other words the murder must have been
committed in the Abadi and in day time as deposed by the prosecution
witnesses." Earlier, Desai J., had said what Sumera had informed at the
Police Station. He said:
'Sumera reached the police station at 3 a.m.,
met the second officer and informed him that constables of police circle
Muskara went to his house in Jataura and told him that Raja Ram Singh was
murdered, in Kharela, that the murderers carried away his corpse in a
bullock-cart and they and. the head-constable of the out-post followed them,
that the murderers ran away after throwing the corpse into the nala of Jataura,
that the head of the corpse was missing but the bullock cart had been recovered
and that he was sent to convey the information at the police station." I
do not consider the evidence about Sumera's making the report and stating
certain things there to be inadmissible in evidence. These are matters of
record. What he dictated cannot be considered to be substantive evidence of the
facts stated, when 794 Sumera was not examined as a witness to prove them. But
what he actually dictated and the time when he dictated are facts which 'have
been duly proved. They can be considered to determine the probability of what
the direct evidence tended to establish. This is what Desai J., did when he
used these facts of his making the report and making certain statements in
considering that they tend to support the prosecution version. It may be noted
that he had earlier considered at length the suggestion that the entire
prosecution case was concocted by the police and the villagers and bad given
his reasons for repelling the suggestion.
Desai J., was in error to refer to the
absconding of the accused as a circumstance against them as that had not been
put to them when examined under s. 342, Cr. P. C. But as it did not basically
affect the finding with respect to the correctness of the prosecution case,
that would not justify interference with the findings of fact.
I would therefore dismiss this appeal.
By COURT. In View of the opinion of the
majority, the appeal is allowed. The appellants are acquitted and must be
released forthwith unless required in some other case.