Singh Vs. State of Haryana  INSC 918 (7 August 1996)
M.K. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) Kurdukar S.P. (J) M.K. Mukherjee, J.
JT 1996 (7) 635 1996 SCALE (5)683
appellant before us stands convicted and sentenced under Section 5 of the
Explosive Substances Act, 1908 by the Designated Court Karnal for having been
found in unlawful possession of a hand-grenade and a detonator, According to
the prosecution case on April 3 1994 when Inspector Sada Ram (P.W. 5) and ASI
Bench Singh (P.W. 4) of Panipat City police Station along with other police
personnel were proceeding along Jatal road for investigating into a case they
found the appellant coming from the opposite direction. On suspicion they
apprehended him and started interrogating. On interrogating. On interrogation
he disclosed that he had kept concealed a hand-grenade underneath a Barn tree
in front of his house.
work out that information the police party along with Pratap Singh (PW 2), a
member of the public, went to the house of the appellant. Reaching there the
appellant brought out the hand - grenade along with a detonator after digging
the earth from near a Barn tree. Inspector Sada Ram prepared a recovery memo in
respect of those article, wrapped them in separated packets and sealed them. A
case was thereafter registered against the appellant and in course of
investigation the sealed packets were sent to the forensic Science Laboratory
where the hand-grenade and the detonator were examined by Dr. O.P. Chugh (PW
1). Director of the Laborat Laboratory. He found the same to contain substances
which on explosion could cause damage to live and properties around the point
their explosion. On completion or investigation the police submitted
charge-sheet along with a sanction of the District Magistrate, Karnal to
prosecute the appellant under the Explosive Substances Act.
appellant pleaded not quality to the change leyelled against him and his defence
was that he was falsely implicated in the case. In support of his defence he
examined a witness, namely, Sultan Singh (DW 1) who testified that there was no
tree near the house of the appellant as claimed by the prosecution witnesses.
learned Judge of the Designated
Court accepted the
case of the prosecution in preference to that of the defence and passed the
impugned order of conviction and sentence.
Singh, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant, first contended that
since the appellant was not in custody of the police at the time he purportedly
made the statement (Ex, PF). which according to the prosecution led to the
discovery, the statement would not be admissible under Section 27 of the
Evidence Act. We do not find any substance in this contention for not only the
two police officers, namely Inspector Sada Ram (P.W. 5) and ASI Bachan Singh
testified that the above statement was made by the appellant after he was
arrested by them but also by Pratap Singh (P.W. 2), who categorically stated
that when he was called by the police he found the appellant in their custody.
next contended that the learned Court below ought not to have placed any
reliance upon the evidence of P.W.s 4 and 5 relating to the recovery as their
evidence was contradictory. This argument is also devoid of any merit for, apart
from the fact that we have not found any material contradiction in their
evidence, Pratap Singh (PW 2 ), whose credentials as an independent witness was
not - and could not be successfully assailed fully supported their testimonies
regarding recovery of the offending articles.
in his (P.W. 2's) cross-examination it was elected that the hand-grenade and
the detonator were lying buried about 6" below the ground. Having
carefully gone through the testimonies of the above three witnesses namely, P.Ws
2,4 and 5 we find no reason to disbelieve their consistent claim that the
appellant brought out a hand-grenade adn detonator which were laying buried
below the Barh tree adjoining his house. As regards the evidence of Sultan
Singh (D.W. 1) that there was no Barh tree in between the shop of the appellant
and the adjoining road we can only say that it does not impair the prosecution
case for the evidence led by it shows that the tree in question is behind the
house of the appellant and not in front of his shop.
next contended on behalf of the appellant that the recovery of the offending
articles at the instance of the appellant did not necessarily mean that he was
in possession of the same for the might have only knowledge about those
articles being there. In other words, according to the learned counsel for the
appellant, there was no evidence to conclusively prove that the appellant was
in possession of the offending articles. This argumentation cannot be accepted.
In his statement (Ex.PF) made before Inspector Sada Saing (P.W. 5) which was
signed by him and attested by the other persons present, he categorically
stated that he had kept concealed hand-grenade under the Barh tree in from of
his hose. The statement so made, which we find no reason to disbelieve, leads
to the only conclusion that the appellant was in possession of the hand -
grenade and detonator for otherwise he could not have kept them concealed at
the place wherefrom the same where recovered.
lastly contended that the sentence of two year rigorous imprisonment impose
upon the appellant for the conviction is unduly harsh, Considering the nature
of the offence committed by the appellant and the opinion of Dr Chugh (P.W. 1)
that on explosion, the had-grenade found with the appellant, could cause damage
to the lives and properties around the point of its explosion we do not think
that the sentence is too severe. The appeal is, Therefore, dismissed. The
appellant, who is no bail, will now surrender to his bail bonds to serve out
the remainder of his sentence.