Singh & Anr Vs. State of Punjab 
INSC 978 (20 August
S.P. (J) Kurdukar S.P. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) S.P. Kurdukar, J.
JT 1996 (7) 342 1996 SCALE (6)72
Criminal Appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated June 24, 1985 passed by the Sessions Judge, Special Court, Ferozepore, convicting both the
appellants - accused for an offence punishable under Section 302/34 IPC.
appellants - accused were put up for trial before the Special Court for committing the murder of Harbit
Singh alias Raju aged about five years. He was the son of Mahinder Singh, the
brother of Inder Singh (P.W.6). It is the case of the prosecution that on December 14, 1984, Raju while playing along with his
friends in front of their house, was found missing in the evening. A missing
information was lodged with the relatives of Raju searched him throughout the
night but could not trace him. However, on 15th December, 1984 at about 7 p.m. these witnesses noticed a crowd near the DAV College and
after going there the found the dead body of Raju lying near the school
compound. They also noticed that the amulet and rod which were worn by the
deceased Raju were missing. An FIR was then lodged with the police station,
city Fazilka and thereafter investigation commenced. During the course of
investigation on 31.1.1985, the accused came to be arrested. The accused being
interrogated made a statement under Section 27 of the Indian evidence Act which
led to the recovery of amulet. It also transpired during the investigation that
the accused made an extra judicial confession before one Pala Singh (P.W.7), a
Municipal Commissioner at Fazilka. As regards motive, the prosecution case was
that in the year 1971 Inder Singh (PW 6) who was then unmarried, had a love
affair with Dialo, a sister of Balbir Singh (A-1) and once they were caught in
a compromising position. On seeing this Balbir Singh (A-1) was terribly upset
and on two occasions he had challenged Inder Singh and told him that he will
take a revenge at the appropriate time. This love affair, according to Inder
Singh ended after he got married. Dialo was also married very soon after the
said incident. After completing the investigation the accused were tried for
the aforesaid offences.
Both the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed to be tried.
According to them they are innocent and they have been falsely implicated in
the present crime.
prosecution in support of its case relied upon the evidence of as many as nine
witnesses which included Mohinder Singh (P.W.5), the father of the deceased Raju,
lnder Singh (P.W.6) the brother of Mohinder Singh and other formal witnesses.
is not and cannot be disputed that Raju met with a homicidal death. It is
needless to set out the various injuries that were found on the dead body of Raju.
Muhan Challana (P.W.1), who performed the autopsy stated that Raju died due to
several ante mortem injuries.
can, therefore, be safely concluded that Raju met with a homicidal death.
the outset it may be stated that the prosecution case rests upon circumstantial
evidence. The learned trial judge in paragraph 19 in his Judgment pointed out
five circumstances (A to E) and according to him each one of them has been conclusively
proved by the prosecution and these circumstances if put together complete the
chain of circumstances to prove the guilt of the accused.
also state that the learned counsel appearing for the parties did not dispute
that these are the only five circumstances on which the entire prosecution case
Foot prints at the spot;
Recovery of amulet and thread: (see sic rod) and
Extra Judicial confession by the accused
Coming to the first circumstance, namely,the motive, it is stated by Inder
Singh (P.W.6) that he had developed illicit relations in the year 1971 with Dialo,
the sister of accused No.1 and because of this, accused had a grudge against
his family members. On two occasions the accused No.1 had challenged to take
revenge. He admitted that immediately thereafter he as well as Dialo were
married separately and thereafter no such relationship continued.
circumstance found favour with the trial Judge but in our opinion having regard
to the passage of time and in the absence of any incident during this long
period of 14 years it would be very difficult to accept the evidence of this
witness as regards the alleged motive. It is equally improbable that A-1 would
kill an innocent boy (Raju) who was then just five years old. If at all accused
No.1 had any grievance it could be against Inder Singh and not against an
innocent child. In this view of the matter we are of the opinion that the
learned trial judge has committed a great error in upholding that the
prosecution has proved any motive for the murder.
far as the second circumstance, namely, medical evidence is concerned as
indicated earlier there is no challenge whatsoever to the said evidence and we
may safely conclude that Raju met with a homicidal death.
Coming to the third circumstance, namely, foot prints, this circumstance is
although proved by the prosecution but in our opinion it is a very weak
circumstance and on the basis of prints it be conclusively said that these
cannot prints were of the accused. It may also he stated that only two foot
prints were found whereas there are two accused which means there ought to have
been four foot prints. There is no explanation whatsoever given by the
prosecution in this behalf as also there is no positive evidence to indicate as
to whose foot prints they were. In our opinion the learned trial Judge was
wrong in accepting this as a conclusive circumstance to establish the
complicity of the accused in the crime.
Coming to the next circumstance namely, recovery of amulet and rod pursuant to
the statement made by the accused No.1 under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence
Act, in our opinion this recovery is again a weak piece of evidence because
there were no special identity marks on both of these art viz circumstance,
therefore, is not conclusive to prove the complicity of the accused.
Coming to the last circumstance, namely, extra judicial confession alleged to
have been made by accused No.1, Balbir Singh tn Pala Singh (P.W.7), Municipal
Commissioner, Fazilka Municipal Committee, it has come on the record that this
witness had no special friendship with either of the accused. Pala Singh
(P.W.7) in his evidence had vaguely stated that after about one and half month
of the incident Balbir Singh, accused No.1 contacted him and he presence of Sajjan
Singh, accused No.2 confessed the crime.
through the evidence of this witness we are unable to accept his evidence as
trustworthy. It may also be stated that as far as Sajjan Singh, accused No.2 is
concerned there is no evident whatsoever to connect him with the crime.
After going through the entire evidence the record we are satisfied that the
impugned order of conviction and sentence is based on mere surmises and
therefore, the impugned order of conviction and sentence based against both the
accused is quashed and set aside and are acquitted. The appeal is allowed.
This Court on 7.4.1992 ordered both the accused to be released on bail to the
satisfaction of Sessions Judge, Ferozepur. If the accused were released on bail
persuant to the said order, their bail bonds in stand cancelled. In the event
they were unable to avail of that order, they be get at liberty forthwith if
not required in any other case.