of Punjab Vs. Gurmit Singh & Anr  INSC
1164 (19 September 1996)
S.P. (J) Kurdukar S.P. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) S.P.Kurdukar, J.
State of Punjab -appellant has filed this appeal under Section 19 of the
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (for short ' TADA')
against the judgment and order of acquittal dated 30th January, 1989 passed by
the Designated Court, Hoshiarpur in Sessions Case No. 48 of 15-10-1987 being
Sessions Trial No. 50 of 15-12- 1987 arising out of an FIR No. 80 dated
25-7-1987 of Police Station, Mahilpur. The respondents-two accused persons were
put up for trial for offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34
IPC and Section 3 of TADA for having Committed the murder of Bhag.
prosecution stor / as disclosed at the trial is as under:- At about 9.00 a.m. on 25th July, 1987,
Ranjit Singh (PW 2) was working in his fields. Bhag (since deceased) was the
resident of village Kharar Achharwal but was residing in the village Chamiala
at the time of the incident. He was going on his bi-cycle from village Rampur
to village Fatehpur Kothi, followed by Gurmit Singh @ Mita) (hereinafter called
'Mita'), a resident of village Halluwal and Gurmit Singh (A 2) of Village Chamiala
on bicycles separately. When they reached in front of the fields of Ranjit
Singh (PW 2), A-2 stopped Bhag and caught hold of him. Mita then gave several
blows by the dagger on Bhag who sustained bleeding injuries and fell down. Bhag
raised an alarm "Bachao-Bachao". Hearing This alarm, Gurmel Singh (PW
3), Lumberdar of village Chamiala came on the spot from the side of village Fatehpur
Kothi, witnessed the incident of assault and remained at the spot. Ranjit Singh
(PW 2) went and lodged the FIR (Ex.PE) at 10.20 a.m. with SI Avtar Singh (PW 5), SHO Police Station, Mahilpur who had come
to the village Khanpur. The police party headed by SI Avtar Singh reached at
the place of occurrence and started the lnvestigation. Blood stained earth was cocollected
by SI Avtar Singh (PW 5) and kept it in a sealed parcel vide memo Ex. PK. A rough site plan Ex.S was also
prepared. After inquest panchnama, the dead body of Bhag was sent for post
mortem examination. Bicycle Ex.PC of deceased was seized vide memo Ex.PM. The
two bicycles of A-1 and A-2 which were lying at the place of occurrence were
also taken charge vide memo Ex. PH and marked Ex.P3 and Ex.p4.
3. SI Avtar
Singh (PW 5) then deputed ASI Baldev Singh and constable Inderjit Singh to
search the accused. Since both the accused were not found in the village, the
police party suspected that they might be hiding in the jungle.
therefore surrounded the jungle and ultimately succeeded in arresting both the
accused. During the personal search of A-1, a dagger (Ex.PI) was recovered from
the dub (pocket) of his Pyjama which was then seized vide memo Ex.P5. Since
blood stains were noticed on the shirts worn by A-1 and A-2. the same were
seized and marked Ex.P5 and Ex.6 respectively and kept them in two sealed
parcels. These articles were sent to the Director, Forensic Science Laboratory
for its report. After completing the investigation, both the accused were
charge sheeted for offences punishable under Sections 302/34 of the Indian
Penal Code and Section 3 of TADA.
Both the accused pleaded not quilty to the charge and stated that they are
innocent and be acquitted.
order to bring home the quilt of both the accused, the prosecution examined two
eye witnesses i.e. Ranjit Singh (PW 2) and Gurmel Singh (PW 3) in addition to the
formal witnesses Lo prove the seizure Panchnamas etc. Dr. R.S.Mehal(PW 1) was
examined to prove the post mortem examination report and the cause of death.
The defence examined Karnail Singh (DW 1) the Sarpanch of the village Kaharpur.
Learned Judge of the Designated
Court on appreciation
of the oral and documentary evidence on record disbelieved the evidence of both
the eye witnesses on the ground that their presence at the time of occurrence
was doubtful. Having rejected the evidenec of eye witnesses, the learned trial
judge opined that the other evidence on record was not sufficient to hold the dccused
persons quilty of the offences for which they were tried. Consistent with these
findings, the learned trial judge recorded the impugned order of acquittal. it
is this order of acquittal which is the subject matter of challenge in this
7 Ms. Rupinder
Kaur, the learned Advocate appearing in support of this appeal urged that the
learned trial judge has completely misread the evidence of two eye witnesses.
urged that the finding of the trial court that because of obstructions caused
due to the high rise growth of reeds by the side of the road, none of the eye
witnesses could have seen the incident in question. This finding was based upon
mere surmises and certain erroneous assumptions. The Learned Counsel urged that
the evidence of both these eye witnesses is totally credible which finds
corroboration from the presence of human blood of the same group of the
deceased on tho clothes of the accused. She further urged that both the accused
were arrested on the very same day from the forest and there was no question of
any manipulation by the investigating agency. The Learned counsel, threfore,
urged that the impugned order is totally perverse, unsustainable and the same
be set aside and both the accused be held guilty of the offences for which they
R.S.Sodhi, Learned Counsel for the accused supported the order of acquittal and
urged that no interference by this Court is called for and the appeal be
the outset, it may be stated that this criminal appeal is filed under Section
19 of TADA and being the first appeal against the judgment and order of the Designated Court, this Court can re-appreciate the
evidence on record.
the assistance of learned counsel for the parties, we have gone through the
impugned judgment and the evidence on record.
is not and cannot be disputed that Bhag (since deceased) died a homicidal
death. Dr. R.S.Mehal (PW 1) performed the autopsy on the dead body of Bhag and
noticed as many as twelve ante mortem incised injuries, of which injury No. 12
was penetrating the right pleural cavity cutting the sternum and going into the
right lung. The right pleural cavity was full of blood. He opined that the
death was on account of haemorrhage and shock due to in injuries caused to the
brain, lungs, heart and liver. He further opined that these injuries were
individually or collectively sufficient to cause the death in the ordinary course
of nature. The death was immediate and it must have occurred within 12 hours
before the post mortem. In view of this experts opinion, we safely conclude
that Bhag met with a homicidal death because of various incised injuries
inflicted on his person.
Coming to the complicity of the accused in the present crime, the prosecution
story completely rests on the evidence of the two eye witnesses, i.e. Ranjit
Singh (PW 2) and Gurmel Singh (PW 3). It is also on record that Gurmel Singh
(PW 3) had lodged the First information Report (Ex.PE) with the police within
two hours of the incident. This First Information Report did make a reference
to the assault caused by both the accused. It is therefore, quite clear that
within a short time, the names of the assailants were disclosed by Gurmel Singh
(PW 3) in his report.
Singh (PW 2) in his evidence has stated that in the morning of 25th July, 198?,
he was working in his fields and at that time he saw Bhag passing over his
fields on bicycle followed by both the accused on their respective bicycles. He
knew both the accused. Gurmit Singh (A-2) caught hold of Bhag and thereafter Mita
(A-1) caused several dagger blows on his nose, right side of forehead, right
flank, back and two on the left flank. Bhag sustained the bleeding injuries,
fell down and raised an alarm Bachao- Bachao. In the meantime, Gurmel Singh (PW
3), a Lumberdar of village Chamiala came near the place of occurrence. The
accused then fled away. Gurmel Singh (PW 3) remained near the dead body and he
proceeded towards the village at about 10.20 a.m. to report the incident to SI Avtar Singh, SHO (PW 5) who happened to be
present in the village Khanpur. An FIR (Ex.PE) was then recorded by SI Avtar
Singh who thereafter came to the place of incident alongwith his police party
and started the investigation. this witness was searchingly cross-examined on
behalf of the accused and a suggestion was made to him that because of two pucca
walls on both sides of the bridge and high rise growth of reeds on both sides
of the roads, it was not possible for him to see the occurrence. The witness
had denied the suggestion and emphatically asserted that he was very close to
the place of incident and despite the reeds and the walls on the bridge, he
could see the assault caused by both the accused on Bhag.
suggestion was also put to this witness that at the relevant time he was not in
his fields knew nothing about the incident. This suggestion was also denied by
him. There is no challenge to the evidence of this witness that he owned the
agriculture fields near the place of incident and if this fact had gone
unchallenged it must follow that the witness in the ordinary course of his
vocation being an agriculturist would be in his fields. lt is also pertinent to
note that this witness had disclosed the names of both the accused in his First
lnformation Report which was lodged within two hours of occurrence. The trial
court has erroneously assumed that because of the two walls on the bridge and
the growth of reeds of about 7 to 8 feet, it was not possible for this witness
to see the incident. This assumption on the part of the trial court in our
considered view was totally unsustainable. We, therefore, feel no hesitation in
accepting the evidence of this witness being truthful.
Singh (PW 3) is another eye witness who had also given the same version like Ranjit
Singh (PW 2). Gurmel Singh(PW 3) has stated that when he heard the alarm raised
by Bhag he came to the place of occurrence and saw the assault on Bhag by both
the accused. The witness further stated that he waited near the dead body
whereas Ranjit Singh (PW 2) went to the village to lodge the report. This
witness was again searchingly cross-examined on behalf of the defence and there
is hardly any material brought on record to discredit his evidence. The trial
court has totally misread the evidence of this witness. We accept his testimony
as trustworthy which in all material particulars supports the evidence of Ranjit
Singh (PW 2).
Apart from the evidence of these two eye witnesses, the prosecution has also
relied upon certain other circumstances i.e. the recovery of the dagger (Ex.PI)
from the person of A-1, blood stained shirts of both the accused, and blood
stained earth. All these articles were sent to the Director, Forensic Science
Laboratory for its report. The report is dated 3rd September, 1987 Ex.PU. The dagger was marked article A, lumps of
earth and loose earth marked b, khaki colour marked Ex.C of Gurmit Singh @ Mita
(A-1) and black colour shirt of Gurmit Singh (A-2) marked Ex.D. these articles Ex.A,b,c
& D were examined biologically and serologically and it was concluded 'that
all the exhibits were stained with human blood of group A'. The blood group of
the deceased was "A". This report again corroborates the evidence of Ranjit
Singh (PW 2) and Gurmel Singh (PW 3) as regards the complicity of the accused.
No explanation whatsoever was offered by both the accused in their statement
recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
respondent accused has examined Karnail Singh (DW 1) in support of his defence.
Karnail Singh (DW 1) has stated that he was the Sarpanch of village Kaharpur panchavat
and on the date of occurrence, he was going to village Kothi When he reached
near the bridge, he saw a dead body lying there. He further stated that the
reeds on both the sides of the bridge were more than 6 to 7 feet high and there
was also growth of Tahli trees near that Choi. He then stated that if one
stands on the said bridge, nothing present in the nearby fields is visible.
There was a bi- cycle lying near the dead body and no other bi-cycle was seen
there. At about 9.30
a.m., the police had
arrived there. During the cross-examination on behalf of the prosecution, he
admitted that he did not go to the police station to inform about the presence
of the dead body. After going through the evidence. we are satisfied that this
witness is not reliable. Being a Sarpanch, it was his duty to go and inform
about the dead body to the police. His evidence appears to us a tailor made one
to support the defence and we have no hesitation in rejecting his evidence as
After going through the evidnce on record very carefully, we are of the
considered view that there is unimpeachable evidence on record to hold that Gurmit
Singh @ Mita son of Ganda Singh (A-1)had assaulted Bhag with the dagger causing
his death whereas Gurmit Singh son of Shangara Singh(A-2) by holding the
deceased Bhag Facilitated A-1 to cause murderous assault on him (Bhag). The
evidence on record, therefore, clearly shows that A-2 shared the common
intention to commit the murder of Bhag.
the result, the appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment and order of acquittal
is quashed and set aside.
Singh @ Mita son of Ganda Singh (A-1) is convicted for the offence punishable
under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to suffer life
imprisonment. Gurmit Singh son of Shangara Singh (A-2) is also held liable for
murder of Bhag, an offence punishable under Section 302/24 of the Indian Penal
Code and sentenced to suffer life imprisonment. Since A-1 and A-2 are on bail,
they are directed to surrender to their bailbonds to serve out the remainder of
their sentences. The order of acquittal under Section 3 of TADA is affirmed.