Sing & ANR Vs. State of West Bengal  INSC 899 (4 December 1997)
NANAVATI, V.N. KHARE
4TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1997 Present:
Mr. Justice G.T. Nanavati Hon'ble Mr. Justice V.N. Khare Rajinder Sachhar, Sr.Adv.,
R.P. Gupta, Adv. with him for the appellants.
Raja Chatterjee, (J.R.Das,) Adv for M/s. Sinha & Das, Advs. for the
following Judgment of the Court was delivered:
J The appellants were convicted by the Sessions Court for committing the
offence punishable under Section 307 read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced to
suffer rigorous imprisonment for ten years. Appellant Tarak Nath Singh was also
convicted under Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and was sentenced to suffer
rigorous imprisonment for one and three years respectively. The High Court
confirmed the conviction of the appellants under Section 307 read with Section
34 IPC but reduced the sentence to rigorous imprisonment for eight years.
Conviction of Tarak Nath Singh under sections 25 and 27 of Arms Act was set
by the conviction and the order of sentence the appellants have filed this
appeal by special leave.
has been found against the appellants is that on April 23, 1979 at about 10.30
p.m. when Ramashish Singh was examining his account books and counting money in
this 'Gaddi' (place of business) the appellants with four or five unknown
persons entered the 'Gaddi' with revolvers, knives and bombs, Tarak Nath Singh
fired six rounds from his revolver and caused injuries to Ramashish Singh and Chhabi
Nath (appellant No.2) stabbed him with a knife on his abdomen. After attacking Ramashish
Singh in this manner the assailants had escaped after hurling bombs.
the courts below have believed the evidence of Ramashish (PW-1) and also of
PWs-2,3 10 and 11. Shewnarayan (PW-2) was the owner of a nearby tea stall, Lalan
Tewari (PW-3) was a passer bye, Ganga Prasad (PW-10) was an employee of Ramashish
and Birendera (PW-11) is the son of Ramashish. All of them rushed to his 'Gaddi'
on their attention being attacked by the sound of firing of shots and explosion
of bombs and also by the alarm raised by Ramashish. All these witnesses had
stated that soon after reaching there they were informed by Ramashish that he
was attacked by Tarak nath Singh (appellant No.1), Chhabi Nath (appellant No.2)
and four to five unknown persons. The trial court held that the evidence of Ramashish
was corroborated by the medical evidence and also by the evidence of the
aforesaid witnesses. It, therefore, convicted the appellants as stated above.
High Court agreed with appreciation of the prosecution evidence by the trial
court and confirmed the findings recorded by it that the appellants along with
four of five other persons had attempted to cause the death of Ramashish Singh
as alleged against them. It, however, held that conviction of appellant Tarak Nath
Singh under section 25 and 27 of Arms Act was bad because the sanction granted
by the District Magistrate was bad in law. It, therefore, acquitted Tarak Nath
Singh f those charges. As regards the sentence imposed upon the appellants the
High Court was of the view that it was rather harsh and therefore, reduced it
as stated above.
Sachhar, learned senior counsel for the appellants, contended that both the
courts below failed to appreciate that the prosecution had failed to establish
that an emergency light was burning in the 'Gaddi' at the time of the incident.
His submission was that admittedly there was load shedding in the area at the
time of the incident and therefore, it was incumbent upon the prosecution to
prove that in the 'Gaddi' of Ramashish there was a source of light sufficient
enough to identify the assailants. The Investigating Officer had neither seized
any emergency light from the 'Gaddi' nor had made any inquiry in that behalf.
not find any substance in this contention as it was not at all necessary for
the police to seize and produce before the Court the said emergency light.
Undisputedly the 'Gaddi' of Ramashish was open as the incident had taken place
inside the 'Gaddi' and it was unlikely that at such a late hour Ramashish was
sitting in his 'Gaddi' without any light. It was not even suggested to PWs-1,2,3,10
and 11 that there was no light in the Gaddi at the time of the incident or when
they reached there. Both the courts have believed the evidence of the witnesses
and held that there was light in the 'Gaddi' and we see no reason to doubt
correctness of that finding.
next contended that Ramashish was really taken to the hospital not by his son Birendera
but by Jagdish, son-in-law of the elder brother of Ramashish, and that till Ramashish
was admitted in the emergency ward names of the assailants were not known
either to Ramashish or Jadgish as disclosed by the discharge certificate and
the medical certificate, which contained history of the assault but did not
contain the names of assailants. It was also submitted that Birendera really
did not know about the incident and had not gone to the hospital at all and to
support his false claim the prosecution had examined Shewnarayan (PW-2). It is
true that in the discharge certificate prepared by the hospital it is mentioned
that the person who got Ramashish admitted in the hospital was one Jagdish but
from that it does not necessarily follow that Birendera had not taken his
father to the hospital. the evidence of Birendera on this point is not only
supported by the evidence of PWs-1,3 and 10 but also by the evidence of PWs-4,
5 and 14. Jahar Banerjee (PW-4) was an employee of Calcutta Medical Research
Institute, where the injured Ramashish was taken for treatment. He has stated
that he had seen a private car arriving at that place with one person having
bleeding injuries. Kalisankar Dhar (PW-5) was another employee of that
Institute working in the emergency department and has stated that on being
informed that a patient had been brought in a serious condition he had gone
with a stretcher and taken him to the emergency department. According to his
evidence the patient had bleeding injuries and the man who was with him had
helped him in getting down from the car.
man had no money and, therefore, had gone back in his car to bring money. he
identified that person as Birendera Singh, in the court. In cross-examination
he further stated that he saw one person in the car besides the patient and
denied that Birendera Singh, identified by him in the court, was not the person
who was with the patient. Sub Inspector Dinesh Chakraborty (PW-14) had stated in
his evidence that on receiving information about the incident be had rushed to
the 'Gaddi' of Ramashish and at that time he had seen Ramashish lying in a car
in injured condition and his son Birendera Singh was making necessary
arrangements to take him to the hospital. The evidence of these three
independent witnesses was not at all challenged. It was, therefore,
satisfactorily established by the prosecution that Birendera Singh after taking
his injured father to the hospital had gone back to his house to get some
money. It is quite possible that Jagdish (son-in-law of the elder brother of Ramashish)
and Madan (son of the elder brother of Ramashish who had also by that time
arrived at the hospital, as stated by Birendera himself, might have volunteered
to give the history of assault to Dr. Tapan Bhattacharjee, who had prepared the
necessary case papers. The defence version that it was Jagdish, who had taken
injured Ramashish from the 'Gaddi' to the Hospital, has not been accepted by
both the courts below. We are also of the view that the said version was
rightly not believed. Once we believe that it was Birendera Singh who had taken
his father to the hospital the contention raised by the learned counsel with
respect to the evidence of Shewnarayan (PW-2) has to be rejected. The
contention that names of the assailants were not known even to Ramashish till
he was admitted in the emergency department also has to be rejected.
next contended by the learned counsel that Ramashish was about 58 years old at
the time of the incident and, therefore, after receiving injuries on his hands
and face as a result of firing of bullets from the revolver and after being
stabbed by a knife on his abdomen could not have offered any resistance and
therefore his evidence that he had snatched away the knife from the hands of
one of the assailants and caused injury to him cannot be believed. The evidence
discloses that even after receiving those injuries Ramashish had not fallen
down and he was in a position to hand over money and the papers containing
accounts to Shewnarayan (PW-2), Moreover, it was not put to any of the doctors
who had examined Ramashish that after receiving injuries he could not have
offered any resistance. As stated by the doctor on the basis of nature of injuries
caused to Ramashish the bullets fired had little force and, therefore, it
cannot be said that the version of Ramashish that he could offer resistance,
snatch away a knife from the hands of one of the assailants and caused an
injury one of them is improbable.
lastly submitted by the learned counsel than even if the conviction of the
appellants is maintained the sentence imposed upon them deserves to be reduced
particularly in view of the fact that the accused and injured are close
relatives and now 18 years have passed.
also pointed out that the appellants had remained in jail for a substantial
period and now the situation has also changed. During these 18 years, the
appellants have not been involved in any offence. Considering the facts and circumstances
of the case, in our opinion, ends of justice would be met if the sentence of
imprisonment is reduced to the period already undergone but a fine of Rs.
10,000/- each is imposed upon the appellants.
therefore, partly allow this appeal. The conviction of the appellants is
maintained but the sentence imposed upon them is altered from rigorous
imprisonment of eight years to rigorous imprisonment for the period already
undergone but the appellants are directed to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000/- each. In
case of default of payment of fine the appellants will undergo further rigorous
imprisonment for a period of two years. It is directed that out of the fine, if
paid, the injured Ramashish be paid Rs. 10,000/- as compensation.