Ram & Orsprem Singh & ANR Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh  INSC 43
(16 January 1997)
MUKHERJEE. S.C. KURDUKAR
APPEAL NO. 3 OF 1993
Ram son of Sidhu (since deceased) was the resident of village Lorwas. Ramesh
(PW 3), Prabhu, Rattan, Daya Ram (PW 4), Bondu and Bheru are the sons of Tola
Ram. A month prior to the date of incident i.e. October 24, 1984, Ramesh (PW
3), his brother Prabhu and their two friends were sitting under a mango tree at
about 10.00 a.m. Kodar Mal (A- 6) was passing by the said mango tree when Ramesh
(PW 3) and his companions teased him (A-6) by saying`Topiwale Darbar Ek Bidi De
Do'. A-6 felt offended and alleged to have given fist and kick blows to Ramesh.
On intervention of Jaggu, the matter ended there but A-6 threatened them that
he will deal with Ramesh in a short while. October 24, 1984, happened to be the Diwali Day and
at about 8.00 p.m., Ramesh (PW 3) was going to the
house of Badri Lal Kulmi to colour the cattle.
and Bondu, other two brothers were also going with him to colour the bullocks
of Jagdish. When they came near the chowk, Prem Singh (A-1) and Kodar Mal (A-6)
surrounded Ramesh and told him that now they would tell him how the `Topiwala Darbar'
was? A-1 and A-6 assaulted Ramesh (PW 3) with lathis as a result of which he
fell down and then he was dragged by these two accused persons, catching hold
of his legs. Bondu then called his brother Daya Ram who tried to rescue Ramesh
when he was given lathi blows on his head by these two accused persons. In the
meantime, Tola Ram Reached that place whereupon Raja Ram (A-2) gave a lalkara
that Tola Ram should be finished. Narain Singh (A-3), Bheru Singh (A-4), Dhan
Singh (A-5) and Kodar Mal (A-6) caught hold of Tola Ram whereupon Prem Singh
(A-1) and Narain Singh (A-3) assaulted him with lathi and farsi. Tola Ram
sustained bleeding injuries and fell down whereupon Ramesh (PW 3) and his other
companions ran away out of fear. After a shortwhile, Kanchan Bai and her husband
Ganpat alongwith Ramesh (PW 3) came to the place of occurrence, lifted Tola Ram
and brought him to his house. Since it was night time, they could not secure a
bullock cart to take Tola Ram to the police station at Shahjahpur. First
Information Report was lodged by Ramesh (PW 3) on 25th October, 1984 at about 11.30 a.m. at Shahjahpur
police station. After recording the FIR (Ex.P5), Mohkam Singh, SHO (PW 8)
proceeded to the place of occurrence. After holding the inquest on the dead
body of Tola Ram, it was sent to the District Hospital. Shahjahpur for post mortem
examination. Ramesh (PW 3) and Daya Ram were also sent to the hospital for
medical treatment. After completing the investigation, a charge sheet came to
be submitted against the six accused persons for committing the offences
punishable under Sections 148, 302/149, 302,324/149 of the Indian Penal Code.
needs to be mentioned that Kodar Mal (A-6) who had also sustained the injuries
on his head, lodged a complaint in the very same police station about an
assault on him be Tola Ram and others (complainant party). A-6 was also sent to
the hospital and was treated for injuries on his head. It is the common premise
that the complaint lodged by A-6 remained unattended and no steps whatsoever
were taken in that behalf by the SHO of Shahjahpur police station.
the six accused persons denied the allegations levelled against them and
pleaded that they have been falsely implicated in the present crime due to the
enmity on account of election. According to Kodar Mal (A-6), on October 24, 1984, he was assaulted by Ramesh (PW 3),
Daya Ram and Tola Ram and during that assault, he had sustained serious
injuries on his head. All the accused persons pleaded that they are innocent
and they be acquitted.
prosecution in support of its case relied upon the evidence of Ramesh (PW 3)
and Daya Ram (PW 4) who claimed to be the eye witnesses to the incident in
question. In addition to this evidence, prosecution also examined formal
witnesses and relied upon the post mortem examination report and the injury
certificates in respect of Ramesh and Daya Ram. The defence examined three
witnesses in support of their defence.
learned trial judge on appraisal of oral and documentary evidence on record by
his judgment and order dated 17th February, 1986 convicted Prem Singh (A-1)
under Sections 302 and 147 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to suffer
imprisonment for life and RI for two years respectively (two counts). A-2 to
A-6 were also convicted under Section 302 read with Sections 149 and 147 of the
Indian Penal Code and each one of them was sentenced to suffer life
imprisonment and RI for two years respectively (two counts). Substantive
sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
Aggrieved by the judgment and order of convictions and sentences passed by the
trial court, Raja Ram (A-2), Narain Singh (A-3). Bheru Singh (A-4) and Dhan
Singh (A-5) filed Criminal Appeal No. 80 of 1986 whereas Prem Singh (A-1) and Kodar
Mal (A-6) filed Criminal Appeal No. 93 of 1986 in the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh. Both these appeals were heard together and the High Court by its
common judgment and order dated 28th April, 1992 dismissed both the appeals. Being aggrieved thereby, all
the accused on obtaining Special Leave filed two separate criminal appeals.
Criminal Appeal No. 2 of 1993 is filed by A-2 to A-5 and Criminal Appeal No.
1993 is filed by A-1 and A-6.
are taken through the judgments of the courts below as well as the oral and
documentary evidence on record. The High Court being the first appellate court
was expected to analyse the evidence of eye witnesses and other materials on
record. In the entire judgment, we do not find any such analysis of the
evidence and consequently, we were required to go through the evidence on
the outset, it may be stated that learned counsel for the appellants did not
seriously dispute before us that Tola Ram died a homicidal death. Dr. Deosuman
Mehta (PW 1) who held the autopsy on the dead body of Tola Ram, noticed the
Lacerated wound on tempero occipital region right side 2-1/2" x 1/2"
- Fracture of temperol and occipital bone was seen.
Lacerated wound on occipital region 2-1/2" x 1/2". Multiple fracture
of occipital bone was seen. Brain matter was coming out from the would.
Contusion on right hypochondrieum 1-1/2".
Contusion on right arm fracture of right humerous was seen.
testified that all these injuries were ante mortem and cause of death was due
to shock caused by multiple fracture of skull bone and haemorrhage.
view of this medical evidence, we confirm the finding of the courts below that Tola
Ram met with homicidal death.
is brought to our notice during the course of hearing that Raja Ram (A-2) who
was on bail died during the pendency of the appeal. Therefore, the appeal to
that extent stands abated.
order to prove the complicity of the appellants accused, the prosecution
strongly relied upon the evidence of Ramesh (PW 3) and Daya Ram (PW 4) who were
the eye witnesses. They also sustained injuries on their person during the
incident in question. Ordinarily, therefore, their evidence must receive a
credence. Ramesh (PW 3) lodged a First Information Report (Ex.P5) on 25th October, 1984 at 11.30 a.m. There are some discrepancies in his evidence as to whether
he or his relation Ganpath who accompanied him narrated the incident to the
officer on duty at the police station. When the witness was found inconsistent
with his statement recorded under Section 161 of the Cr. P.C., he was declared
hostile and permission to cross-examine him was sought. We have gone through
his evidence very carefully and notwithstanding the fact that he is an injured
witness and a son of Tola Ram, shown ignorance on various material
circumstances. We, therefore, do not find it safe to place any reliance upon
his evidence. The High Court had not at all considered this aspect in its
judgment and erroneously accepted his evidence as truthful. It was rightly
submitted on behalf of the appellants/accused that the High Court had committed
an error while accepting the evidence of this witness as credible. We,
therefore, leave his evidence out of consideration.
The next eye witness is Daya Ram (PW 4) who had received injuries while trying
to rescue Ramesh from the assault by the accused persons. Daya Ram testified
that when Ramesh was being assaulted by A-1 and Kodar Mal, his father Tola Ram
reached there. he also reached at the place of occurrence when Ramesh was being
assaulted. He further stated that A-1 hit on the head of Tola Ram with a saria.
Narain Singh (A-3) gave farsi blows on the hand and leg of Tola Ram who then
fell down on the ground and thereafter other accused started beating him with lathis.
After seeing this assault, he, Ramesh (PW 3), Bheru and Bondu ran away.
evidence of this witness does not find any corroboration from the medical
evidence as regards the blow alleged to have been given by Narain Singh (A-3)
by farsi. As indicated above, there was no injury on the person of Tola Ram,
caused by any sharp weapon. All that, therefore, remains proved on record is
that Prem Singh (A-1) had given a saria blow on the head of Tola Ram. This
witness tried to magnify the incident by stating that after Tola Ram fell down,
other accused persons assaulted him with lathis. Surprisingly enough, this part
of his evidence does not find corroboration from the medical evidence. It is in
these circumstances, we do not find it safe to accept his evidence to prove the
complicity of A-3 to A-6 in the present crime.
is sufficient material on record to show that Kodar Mal (A-6) had sustained a
injury on his head and infact he was admitted in the hospital for treatment. It
also needs to be noted that Kodar Mar (A-6) had gone to the police station and
lodged a complaint as regards the assault on him caused by the deceased Tola
Ram and others but the police did not take any step to investigate into this
complaint. Dr. Qureshi (FW 2) has testified that Kodar Mal was admitted in the
hospital for his injuries on head. Kodar Mal (4-6) in his statement recorded
under Section 313 Cr.P.C. stated that he was assaulted by the complainant party
on October 24, 1984, at about 8.30 p.m. at chowk wherein he sustained the bleeding injuries.
No explanation whatsoever is forthcoming from prosecution. After considering
the oral and documentary evidence on record, we are of the opinion that the
prosecution has failed to prove its case against A-3 to A-6 beyond reasonable
about and, therefore, they are entitled to be acquitted of all the charges.
regards Prem Singh (A-1), there is sufficient evidence on record to prove that
he assaulted Tola Ram on his head with a saria and as a result thereof, be
sustained two lacerated wounds on his temperol occipital region on right side
and on occipital region which caused the fracture of temperol and occipital
bone. Dr. Deo Suman, the medical expert has testified that the cause of death
was due to shock caused by multiple fracture of skull bone and haemorrhage. In
this view of the matter, Prem Singh (A-1) is individually held responsible for
causing the death of Tola Ram and, therefore, his conviction under Section 302
of the Indian Penal Code has to be sustained. We accordingly do so.
regards the conviction of Prem Sigh (A-1) for rioting under Section 147 of the
Indian Penal Code cannot be sustained in view of the act that the other
co-convicts have been acquitted of all the charges. We accordingly set aside
the conviction of the appellant Prem Singh (A-1) under Section 147 of the
Indian Penal Code and acquit him of the said charge.
For the foregoing conclusions, Criminal Appeal No. 2 of 1993 filed by Narain
Singh (A-3), Bheru Singh (A-4) and Dhan Sigh (A-5) is allowed. They are given
the benefit of doubt and are acquitted. Consequently, their convictions and
sentences to stand set aside. Bailbonds of A-3 and A-4 are cancelled. Dhan
Singh (A-5) who is in custody be released forthwith, if not required in any
other case. Appeal of Raja Ram (A-2) to stand abated.
Appeal No. 3 of 1993 is partly allowed. The order of conviction and sentence
passed against Kodar Mal (A-6) is quashed and set aside and he is given the
benefit of doubt and accordingly acquitted of all the charges. The conviction
and sentence of Prem Singh (A-1) under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code is
confirmed, but, however, his conviction and sentence under Section 147 of the
Indian Penal Code is set aside and his appeal to that extent is allowed. Kodar
Mal (A-6) be released forthwith, if not required in any other case.