Haryana Vs. Jinder Singh & Ors  INSC
71 (24 January 1997)
PUNCHHI, FAIZAN UDDIN Faizan
Both these appeals are preferred against the common judgment, one having been
preferred by the State of Haryana and
another by complainant Hazara Singh, the son of the deceased. These two appeals
have been directed against the reversing judgment of the High Court of Punjab
& Haryana rendered in Crl.A.No. 265-DB of 1984 decided on 12.10.1984
whereby the judgment of the Sessions Judge, Karnal in Sessions Case No. 6/84
convicting the respondents under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC,
sentenced to undergo life imprisonment and respondent Ranjit Singh also under
Section 27 of the Arms Act of undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months,
both the sentences to run concurrently, has been set aside.
prosecution case was that the deceased Ran Singh had taken two trolleys of
paddy for sale to the grain market, Karnal on 25.10.1983 along with his son Hazara
Singh, PW 2 and one Sukha Singh, PW 3. Since one of the trolleys could not be
unloaded for want of space in the market area and, therefore, all the three had
to stay for the night at Shop No. 18 of Ajit Singh, a commission agent.
said that during the intervening night of 25th and 26th October, 1983 at about
12.30 AM the accused / respondent No. 2 Baldev Singh came to the Shop No. 18 to
find out whether the trolley of Dalbir Singh had reached there or not. The
deceased Ran Singh, his son Hazara Singh, PW 2 and Sukha Singh, PW 3 who were
staying in the said Shop No. 18 came out of the shop later, to have an eye on
the unloaded trolley standing out side. According to the prosecution, at that
point of time the three accused respondents, namely, Jinder Singh, respondent
No. 1 armed with a lathi, Baldev Singh, respondent No. 2 with a Parna and Ranjit
Singh, respondent No. 3 armed with a gun of his father emerged from behind the
heap of bags stacked ere.
Baldev Singh caught hold of Ran Singh while the other two respondents opened an
assault with lathi and the butt of the gun. Respondent Jinder Singh also
smashed a bottle on the head of the deceased and when the victim fell down, the
accused respondent Baldev Singh wrapped the Parna around the neck of the victim
and dragged him to some distance. Ran Singh succumbed to his injuries on the
Singh, PW 2 the son of the deceased went to the police station, city Karnal
leaving Sukha Singh, PW 3 and commission agent Ajit Singh to watch the dead
Singh, PW 2 reached police station at about 1.00 AM where he lodged the FIR Ext. PB with the Inspector Balwant Singh, PW 6.
Inspector Baldev Singh sent the police constable to Ilaqa Magistrate with the
special report at about 1.30
PM and then reached
the place of occurrence and prepared the inquest report Ext.PA/1. He also
prepared the site plan of the place of occurrence Ext. PD. The police inspector
seized blood stained earth from the Phad, blood stained Parali, broken bottle
pieces, broken neck of the bottle with a tin cork and turban etc. from the
place of occurrence and on a disclosure statement made by the accused
respondents gun and cartridges, etc. were also seized. On a search being made
the accused respondents were not traceable. They were, however, apprehended
later on 29.10.1983.
According to the prosecution the motive for the crime committed was that about
3-4 months prior to the occurrence Kulwant Singh, the elder brother of the
accused respondent Jinder Singh had committed rape on the young blind wife of Dhyan
Singh, an aged elder brother of deceased Ran Singh for which said Kulwant Singh
was given a beating by the deceased Ran Singh and his son Avtar Singh resulting
into the fracture of his arm but having regard to the honour of the family the matter
was not reported to the police.
Batla, PW 1 had performed an autopsy on the dead boy of Ran Singh on 26.10.1983
and found the following injurities on his person:-
Reddish contusion running circular and horizontal around the neck on left side.
It was 1 1/2 cm wide and going 12 cm back. On right side it was of variable
width going up to 7 cm back. Maximum width was on right side 1 1/2 cm.
Underlying tissues were congested. Thyroid bone and hyoid caetilages were
Abrasion 2 x 1 cm on the right knee joint.
Abrasion 1 x 1 cms on the left knee joint.
Multiple abrasions of variable length and 1/2 cms wide on the back and outer
side of left forearm.
Nose was depressed and nasel bone was fractured.
Reddish contusion 3 x 2 cms below the left eye over the cheek.
was congestion on the mustle when explored and maxillary bone was fractured.
Reddish contusion 5 x 3 cms over the left side of forehead, 4 cm above the left
eye and 8 cms from the left ear. On exploration, there was fracture of the
posterior rim of the left orbit.
Lacerated wound, partial muscle deep on the inner side of lower lip, near the
gums 3 x 1/2 cms.
Abrasion (reddish) 3 x 1 cm over the right side of scalp, 7 cm above the right
ear. There was a clot underneath.
Lacerated wound 6 x 2 cm muscle deep. Bone visible on the upper part of
occipital area just to the right side of the midline. There was haematona
Lacerated wound 3 x 1/2 cm in the back of the lower part of the neck. This was
muscle deep and 2.5 cm below injury No. 10.
There was fracture of the base of the skull in the middle in the left side,
just along the midline.
opinion of the doctor the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of
nature to cause death and that the death was due to shock and hemorrhage as a
result of the said injuries.
accused respondents were sent for trial for the charge under Section 302/34
accused respondent Ranjit Singh also under Section 27 of the Arms Act. The
respondents denied their guilt and pleaded false implication in the case. They
also examined Patwari Kishan Chand as a defence witness to show the Sukha
Singh, P.W.3, did not possess any land. The trial court relying on the ocular
version of Hazara Singh, PW 2 and Sukha, PW 3 coupled with the corroborative
medical evidence convicted and sentenced the three respondents as said earlier.
However, on appeal by them the High Court took the view that there was no
impelling motive for the respondents to commit the crime and that in the
absence of proper light it was not possible for the witnesses to have
identified the assailants in the dark night, that the evidence of Hazara Singh,
PW 2 suffers from material improvements from the facts stated by him in the FIR
Ext. PD and that the presence of Sukha Singh, PW 3 at the place of occurrence
was doubtful and, therefore, set aside the conviction and sentence awarded to
the respondents and acquitted them of the offence they were charged with
against which these two appeals have been directed.
Learned counsel for the appellants strenuously urged that the High Court did
not appreciate the well reasoned order of conviction recorded by the trial
court and fell into serious and patent error in holding that there was any
difficulty in identifying the culprits for want of light or there was any delay
in lodging the report and sending the special report to the Ilaqa Magistrate.
He submitted that the evidence of Hazara Singh P.W.2 is fully consistent and
does not suffer from any blemish or improvements. The High Court has made these
observations ignoring the material on record which has been highlighted by the
learned trial Judge. He further submitted that similarly the evidence of Sukha
PW 3 has been wrongly rejected by the High Court on the ground that his
presence at the place of occurrence was doubtful which is very much established
from the evidence on record as pointed out by the learned trial Judge which has
not been considered by the High Court at all resulting into serious miscarriage
of justice. He submitted that the High Court has faulted in all the material
aspects and taken patently as erroneous view that the prosecution has failed to
establish the guilt against the respondents.
have critically examined the material on record as well as the judgments of the
trial court and that of the High Court and find that there is merit and great
substance in the submissions made above by the learned counsel for the
appellants. It may be stated that Hazara Singh, PW 2 made a categorical statement
that about 3-4 months prior to the occurrence Kulwant Singh the elder brother
of Jinder Singh was beaten by the deceased Ran Singh and his son Avtar Singh
for committing the rape on the young and blind wife of Dhyan Singh, elder
brother of deceased Ran Singh but no challenge to this piece of evidence was
made. On the contrary from the suggestion made to the witness Hazara Singh in
cross- examination that the young wife of Dhyan Singh was a lady of easy
virtues and was once found in compromising position with one Amar Singh,
indicated that the accused did not dispute the earlier occurrence with Kulwant
Singh. These facts undoubtedly do provide a motive for the crime. But
surprisingly enough the High Court rejected the same by mere vague observation
that there was no impelling motive for the appellants to commit the crime which
is erroneous on the face of it, being against the weight of evidence on record.
Coming to the presence of light at the place of occurrence we find the High
Court has against faultered in taking the view that there was any want of light
in order to enable the witnesses to identify the culprits. First of all it may
be pointed out that admittedly the accused respondents are closely known
persons to the witnesses.
the learned trial Judge on examination of the calendar noticed that the date of
occurrence was the 4th day after "Pooranmashi" from which it is
evidence that the moon had arisen on the night of occurrence at about 8.30 PM and had set down at about 9.57 AM. That being so it was almost a full moon lit night
which would have been sufficient for the witnesses to see the assailants who
were known to them.
Ext. PD is a site plan of the place of occurrence and according to the site
plan at point `F' there was an electric pole with double electric tube-light.
Further at point `G' there was an electric bulb installed in the neem tree. All
this evidence has not been appreciated by the High Court before coming to the
conclusion that there was want of light simply on the basis that Sukha PW 3
stated in cross- examination that after arrival of the police inspector writing
work was done in the head light of motor-cycle if Avtar Singh. It may be noted
that for writing purposes more light is required and, therefore, the assistance
of the head light of motor-cycle may have been taken but it does not mean that
from the light already available as discussed above was not sufficient to
identify an individual. It is thus clear that the High Court took patently an
erroneous view in recording the finding that it was not possible for the
eye-witnesses to identify the culprits which is a perverse view and contrary to
the evidence on record.
Further, the High Court rejected the testimony of the eye-witness Hazara Singh,
PW 2 on the ground of improvements made in the Court statement in-as-much as he
did not state in the FIR Ext.PB that the accused respondent Baldev Singh had
wrapped the Parna around the neck of the deceased and dragged him and that he
stated before the police that the injuries were caused to his father by the
appellants on his face and head but no mention of it is to be found in the FIR.
It is unfortunate that the High Court made these observations without properly
examining the material on record. It may be noticed that the inquest report Ext
PA/1 is a contemporaneous document prepared soon after the FIR was recorded. A
perusal of this inquest report will go to show that it is mentioned therein
that the accused respondent Baldev Singh had wrapped the Parna around the neck
of deceased Ran Singh and had dragged him. A mere omission therefore in the FIR
is hardly of any consequence.
medial evidence which has been discussed earlier indicated that the deceased
had a circular and horizontal reddish contusion around the neck and contusion
over the left eye and the cheek as well as on the forehead which indicated the
assault on the face and head. There are, therefore, neither any improvements
nor any material omissions in the statement of Hazara Singh, PW 2 as observed
by the High Court. To reject the evidence of the eye- witnesses on the ground
that there was no dragging mark is again fallacious. It is clear from the
evidence that all the area around the place of occurrence, paddy was stored of
different persons and some blood was found in paddy itself.
being so there will hardly be any marks of dragging.
This bring us to the evidence of Sukha Singh, PW 3 whose presence at the place
of occurrence has been doubted by the High Court simply on the ground that he
does not any land and, therefore, there was no reason for him to be there in
the grain market. This finding is again contrary to the evidence on record. Patwari
Kishan Chand, DW 1 himself deposed that on the death of Surinder Singh husband
of Ishar Kaur his estate was inherited by his widow, sons and daughter
including Jasmer Kaur. He further stated that Sukha Singh, PW 3 and Lakhvinder
Singh are sons of Jasmer Kaur, daughter of Ishar Kaur. From this evidence it is
abundantly clear that Jasbir Kaur mother of Sukha Singh, PW3 owned land in the
same village Churni where Sukha Singh resided. It is, therefore, no correct to
say that Sukha Singh had no land and for that reason he had no business to go
to the grain market. His presence at the place of occurrence, therefore, cannot
was contended on behalf of the respondents that Ajit Singh, the commission
agent and owner of shop No. 18 thought present at the place of occurrence and
was an independent person but he was not examined by the prosecution and only
interested witnesses were examined but we do not find any force in this
submission as Ajit Singh though cited as a prosecution witness was given up as
he was won over. Under these facts and circumstances it was not necessary for
the prosecution to examine him.
The High Court also raised a doubt in the prosecution story on the ground that
the FIR was lodged late and special report was also sent late to the Ilaqa
Magistrate. In our opinion this observation of the High Court also cannot be
accepted. The incident had occurred at 12.30 AM and within half an hour the FIR was lodged at 1.00 AM. According to the evidence of Balvant Singh PW 6, he
had sent the constable at 1.30 AM to
deliver the special report to the Ilaqa Magistrate which no doubt was delivered
at about 3.15 AM.
fact could not be lost sight of that the constable had left with the special
report after 1.30 AM and at that hour of dead of night, he must have taken some
time to reach the residence of Ilaqa Magistrate. He must have found some difficulty
in awakening him in the mid night to deliver the special report. In these facts
and circumstances the employment of about 2 hours in delivering the special
report cannot be considered of any serious consequence in the absence of any
prejudice to the accused persons. We have examined the impugned judgment and
material on record critically. We find that the view taken by the High Court is
patently erroneous and, therefore, could not be sustained.
the result the appeals succeed and are hereby allowed. The impugned judgment of
the High Court setting aside the conviction and sentence of the respondents is
set aside and the judgment of the trial court is restored.
are on bail. They are directed to surrender to serve out their sentences.