of Rajasthan Vs. Sheo Singh & Ors  Insc 110 (20 February 2003)
& B.N.Agrawal B.N.Agrawal, J.
five respondents along with nineteen other accused persons were charged and
tried and by judgment dated 3rd February, 1993 passed by the Additional
Sessions Judge, Jhalawar, other nineteen accused persons were acquitted whereas
the respondents were convicted under Sections 302/149 of the Penal Code and
sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life besides fine of Rs. 500/- each and
in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three months. They
were further convicted under Section 147 of the Penal Code and sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years and to pay a fine of Rs.
100/- each and in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of one
month. The respondents were also convicted under Section 148 of the Penal Code
and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years and to
pay a fine of Rs. 200/- each and in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment
for a period of two months. All the sentences were, however, ordered to run
concurrently. On appeal being preferred, the High Court acquitted the
respondents of all the charges.
case, in short, is that on 14th February, 1990, Manna Lal and Kanwar Lal were
coming from village Gehoon Kheda and when they arrived on a pathway at about
2.00 p.m. near the field of one Chandra Singh, Gopal (PW 4), who was working on
his field, found that all the accused persons, including the respondents, armed
with sword and gandasis, who were waiting there from before in the field of
Chandra Singh, chased Manna Lal and Kanwar Lal and assaulted them with their
respective weapons. Seeing the assault on Manna Lal and Kanwar Lal, who were uncle
and father respectively of Gopal (PW 4), he went towards the village and on the
way met his brothers Kalyan (PW 5), Jamna Lal (PW 6) and Dhanna Lal (PW 8) and
disclosed to them names of the accused persons, including the respondents.
Thereupon, the aforesaid three persons came to the place of occurrence and saw
the accused persons fleeing away.
died instantaneously but Kanwar Lal, who succumbed to the injuries after some
time, made an oral dying declaration before the informant-PW 4 disclosing
therein names of the accused persons, including respondent Sheo Singh and one
Ram Singh, without disclosing their parentage. According to the first
information report, the occurrence was witnessed by Mangi Lal Bagri (PW 7) and Mangi
Lal Meena besides the informant-PW4. On the basis of the statement of Gopal (PW
4), the first information report is said to have been lodged on the same day at
police after registering the case took up investigation and on completion
thereof submitted charge sheet on receipt whereof, the Magistrate took
cognizance and committed all the twenty four accused persons, including the
respondents, to the court of Session to face trial.
of the accused, in short, is that they are innocent, had no complicity with the
crime but were falsely implicated to feed fat the old grudge.
to them, the victims might have received injuries in some other manner of
occurrence at the hands of some unknown persons and they have been roped in in
the present case out of animosity.
trial, the prosecution examined 18 witnesses in support of its case.
Additional Sessions Judge upon the conclusion of trial acquitted other nineteen
accused persons but convicted the respondents as stated above. On appeal being
preferred, the High Court acquitted the respondents of all the charges. Hence,
this appeal by Special Leave.
Goswami, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Rajasthan, in support of the appeal submitted
that the High Court was not justified in acquitting the respondents of the
charges and the reasonings for acquittal recorded by it are perverse. On the
other hand, Mr. S.R.Bajwa, learned Senior counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondents, could not justify reasoning of the High Court for recording
acquittal, but submitted that there are certain inherent infirmities in the
prosecution case which have not been considered by the High Court. It was
submitted that the order of acquittal should be confirmed because of the said
have been taken through the judgments rendered by the High Court as well as
trial court. We are not at all impressed by the reasonings given by the High
Court for recording acquittal but are of the view that the order of acquittal
is fit to be upheld in view of certain circumstances enumerated hereinafter
which would show that the prosecution case showing complicity of the
respondents with the crime is highly doubtful.
to the first information report, three persons namely, Gopal (PW 4-informant), Mangi
Lal Bagri (PW 7) and Mange Lal Meena had witnessed the alleged occurrence.
Apart from these three persons, Jamna Lal (PW 6) was examined, who claimed to
be an eyewitness to the occurrence, but his evidence has been disbelieved by
the trial court itself. Mangi Lal Bagri, (PW 7), who according to the FIR was
an eyewitness, has been also disbelieved by the trial court. The third
eyewitness is Mange Lal Meena who could have been independent witness to unfold
the truth but for the reasons best known to the prosecution, his evidence has
been withheld. Thus, the only eye witness remains is Gopal (PW 4).
4-the informant is nobody else than the nephew of deceased Manna Lal and son of
another deceased Kanwar Lal. He has admitted that his family and the accused
persons were at daggers drawn. The first information report is said to have
been recorded by the Sub-Inspector of Police Samdarshan Pandey (PW 18). This
witness in his very examination-in-chief stated that when he went to Aklera
police station to lodge a report, at the police station he met Bhanwar Singh,
Station House Officer and narrated him the whole incident which was the first
version of the occurrence disclosed by PW 4 before the police. But the said
statement made by PW 4 before him has not been brought on the record and for
the reasons best known to it withheld by the prosecution. It may be possible
that in the said statement, PW 4 might not have disclosed names of any of the
accused and subsequently, after due deliberation, the first information report
was lodged roping therein the respondents as well which might be the reason for
delay in sending the first information report to court for which no reasonable
explanation has been furnished and the same would be apparent from the facts
explanation furnished by the prosecution for sending the first information
report to court after two days is that because of general election, staff was
not available on 14th and 15th February, 1990. The distance of police station
is 18 k.m. from the place of occurrence. The police station, hospital and the
court campus are within a radius of half a kilometer. According to the
statement of Dr. Kundan Mal Jain (PW 17), constable brought two dead bodies for
postmortem examination on 15th February, 1990. As the court campus and the hospital are within a radius of half a
kilometer, there was no reason why the first information report was not handed
over to the same constable who brought dead bodies to the hospital. Thus, the
explanation furnished by the prosecution for causing delay in sending the first
information report does not appear to be plausible and as according to the
statement of PW 4 referred to above, the prosecution has withheld the first
version of the occurrence disclosed before the police, the chances of
manipulation in the first information report cannot be ruled out and the delay
in sending the first information report to court becomes material.
be stated that the informant-PW4 stated in the first information report that
his father-Kanwar Lal made a dying declaration before him in which he disclosed
names of seven persons, including respondent Sheo Singh besides one Ram Singh
without disclosing his parentage and as two Ram Singhs are accused and only one
of them is respondent, it is not known whose name was disclosed by informant's
father before him in the dying declaration. So far this dying declaration said
to have been made by informant's father before him is concerned, this could
have been best piece of evidence so far respondent Sheo Singh is concerned, but
the prosecution has given a complete go-by to the same as in the statement made
in court, this witness did not state that his father made any dying declaration
informant (PW 4) specifically stated in his statement made in court that his
father Kanwar Lal made a dying declaration before the police when it arrived
and disclosed therein names of his assailants. It is not known whether in the
said dying declaration, names of the respondents were mentioned or not.
could have been material evidence in support of the prosecution case showing
complicity of the respondents with the crime. But the prosecution for the
reasons best known to it has withheld the said dying declaration from court for
which no reason whatsoever has been furnished.
other two witnesses upon whom trial court placed reliance are Kalyan (PW 5) and
Dhanna Lal (PW 8). According to the first information report, none of these
witnesses was eyewitness, but when the informant went to the village after the
occurrence, he met them on the way, disclosed the names of the accused persons
to them and thereafter when they arrived at the place of occurrence, the
accused persons were seen fleeing away. In court PW.4 has simply stated that on
way to the village he met these witnesses, but did not state that he disclosed
names of accused to them. Even these two witnesses have not stated that the
informant disclosed names of the accused persons before them but simply stated
that his father and uncle were murdered. Thus, the prosecution case that when
the informant (PW 4) met these witnesses on his way to the village, he
disclosed names of the accused persons has not been proved either by the
informant or any other witness. These witnesses simply stated that PW 4 stated
to them that Manna Lal and Kanwar Lal had been murdered and on their arrival at
the place of occurrence, the accused persons, including the respondents, were
seen fleeing away, which statement has not been supported by PW.4 as he has no
where stated in court that these two witnesses had seen the accused persons
fleeing away. In view of the fact that first version of the occurrence, as
unfolded by PW 4, has been withheld by the prosecution, it is not safe to place
reliance upon the evidence of this witness who is partisan and inimical
witness, more so, when the dying declarations of Kanwar Lal made before the
informant as well as the police disclosing therein names of the assailants have
not been brought on the record. As the evidence of PW 4 becomes doubtful, it is
not possible to place reliance upon the statements of PWs. 5 and 8 who claimed
that they had seen the accused persons fleeing away, especially when the same
are not corroborated by PW.4.
the foregoing reasons, we are of the view that the prosecution has failed to
prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, as such it is not possible to interfere
with the order of acquittal recorded by the High Court.
the appeal fails and the same is dismissed. The respondents, who are on bail
are discharged from the liability of the bail bonds.