Amrit Singh Vs. State of Punjab  Insc 774 (10 November 2006)
Sinha & Dalveer Bhandari S.B. Sinha, J :
appeal is directed against a judgment of conviction and sentence dated
19.3.2005 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mansa awarding death penalty
to Appellant under Sections 376 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code and affirmed
by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in Reference No. 4/2005
and Criminal Appeal No. 284 (DB) of 2005 by a judgment and order dated
case is as under:- On 3.11.2003 in the evening, the deceased Raj Preet Kaur @ Guddi,
who is a student of IInd Standard has gone to the house of her classmate Amarpreet
Kaur, daughter of Gurbax Singh, a cousin of the complainant.
house of the said Gurbax Singh was situated in the revenue estate of Ramgarh,
Village Shahpuria. At about 5.00 p.m., the
deceased allegedly left the house of Gurbax Singh for her own house. She was
accompanied to some extent by Amanpreet. When she crossed pakka water house, Amarpreet
left her on her own. When the deceased did not reach her house, search was
carried on. Some persons then found her dead body in the agricultural field
belonging to Appellant situated in front of his house. The dead body was found
near a Neem tree and some cotton crop were found near the dead body. Some dry
leaves were found in her hair. In her hand some streads of human hair were also
noticed. It was fully smeared with blood. The father of the deceased on seeing
the dead body called his brother Baldev Singh and leaving him at the spot,
started for the police station to inform the police and to lodge a report. He
met PW-8 S.I. Joginder Singh at the bus stand of Village Maghania on 4.11.2003.
His statement was recorded, on the basis of which a formal First Information
Report was lodged. The Investigating Officer prepared an inquest report. It was
found that in the hands of the deceased some human hair was also found. A post
mortem examination was conducted by PW-1 Dr. Reshamchand Singh.
disclosed that he had seen the deceased in the company of Appellant at about 5.45 p.m. He was in his agricultural field and he came to know
about the incident only at about 8.00 a.m. on the next day. Appellant was arrested on 12.11.2003 at a bus stop of
Village Sher Khan before PW-8 Joginder Singh. He was produced before the
Investigating Officer by Shri Karamjeet Singh, Panch. An application was filed
by the Investigating Officer in the Court of Judicial Magistrate for obtaining
specimen of the hair of Appellant but he refused to give any such specimen of
hair. He made a statement before the Court which was recorded. It was marked as
prosecution in order to prove its case examined eight witnesses.
Dr. Resham Chand Singh proved the post-mortem report Exhibit PB.
evidence, he stated:
length of the body was 122 cm. long dead body of 7-8 years of female, child
wearing yellow shirt, white bunyan, legs stained with blood. Bleeding from
vulva, dryleaves in the hairs, mouth open and froth trickling out from left
angle. Eyes closed. Body in state of rigor mortis. Multiple marks of contusions
and abrasions on the anterior bild of neck with a large contusion over the fold
of neck transverse in direction.
also have some abrasions. Abrasions over elbows, knuckle present. These were
all ante mortem in nature.
of subject was stout. Public and Axillary hair not grown. No development of
breasts. Impression of teeth in the lips." Although external injuries were
found on the neck which were said to be the cause of death of the deceased,
according to the doctor, the death took place because of loss of blood. It was
stated:- "20% loss of blood may cause shock and death.
in a child of 6-7 years age there may be about 2 liters blood in body. On
examination of injuries it was found that more bleeding from the injury has
caused the death. In this case more than half liter blood had oozed..." Karamjit
Singh, father of the deceased examined himself as PW-2.
supported his statements made in the First Information Report. PW-3 Gurmail
Singh, was a resident of the same village i.e. Village Ramgarh Shahpuria. He
categorically stated that at about 5.45 6.00 p.m., he found that the deceased was catching a finger of
Appellant but at that point of time he did not think of anything. He remained
in his agricultural field for the purpose of watering the same. He came back to
the village on the next morning at about 8.00 a.m. and then came to learn that the deceased was raped and murdered after
strangulation. He, therefore, having seen them together formed an opinion that
Appellant must be the person who raped and murdered the deceased. In his
cross-examination, he categorically stated :
told to the Thanedar that Amrit Singh accused was going by holding the finger
of Rajpreet Kaur...".
not suggested to him that he had any enmity with Appellant.
evidence that the deceased was last seen with Appellant, therefore, remain uncontroverted.
is Dr. Sharad Kumar, Medical Officer, Incharge Mini PHC.
kalan. He examined Appellant on 13.11.2003. He opined :
was nothing abnormal found which can suggest that the accused cannot perform
sexual intercourse. He was physically and medically fit..." PW-8 is the Investigating
Officer. The witnesses stated that on the day on which the First Information
Report was lodged, the house of Appellant was raided, but it was found locked
and thus he could not be arrested. As regards the arrest of Appellant, his
statements are as under :
12.11.2003 in connection with investigation I along with other police officials
was present at Bus stop of V. Sher Khan, where accused Amrit Singh now present
in Court was produced before me by Karamjit Singh Panch.
personal search of the accused was conducted, but nothing was recovered from
him and memo in this respect Exh. PN was prepared, which was thumb marked by
the accused and attested by PW Karamjit Singh and ASI Gurcharan Singh. I
arrested the accused..." The learned Trial Judge relying on or on the
basis of the depositions of the prosecution witnesses came to the conclusion
that Appellant was guilty of the commission of the said offences. Upon hearing
Appellant on sentence, he was sentenced to death. The High Court in the Death
Reference made by the learned Sessions Judge as also in the Criminal Appeal
filed by Appellant herein reviewed the evidence on record, confirmed the death
sentence and dismissed the appeal, inter alia, stating:- "...The above
medical evidence consisted in the statements of PW-1 Dr. Reshamchand Singh and
PW-6 Dr. Sharad Kumar and the seat of injuries again goes a long way to show
that appellant Amrit Singh, a man of 31 years of age, was not suffering from
any disease. He was found physically and medically fit. Thus, it can be safely
inferred that he was in a dominating position whereas Rajpreet Kaur (deceased)
was a girl of 7/8 years of age studying in 2nd standard. She was coming alone
to her house after playing with her classmate Amanpreet Kaur. On the way, the
appellant caught hold of her and then went berserk for committing rape and
murder of an innocent helpless female child. It is also established that there
were multiple marks of contusions and abrasions on the anterior side of neck
with a large contusion over the fold of neck transverse in direction. Not only
that; there were also abrasions on her face, elbow and impression of teeth on
her lips. All these injuries were ante-mortem in nature. Her body and pent were
also found to be smeared with excessive bleeding. Further a look at the
photographs Ex.P/4 to P/7, proved in the statement of PW-4 Ashok Kumar,
Photographer, shows that the appellant had treated the helpless female child in
a brutal and inhuman manner." Mr. H.L. Aggarwal, learned Senior Counsel
appearing on behalf of Appellant submitted :
The prosecution cannot be said to have proved all the links in the chain of
circumstantial evidence and in that view of the matter, the learned Sessions
Judge as also the High Court wrongly arrived at a finding that Appellant was
guilty of commission of the offence of rape and murder of the deceased.
The only evidence against Appellant being last seen with the deceased, cannot
be said to be a conclusive proof of commission of such an offence.
The death having been caused by reason of excessive bleeding from the private
parts of the deceased, Appellant cannot have in any event be said to have any
intention to kill her and thus sentence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal
Code is not warranted.
Although Appellant was medically examined, there is nothing to show that any
evidence was found linking the offence of rape of the deceased with her murder.
Having regard to the location of the houses near the scene of occurrence and in
view of the time of the commission of the offence, it was improbable that the
deceased did not cry out and nobody's attention was attracted thereto.
attention was also drawn to statements made by PWs. 2 and 3 to the effect that
Appellant was arrested on 4.11.2003 itself and as he was not produced before
the Magistrate, he had sent a telegram to the Chief Justice of the High Court
complaining of his illegal detention, in regard whereto the learned Sessions
Judge as also the High Court had not paid adequate attention.
Sanjay Jain, learned counsel appearing for Respondent, on the other hand,
The circumstances brought on records clearly point out to the involvement of
Appellant as he was last seen with the deceased as was stated by PW-3 and in
view of the fact no reason has been ascribed as to why he would have been
implicated falsely, the Courts below have rightly relied on evidence.
Appellant had been absconding for a long time and his house was found to be
locked by the Investigating Officer.
An application was filed by the Investigating Officer on 13.11.2003 for
obtaining sample of the hairs of Appellant but he refused to do so without
assigning any reason and thus an adverse inference against him could have been
The dead body of the deceased was found near the house of Appellant in a cotton
field belonging to Appellant, which shows his complicity in the matter.
Injuries on the neck appearing on the person of the deceased clearly
establishes that Appellant had made attempts to strangulate her also.
prosecution case as regards commission of a heinous offence of rape on a minor
girl and her death is not seriously disputed on behalf of Appellant. Appellant
and the deceased were residents of the same village.
has brought enough materials on record to show the culpability which for all
practical purposes remained unrebutted. That deceased has come to see her
friend (Amanpreet Kaur) who happened to be her relation also. She was last seen
alive in the company of Appellant. It was not suggested that PW-3 has bore any
animosity towards Appellant. PW3 was not cross-examined on vital aspects of his
statement made in his examination-in-chief. He made his statement before the
villagers and also before the Investigating Officer as soon as he came to know
about the manner in which the deceased has met with her fate.
evidence of last seen may be relied upon or may form the basis for a conviction
which, however, would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. In
some cases, the Court also look for corroborative evidence; in some cases the
Court may rely fully thereupon.
Thakur v. State of Punjab, [AIR 1983 SC 61], whereupon Mr. Aggarwal
has placed strong reliance, the links of the chain were not complete, although
the prosecution case rested on circumstantial evidence.
that case, five persons were murdered, the pattern involved in the commission
of the crime belied the conclusion that Appellant therein had any hand in it.
This Court disagreed with the findings of the High Court that Appellant therein
was present with the deceased person on the evening of November 8 and he had
been missing from there from the next morning; which was the only circumstance
which had led the High Court to conclude that Appellant was guilty of
commission of the offence beyond any shadow of doubt. The circumstances upon
which the High Court relied were considered by this Court to be hazardous to
State of Rajasthan v. Smt. Kamla [AIR 1991 SC 967], this Court again on the
fact situation obtaining therein did not base its judgment of conviction on the
circumstantial evidence laid therein. A similar question came up for
consideration recently in Sunny Kapoor v. State (U.T. of Chandigarh), [JT 2006 (11) SC 298], wherein it
was observed :
appellants have been convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence. It is
now well settled by a catena of decisions of this Court that for proving the
guilt of commission of an offence under Section 302 IPC, the prosecution must
lead evidence to connect all links in the chain so as to clearly point the
guilt of the accused alone and nobody else" Post mortem examination was
held at 11.00 a.m. on 4th November, 2003. The time of death was said to be within
24 hours. The deceased died of bleeding from her private parts, which
indisputably was the result of rape. Exact time as to when the occurrence took
place is not known and it would be hazardous to make any guess in this behalf.
Deceased died a painful death which would appear from impression of teeth on
her lips. She did not have even a developed body; public and axillary hairs not
grown and breasts were also not developed. Organs of generation external and
internal were that hymen was torn, complete pereneal tear, multiple vaginal
laceration, complete vault tear and uterus was infantile. No rigor mortis was
noticed. Dead body was found at or before 10.00 p.m. as her body was brought to home at that time. There exists a
controversy as to whether Appellant was arrested immediately on 9.11.2003 or
12.11.2003. He was indisputably suspected of commission of the offences. He was
either arrested or he fled away from his house. It was true that according to PWs.
3 he was arrested immediately whereas according to the Investigating Officer,
he was found absent from his house and the house was locked.
of a telegram to the Chief Justice of the High Court is not in dispute but the
Courts below did not lay much stress thereupon as allegations made by the
grandfather of Appellant in that behalf were withdrawn at a later stage.
Appellant examined two defence witnesses who proved the fact that a telegram
was sent but later on an application was filed which was marked as Exhibit DA,
from a perusal whereof it appears that the complaint was withdrawn by Makhan
Singh, maternal grandfather of the accused. It is, however, interesting to note
that it was a former Sarpanch of the village who caused the production of the
body of Appellant before the Investigating Officer; if latter's statement is to
be believed. The place of occurrence also plays some importance. It was on the
cotton field of Appellant himself.
of cotton crop according to the villagers goes upto 6 ft. The cotton crop was
in front of the house of Appellant.
has also drawn our attention to a suggestion made to PW-2 that four young boys
aged about 10 years were seen in the cotton field from outside areas. If an
outsider had committed the crime, she would definitely cried out but Appellant,
a neighbour and known to her was a person of trust. She was seen to be holding
Appellant's finger. It is clear that she was allured by Appellant to accompany
him to his own field which was near his house. We, however, do not agree with
the contention of the learned counsel for the State that in this case, the
provisions of the Identification of Prisoners' Act will have any application.
The provisions of the said Act may not be ultra vires to the Constitution but
it cannot be said to be applicable in a case of this nature. It cannot be said
to be an area which is contemplated under the Act. Appellant had a right to
give or not to give sample of his hair. He could not have been made a witness
against himself against his will.
of rape took place on an agricultural field. She might have suffered a lot of
pain. She might have resisted also. She might have been gagged. Possibilities
of some assault on her person cannot be ruled out. It would, however, be
improper to hold that he killed her intentionally.
opinion of the learned Trial Judge as also the High Court that Appellant being
aged about 31 years and not suffering from any disease, was in a dominating
position and might have got her mouth gagged cannot be held be irrelevant. Some
marks of violence not only on the neck but also on her mouth were found.
Submission of Mr. Aggarwal, however, that Appellant might not have an intention
to kill the deceased, thus, may have some farce. The death occurred not as a
result of strangulation but because of excessive bleeding. Deceased had bleeded
half a liter of blood. Dr. Reshamchand Singh, PW-1 did not state that injury on
the neck could have contributed to her death. The death occurred, therefore, as
a consequence of and not because of any specific overt act on the part of
of death penalty in a case of this nature, in our opinion, was, thus, improper.
Even otherwise, it cannot be said to be a rarest of rare cases. The manner in
which the deceased was raped may be brutal but it could have been a momentary
lapse on the part of Appellant, seeing a lonely girl at a secluded place. He
had no pre-meditation for commission of the offence. The offence may look a
heinous, but under no circumstances, it can be said to be a rarest of rare cases.
however, in any event, is an accused under Section 276(2)(f) of the Indian
case of this nature where the brutality with which the offence was committed
leading to the death of the prosecutrix, in our opinion, maximum sentence
should be imposed. Appellant, thus deserves imposition of Rigorous Imprisonment
appeal is allowed to the above extent.