Singh & Anr Vs. State of Punjab  Insc 693 (19 October 2006)
Sinha & Markandey Katju Markandey Katju, J.
appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the Punjab & Haryana
High Court dated 1.7.2005 by which the death sentence awarded to the accused
Major Singh and Baldeo Singh under Section 302/201 IPC has been upheld.
learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
facts as narrated in the record of the case are that the sister of the
appellants Major Singh and Baldev Singh, Sukhwinder Kaur had been married to
the deceased Kashmir Singh about 12 years prior to the date of the incident. Sukhwinder
Kaur died after two years of marriage with Kashmir Singh, and the accused had
the suspension that Kashmir Singh had murdered Sukhwinder Kaur. It is alleged
that this was the motive for which the accused murdered Kashmir Singh in the
incident in question.
24.1.1999, Kashmir Singh was returning on a bi- cycle to his house after
delivering the milk in the milk dairy and Lakhbir Singh PW4 was sitting on the
carrier holding a small container meant for milk in his hand. At about 7.30 p.m. they reached near the transformer of the village and
there in the light of the electric bulb which was on they found Major Singh armed
with a `Kirpan' and Baldev Singh armed with `Kapa' sitting along with their
third brother Shingara Singh. Shingara Singh had raised a lalkara that Kashmir
Singh had come in their grip and he should not be allowed to go away alive.
Thereupon Lakhbir Singh had jumped from the carrier of the cycle. The deceased
in turn had thrown his cycle and fled into the fields of the wheat crop being
followed by the appellants. It is alleged that in the presence of the witness, Baldev
Singh had given a blow from the sharp side of his `Kapa' on the left wrist of
the deceased while Major Singh gave blows with Kirpan one after the other, as a
result of which Kashmir Singh fell down.
Singh then caught hold of the deceased by his hair, who had tried to catch hold
of the Kirpan of Major Singh and in that process he had received injuries on
the fingers of his left hand. Thereafter, Baldev Singh caught hold of the arm
of the deceased and Major Singh severed his head with a blow of the Kirpan. An
alarm was raised by Lakhbir Singh, which attracted Chanan Singh to the spot and
in his presence the accused ran away from the spot taking away the severed head
of the deceased. On account of nervousness, the accused had left the Kirpan,
turban and blanket at the spot. After leaving Chanan Singh at the place of
occurrence near the dead body, Lakhbir Singh went to call his cousin Jagir
Singh and thereafter both of them proceeded to police post Behak Pachharian to
lodge an FIR.
way, they met ASI Satnam Singh PW7 along with other police officials at the Bus
Stand of village Behak Pachharian where they were holding a Naka. Lakhbir Singh
made a statement Ex.P6 before the ASI, who after making his endorsement Ex.P6/A
had sent the same to the Police Station, Zira, on the basis whereof formal FIR
Ex.P6/B was recorded under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC.
Singh and the other police officials in the meantime had accompanied Lakhbir
Singh to the spot, where a headless body of the deceased was lying. He prepared
an inquest report and sent the body through Mehtab Singh and Daljit Singh,
Constables for post mortem to Civil Hospital, Zira along with application Ex.P3.
On 25.1.1999, ASI Satnam Singh inspected the spot and prepared a rough site
plan Ex.P14. He collected blood stained earth and ordinary earth from the scene
of occurrence and put the same in two separate plastic boxes which were
converted into parcels and were eventually sealed with the seal `SS'. The
sealed parcels were taken into possession through recovery memo Ex.P7. The
Investigating Officer, recovered the Kirpan, turban and blanket from the spot.
He prepared rough sketch of the Kirpan and took the same into possession. The
blanket and turban were also taken into possession separately and both parcels
were sealed by him and were taken into possession through memo Ex.P9. The
bi-cycle of the deceased was also taken into possession. After autopsy, the
post mortem report was handed over to the police. According to the same, the
injuries on the body of the deceased were found to be sufficient to cause death
in the ordinary course of nature. The clothes of the deceased were also taken
into possession and parcels containing blood stained earth, ordinary earth, kirpan,
blanket and turban were went to the Chemical Examiner on 24.2.1999.
trial court after detailed consideration of the evidence found the accused
guilty and sentenced them on 12.6.2004 to death, and also to pay a fine of
Rs.5000/- each and in default further rigorous imprisonment for two years under
Section 302 IPC. They were also awarded punishment of three years rigorous
imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1000/- and in default of which further six months
rigorous imprisonment under Section 121 IPC.
appeal the High Court upheld the judgment of the trial court and dismissed the
appeal. Hence the present appeal.
counsel for the appellant submitted that in fact no one had seen the incident
as it was in the night, and it was a case of false implication. Learned counsel
also repeatedly stressed that the appellants could have no motive for murdering
Kashmir Singh. It is well settled in Criminal Law that motive is not very
material in a case of direct evidence but it is very important in a case of
circumstantial evidence. Since, there is direct evidence in this case, we are
not inclined to go into the motive in the present case. Although, it is true
that in the month of January usually it becomes dark at 7.30 p.m. but in the present case there was electric light by
which the witnesses recognized the assailants. From the statement of PW5 Kuldeep
Singh, SDC, Punjab State Electricity Board it is clear that there was
uninterrupted electric supply in the village in question on 24.1.1999 from 2.30 p.m. to midnight. It
has come in evidence that the witnesses identified the assailants in the
electric light fixed on a bamboo pole. The medical evidence also corroborates
the prosecution version.
come in the prosecution version that Kashmir Singh had caught the Kirpan of
Major Singh and when Major Singh pulled back the Kirpan, four fingers of the
Major Singh were injured. In the post mortem of Kashmir Singh there are such
injuries on the fingers of the deceased. This also corroborates the prosecution
counsel for the appellant submitted that there was no trail of blood at the
scene of the incident. In this connection we have perused the evidence of ASI Satnam
Singh who has mentioned in his statement that he had found a Kirpan stained
with blood on the spot which he had taken into possession, and he had also
found blood stained earth which was put in two separate boxes and sealed. He
also took into possession one bi-cycle make Hero on the carrier of which a hook
was fixed and a drum was tied. One small drum was lying at a distance from the
bi-cycle and he took that also in possession and then prepared a rough site
plan. Thus the evidence of the In-charge of the Police Station, Satnam Singh
also corroborates the prosecution version.
assuming that we accept the defence version that Chanan Singh was not a witness
of the incident, we see no reason to disregard or disbelieve the evidence of Lakhbir
Singh who was an eye witness to the incident. Lakhbir Singh is a natural
witness and he has clearly deposed about the incident in question in detail. We
see no reason to disbelieve his evidence.
counsel for the appellant has referred to certain minor defects and minor
discrepancies in the prosecution case. It is well settled that minor
discrepancies and minor defects in the prosecution case is not a good ground
for rejecting the entire prosecution case.
is clear evidence of Lakhbir Singh that Baldev Singh caught hold of the
deceased by his arm and Major Singh severed his head from body by Kirpan. The
medical evidence, the police inspector's evidence, etc. corroborate this
counsel for the appellant submitted that co accused Jagga Singh and Shingara
Singh have been acquitted. He contended that this shows that the prosecution
case is false.
cannot accept the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that
merely because Jagga Singh and Shingara Singh have been acquitted the entire
prosecution case has to be rejected. It is well settled that the principle of falsus
in uno falsus in omnibus is not an acceptable principle. It is well known fact
that in our country very often the prosecution implicates not only real
assailants but also implicates innocent persons so as to spread the net wide.
court can always discriminate and find out that who were the real assailants
and who were not.
we see no reason to set aside the conviction of the accused Major Singh and Baldev
in the facts and circumstances of the case and considering the fact that there
was probably some enmity due to suspicion about Sukhwinder Kaur's death two
years after her marriage to Kashmir Singh which could have a motive for the
crime, we reduce the sentence awarded to both the accused from death sentence
to life sentence under Section 302 IPC. This appeal is disposed of accordingly.