Narain Shukla Vs. Daroga Singh & Ors  Insc 1077 (12 October 2007)
Sinha & Harjit Singh Bedi
No.834/2005, 835/2005, 910-912/2005 HARJIT SINGH BEDI, J
This judgment will dispose of Criminal Appeal Nos. 752-755 of 2005 pertaining
to the acquittal of four of the accused whereas Criminal Appeal Nos. 834 of
2005, 835 of 2005 and 910-912 of 2005 have been filed by the accused who stand
convicted both by the trial Court as well as by the High Court.
facts have been taken from the record of Criminal Appeal No. 835 of 2005. They
are as under:
4.4.1999 Rakesh Kumar Pandey along with his brother-in-law Surya Narain @ Vakil
Shukla along with three others, Devi Shankar Dubey, Prem Shanker Dubey and the
car driver Shesh Mani were returning from Aurai to Gopiganj in the latters
car No. WB 26A 7554. As the car reached near the Trimuhani on the middle of the
road in Gopiganj, accused Udai Bhan Singh, Akbal Bahadur @ Atkoti Singh, Prem
Singh, Dhunni Singh, Munni Singh, Daroga Singh, Rajeshwar Upadhyay, Pintoo
Singh and two other persons all armed with modern weapons starting firing at
the car. The firing led to the death of Surya Narain @ Vakil Shukla, Devi Shanker
Dubey and Shesh Mani at the spot. Rakesh Kumar Pandey and Prem Shanker who were
sitting on the rear seat rushed out of the car to save themselves and they too
received some superficial injuries in that process. The assailants also picked
up the licensed rifle of Prem Shanker Dubey which was lying in the car and
thereafter ran away from the spot.
occurrence was also witnessed by Shiv Prasad @ Dangar Tewari, Mukand Lal, Ram Dutt
Mishra and several other persons. A FIR was thereafter lodged by Rakesh Kumar Pandey
at 3.45 p.m. in Police Station Gopiganj a kilometer away from the place of
incident, on which S.I. Vidya Prakash Misra reached the place of occurrence and
recorded the statement of Rakesh Kumar Pandey whereas SI Rashid Ahmad prepared
the inquest reports of the deceased on the dictation of SI Vidya Prakash Misra.
On an inspection of the site, several pieces of glass, a blood stained piece of
rexine, and shoes and some fired cartridges, a rifle and a 9 mm pistol licensed
to deceased Surya Narain Shukla were recovered. The bodies were also sent for
the post mortem examinations. The post mortem examination on the dead body of Devi
Shanker Dubey was conducted by Dr. Radhey Raman on 4.4.1999 at about 11.55 p.m. whereas Dr. Sanjay Tewari conducted the post mortem
examinations on the dead bodies of Shesh Mani at 11.30 p.m and that on Surya Narain Shukla 45 minutes later i.e. at
0030 hours. All three dead bodies showed extensive fire arms injuries. Dr. A.K.
Pandey also medically examined Prem Shanker Dubey at 5.25 p.m on 4.4.1999 and found two lacerated simple injuries
on his person whereas the examination of Rakesh Kumar Pandey at 8.15 p.m. on 4.4.1999 by Dr. L.S. Mishra showed five simple
injuries; three abrasions and two contusions.
doctors opined that these injuries could have been caused as the two were
making a hurried exit from the car. On the completion of the investigation the
accused were charged for offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 302 read
with 149 I.P.C whereas appellant Suresh Singh @ Jajjey Singh was in addition
charged under Section 379 IPC for having taking away Prem Shankar Dubeys
rifle from the car whereas Tehsildar Singh and Suresh Singh were further
charged under Section 411 I.P.C. The accused pleaded not guilty and sought
Kumar Pandey, the first informant and the primary witness to the murders, was
himself murdered during the course of the trial. The prosecution nevertheless
relied on the evidence of PW1 Shiv Prasad @ Dangar Tewari who deposed to the
circumstances leading to his presence at the spot and the manner of the attack
and further stated that about 15/20 shots had been fired at the car by the
accused from a close range as the car had stalled after having had a collision
with a bus as the car driver had attempted to race away. He also stated that he
knew most of the accused having dealt with them at one time or another.
prosecution also relied on the evidence of PW 4 Prem Shankar Dubey, another eye
witness but he did not support the prosecution and was declared hostile having
partly disowned the story given by him in his earlier statements.
other eye witness PW 5 Ram Dutt Misra, however, supported the prosecution story
and justified his presence by deposing that he had gone to Vidhyachal temple
for darshan in the morning and while returning there from he had taken a lift alongwith
Dangar Tewari PW1 on Mukund Lals Bullet motor-cycle to reach his home in Gopiganj.
prosecution also relied on the medical evidence (and the various reports
tendered) of PW 6 Dr. A.K. Pandey and PW 7 Dr. L.S. Misra with regard to the
injuries on Prem Shankar Dubey and Rakesh Kumar Pandey respectively. The
prosecution also examined the police officials involved in the investigation
viz., PW 10 S.I. Irshad Ali who had recorded the inquest reports on the
dictation of PW 13 Vidya Prakash Misra SHO and also dispatched the dead bodies
for their post mortem examinations, PW 11 Constable Prabhu Nath Yadav who
deposed that the dead bodies had been handed over to Constable Manoj Rai and Devi
Shanker Pandey for being taken for the post mortems, PW 13 Vidya Prakash Misra
who had made the various recoveries already mentioned above and had also
inspected the place of incident and the car and had found about 40 bullet marks
thereon, and also several other police officials who had been involved in the
peripheral investigation or had arrested some of the accused. The prosecution
story was then put to the accused and they denied their involvement in the
incident and pleaded false implication. The trial Court examined the matter in extenso
and held that there had been no delay in the recording of the FIR and the
argument that the first information report had come into existence after the
inquest proceedings had been completed, was unacceptable.
Court also found that Rakesh Kumar Pandey and Prem Shanker Dubey had both been
injured in their attempt to get out from the car and this evidence to, was a
significant circumstance pointing to their presence. It also held that PW 1 Shiv
Prasad and PW 5 Ram Dutt Misra who had supported the prosecution had cogently
explained their presence at the crucial moment in as much that both had gone to
Vindhyachal temple for darshan and while returning had sought a lift back to Gopiganj
triple riding with Mukund Lal on his Bullet motor cycle and that the attempt on
the part of the defence to get them to explain their movements minute by minute
could not be accepted as this could not be a realistic approach in such callous
and gruesome multiple murders. The trial Court also found that the medical
evidence supported the ocular version in as much that the injuries found on the
dead bodies clearly revealed that several types of weapons had been used and
that too from a very close range causing extensive internal and external
injuries on the persons of the deceased. It also observed that in a case of
firing by several persons at others confined in a vehicle with all three
deceased sitting in the front seat, it was well nigh impossible to expect an
eye witness sitting on the rear seat to give the exact details as to the position
of the deceased and the assailants when the firing had taken place. The court
nevertheless held that the motive had not been proved. The court then went into
the involvement of each of the accused and observed that nine of the accused
had been named in the FIR and two others who had not been named also figured in
the incident and that some of the accused had been subsequently identified by
name. The court held that as there was no motive for false implication, a case
against eleven of the accused under Sections 147, 148, 302 read with Section
149 IPC had been made out. The Court also held that the charge under Sections
379/411 IPC against accused Suresh Singh and the case against Tehsildar Singh
who had not been named in the FIR and had been attributed only a Lalkara by the
eye witnesses who were also discrepant as to the manner of his participation,
he was entitled to an acquittal in toto.
trial Court finally observed that:
the basis of the entire above discussions and conclusion the accused Udhaybhan
Singh @ Doctor Singh, Pinto Singh @ Sandeep Singh, Iqbal Bahadur Singh @ Atkotic
Singh, Prem Singh @ Prem Bahadur Singh, Chunni Singh @ Mata Prasad Singh, Daroga
Singh @ Shri Krishan Singh, Rajeshwar Upadhaya, Suresh Kumar @ Jajje Singh,
Sanjay Singh, Santosh Kumar Singh are found guilty of the offence under
Sections 147/148/302/149 IPC, and ordered that:
accused are sentenced to life sentence under Section 302/149 IPC and fine of
Rs.5000-5000/- each accused and if the fine is not paid, one month sentence and
under Section 147 Cr.P.C 3 months rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.500- 500
each and in the event of not paying the fine 10 days further rigorous
imprisonment and under Section 148 Cr.P.C 6 months rigorous imprisonment and
fine of Rs.1000-1000 each and in the event of not paying the fine 15 days
further rigorous imprisonment is justifiable.
Several appeals were subsequently filed before the High Court. The High Court
on a reconsideration of the matter allowed the appeals of Pinto Singh @ Sandeep
Singh, Daroga Singh @ Krishan Singh, Chunni Singh @ Mata Prasad Singh and Prem Bahadur
Singh holding that their names had been revealed by Dangar Tewari PW 1 for the
first time in Court and it was therefore unsafe to maintain their on the basis
of the statement of PW 5 Ram Dutt Misra alone.
High Court accordingly directed as under:
of Appellant Sessions Court Order High Court Order
5588/2004 Suresh Kumar @ Jajjey Singh Sessions Judge conviction and award.
Singh@ Prem Bahadur Singh
Allowed/ Acquitted of the charges
Singh @ Sandeep Singh
Bahadur@ Atkoti Singh
Appeal Allowed/ Acquitted of the charges.
2826/2004 Udai Bhan Singh @ Doctor Singh - DO - Appeal Dismissed
2863/2004 Santosh Kumar Singh and Sanjai Singh - DO - Appeal Dismissed
3072/2004 Chunni Singh - DO - Appeal Allowed/ Acquitted of the charges.
present set of criminal appeals have been filed against the judgment of the
Sushil Kumar, the learned senior counsel for the appellants has raised several
arguments before us during the course of hearing. He has first emphasized that
the incident had happened at 3 P.M. on 4.4.1999 and the FIR had statedly been
lodged in the police station within 45 minutes by Rakesh Kumar Pandey an eye
witness, but the special report had been delivered to the Magistrate on
8.4.1999 and that there was no explanation for the delay and it thus appeared
that the FIR had been written much later and then ante timed. It has
accordingly been suggested that the prosecution story had been cooked up
involving all the accused who all belonged to one extended family in connivance
with the police. It has also been pleaded that the delay in the recording of
the FIR had been utilized by the police in creating three eye witnesses PW 1 Shiv
Prasad @ Dangar Tewari, PW 4 Prem Shanker Dubey and PW 5 Ram Dutt Misra who had
cordial relations with the complainant party but an in depth examination of the
story projected by them revealed that they had not been present and that this
argument was fortified as in the inquest report it had been noted that the dead
bodies had been found outside the car whereas the eye witnesses had projected
the story that the dead bodies had been taken out from the car by the police.
It has also been submitted that had Prem Shanker Dubey PW 4 and Rakesh Kumar Pandey
been sitting in the car when the firing had taken place, they would not have
escaped unscathed more particularly as about 40 shots had been fired at the car
with automatic and semi-automatic weapons at the deceased sitting in the front
seat. It has also been suggested that the nature of injuries found on the dead
bodies showed that the medical evidence was completely at variance with the
ocular evidence. It has finally argued that the prosecution had not been able
to prove any motive for the incident and it had been so found by the trial
court itself and that it appeared from the defence version that the murders had
been committed by unknown assailants and that the accused had been involved on
account of the rancour and ill will of the police as about 20 policemen were
facing trial arising on a complaint made by Tehsildar Singh for the killing of
his son Hazaria, allegedly in a fake encounter.
Anup Chowdhury, the learned senior counsel has however supported the judgment
of conviction. It has also been pointed out (in the appeal against acquittal)
that the acquittal of the four accused was not justified as the evidence
against them was identical with that of the accused who had failed before the
now examine the arguments raised by the learned counsel in extenso. It is true
that the incident having been taken place at about 3 p.m. on 4.4.1999 prima
facie makes the receipt of the special report by the Magistrate on 8.4.99
rather inexplicable, the more so (as emphasized by Mr. Sushil Kumar) that a day
after the incident, the police had itself moved an application under Sections
82 and 83 Cr.P.C. against the accused in the Court of the Special Magistrate.
We have, however, very carefully gone through the record on this aspect, as we
are aware that the fate of the appeal would hinge substantially on this issue.
the purpose of clarity we reiterate the following facts; the incident had
happened on 4.4.99 at 3
P.M., the FIR had been
lodged in the police station a kilometer away at 3.45 p.m. by Rakesh Kumar Pandey and the special report delivered
after four days on 8.4.99. There are however certain circumstances on record
which show that the FIR had in fact been lodged at the time suggested by the prosecution.
It has come in evidence that the inquest on the three dead bodies had started
at 5.45 p.m. and that the dead bodies had been
removed to the police head quarters at 6.30 p.m. and received therein at 7.45 p.m. It has also come on record that on account of the gravity of the crime,
the District Magistrate had, at 10.50 p.m., authorized the medical staff to conduct the post mortem during night
hours and the post mortems were in fact conducted within the next hour or two.
Significantly also, we observe from the cross examination of PW 2 Head
Constable Uma Shanker Pandey (who had registered the formal FIR) that while he
admitted that the special report had indeed been received by the CJM on 8.4.99
but he clarified that a copy of the FIR had reached the Circle Police Officer
on 5.4.99. Likewise PW 9 Constable Devi Prasad Pandey deposed that the dead
bodies had been sealed and handed over to him between 6.30 p.m. and 7.00p.m. on
4.4.99 and that he was in possession of the first information report and other
related documents which had been handed over by him to the doctor. It bears
highlighting that this witness was not even cross-examined on this aspect. This
statement is further fortified by a perusal of Ex.Ka-19 the inquest proceedings
relating to deceased Shesh Mani Rai and amongst the enclosures with the inquest
report is the nakal chik (which is a copy of the FIR) and a report made by the
Sub Inspector on this exhibit that the dead bodies had been handed over for
post mortem along with the appended documents. It is also significant that Dr.
Sanjay Tewari PW 8 who had conducted the post mortem examination on the dead
body of Surya Narain deposed that he had received the first information report
at the time of the post mortem and that he had read the same before conducting
the proceeding. To our mind, therefore, the suspicion that a line or two might
have squeezed in here or there in some of the documents prepared during the
initial investigation would not dislodge the huge volume of documentary and ocular
evidence on the spontaneity of the FIR.
Faced with this situation Mr. Sushil Kumar has then argued that the three
witnesses produced by the police i.e. PW 1 Shiv Prasad @ Dangar Tewari, PW 4 Prem
Shanker Dubey and PW 5 Ram Dutt Misra, only two that is PW 1 and PW 5 had
supported the prosecution and being chance witnesses had not been able to
explain their presence at the spot. It has also been submitted that Mukund Lal,
the third person and the owner of the Bullet motor cycle on which PW1 & PW5
had come from Vidhyachal, had not been examined as a witness which clearly
falsified the entire story.
it has been submitted that the only witness who could possibly have been an eye
witness to the incident as he was travelling in the car at the time of the
incident and whose rifle had been removed from the car after the incident and
recovered from the accused i.e. Prem Shanker Dubey had not supported the
prosecution, thus causing a clear doubt on the entire prosecution story.
The argument noted above would have to be examined in the background of some
special facts. It must be remembered that the incident had happened in broad
day light on the main road going through a prosperous town amongst groups (both
the assailants as well as the victims), who were prominent citizens deeply
involved in commerce and politics and several prior incidents involving them in
some other criminal matters not necessarily with each other had already taken
place. It is therefore obvious that the murders would have created a furore and
caused a huge amount of consternation and it has in fact come in evidence that
thousands of persons had collected at the site, soon after the incident. With
this introduction we now examine as to whether the eye witnesses had been
present at the spot or not. It is to be noted that Rakesh Kumar Pandey, the
first informant had signed the inquest report at the place of incident and his
statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C had also been recorded by the Investigating
Officer PW 13 prior to the preparation of the inquest report. Unfortunately, Rakesh
Kumar Pandey could not be examined as he had in the meanwhile been murdered.
prosecution has accordingly fallen back primarily on the statements of PW 1 Shiv
Prasad, and PW 5 Ram Dutt Sharma PW Prem Shankar Dubey having been declared
facie it does appear that these two witnesses were chance witnesses but on a
closer look we find that they have adequately explained their presence. We are
also of the opinion that if the court comes to the conclusion that the
testimony of a chance witness is credible, the evidence cannot be thrown out
merely on the ground that the witness happened to be present by chance. Dangar Tewari
stated that when he alongwith Ram Dutt Misra had reached at the tri junction of
the GT Road Gopiganj on Mukund Lals Bullet motor-cycle they had heard
sounds of firing by weapons and had seen the accused persons armed with shot
guns, rifles, carbine and pistols firing at the Ambassador car after it had
come to a stop after colliding with a bus coming from the Allahabad side and
that the murders had been committed while the deceased were still in the car.
The evidence of Ram Dutt Misra is much to the same effect. Both these witnesses
have specifically revealed the identity of the assailants and the manner of
attack and explained their presence by stating that they had gone for Darshan
and were on their way back home. We also find that despite extensive
cross-examination, no reasons are forthcoming on record as to why they would
become false witnesses in a case of triple murder. It is also clear from the
evidence that the Investigating Officer had collected a blood stained seat
cover and shoes from inside the car alongwith several other items from the
place of incident which go to show that the killings had happened in the car.
The conflict in evidence as to the whether the dead bodies were found lying
outside or inside the car would thus be of no telling effect more particularly
as a huge and milling crowd running into thousands had collected after the
murders completely jeopardizing the security of the site and as such no
evidence could be available to show as to how the dead bodies had, if at all,
been put outside the car. It is also of some importance that Prem Shankar Dubey
who had been riding the car with the three deceased and had received injuries
in attempting to escape had been medically examined by PW 6 Dr. A.K. Pandey at
about 5.25 p.m. on 4.4.1999. Though this witness
had been declared hostile, we are of the opinion that an outright rejection of
his evidence is not called for and both parties are entitled to rely on such
part of his evidence which assists their case. We now examine his testimony in
this background. He admitted that on the day of occurrence he had been sitting
on the back seat of the Ambassador Car and had been carrying his licensed
rifle. He also admitted that on rushing out of the car he had received some
injuries but could not remember as to whether he had been medically examined
though the evidence shows that he had been present at the time of the lodging
of the first information report in the Police Station. The statements made by Dangar
Tewari and Ram Dutt Misra are thus (to an extent) supported by Prem Shankar Dubey
Mr. Sushil Kumar has also laid some emphasis on the fact that despite the
fusillade fired at the car with an assortment of modern weapons, the car
remained largely untouched and that there was thus no evidence to show that it
had collided with a bus coming from the opposite side bringing it to a sudden
stop, thus facilitating the murders. We have, however, in this connection the
evidence of PW 13 Vidya Prakash Misra, the Investigating Officer, who in his
cross-examination stated that he had carefully examined the car at the place of
occurrence and had found in all about 40 bullet marks on the chassis, tank,
backside bumper, diggy, backside glass and bonnet. It is significant that the
presence of the bullet marks shows that the firing had taken place primarily
from the rear side as the driver had attempted to speed away and that the coup
de grace had apparently been delivered to the deceased after the car had
stalled after hitting the bus.
also significant that the presence of the bus and its number had been shown in
the site plan prepared by the said police officer at the place of incident.
Mr. Sushil Kumar has also laid great stress on what he perceives to be an
apparent discordance between the ocular and the medical evidence. He has
emphasized that the Investigating Officer had picked up three spent cases of a
.12 bore shotgun from the spot and a wad had also had been recovered from one
of the dead bodies at the time of the post mortem examination thus indicating
that only shotguns and no pistols or carbines as alleged had been used, which
clearly falsified the eye witnesses. He has in this connection cited the
judgment in Awadhesh and Another vs. State of Madhya Pradesh (1988) 2 SCC 557
to submit that where medical opinion was at variance with the ocular account the
accused were entitled to the resultant benefit.
the medical evidence is extremely relevant in testing the credibility of an eye
witness but we are of the opinion that the eye witness account is fully in
consonance with the statements of the doctors and the other medical evidence.
It has come in the statement of the eye witnesses including Prem Shankar Dubey
and also of Dr. Sanjay Tewari PW 8 on specific questions put to them that the
shots had been fired from a distance of a foot or two.
reproduce the post mortem reports prepared by PW Dr. Sanjay Tewari with respect
to Vakil Shukla and Shesh Mani Rai : Vakil Shukla
Lacerated wound 2x1 Cm. on the mid forehead with charring and tattooing around
it. Fontal bone not injured.
Abrasion 1x 0.5 Cm. on the mid forehead with charring and tattooing around it.
Wound of firearm entry 6 in number each measuring 0.8x0.8 Cm. on the top and
back of the left shoulder. Margins of wound inverted with blackening and
tattooing all around it with their wound of exit as follows-
1.5 x 1.5 Cm. on the left side chest below the left axilla 5 Cm. below the
x 3 Cm. on the left side chest 8 Cm. below and lateral to the left nipple;
1x1 Cm. on the right side chest 6 Cm. below the right nipple.
1x1 Cm. on the right side chest 4.5 Cm. above and medial to the right nipple;
1x1 Cm. on the right side chest 8 Cm. below the right nipple; and
1x1 Cm. on the right side chest
Cm. lateral to the right nipple.
Firearm wound of entry 0.8x0.8 Cm.. on the lateral surface of right mid thigh
with inverted margins and tattooing all around it with its wound of exit on the
medial surface of thigh at the same level with averted margins 1x1 Cm. Shesh Mani
Rai 1. 5x4 Cm. on the right side neck 1 cm. below and posterior to the right
of the wound were inverted with charring and tattooing of skin all around with
its wound of exit of size 6x5 Cm. on the left side face/over and lateral to the
left eye with averted margins;
Wound of entrance 5.5x4 Cm. on the right side eye margin of the wound inverted
with charring and tattooing of skin all around, with its wound of exit 6x6 Cm.
below the left ear. Margin of the wound averted.
Wound of entrance 1x1 Cm. on the lateral aspect of left arm. Margins of wound
inverted with charring and tattooing of skin all around with its wound of exit
1.5x1.5 Cm. on the posterior lateral aspect of the left arm. Margins of wound
Dr. Radhey Raman PW 3 recorded the following injuries on the dead body of Devi Shankar
Firearm wound of entry with charring and tattooing of size 2x1 Cm. It. Side of
the chest just below the middle part of Lt. Clavicle. Lt. Side clavicle
fractured with same wound of exit.
Firearm wound of entry with charring and tattooing of six 1x1 Cm. on rt. Supra
clavicle region 4 Cm. medial to top of rt. Shoulder, margins of wound inverted,
with its wound of exit 2.5x2.00 Cm. on the lt. Side of chest on its lateral
side 5.00 Cm. lateral and just below it. Nipple margin of wound of exist is
Abraded contusion 2x2 Cm. on rt. Side of the forehead. A cork (1.5 x 1.2
cm ) was also recovered from the dead body.
Relying on the above quoted evidence it has been emphasized that there appeared
to be no injuries from a rifle or pistol. We however beg to differ. It bears
reiteration that shots had been fired from a distance of a feet or two and this
opinion is fortified as the entry wounds without exception show signs of
charring and tattooing. The dimensions of the entry wounds also show that
several different types of weapons have been used. It is clear from the post
mortem examination of Devi Shankar Dubeys body (during which a cork had
been recovered) that a shotgun had undoubtedly been used in his murder and that
the shot had entered en masse as is apparent from the size of wound of entry
(Injury No. 1).
now come to the reports of the other two deceased.
No. 3 on the person of Vakil Shukla is clearly not an injury caused by a
shotgun and has been caused by a medium calibre automatic or semi-automatic
rifle or pistol.
Kumar has however submitted that this injury had possibly been caused by a
shotgun using buckshot SG/LG cartridges as had a high velocity rifle been used
from a close range as suggested, the bullet would have had a blasting effect on
the body. We, however, find that this argument is not substantiated on the
evidence, that is, available to us. Undoubtedly, this shot too had been fired
from a little beyond point blank range and if it had been fired from a shotgun,
the shoulder would have been shattered and in any event the entire charge would
have entered the body en masse making a rat hole wound of entry. We are
fortified in our view by the observations on page 465 of the Fourth Edition of
Dr. B.R. Sharmas Forensic Science in Criminal Investigation and Trials:
22.214.171.124 Shotgun injuries:
nature of the injuries caused by the shotgun is greatly altered by the range.
Contact or near contact wounds look like explosions. Close range shots upto
about three meters give rat holes varying in diameter from about 2 to 6 centimetres.
From about 2 metres to 10 metres the projectiles may form a rat hole surrounded
by individual pellet holes. Beyond 10 metres most of the shots form separate
holes. The buckshots may separate earlier. For example, n L.G. cartridge may
give individual injuries for each shot from a range of about 2 metres.
covered by the pellets vary with the range and the choke characteristics of a
the shotguns projectiles do not form exit holes except when buckshots are used
from close ranges.
Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology, Twenty- third Edition at page 722 is to
the same effect. We reproduce the relevant passage hereunder :
effects produced by small shot fired from a shotgun vary according to the
distance of the weapon from the body, and choking device. A charge of small
shot, fired very close to, or within a few inches, of the body enters in one mass
like a single bullet making a large irregular wound with scorched and contused
edges, and is followed by the gases of the discharge which greatly lacerate and
rupture the deeper tissues.
of unburnt powder expelled from the weapon behind the missile are driven to
some distance through the wound, and some of them are found embedded in the
wound and the surrounding skin, which is also singed and blackened by the flame
and smoke of combustion. The exit wound of a close range shot may show greater
damage of tissues than the entrance wound, the margins are everted, but there
is no evidence of blackening of singeing.
distance of one to three feet, small shots make a single aperture with
irregular and lacerated edges corresponding in size to the bore of the muzzle
of the gun, as the shot enter as one mass, but are scattered after entering the
wound and cause great damage to the internal tissues. The skin surrounding the
wounds is blackened, scorched and tattooed, with unburnt grains of powder. On
the other hand, at a distance of six feet, the central aperture is surrounded
by separate openings in an area of about two inches in diameter made by a few
pellets of the shot, which spread out before reaching the mark. The skin
surrounding the aperture may not be blackened or scorched, but is tattooed to
distance of 12 feet, the charge of the shot spreads widely and enters the body
as individual pellets producing separate openings in an area of five to eight
inches in diameter depending on the choke, but without causing blackening,
scorching or tattooing of the surrounding skin.
Mr. Sushil Kumars argument with regard to the use of a high velocity rifle
and its effect on the body when fired from a close range would undoubtedly merit
serious consideration but in the light of the facts on the record, we are
unable to concur. It is the case of the prosecution that carbines and 9mm
pistols in addition to shotguns had been used during the attack. A carbine, a
high velocity weapon firing automatically or semi automatically, and 9mm bore
pistols are prohibited firearms permitted for use only by the police and armed
forces which invariably use hard nosed bullets in contradistinction to soft
nosed ones used in sporting rifles against soft skinned game and which cause
immense internal damage on the victim and huge wounds of exit, if any. We find
that all six wounds of entry are of 0.8x0.8 cm. and with the exception of one,
all exit wounds are also of almost similar dimensions. We are, therefore, of
the opinion that injury no. 3 appears to be a wound of entry from a weapon
firing hard nosed bullets which had penetrated the body and exited on the other
find support for this view from Modi (Supra) (at pgs.717-718):
of obvious difference in design and construction, the wounds produced by
hunting ammunition are much more devastating than that of the military
ammunition. In military ammunition, the bullets are full metal jacketed having
a core of steel or lead inside and are thus prevented from deformation (or
expansion) when they hit the target. In contrast, a hunting bullet is designed
to deform (or expand) in its passage through the body, producing an increase in
its presenting area. Thus a hunting bullet, which is partially metal jacketed,
but with the lead core exposed at its tip, is referred to as soft-point bullet.
Hollow point hunting-bullets are also partially jacketed but have a cavity at
the tip of lead core to facilitate expansion on striking the target. The
silvertip hunting-bullet in reality is a soft point bullet whose lead core at
its tip is protected by a thin jacket of aluminium alloy sheath.
steel-jacketed bullets used in army weapons have the shape of an elongated cone
and owing to their great velocity usually pass straight and direct through the
body without any deflection or deviation, and without causing much damage. The
wounds of entry and exit are almost circular and similar in appearance without
any bruising or laceration of the surrounding parts.
The nature of injuries found on the dead body of Shesh Mani Rai are equally
significant. It appears from injury nos. 1 and 2 which are on the neck and head
respectively that the shot had furrowed through the body with a huge exit
wound. The very dimension of these injuries show the presence of a rat hole
type of entry with a larger wound of exit on the other side. Injury No. 3
substantially corresponds with the injuries found on the dead body of Vakil Shukla
and reveals that this injury had not been caused with the weapon which caused
the other two injuries.
judgment cited by the learned counsel is therefore on its peculiar facts and
based on the premise that the evidence in the case was doubtful.
have also considered the arguments of learned senior counsel on the appeals
against acquittal. We are of the opinion that the matter has been considered by
the trial court and the High Court in its correct perspective and no
interference is called for.
accordingly dismiss all the appeals.