of Punjab Vs. Mohinder Singh & Ors  Insc
992 (28 September 2007)
Arijit Pasayat & D.K. Jain
APPEAL NO. 330 OF 2000 With CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 331 OF 2000 Dr. AR1J1T PASAYAT,
These two appeals are directed against a common judgment of the Punjab & Haryana
High Court dated 30th August, 1995 in Criminal Appeal No. 208-DB of 1994. In
the said appeal, the present respondents questioned correctness of the order of
conviction passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Amritsar. Accused-respondent Major Singh was found guilty of offence
punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the
'IPC'). The co accused Jeet Singh alias Ajit Singh, Mohinder Singh and Kulwant
Singh were found guilty of offence punishable under Section 302 read with
Section 34 IPC. Each of the accused was sentenced to imprisonment for life and
to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/- with default stipulation. For the offence relatable
to Section 460 IPC, each of the accused was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment
for five years and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- with default stipulation.
Background facts as projected by the prosecution during the trial are as
17.5.1991 at 8 p.m. Surjit Kaur (PW-4) and her husband Dalip
Singh (hereinafter referred to as 'deceased') were present in their house in
village Leharka. At that time, accused Mohinder Singh and Kulwant armed with
dang, Jeet Singh armed with a barchhi and Major Singh armed with a kirpan came
there and told her husband that he had been abusing them in connection with the
land dispute which existed between them, so he would be taught a lesson. Saying
this, Mohinder Singh raised a lalkara to the effect that Dalip Singh should be
taught a lesson for asking his share of the agricultural land, whereupon Kulwant
Singh caught hold of Dalip Singh and threw him on the ground. Jeet Singh then
gave a blow with barchhi, which hit Dalip Singh on the right side of the chest
while Major Singh gave a blow with kirpan, which hit Dalip Singh on his left
ear. Major Singh again gave a blow with the kirpan, which hit Dalip Singh on
his neck. In the meantime, Surjit Kaur cried for help which attracted Karnail
Singh son of Shangara Singh and Ajit Singh son of Chanan Singh. They all tried
to intervene to save Dalip Singh.
Singh told them to stand aside lest they shall be assaulted. Hearing this, Surjit
Kaur, Karnail Singh and Ajit Singh stood aside and Jeet Singh and his
co-accused took the body of Dalip Singh to the house of Ajit Singh. An electric
bulb was on in the courtyard of the house and Surjit Kaur (PW-4) was thus, able
to identify the accused. She thereafter, left for the police Station Kathu Nangal
and on the way near Talwandi Phuman met ASI Rajinder Singh, (PW-9) and made
statement regarding the circumstances in which her husband had been attacked by
the accused and removed from his house. PW9 recorded the statement (Ex.PF) into
writing and read over the same to the witness whereafter she signed the same in
token of its correctness. He then, made endorsement Ex. PF/2 and sent the same
to the Police Station for recording of formal FIR (Ex.PF/1). The Investigating
Officer, thereafter, went to the spot and in the house of Ajit Singh, found the
dead body of Dalip Singh. He prepared inquest report Ex.PB and after drawing up
request for post-mortem Ex-PD sent the dead body to the mortuary through Head
Constable Charan Singh and Constable Sat Pal Singh. He also prepared injury
statement Ex.PC and lifted blood stained earth and took the same into
possession through recovery memo (Ex.PO) which was attested by SI Kishan Singh
and ASI Surinder Kumar. They went to the house of Dalip Singh and lifted blood
stained earth from the courtyard of the house and that was also taken into
possession through recovery memo Ex.PQ. This recovery memo was also got
attested from the aforesaid witnesses. He prepared rough site plan Ex. PR and Ex.PG
showing the houses of Ajit Singh and Dalip Singh. The marginal notes thereof
are correct according to the spot. On return to the police station, he
deposited the case property with Moharir HC with seals intact. Thereafter, he
searched for the accused and on 1.6.1991 when he was present at Bus adda, Talwandi
Phuman, he joined Darshan Singh, PW-5 and left towards village leharka in
search of the accused. When he reached near the canal minor Darshan Singh
pointed out the four accused and they were apprehended and detained in the
presence of Darshan Singh and other police officials, ASI Rajinder Singh
interrogated Major Singh who made disclosure statements (Ex.PL) to the effect
that he had kept concealed a kirpan in the heap of wheat straw which was lying
in his cattle shed and he had the exclusive knowledge about the same. His
statement was reduced into writing and was got thumb marked by the accused and
was got attested from Darshan Singh and Amrik Singh, PWs. Thereafter, ASI Rajinder
Singh interrogated Jeet Singh who had made disclosure statement to the effect
that he had kept concealed barchhi in the heap of toori lying in the toori wala
kotha and he had the exclusive knowledge of the same and could get the same
recovered. This statement Ex.PJ was also reduced into writing and got attested
from the aforesaid witnesses.
the accused had led the police party to the place of concealment already
disclosed by them and got discovered kirpan (Ex.P2) and barchhi (Ex.P1) which
were taken into possession through recovery memo Ex.PM and Ex.PK after making
rough sketches thereof, which are Ex.PN and Ex.PK/1 respectively. The memos,
were attested by Darshan Singh and Amrik Singh, PWs. On return to the police
station, the Investigating Officer deposited the case property in the malakhana
with seals intact. Rough sketches of the places of discoveries Ex.PT and PU
were also prepared during the investigation and on completion of the same, the challan
was put in the court of Ilaqa Magistrate, against the accused.
sheet was filed after completion of investigation.
persons pleaded innocence.
Placing reliance on the evidence of PW4, informant, the trial Court found the
accused persons guilty and convicted and sentenced, as aforesaid. The main
stand of the accused persons before the trial Court were
was a delay in lodging the FIR
injuries on the accused were not explained and
of the complainant PW4, eye witness, was at variance with medical evidence and
was no trail of blood seen by the Investigating Officer, though the complainant
stated about the presence of a trail of blood when the accused persons dragged
the deceased to the house of Ajit Singh alias Jeet Singh. The trial court negatived
each of the contentions holding as follows:
was no delay in lodging the FIR as no person came to rescue the deceased and,
therefore, the helpless lady, PW4 could not have come to the police station in
on the accused were not grievous in nature and could be self inflicted.
of eye witness/complainant, PW4 corroborates the medical evidence.
Lack of trail of blood has been explained.
spite of lengthy cross-examination it remained unshattered. The complainant had
nothing to gain by implicating the accused. Recovery of weapons at the instance
of the accused has been established. If any of the accused was injured by
unidentified assailants as claimed, there was no reason for them not to report
the matter to the Police and kept mum.
Being aggrieved, accused persons filed appeal before the High Court. The stands
before the trial Court were reiterated before the High Court. By the impugned
judgment, the High Court found that the trial court's judgment was
unsustainable and accordingly set aside the conviction and sentence imposed by
the trial Court and directed acquittal. Hence, State has filed the present
appeals by special leave.
support of appeals, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the High
Court has erroneously come to hold that there was delay in lodging the FIR. The
High Court wrongly concluded that in the FIR or in the statement in court the
delay was not explained. This is clearly contrary to the factual position. In
fact, there was no requirement for explaining the delay in lodging the FIR by
giving details. In any event, that criticism is not factually correct. So far as
non- explanation of injuries on the accused persons is concerned, the accused
persons never claimed that they suffered injuries at the hands of the deceased.
Therefore, the question of explaining the injuries did not arise. Finally, the
trial court, by an elaborate analysis, indicated as to why there could not be
trail of blood, as stated by PW4.
response, learned counsel for the respondents submitted that PW4's presence on
the spot was doubtful. The High Court has rightly referred to the background of
the deceased and the motivation for false implication of the respondents. It is
submitted that the High Court's judgment being one of the acquittal, there is
no scope for interference in these appeals.
submitted by learned counsel for the appellant, three factors weighed with the
High Court for acquitting the respondents. Firstly, the alleged non-
explanation of delay in presentation of the FIR. The High Court has wrongly
recorded that there was no explanation for the delay in lodging the FIR.
was no requirement for offering any such explanation.
otherwise, in the FIR it has been categorically stated that nobody came forward
to accompany the complainant to the police station in the dark night.
Therefore, she had to wait till the morning to come to the police station. In
the cross- examination to this witness, no question regarding the reason for
the alleged delay in lodging the FIR was asked, though, the witness was
cross-examined at length. There was not even a suggestion that she had wrongly
stated about the reason as to why she was lodging the FIR on the next morning.
The conclusion of the High Court is, therefore, clearly unsustainable.
Next comes the conclusion of the High Court relating to the alleged
non-explanation of the injuries on the accused. It was not the case of the
accused, nor even in their cross- examination under Section 313 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short 'the Code'), that they were assaulted by
the deceased. It was not the defence version that the accused persons had
suffered injuries at the hands of the deceased. Their clear case was that they
have been falsely implicated and the killing was done by unidentified
assailants because of the bad reputation of the deceased. They claimed to have
sustained injuries at the hands of the unidentified assailants when they tried
to intervene. As rightly observed by the trial Court, if they had really
sustained injuries in that manner, the least that could have done was to report
the matter to the police. Admittedly, that was not done. Since the accused did
not claim to have suffered injuries at the hands of the deceased, the question
of explaining the injuries on the accused in that sense did not arise. Here
again the conclusion of the High Court is clearly unsustainable.
The last question relates to the Investigating Officer's evidence that he did
not find trail of blood. The trial court on analysing the evidence noticed that
since the accused persons were dragging the dead body of the deceased to the house
of the accused Ajit Singh alias Jeet Singh, there was possibility of their
clothes being strained with blood rather than leaving trail of blood. The
Investigating Officer has categorically stated that he had collected blood
stained earth from several places.
it is not a case where there is absence of blood at the spot of occurrence or
nearby. This aspect has been completely lost sight by the High Court. It is not
even discussed as to why it did not concur with the view of the trial court in
Looking from any angle the impugned judgment of the High Court directing
acquittal of the respondents is clearly unsustainable. The same is set aside.
The order of the trial court is restored. Respondents who are on bail shall be
taken into custody forthwith to serve out the remaining sentence.
The appeals are allowed accordingly.