Gobind Singh Vs.
Krishna Singh & Ors.  INSC 2074 (3 December 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 30-31 OF 2003
Gobind Singh ...Appellant Versus Krishna Singh and Ors. ....Respondents
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in these appeals is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Patna High
Court, accepting the appeals filed by the accused persons who had filed two
appeals before the High Court, one was by the respondents 1 to 11 in Criminal
Appeal No.61 of 2001 and other by respondent No.1 in Criminal Appeal No.139 of
2001 before the High Court, which by the impugned judgment disposed of the two
appeals filed by the accused persons and the reference made under Section 366
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the `Code') for confirmation
of death sentence awarded by the trial Court which was numbered as Death
Reference No.1 of 2001. The present appeals have been filed by the informant.
The respondents in the present two appeals excluding respondent No.1-Krishna
Singh were convicted for offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section
149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and sentenced to
undergo life imprisonment and were also convicted under section 17 of the
criminal law amendment Act, 1998 and sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment
for six months. Respondent Suresh was further convicted under Section 27 of the
Arms Act, 1959 (in short `Arms Act') and was awarded 3 years of rigorous
No.1-Krishna Singh was convicted for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC
and was sentenced to be hanged till death..
allegations on the basis of which law was set in motion read as follows:
A fardbayan of Gobind
Singh (Exh.3) recorded on 6.8.1997 at 9.45 p.m. at the place of occurrence
itself was that about twelve to thirteen days ago informant had received a
letter from respondent-Brahmdeo Paswan, a member of M.C.C. Committee imposing
ban upon him from cultivating his field but no action was taken as the
informant had no enmity with the said organization and again on 5.8.1997 at
about 9.30 p.m., four accused persons had come to the house of the informant
and asked him to come to the orchard to have a talk with the party members
which, however, was avoided by the informant. On 6.8.1997 while the informant
with his brother Madam Singh (hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') was
returning on the same bicycle after having made some purchases at Aurangabad
and reached near Rampur bridge at 5.00 p.m. the informant got down and started
talking to a labourer but deceased Madan Singh moved ahead slowly on bicycle.
As soon as deceased Madan Singh reached the eastern portion of the bridge upon
river Adari, the accused persons who have been named and who were sitting in
ambush, stood up and surrounded Madan Singh and caught hold of him.
Accused-respondent Suresh Singh fired from revolver and accused- respondent
No.1 Krishna Singh started cutting the neck of Madan Singh with a `Pasuli', an
instrument used for tapping toddy, catching hold of the hair of deceased. The
informant seeing that ran away and reached Karma Village shouting where he told
the people about the occurrence and came back to the place of occurrence with
the people of that village only to find his deceased brother lying in a pool of
blood at the bridge with the bicycle lying beside him and the accused persons
fled away. The informant claimed that persons working in the nearby field had
also witnessed the occurrence.
3 Giving out the
motive behind the occurrence, it was claimed that his relative Shanker Dayal
Singh of Karma Village, a Mukhiya was on inimical terms with the M.C.C. party
members and his `katchery' in village Unthoo, some days back was demolished by
the party members for which two co- villagers of the informant were sent to
jail for which the party members blamed that the informant side had given out
their names to the police. After investigation, charge sheet was submitted and
ultimately the trial was held and the accused persons were convicted as noted
The trial Court
relied on the evidence of the eye-witnesses and recorded the conviction and
awarded the sentences as noted above. In view of the imposition of death
sentence a reference was made to the High Court for confirmation.
of the appellants-accused persons before the High Court was that none of the
so-called two eye-witnesses namely, Gobind Singh (PW-2) nor his father Ramraj
Singh (PW-4) could have seen the occurrence but finding the dead body of the deceased
they fabricated a story to implicate the accused persons. It was pointed out
that letter Ext.-4 which was stated to be the motive of the crime has been
created for the purpose of the case. It was stated that none of the accused
persons could be said to have any grudge against the deceased so as to kill him
and it was not proved by cogent evidence that the accused were members of the
banned organization M.C.C. On the other hand the Public Prosecutor referred to
the evidence of PWs 2 and 4 and stated that the conviction was in order.
the High Court has in a number of pages of the judgment purportedly analysed
the evidence, the conclusions, to say the least, are sketchy. Some of the
conclusions are also contrary to the evidence on record. To illustrate, the
High Court had observed that neither PW-2 nor PW-4 for a long time till
recording of the FIR had told anybody the details of the occurrence or the
names of the assailants though they met large number of people. Further, the
High Court held that the informant's claim that he and the deceased were
returning on a cycle after purchase of juggery tied with carrier of cycle and
potatoes were kept in a bag which were scattered did not find support from the
evidence of the investigating officer.
This conclusion is
patently wrong as the investigating officer merely said that he did not seize
those articles. The High Court also noted that in Court the cycle was found
without a carrier. This conclusion is also wrong as in para 15 the trial Court
noted that the cycle was produced as material Ext.I 5 and it had a carrier.
Almost all the conclusions are essentially based on surmises and conjectures.
We do not think it necessary to go into them in detail. Even in respect of the
letter the conclusions are contrary to the evidence on record. The letters
Exts. 15 to 17 were proved by PW-2. One of the conclusions for doubting the
prosecution version was that the main assailants and two others were arrested
on the same night from the village and claimed innocence. This can be hardly a
ground to doubt the prosecution version and to discard it. In view of the
aforesaid unsatisfactory nature of the disposal of the appeal and the Death
Sentence, we set aside the impugned order and remit the matter to the High
Court for a fresh consideration. We make it clear that we have not expressed
any opinion on the merits of the case except referring to some of the
circumstances which apparently could not have formed the foundation of the High
Court's impugned judgment.
appeals are allowed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)