State of Haryana Vs.
Krishan  INSC 1906 (7 November 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 915 OF 2003 State
of Haryana ...Appellant Versus Krishan ...Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Punjab and
Haryana High Court holding that the respondent deserves to be acquitted and the
judgment of conviction and sentence as recorded by learned Additional Sessions
Judge, Bhiwani is not correct. It is to be noted that learned Sessions Judge
had found the respondent guilty of offence punishable under Section 304 of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and was sentenced him to rigorous
imprisonment for 10 years and fine with default stipulation. However the two
co-accused persons Jai Bhagwan and Anant Ram were acquitted.
facts as projected by the prosecution are as follows:
On 22.3.1989, it was
PHAG festival. PW-4 Sher Singh, brother of Nafe Singh (PW-3) had gone to the
Bazar for playing PHAG. However, Nafe Singh (PW-3) and his father Chandgi Ram
(hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') remained at the house.
Naresh Kumar, nephew
of Nafe Singh, visited them at about 3 pm and informed that Sher Singh (PW 4)
had been beaten by carpenters of their village. On receipt of this information,
PW-3 Nafe Singh alongwith his father Chandgi Ram went towards the houses of
carpenters. His father was ahead of him, while he was following him. When they
reached near the shop of Jai Singh, then he started talking with Jai Singh
while Chandgi Ram went ahead. Chandgi enquired from the carpenters about the
whereabouts of Sher Singh, PW-4, upon which carpenters lost temper. Anant Ram
and Jai Bhagwan, accused (now acquitted) caught hold of Chandgi Ram from his
arms while Krishan, appellant, inflicted a Lathi blow, on the head of Chandgi
Ram. On. receipt of the Lathi blow, he fell down and the appellant alongwith
co-accused ran away. The occurrence was witnessed by Nafe Singh and Jai Singh.
In the meantime,
Harish also appeared. Chandgi was put into a tempo and was taken to civil
hospital, Dadri, where he was admitted and was medico-legally examined. The
police reached the hospital. Nafe Singh made statement, Ex.PL, to Inder Singh
Saini, Sub Inspector (PW-5) which was signed after admitting the same to be
correct. Inder Singh Saini (PW-5) made endorsement Ex.PL/1 and sent it to the
police station for registration of the case, on the basis of which formal FIR,
Ex.PL/2 was recorded by Dalip Singh, Sub Inspector.
Inder Singh Saini SI
(PW-5), then went to the place of occurrence but none was found there and he
stayed in the village. On the next day i.e. on 23.3.1989, he called Chowkidar
and Jai Singh also came there and on the pointing out of Jai Singh, he took
blood stained earth from the spot after making it into a sealed parcel vide
memo Ex.PM attested by the witnesses.
He also recorded the
statement of Sher Singh (PW-4) who had come there and sent him for his
medico-legal examination to Civil Hospital Dadri.
about 8 a.m., he received Ruqa through constable Ram Pal, informing him about
the death of Chandgi and then he converted the offence into 302 IPC. He went to
Civil Hospital, Dadri, and prepared inquest report, Ex.PG, and got conducted
postmortem on the dead body of Chandgi. Head constable Parkash Chand handed
over one packet to him, which he took into possession vide Memo Ex.PM. He
recorded the statements of the witnesses. He apprehended the appellant and his
two companions on 27.3.1989. He interrogated the appellant and in pursuance of
his disclosure statement, Ex.PQ, recovered Lathi, Ex.P3, which was made into a
sealed parcel and was taken into possession. Before taking into possession, he
prepared rough sketch of the Lathi, Ex.PS and also a site plan of the place of
recovery, Ex. PT.
As the accused
persons pleaded innocence, trial was held.
six witnesses. One Jai Singh was given up as he was supposed to won over. The
trial court placed reliance on the evidence of PW 3 and directed conviction as
In appeal the High Court found that there were several factors which made the
prosecution version unreliable. It was noted that the First Information Report
was purportedly lodged on 22.3.1989 but the same was received by the Illaqa
magistrate after a long time i.e. on 24.3.1989 though the court of the Illaqa
magistrate was situated at less than half a kilometer.
number of injuries as stated by the so called eye witness, PW3 was at great
variance with the medical evidence. It also noted that the medical examination
conducted at 3.30 P.M. by Dr. M.M. Sharma, PW 1 showed that the injuries were
caused within a duration of 6 to 12 hours. His specific evidence was that the
deceased could have received the injuries at about 10 AM on 22.3.1989 and he
had not received injuries within six hours. According to the prosecution
version the occurrence took place at 3.30 PM and the medico legal examination
was done at 5.30 pm.
counsel for the appellant State submitted that the factors highlighted by the
High Court to direct acquittal have no foundation.
counsel for the respondent on the other hand supported the judgment of the High
is no embargo on the appellate court reviewing the evidence upon which an order
of acquittal is based. Generally, the order of acquittal shall not be
interfered with because the presumption of innocence of the accused is further
strengthened by acquittal. The golden thread which runs through the web of
administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible
on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused
and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should
be adopted. The paramount consideration of the court is to ensure that
miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of justice which may arise
from acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction of an
innocent. In a case where admissible evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon
the appellate court to re-appreciate the evidence where the accused has been
acquitted, for the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused
really committed any offence or not. (See Bhagwan Singh v. State of M.P, 2003
(3) SCC 21). The principle to be followed by the appellate court considering
the appeal against the judgment of acquittal is to interfere only when there
are substantial reasons for doing so. If the impugned judgment is clearly unreasonable
and irrelevant and convincing materials have been unjustifiably eliminated in
the process, it is a substantial reason for interference. These aspects were
highlighted by this Court in Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra
(1973 (2) SCC 793), Ramesh Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat (1996 (9) SCC
225), Jaswant Singh v. State of Haryana (2000 (4) SCC 484), Raj Kishore Jha v.
State of Bihar (2003 (11) SCC 519), State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh (2003 (11)
SCC 271), State of Punjab v. Phola Singh (2003 (11) SCC 58), Suchand Pal v.
Phani Pal (2003 (11) SCC 527) and Sachchey Lal Tiwari v. State of U.P. (2004
(11) SCC 410).
some of the factors highlighted by the High Court may not create a dent in the
prosecution version but the cumulative effect certainly casts a shadow upon the
credibility of the prosecution version. The view taken is a possible view.
Therefore no interference is called for.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)