Satvir Vs. State of
U.P.  INSC 116 (21 January 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 551 OF 2005 Satvir
..... Appellant Versus State of Uttar Pradesh ..... Respondent
accused, namely, (1) Fateh Singh, (2) Ram Chander, (3) Brahma, (4) Satvir, (5)
Ram Saran, (6) Harbir, (7) Pratap and (8) Genda were tried by learned VI
Additional District & Sessions Judge, Meerut, in Sessions Trial No. 70 of
1978 for committing the murder of Hari Dutt Singh.
judgment and order dated 05.12.1979, the learned trial judge convicted all the
accused under Section 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (for
short "IPC") and sentenced each to imprisonment for life. The accused
- Ram Saran, Satvir and Harbir have been further convicted under Section 148
IPC and each sentenced to two years 2 rigorous imprisonment, whereas Fateh
Singh, Genda, Pratap, Brahma and Ram Chander have been convicted under Section
147 IPC and sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment. All the sentences
were, however, ordered to run concurrently.
accused persons filed joint appeal in the High Court of Judicature at
Allahabad. The High Court by final judgment and order dated 25.02.2003 modified
the judgment of the trial court. It converted the conviction of accused Satvir,
Ram Saran and Harbir to Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced
them to undergo life imprisonment. It, however, acquitted Ram Chander, Brahma,
Pratap and Genda. Fateh Singh accused, during the pendency of the appeal before
the High Court, had died;
therefore his appeal
appellant herein, has now approached this Court in this appeal. The learned
counsel for the parties stated before us that no appeal appears to have been
filed by other convicts, namely, Ram Saran and Harbir against the judgment and
order of the High Court.
incident leading to the prosecution of the appellant occurred on 31.10.1977 at
about 4 P.M. in the jungle of village Ahmadpuri, Police Station Parikshatgarh,
District Meerut (U.P.). The report of the incident was lodged by Mahendra Singh
(PW-1) an eyewitness, son of the deceased Hari Dutt Singh at about 5.30 P.M. in
the Police Station in which the names of all the accused persons were
following pedigree relevant for the purpose of noticing the relationships
between the parties involved in the case is as under:- Hari Dutt Singh
---------- Kaley ---------------- Shiv Saran (Deceased) (brother of (brother of
deceased) deceased) / / / Mahendra Singh Ram Saran Ram Chander Brahma PW-1 (son
of Accused (son Accused (son of Accused deceased) of Kaley) Shiv Saran) (son of
Shiv Saran) / / Harbir Satvir - Appellant Accused (son of Accused (son of Ram
Saran) Ram Chander) 4 Pratap accused is the brother-in-law of Ram Chander
accused; whereas Genda is `Samdhi' of accused Ram Saran and accused Fateh Singh
(deceased) was uncle of Mahendra Singh (PW-1).
was the prosecution case that Mahabir son of Ram Saran was murdered in the year
1976 and for the said incident; Hari Dutt Singh [deceased] and his son PW-1
were facing trial before the Court. One more criminal case filed by Smt. Sammo
is pending against the deceased and PW-1 in the Court of a Magistrate at
Meerut. On the day of incident, i.e. 31.10.1977, both PW-1 and Hari Dutt Singh
had gone to the Court of Magistrate at Meerut to attend the proceedings in the
said case but the same was adjourned at about 12 0'Clock in the noon. PW-1 and
his father had returned to their village by bus. After getting down at
Parikshatgarh, they started going to their village Ahmadpuri on foot. At about
4 P.M., they reached on the road dividing the fields of Balley and Muley where
PW-1 was going about 20 paces ahead of his father. The accused persons hiding
themselves in the sugarcane fields of Balley, suddenly appeared and laid down
Hari Dutt Singh on the ground.
accused Ram Saran and accused Harbir 5 each were armed with knives with which
they inflicted fatal injuries on Hari Dutt Singh at the instigation of accused
Ram Saran, who proclaimed that the life of Hari Dutt Singh should be cut short
as he was responsible for the murder of his son Mahabir. PW-1 shouted and
raised alarm which attracted Bakhtawar Singh (PW-2), Ganga Saran (PW-4), Gajraj
and few more persons to the place of occurrence. All the accused persons had
fled from the place of incident after committing the murder of Hari Dutt Singh.
One Jasbir Singh recorded the report (Ex. Ka-1) of the incident at the instance
of PW-1 on the basis of which First Information Report came to be lodged at
Police Station at about 5.30 P.M.
Constable Satya Pal Singh (PW-6), who at the relevant time, was discharging the
duties of A.S.I., Police Station Parikshatgarh visited the scene of incident
and prepared Panchnama (Ex. Ka-6), Khaka-lash (Ex.-Ka-7) and Site Plan
(Ex.-Ka-9) of the dead body and collected blood- stained sample of earth from
the place of occurrence.
(PW-5) alongwith Constable Baburam 6 took the dead body of Hari Dutt Singh to
Hospital for post mortem.
O.P. Sharma (PW-3) conducted autopsy on the dead body of the deceased on
01.11.1977 at about 5 P.M.
ante-mortem injuries were found on the dead body:
1. Stab wound 13 cm x
5 cm x abdominal cavity deep on the front of abdomen right side upper part just
below the coastal margin transversely; inner end of the wound was a little
above and outer to the umbilicus.
2. Stab wound 11 cm x
5 cm x abdominal cavity deep on the left side of abdomen 2 cm below the coastal
3. Sub wound 5 cm 1
cm x abdominal cavity deep on the front of abdomen just below the umbilicus
4. Incised wound 1-=
cm x 5 cm x muscle on the front of abdomen right side just below the anterior
superior iliac spine.
5. Incised wound 9 cm
x 5 cm trachea cut on the front of neck middle extending on both sides
6. Abrasion 1 cm 1 cm
on the back of left elbow.
internal examination, small intestine was found stabbed at two places and large
intestine stabbed at one 7 place. Left lobe of liver was also stabbed.
According to the opinion of the Doctor, the deceased died due to shock and
haemorrhage as a result of ante-mortem injuries.
completion of the investigation, chargesheet was filed against the accused
persons by Station House Officer Bijendra Singh Chahar (PW-7).
the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed to be tried.
prosecution, in order to substantiate its case, examined as many as 7
witnesses, out of whom Mahendra Singh (PW-1), Bakhtawar Singh (PW-2) and Ganga
Saran (PW-4) are the eyewitnesses.
accused in the statements recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure
Code denied the incriminating evidence appearing against them. Their defence
was denial simpliciter and pleaded false implication due to enmity. No defence
witness has been examined by them.
trial court on appraisal of the entire evidence on record held all the accused
guilty of the charges and convicted them as aforesaid.
aggrieved, the accused had filed appeal before the High Court. The High Court,
as stated above, allowed the appeal of accused Ram Chander, Brahma, Pratap and
Genda and, accordingly, set aside their conviction and sentences, whereas the
conviction of the appellant-Satvir, Ram Saran and Harbir is converted from
Section 302 read with Section 149 and Section 148 IPC to Section 302 read with
Section 34 IPC. They were sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life.
aggrieved thereby and dissatisfied with the judgment of the High Court, this
appeal has been filed by appellant Satvir in this Court.
Shakil Ahmed Syed, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant,
contended that the evidence appearing on record against the appellant is
verbatim version to that which was taken into consideration with regard to the
acquittal of four accused and, therefore, the case of the appellant cannot be
decided on any other scale and should have been treated at par with the
evidence appearing against the acquitted persons. The appellant and other
accused persons have been implicated by PW-1 in a 9 false case due to previous
enmity as he alongwith deceased was an accused in the murder of Mahabir, son of
Ram Saran. According to the learned counsel, the High Court has committed grave
error in convicting the appellant on the same set of evidence, on the basis of
which four accused, namely, Ram Chander, Brahma, Pratap and Genda have been
acquitted and, therefore, the judgment of the High Court suffers from factual
and legal infirmity and perversity. The learned counsel then contended that the
conduct of the alleged eyewitnesses, namely, PW-1, PW-2 and PW-4 is so
unnatural and casual that they witnessed the entire incident as silent
spectators and did not make any attempt to save the life of Hari Dutt Singh at
the hands of the accused. Therefore, no implicit reliance can be placed on the
evidence of these witnesses, who are not trustworthy.
T.N.Singh, Advocate appearing on behalf of the State, has canvassed correctness
of the views taken by the trial judge which were confirmed by the High Court.
order to appreciate the aforesaid rival contentions of the learned counsel for
the parties, we have independently 10 scrutinized the oral and documentary
evidence appearing on record.
Singh (PW-1) has clearly stated that at the time and on the day of incident he
was with his father when the appellant and other accused suddenly attacked the
deceased. He categorically stated that the appellant and his two companions Ram
Chander and Harbir had inflicted knife injuries on the person of his father. He
has given the names of all the accused persons in the report on the basis of
which FIR came to be registered in the Police Station.
PW-2 Bakhtawar Singh
who is an independent witness deposed that on the day of incident when he was
going to his village Bhadauli from village Kaili, on the way he heard an alarm
raised by PW-1 and saw the appellant, Ram Saran and Harbir inflicting knife
injuries to Hari Dutt Singh.
Suggestion of the
accused that he was not present at the place of incident or he had not seen the
incident or that he is deposing falsely due to relationship, has been denied by
him. PW-4 Ganga Saran Singh deposed that on the day of incident he witnessed
the accused giving beatings to Hari Dutt Singh in between the fields of Balley
and Muley. The 11 appellant alongwith Ram Saran and Harbir had inflicted knife
injuries on the person of Hari Dutt Singh. The eyewitnesses have been
cross-examined at length by the learned counsel, but nothing tangible has been
extracted from their evidence to create any shadow of doubt that they are not
truthfulness witnesses. They have given reliable, consistent and creditable
version of the crime and their evidence inspires confidence. It is well-settled
that if the witness is related to the deceased, his evidence has to be accepted
if found to be reliable and believable because he would inter alia be
interested in ensuring that real culprits are punished.
a careful and cautious scrutiny of the evidence of PW-1, PW-2 and PW-4, we find
their evidence concise, precise and satisfactory on the point that they had
seen the appellant, Ram Saran and Harbir causing grievous injuries to Hari Dutt
Singh with knife which each was carrying with him and due to the fatal
injuries, he died on the spot. The evidence of these three eyewitnesses is
neither embellished nor embroidered. We find no particular reason as to why
PW-1, PW-2 and PW-4 have falsely deposed against the 12 appellant. The trial
court as well as the High Court have rightly held that there was a motive for
the accused to commit murder of Hari Dutt Singh because as per the prosecution
evidence, they were nursing a grudge against the deceased because of his
involvement in the commission of murder of Mahabir son of Ram Saran. The report
of the incident has been promptly lodged by PW-1 in the Police Station in which
the name of all the accused persons and PW-2 and PW-4 being eyewitnesses were
mentioned. Simply because the eyewitnesses did not make any attempt to save the
life of the deceased from the clutches of the accused persons, their abnormal
conduct by itself cannot be taken as a ground to disbelieve and discard their
testimony in regard to the genesis of the occurrence and the part played by the
appellant and the other convicted persons in the commission of the offence.
The ocular version of the eyewitnesses finds corroboration from the evidence of
Dr. O.P. Sharma who has found abovesaid six injuries on the body of Hari Dutt
Singh. As per the post mortem report placed on record by Dr.O.P. Sharma, the
deceased received three stab wounds 13 and two incised wounds and in his
opinion death of the deceased had occurred due to shock and haemorrhage as a
result of ante-mortem injuries.
our independent examination of the judgment given by the trial court and
confirmed by the High Court, we find that both the courts have properly and
rightly re- assessed and reappraised the entire evidence on record and we find
no infirmity or perversity in the findings recorded by the courts below
warranting interference. The High Court has not found any reliable and
clinching evidence led by the prosecution to prove the guilt of the
contention that the appellant shall be held entitled to benefit of doubt in the
same manner as other acquitted-accused have been given, cannot be accepted.
The occurrence, as
spoken by the eyewitnesses, is fully established and the appellant alongwith
Ram Saran and Harbir will be constructively liable under Section 302 read with
Section 34 IPC for the commission of the crime as fatal injuries were inflicted
by them with knives which they were carrying in their hands at the time of
commission of offence.
The fatal injuries
were caused with dangerous weapons on 14 vital parts of the body of deceased
which resultantly caused his death.
counsel for the appellant lastly argued that the appellant had no intention to
murder the deceased, therefore, no offence under Section 302 IPC was made out
against him and at the most it could be a case under Section 304 Part-II IPC,
cannot be accepted in view of the nature of injuries, the manner in which they
were inflicted, the weapons of offence used and the vital parts of the body of
the deceased selected by the appellant and other two convicted accused for
causing the fatal injuries.
thus, find no merit and substance in any of the submissions made on behalf of
the result, for the afore-stated reasons, there is no merit in this appeal and
it is, accordingly, dismissed.
(Lokeshwar Singh Panta)
(B. Sudershan Reddy)