M.P. Vs. Dhara Singh & ANR.  INSC 470 (3 March 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1390
of 2003 State of M.P. ...Appellant Versus Dhara Singh and Anr. ....Respondents
ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of
the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Gwalior Bench, directing acquittal of the
respondents. Learned 4th Additional Sessions Judge, Morena, had convicted
respondent No.1 for offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, 1959(in
short the `Arms Act'). Respondent No.2 was convicted for offence punishable
under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC.
Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:
3.10.1998 Sohan Lal (hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') his son Ram
Het, Dhanvanti, Ramswaroop, Kaptan Singh and Bhagwan Singh came to Morena from
Village Rajyekapura for the treatment of Dhanvanti and to purchase fertilizer.
They were returning back to their village in a bullock cart at about 3.00 p.m.
Said bullock cart was being driven by Bhagwan Singh and the deceased Sohan Lal
and Ram Swaroop were behind the bullock cart. Ramhet, Dhanvanti and Kaptan
Singh were sitting in the bullock cart.
said bullock cart reached near Shivlal-ke-pura Ki Mata, at that juncture
accused Prem Das armed with a gun and accused Dhara Singh armed with a katta
came in front of the bullock cart. Prem Das asked to stop the bullock cart and
thereafter upon his exhortation Dhara Singh fired the Katta, as a result of
which Sohanlal died. The bullet hit the chest of the deceased. Thereafter the
accused persons fled away.
brothers of the accused had died 5 to 6 years ago in the hospital with the
result that the accused left the village after disposing of their land to
Gujiars. Subsequently, deceased had purchased a portion of land from Gujiars.
The accused persons were under impression that the deceased got their brothers
Information Report (In short the `FIR') was lodged by PW- 2 Ramhet and in this
manner the criminal law was set in motion. The police thereafter arrived on the
spot, prepared the Panchnama, sent the dead body of the deceased to the
Hospital for post mortem, seized the wearing apparel of the deceased and
recorded the statements of the witnesses.
investigation, charge sheet was filed. Since accused persons pleaded innocence
trial was held.
Judge after considering the evidence on record found the accused persons guilty
as noted above. In appeal before the High Court it was primarily submitted that
the prosecution version is not acceptable. The evidence of the witnesses did
not inspire confidence. The bullet which was 3 found on the body of the
deceased was recovered and was sent for examination of the ballistic expert and
his report was not placed on record.
Court found that the name of Bhagwan Singh (PW-3) did not find place in the
FIR. The State's stand was that neither of these two aspects rendered the
prosecution version suspect. The High Court however held that the benefit of
doubt was to be extended and directed acquittal.
Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the conclusions
are very sketchy. There is no discussion of the eye witnesses. Ram Het Singh
(PW-2) the son of the deceased and Bhagwan Singh (PW-3) who was the cousin of
PW-2. Dhanwanti (PW-4) was the daughter-in-law of the deceased. The FIR was
lodged promptly. It is not a fact that the name of PW-3 does not figure in the
FIR. It has been clearly stated that the cousin of the informant was an eye
The conclusion of the High Court that PW-3's name did not find
place in the FIR is not correct. As a matter of fact PW-2 has clarified that in
fact the name of Bhagwan Singh has been indicated in the FIR as `Kaptan'.
it is seen that there is no discussion of the evidence of the eye witnesses. In
what cases the examination of a ballistic report is essential to 4 further the
prosecution version would depend upon the circumstances of each case. In Chatar
Singh and Anr. v. State of Haryana (AIR 1976 SC 2474) it was held that in the
circumstances of the case the non obtaining of the report of the ballistic
expert, could not shake the prosecution case in the least. The view was
re-iterated in Lakhbir Singh and Anr. v. State of Punjab (AIR 1994 SC 1029). In
this context a decision of this Court in Surendra Paswan v. State of Jharkhand
(2003 (12) SCC 360) is relevant. In paras 9 and 10 it was held as follows:
So far as the non-seizure of blood from the cot is concerned, the investigating
officer has stated that he found bloodstained earth at the place of occurrence
and had seized it. Merely because it was not sent for chemical examination, it
may be a defect in the investigation but does not corrode the evidentiary value
of the eyewitnesses. The investigating officer did not find presence of blood
on the cot. The trial court and the High Court have analysed this aspect. It
has been found that after receiving the bullet injury the deceased leaned
forward and whatever blood was profusing spilled over onto the earth.
far as the effect of the bullet being not sent for ballistic examination is
concerned, it has to be noted that Sukhwant Singh case is not an authority for
the proposition as submitted that whenever a bullet is not sent for ballistic
examination the prosecution has to fail.
case one of the factors which weighed with this Court for not finding the accused
guilty was the prosecution's failure to send the weapon and the bullet for
ballistic examination. In the instant case, the weapon 5 was not seized. That
makes a significant factual difference between Sukhwant Singh case and the
In view of the aforesaid, the High Court was in error in directing
acquittal of the respondents. The judgment of the High Court is set aside and
that of the trial Court is restored.
The appeal is allowed.
...............................................J. (Dr. ARIJIT
............................................J. (ASOK KUMAR