Sucha Singh Vs. State
of Punjab  INSC 1060 (13 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.753 OF 2008 Sucha
Singh ... Appellant Versus State of Punjab ... Respondent
S.B. Sinha, J.
appeal is directed against a judgment and order dated 24.5.2007 passed by a
Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in
Criminal No.809 DBA of 1997 allowing an appeal preferred by the respondent
herein from a judgment of acquittal passed by the learned Sessions Judge.
prosecution's case is as under:
At about 8.00 pm on
16.2.1991, one Gurdev Chand (PW4), his brother Sheru (PW5), aged 11 years and
another brother Sakander (the deceased) aged about 13 years had gone outside
the village to answer the call of nature.
Appellant who is said
to have been armed with `datar' along with one Manga came on their way. Whereas
Manga is said to have raised a `lalkara' that the complainant be taught a
lesson for selling adulterated liquor with water, Sucha Singh gave a `datar'
blow on the deceased. Allegedly, Manga gave a `datar' blow on Sheru (PW5). On
their raising cries, Bhindi, younger brother of the first claimant, came on the
spot, whereafter the accused ran away with their weapons. The deceased was
removed to civil hospital, Pathankot where he died.
first information report was lodged at about 12.05 noon on 17.2.1991.
the learned Trial Judge, inter alia, Gurdev Chand (PW4) and Sheru (PW5) were
examined to prove the prosecution's case. The learned Trial Judge noticed that
although a charge under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been
framed against Manga, but the first informant, in his supplementary statement
had accepted that Manga was empty handed. It 3 was on the aforementioned
premise that the appellant by reason of amendment of the charge had been
charged under Section 302 and 307 of the IPC whereas Manga was charged under
Section 302/34 and 307/34 of the IPC.
The learned Trial
Judge recorded a judgment of acquittal, inter alia, on the following findings:
1) The difference
between the statement in the first information report and the supplementary
statement was very vital. The allegations against Manga had been withdrawn only
upon noticing that his right hand being amputated, he was not in a position to
inflict any injury.
2) Statement of
Gurdev Chand was held not to be trustworthy keeping in view the change in his
stand also in regard to the sequence of events.
Whereas in his first
statement, he stated that Sakandar had first been attacked by Sucha Singh, in
his supplementary statement, he alleged that Sheru had been the first victim
whereafter Sakandar ran away.
He was chased for a
sufficient distance and an injury was inflicted on his body with a `datar'.
3) The omission in
the first information report that Sheru was taken to a civil hospital before
the first information was lodged was only to 4 explain the delay in lodging
the first information report although such an allegation had not been made in
the first information report.
4) Whereas in his
first statement, Gurdev Chand alleged that Sheru had been inflicted only with
one a single injury by Manga, but later he stated that three-four injuries had
been inflicted on his person whereas in the medical report only a single injury
was found on the person of both the deceased and Sheru.
5) There were
contradictions in the matter of lodging of the first information report as it
was said to have been lodged by Gurdev Chand after riding on a cycle for 12
kms. and the police met him at Jugial. He had stated that on his way back, the
cycle had been kept in police vehicle while according to Inspector Amrik Singh
(PW7), the cycle had been kept in a shop at Jugial.
6) The first
information report was found to be ante-timed even the blood was not found on
7) The evidence of
the child witnesses was not corroborated.
8) The prosecution
had not been able to prove any motive on the part of the accused.
High Court, on an appeal preferred by the State against the said judgment
i) The maxim falsus
in uno, falsus in omnibus should not have been applied by the Trial Court as
discrepancies in testimonies can occur due to error of observations, error of
memory or due to mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time of
ii) Delay in lodging
of the first information cannot be a ground to doubt the correctness of the
iii) Motive to commit
an offence is immaterial where reliable direct evidence is available.
iv) Keeping in view
the nature of the evidence brought on record, clause thirdly to Section 300 of
the IPC would be applicable.
v) The evidence of
the child witness had not been tutored and, thus, no corroboration thereof was
The High Court, on
the aforementioned findings, while upholding the judgment of acquittal passed
in favour of Manga, convicted the appellant under Section 302 of the IPC.
question which arises for consideration is as to whether the High Court
committed an error in interfering with the judgment of acquittal passed by the
learned Sessions Judge.
story advanced by the prosecution starts with a motive on the part of the
complainant's mother selling of illicit liquor. In the first information
report, it was alleged by the first informant that his mother brought illicit
liquor and sold it to maintain her children. In his evidence, however, he
stated that his mother sold only two bottles of liquor occasionally.
If the brothers had
nothing to do with the sale of liquor, as has rightly been pointed by the
learned Sessions Judge, that motive must be held to have not been proved.
We may notice that
PW5, however, categorically denied and disputed that his mother sold any liquor
or she earned her livelihood by doing liquor work.
this stage, we may also notice the injuries alleged to have sustained by Sheru
which according to Doctor Vijay Mahajan (PW2) were as under :
"1. An incised
wound 10 x 1.5 cm running horizontally along the lower border of lowest
mandible on left side going posteriorly to the post auricular area and 7
anteriorly over the chin. The underlying bone was cut partially. Anteriorly the
wound bifurcated into two parts and went to the sub mandibular area. Fresh
bleeding was present and x-ray examination was advised.
2. An incised wound 3
x = cm on the posterior surface of left ear pinna running horizontally. It was
cartilage deep and fresh bleeding was present.
3. An incised wound 3
cm, linear skin deep running horizontally over the front of left neck.
4. An incised wound 5
x 0.5 cm bone deep running into transverse direction on the top of right
shoulder joint. Fresh bleeding was present. There was corresponding cut in the
shirt and sweater X-ray was advised.
5. An abrasion 3 x 2
cm on front of right knee joint."
Post mortem report,
conducted by Dr. R.K. Khanna, (PW1), read as under :
"1) An incised
16 cm x 8 cm x 6 cm deep wound obliquely placed over the right side of the
neck, extending from the nape upwards to the tragus of right pinna with through
and through cutting of right external pinna at its centre into two equal
halves. Dissection revealed injury to subcutaneous tissues, muscles and bone in
the mastoid region and 1st and 2nd vertebral bodies on its right side going
obliquely upwards to the brain matter at the base of skull. The intervening
bones 8 were sharply cut into pieces. Brain matter was oozing out of the wound
after tearing the basal meanings. The intervening blood vessels and nerves were
In his opinion, the
cause of death was injury to vital organ, i.e. brain and spinal cord which was
sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. The injury was ante
mortem in nature having been caused by sharp-edged cutting heavy weapon."
is some discrepancies with regard to time of occurrence of the incident also.
Whereas according to PW4, the assailants of his brothers were identified in a
torchlight, PW5 stated that they had identified the accused in the daylight and
not under the torchlight. Even PW4, in his evidence, admitted that he did not
have any torch in his possession and, therefore, he did not see the accused
under the torchlight which was introduced for the first time in his
supplementary evidence. We may notice that in the first information, it is
stated, he produced a torch containing three cells. The same has neither been
seized nor produced.
He furthermore denied
that Manga had given any `lalkara'. He furthermore accepted that Manga's right
arm was amputated.
It is also of some
significance to note that the place of occurrence is at a distance of about one
km from their house. No evidence has been brought on record as to how the
parties are known to each other.
There is, therefore,
significant contradiction in the matter of number of injuries, time of
occurrence, place of occurrence, sequence of events, the manner of
identification of the accused, lack of motive and false implication of Manga.
P.W. 4 made vital contradictions in his FIR vis-`-vis the supplementary
statement evidently keeping in view the physical condition of Manga. It is,
therefore, difficult to rely upon his testimony.
PW4 in his deposition
furthermore denied to have made a statement before the police that Sucha Singh
had given a `datar' blow on Sakandar on his neck.
in his evidence, even could not deny that Manga is an employee in a private
company and he remains at his place of work from morning till evening.
the reasons aforementioned, the impugned judgment of the High Court cannot be
sustained which is set aside accordingly and that of the 10 learned Sessions
Judge is restored. Appellant is in custody. He would be set at liberty
forthwith unless wanted in connection with any other case.
appeal is allowed accordingly.
[Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]