Singh Vs. State of M.P.  INSC 626 (12 August 2010)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1464
OF 2003 JABAR SINGH .. APPELLANT(S) vs.
O R D E R
This is a
statutory appeal challenging the order of the High Court whereby the appellant
has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life for the offence
punishable under Section 302 of the IPC.
the prosecution story one Badan Singh, a cousin of Sarnam Singh (deceased in
the present case) had been murdered about 25 years ago whereafter Inder Singh
and Ramjit Singh, sons of Badan Singh had sold their land to the deceased and
had left the village. The house of Badan Singh was also being occupied by
Sarnam Singh. The relatives of Badan Singh suspected that one Kedar Singh was
responsible for his death. On 11th November, 1984, the dead body of Kedar Singh
was seen floating in the canal and the accused in the present matter suspected that
Sarnam Singh and some others connected with him were responsible for his death.
On 13th November, 1984 at about 8 or 9 P.M. the accused, all armed with fire
arms, entered the house of -2- Sarnam Singh whereafter Jabar Singh, the
appellant herein, fired a shot at him which hit him on the navel and exited
from the right buttock. Sarnam Singh, grievously injured, managed to run away
towards his fields where he fell down.
accused remained standing on the Chabutra and continued firing at Sarnam Singh
though no shot hit him.
Singh was removed on a Bullock cart to police station Mehgaon by Sultan (PW.2),
Umed Singh (PW.5), Munnalal (PW.1), shiv Narayan (PW.8) and Chhote Singh
(PW.10) where Sarnam Singh himself lodged the FIR at 0.45 hours on 14th
November, 1984. Dr. F.C.Bansal (PW.4) also examined Sarnam Singh and noted
several injuries on his person. He also arranged for the recording of his dying
declaration on which Amrish Shrivastava (PW.15) an Executive Magistrate, was
deputed and he recorded the dying declaration (Ex.P.12). Sarnam Singh was also
referred to the Gwalior Hospital where Dr. C.S.Jaiswal (PW.16) recorded another
dying declaration (Ex.P.13). Sarnam Singh succumbed to his injuries on 28th
November, 1984 where after his dead body was subjected to a post-mortem by Dr.
Court on a perusal of the evidence as also the four dying declarations referred
to above held that the accused had not been properly identified and as there
appeared to be long enmity between the parties, the possibility of false
implication could not be ruled out.
accused were accordingly acquitted.
of Madhya Pradesh thereafter filed an appeal in the High Court. The High Court
maintained the acquittal of four of the accused but reversed the judgment of
the Trial Court with respect to Jabar Singh and convicted him under Section 302
IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.
appeal has been filed by Jabar Singh impugning the judgment of the High Court.
heard the learned counsel for the parties very carefully and gone through the
record. We are of the opinion that no fault could be found with the conviction
of the appellant. In the light of the eye witnesses' account of several persons
including the wife of the deceased and the four dying declarations recorded at
the instance of the deceased before several independent persons including an
Executive Magistrate, we have no hesitation in upholding the conviction of the
Lakhan Singh Chauhan, the learned counsel for the appellant, has however argued
that in the light of the medical evidence it was apparent that a case of murder
was not spelt out. He has highlighted that the incident had happened on 13th
November, 1984 and the injured Sarnam Singh had died after 14 days thereafter
and it was clear from the medical evidence of Dr. Bansal (PW.4) and Dr. Upadhayay
(PW.14) that the gun shot injuries were not -4- the immediate cause of his
death and he had died due to peritonitis which could not be attributed to the
gun shot injury as it had set in on account of improper care and handling by
the attendants and the hospital staff. Dr. Bansal who examined Sarnam Singh on
14th November, 1984, specifically stated that the injury suffered by Sarnam Singh
was not fatal to life. Dr. Upadhayay was equally categoric when he said that
the death would ordinarily not have been caused as the deceased had died due to
lack of care by the attendants of the deceased and as he had not been properly
treated in the hospital. He also admitted that in the postmortem report he had
no where observed that the gun shot injuries suffered by the deceased would
have cause his death in the normal course of nature. In this view of the matter
we are of the opinion that a case under Section 302 cannot be spelt out against
the appellant and he would at the most be liable for conviction under Sec.326
of the IPC. We accordingly modify his conviction from Section 302 of the IPC to
one under Section 326 of the IPC and impose a sentence of R.I. of five years
and a fine of Rs.5,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to six months R.I.
appeal is allowed to the above extent.
appellant is on bail in view of the orders of this Court. His bail bonds are
revoked. He shall to be taken into custody forthwith, to serve out his
.................J. (HARJIT SINGH BEDI)
.................J. (C.K. PRASAD)
August 12, 2010.