Ranjeet Singh @ Dara
Vs. State of M.P.  INSC 754 (20 September 2010)
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.683
OF 2009 Ranjeet Singh @ Dara ... Appellant VERSUS State of Madhya Pradesh
appeal is against the final Judgment and order of the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh, Bench at Indore, in Criminal Appeal No: 469/2000 wherein the order of
conviction of the appellant for the offences punishable under Section 302 IPC,
passed by the Special Judge (S.C & S.T Prevention of Atrocities) and
Additional Sessions Judge, Indore has been confirmed.
deceased Jayawati was the second wife of Machi Singh. The prosecution version
of the tragic episode, leading to the death (murder) of Jayawati (hereinafter
referred to as the deceased) has been primarily narrated by Hukum Singh (PW
11). He is the son of Machi Singh and the deceased. The first wife of Machi
Singh, Kaushalya Devi had given birth to 13 children. She had produced 8 sons,
namely, Surendra Singh, Narendra Singh, Balwant Singh, Nanak Singh, Ranjit
Singh @ Dara (hereinafter referred to as the appellant), Jasbir Singh, Santosh
Singh, Trilochan Singh (PW 12), and five daughters.
deceased Jayawati used to reside with her son Hukam Singh (PW 11) at A.H.
Sukalya Road on the first floor.
Trilochan Singh @
Lucky (PW 12) used to reside on the ground floor with his wife Surendra Kaur @
Poli (PW 1). The appellant was a regular visitor at the house situated at
Sukalya. On the morning of 6/9/97, the appellant had gone to Indore from Bhopal
by car and reached the house at around 11:30 am. He came in to visit, after
parking the car outside. On the same 3 day Jayawati was found dead in the same
house around 2 to 3 pm.
is further the case of the prosecution that one Ranjeet Singh had
telephonically informed that someone had committed a murder at house NO: A.H.
37 Sukalya, and that the accused had been caught and detained. This information
was recorded by Brijesh Mishra (PW13),SHO, in the General Diary at Serial No:
357 (Ex P/19 - C at 14:50 hours). The SHO then proceeded along with Constable
Balkishan (PW8) to the house in question. On reaching the house when he went to
the first floor, he found that the door was closed from inside. He asked the
person inside to open the door. When the door was opened by the appellant from
inside, he had a blood stained sword in his hand. His hands were soiled in
blood. There were also stains of blood on the door. Jayawati was lying on the
double bed and her body was smudged with blood. Trilochan Singh @ Lucky (PW 12)
then asked the accused "Dara, what have you done?" The appellant
replied that "I have done the right thing - you shut up and go away from
here." SHO, 4 Brijesh Mishra (PW 13) persuaded the accused to hand over
his sword and it was laid down on the floor by him. Constable Balkishan (PW 8)
was deputed to stand guard.
the senior officials of the Police, on being apprised of the incident, also
arrived at the scene of the murder.
Hukum Singh (PW 11)
gave report Ex P/16 in writing and on the basis thereof Dehati Nalish P/17 was
recorded. Summons were issued for holding inquest and inquest report Ex. P/8
was prepared. PW8 was entrusted with the duty of taking the dead body of
Jayawati for post mortem examination. At the instance of Trilochan Singh (PW
12) spot map Ex P/20 was prepared. In the presence of Rajesh Dubey (PW 3) and
Nanuram (PW 4), the sword was seized from the floor, one gold "bala"
lying near the leg of the deceased., the cotton in which the blood was collected,
simple cotton, the sheath of the sword lying behind the door, the blood stained
bed sheets and pillow cover were seized vide Ex. P/13. Accused was arrested
under Memo Ex P/6. His clothes namely shirt, jeans, shoes and the blood removed
from his hands were seized vide Ex P/4.
5 Accused was taken
to Police Station Heeranagar and case No:
165/97 under Section
302 IPC was registered vide Ex P/21.
Accused was also sent
for medical examination by issuing medical form Ex P/22.
order dated 7/3/2000, the Trial Court convicted the appellant herein for the
offences punishable under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for
life and imposed a fine of Rs. 5000/-, in default of which he had to further
undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year.
aforesaid judgment, the appellant herein filed Criminal Appeal No: 469 of 2000
before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Bench at Indore. The High Court vide
order dated 13/3/2006 confirmed the conviction of the accused under Section 302
IPC. Aggrieved by the said judgment, the appellant herein has filed the present
appeal before this Court.
have heard Mr. K.T.S Tulsi, learned Senior Advocate for the appellant and Mr.
C.D. Singh on behalf of the respondent-State.
taking us through the relevant materials relied on by the prosecution, Mr K.T.S
Tulsi, learned Senior Advocate submitted that initially Machi Singh, father of
the appellant, had been made the accused. According to Mr.Tulsi, this is a case
of false implication. The real culprit, possibly Machi Singh is sought to be
shielded. He then set out the sequence of events which according to him would
make it atleast very doubtful, if not impossible, for the murder to have been
committed by the appellant. He submits that in this case, the FIR had been
recorded at 7.00 p.m. However, the first document mentioning the details of the
incident is the inspection report of Dr. Sudhir Sharma (PW10). Both the Courts
below have illegally discarded the evidence of this witness. Mr.Tulsi emphasized
that PW13 Brijesh Mishra, SHO, who was the Investigating Officer did not
conduct the spot inspection according to the directions issued by PW10.
Investigation in this case being incomplete, no reliance could have been placed
on the evidence of PW13.
7 Learned senior
counsel further emphasized that at the time of the murder, the appellant was
already in the custody of the police. He had been sent for medical examination
to Dr.R.C.Choudhary. On medical examination, this witness had recorded the time
of examination at 11.45 hrs. The appellant had suffered five injuries on his
hands. According to Mr.Tulsi, the nature of the injuries would make it
impossible for the appellant to wield a sword, to inflict the kind of injuries
that were found on the deceased. According to Mr.Tulsi, the registration of the
FIR was deliberately delayed in order to shield the real culprit. Learned
senior counsel submitted that obviously the delay had occurred whilst the
concerned individuals were trying to concoct a plausible version to protect the
real assailant. Apart from the delayed registration of the FIR, there is no
explanation as to why a copy of the FIR was not sent to the Magistrate for the
next five days. This could be sufficient to discredit the version of the prosecution.
Mr.Tulsi, the inherent weaknesses in the 8 prosecution case have been totally
ignored by both the courts below. The benefit of these shortcomings ought to
have been given to the appellant. In support of his submissions, learned
counsel relied on the judgments in State of Gujrat [(2009) 11 SCC 625]. With
regard to the effect of delayed receipt of the copy of the FIR by the State of
Kerala [(2003) 3 SCC 355].
counsel for the State, however, submitted that both the courts below have held
that the delay in sending the copy of the FIR has not caused any prejudice to
Both the courts below
have found that sufficient explanation has been given about the delay by PW 13.
In any event, the delay in sending the copy of the FIR would not in itself be
sufficient to discard the entire prosecution evidence. Learned 9 State of U.P
[(2008) 16 SCC 372]. Learned counsel further submitted that the appellant in
this case had a clear motive to commit the crime. He was apprehensive that the
father may favour the illegitimate son PW11 over the legitimate sons. The plea
with regard to the real murderer being shielded is just to protect the
appellant, who was caught red handed. His hands as well as the sword were
covered in blood. He had suffered injuries by sword whilst committing the
murder. According to the learned counsel, reliance on Ex.D5 is falsified by
Therefore, Ex.D5 has
been rightly discarded by the trial court as well as the High Court. Ex.P22
clearly shows that the appellant has been sent for medical examination after
arrest because he had suffered injuries with sword. The aforesaid fact is
clearly adverted to by PW 13 in his deposition.
have considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties.
in this case there is no eye-witness account of the murder. The prosecution has
relied heavily on the circumstantial evidence. Both the courts below have
examined the entire evidence with great care and caution and have reached the
conclusion that the murder has been committed by none other than the appellant
herein. The approach of the courts below is in consonance with the well
established principles, in matters where the prosecution case is based only or
primarily on circumstantial evidence. Laying down the principles in such cases,
this court in the case of Hanumant observed as follows:- "It is well to
remember that in cases where the evidence is of a circumstantial nature, the
circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should in the
first instance be fully established, and all the facts so established should be
consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused. Again, the
circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency and they should be
such as to exclude every hypothesis but the one proposed to be proved. In other
words, there must be a chain of evidence so far complete as not to leave any
reasonable ground for a conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused
and it must be such as to show that within all human 11 probability the act
must have been done by the accused."
has sought to project that the real culprit in this case is being shielded. He
has suggested that possibly it is Machi Singh who had committed the murder. The
only evidence linking Machi Singh with a crime is the mention of his name by
Dr.Sudhir Sharma (PW 10) in the report Ex.P14.
This report itself
indicates that it is based on the information received. However, the author has
failed to specify the source of information, although at one stage, it was
stated by PW-10 that he had talked to the Investigating Officer (PW13). There
is, however, no confirmation of this fact by the Investigating Officer. Thus,
the High Court declined to give any credence to the suggestion that name of
Machi Singh had been correctly recorded in the report Ex.P14. Both the courts
below have concluded that the name of Machi Singh may have been the result of
confusion in the mind of Dr.Sudhir Sharma (PW10).
reached by both the courts below on due 12 appreciation of the evidence of
these two witnesses cannot be said to be either unjustified or perverse.
the other hand, there is oral, medical and documentary evidence, which would
undoubtedly connect the appellant with the murder. The appellant was the step
son of the deceased. She was living on the first floor of the house owned by
Machi Singh. The ground floor was occupied by Tarlochan Singh and his wife,
Surinder Kaur, who appeared as PW1. She has testified that appellant lives in
Bhopal. He had come to Indore in the morning of 6/9/1997. His car was parked
outside the house. She had met the appellant and asked if he wanted to have a
meal. He had, however, stated that he will have the meal along with her husband
Tarlochan Singh, PW12. Thereafter, she went into her room. After about 10-15
minutes, Kiran (PW 9), her maid came and told her that she had heard screams
coming from the room of Jaya aunty.
Kiran also stated
that appellant lives in Bhopal, he comes to Indore quite often. She also
corroborated the fact that he was in the house at the time of the murder. PW-11
stated that on 13 the day of the murder, he wanted to go and see a movie. He
left the house around 1.30 p.m to tell his friend to get ready.
He then came back to
the house at about 2.30/2.45 p.m.to take some money for the movie, from his
mother. Therefore, he went upstairs to her room. He heard the voice of the
appellant from inside the room. It appeared to him, that he was talking to some
one on the telephone. The room was locked from inside. He knocked at the door
and asked the appellant to open the door so that he could talk to his mother.
The appellant told him, "you go for now - I want to talk to Jaya".
He was told by the
appellant that the deceased was in the bathroom. He went out to the gallery and
saw that there was no body in the bathroom. He again came and asked the
appellant to open the door of the room. In the meanwhile, Tarlochan Singh, PW
12 also reached there. He also tried to get the door opened. He even called out
to the appellant. He was also told to go away by the appellant. Ultimately, the
appellant shouted that he will open the door only when the police arrives. In
the meanwhile, the police arrived. On being satisfied with the identity of PW
13, the appellant opened the 14 door. He stated that he had killed the
deceased. He was holding a blood stained sword in his hand at the time. On directions
from PW13, he had put the sword on the floor.
Hukum Singh PW-11
then went inside the room and saw his mother lying on the bed covered in blood.
The Dehati Nalish was recorded on the basis of the sequence of events narrated
by him. Thereafter, FIR (P 21) was recorded. This witness was cross-examined at
length. Nothing useful could be elicited from him. The version given by PW 11
is consistent with the testimony of the Investigating Officer PW.13.
from the oral evidence, the post-mortem report Ex.P-11 makes it abundantly
clear that except for injuries No. 2, 3 and 4, all the injuries found on the
deceased were incised wounds. The post mortem report of Dr.P.C.Jain (PW5)
indicates the following injuries on the body of the deceased:- 15
1. Incised wound 3 x
2 x 0.5 c. transverse oblique in direction (tr.06) on upper midpoint of abdomen
(9 cm above umbilicus).
2. Contused abrasion
1.5 x 0.4 cm on left hypocondrium region.
3. Contused abrasion
3 x 1 cm on public region.
4. Abrasion 1 x 0.5
cm on public region (3 cm below injury no.3).
5. Incised wound -
Stab wound internally size 3.4 cm x 2 cm on the upper point of Abdomen.
direction (Vt 06) present 17 cm below the ant. End of axillary fold internally
it runs obliquely upwards passes through whole wideness of abdominal wall (lat
side), both walls of stomach (through and through) and makes cut mark on Lt.
Lobe of liver (size of wound is 1.3 x 0.4 x 3cm deep). The whole abdominal
cavity full of blood and very little food particles (semi digested) come out
from 16 stomach and present near wounds on stomach.
6. Incised wound 3 x
2 x 1 cm on lateral part of Lt. Inguinal region (vtl.06).
7. Incised wound -
chopped size 4 x 2 x 0.3 cm.
(ms deep) on Lt.
Middle finger (dorsum aspect and near base Vgt. 06).
8. Incised wound - 4
x 2 x 0.3 cm. (ms deep) on Lt. Pain near base of thumb and index finger
9. Incised wound - 2
x 0.5 x 0.2 cm (ms deep) on Lt. Index finger (Tr.06) mid part and palmer
10. Incised wound 2.5
x 1 x 0.3 cm on Lt.
Forearm. Present 8 cm
above the wrist joint on antro medial.
11. Incised wound 6
cm x 1 cm x 1 cm (upto skull deep) on Lt. Temporal area of head in sagital (2
cm above the Ltd. Ear pinna and runs posterior) 17
12. Incised wound 3 x
2 x 0.5 cm. on Lt. Buttock (upper and outer quadrant & vt. 06).
13. Incised wound 1.5
x 0.4 x skin deep present buttock (upper and outer quadrant).
14. Incised wound 1 x
0.2 x skin deep (4 cm above).
15. Incised wound 7 x
3 x 1 cm on Rt. Forearm present at 5 cm above the wrist joint on post media.
16. 4 Incised wound 4
x 2 cm chopped cut present Rt. Base of thumb and other three 1 cm x 4 cm type x
skin deep on Rt. Hand of palmer aspect in one plane.
17. Incised wound 5 x
2 x 0.3 cm (ms. Deep present from Rt. Angle of mouth and runs laterally).
the aforesaid injuries could be caused with a sharp edged weapon such as a
sword. Furthermore, the appellant 18 has failed to give any explanation for
his presence in the room of the deceased. There is no explanation about the
presence of blood stained sword in his hand. All the circumstances taken
together clearly point towards the guilt of the appellant.
appellant had tried to create a defence by stating that he was already in the
custody of the police at the time when the murder was committed. According to
him, he had been beaten up by the police which necessitated medical
examination. This, according to the appellant, was conducted by Dr.R.C.Chaudhury.
He relied on Ex.D5 which had indicated that the appellant had been examined on
6.9.1997 in the morning at 11.30 a.m. The story about the medical examination
at 11.30 a.m. has been disbelieved by the trial court on the ground that since
appellant had only arrived from Bhopal, a little before the murder, there is
little likelihood of his being in the custody of police at 11.30 a.m. In any
event, the entry with regard to the time of inspection being 11:30 am in the
medical report (Injury Report) seems to be in different ink from the rest of
the report. The High Court further noticed 19 that Ex.D5 could not be relied
upon as the author of the said report, Dr. R.C.Choudhary was never examined.
The report was produced in Court by DW1 who merely stated that the report had
been written by Dr.Chaudhary. He had also stated that the report bears the
signatures of Dr.Chaudhary. In our opinion, even this conclusion reached by
courts below cannot be said to be either erroneous or perverse.
aforesaid conclusions have been reached by both the courts below on the basis
of due appreciation of the relevant material on record. No exceptional
circumstances have been pointed out to enable this Court to interfere in
exercise of jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. We may
also notice that most of the submissions made by Mr.Tulsi were in the realm of
appreciation of evidence.
powers of this Court under Article 136 are very wide; the interference with
concurrent findings of facts would only be in very exceptional circumstances.
The circumstances in which this Court may interfere with the concurrent
findings have been broadly dealt with by this Court 20 Bihar,[(2005) 6 SCC
211] wherein it was observed as follows:
"10. From the
aforesaid series of decisions of this Court on the exercise of power of the
Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution following principles
(i) The powers of
this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution are very wide but in criminal
appeals this Court does not interfere with the concurrent findings of fact save
in exceptional circumstances.
(ii) It is open to
this Court to interfere with the findings of fact given by the High Court, if
the High Court has acted perversely or otherwise improperly.
(iii) It is open to
this Court to invoke the power under Article 136 only in very exceptional
circumstances as and when a question of law of general public importance arises
or a decision shocks the conscience of the Court.
(iv) When the evidence
adduced by the prosecution fell short of the test of reliability and
acceptability and as such it is highly unsafe to act upon it.
(v) Where the
appreciation of evidence and finding is vitiated by any error of law of
procedure or found contrary to the principles of natural justice, errors of
record and misreading of the evidence, or where the conclusions of the High
Court are manifestly perverse and unsupportable from the evidence on
are of the considered opinion that the case of the appellant does not fall
within the purview of the aforesaid ratio of law.
has tried to point out a number of discrepancies and contradictions between the
evidence of PW-10, PW-11 and PW-13. We are not much impressed by the aforesaid submissions.
The discrepancies have been noticed by both the courts below. It was held by
both the courts below that the discrepancies are not such as to justify
discarding the evidence led by the prosecution.
the reasons stated above, we find no reason to interfere with the well reasoned
judgments of the trial court and the High Court. The appeal is accordingly