Paramjeet Singh @
Pamma Vs. State of Uttarakhand  INSC 781 (27 September 2010)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1699 of 2007
Paramjeet Singh @ Pamma ...Appellant Versus State of Uttarakhand ...Respondent
Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.
appeal has been filed against the judgment and order dated 30.4.2004, passed by
the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital, dismissing the Criminal Appeal
No.1767 of 2001 against the judgment and order of the Sessions Court dated
9.8.2001 in Sessions Case No.254 of 2000 convicting the appellant under Sections
302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter called `IPC') and
sentencing him to life imprisonment and 10 years rigorous imprisonment
respectively. The Sessions Court had also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000/-,
failing which the appellant has to undergo another 3 years rigorous
facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that an FIR was lodged on
27.4.2000 at 6.40 P.M. with Police Station, Rudrapur, by complainant Ajit Singh
(PW.1) alleging that his grand father Hardayal Singh had given certain shares
in his immovable properties to his three sons, namely, Gopal Singh, Joginder
Singh and Mahender Singh and denied a share to his father Inderjit Singh and
uncle Paramjit Singh, the appellant. The appellant had fraudulently sold a plot
at Rudrapur and to prevent him from repeating such act, appellant's father
Hardayal Singh executed a General Power of Attorney, as well as a Will, dated
27.04.2000 in respect of one of his properties in favour of the complainant's
father, Inderjit Singh and thus, the appellant became annoyed. The appellant
misbehaved with his father Hardayal Singh and brother Inderjit Singh and
threatened them with dire consequences, at the office of the Sub-Registrar at
the same day in the evening at 5.45 P.M., the complainant Ajit Singh (PW.1),
his father Inderjit Singh and brothers Surender Singh, Saranjit Singh alongwith
Satwant Singh and Gurmit Singh went to drop Hardayal Singh at his residence in
When they were alighting
from the car, the appellant Paramjit Singh and two or three of his associates
were sitting there. The appellant, with an intention to kill them, started
firing. Thus, complainant's father Inderjit Singh, his brothers Surender Singh
and Saranjit Singh, died on the spot and complainant Ajit Singh (PW.1), his
brother Baljit Singh (PW.2) and his grand-father Hardayal Singh got injured.
The incident was witnessed by Gurmit Singh (PW.3), Satwant Singh (PW.4) and
cousins of complainant Ajit Singh (PW.1), Rajinder Kumar (PW.5), Harpal Singh
(PW.6) and Hira Lal (PW.7).
Investigating Officer recovered and prepared the Seizure Memos of plain soil,
blood soaked soil, three empty cartridges and a turban. The dead bodies of the
aforesaid three persons were recovered vide Panchnama and postmortems were
conducted on the bodies of all the three deceased on 28.4.2000 in the Base
Hospital, Haldwani. The other injured persons, namely, Ajit Singh (PW.1),
Baljit Singh (PW.2) and Hardayal Singh were examined medically.
the investigation on 4.5.2000, the Investigating Officer recovered the licensed
Gun of the appellant, on the disclosure made by appellant himself, from an Arms
Dealer at Rampur and the recovery memo and site plan of the place of recovery was
The empty cartridges
and recovered Gun were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Agra and other
materials e.g., blood soaked soil and the clothes etc. of the deceased were
also sent to FSL, Agra for chemical analysis.
Investigating Officer completed the investigation and submitted the
charge-sheet against the appellant. He denied the charges and claimed trial.
The prosecution examined 8 witnesses to substantiate its case before the trial
Court. Out of 8 witnesses, 7 turned hostile. After conclusion of the trial, the
learned Sessions Court vide its judgment and order dated 9.8.2001 found the
appellant guilty of the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 307 IPC and
awarded the sentences mentioned hereinabove.
aggrieved, the appellant preferred Criminal Appeal No.1767 of 2001 before the
High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital which has been dismissed vide impugned
judgment and order dated 30.4.2004. Hence, this appeal.
S.R. Bajwa, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant, has submitted
that out of 8 witnesses examined by the prosecution, 7 turned hostile and none
of them deposed that the appellant had committed any offence. The Investigating
Officer remained the only witness in the trial who had not turned hostile. The
gun was allegedly recovered at the disclosure of the appellant as required but
it was not in consonance with Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, on
the basis of which the recovery of the Gun could be proved. The trial Court as well
as the High Court erred in convicting the appellant as none of the alleged
pieces of circumstantial evidence could be proved by the prosecution. The
courts below committed an error in accepting the inadmissible evidence e.g.,
confession before Police official; contents of statement recorded under Section
161 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter called `Cr.P.C.'); using
the FIR as a substantial piece of evidence; and recovery of 12 Bore Gun from an
Arms Dealer at Rampur on the disclosure of the appellant and held the appellant
guilty. No witness was examined to prove that the material collected by the
Investigating Officer had been placed in safe custody in the Malkhana; the
Register maintained by the arms dealer at Rampur had not been produced before
the court nor had the arms dealer been examined. None of the relevant
incriminating pieces of circumstantial evidence had been put to the appellant
by the court while examining him under Section 313 Cr.P.C. The circumstances of
the absconding of the appellant for 6 days had been taken to show him as guilty
person. In spite of the fact that a compromise by Panchayat was not proved
before the trial Court, it had been used against the appellant.
More so, no motive or
genesis of occurrence could be established on the record of the case. The
conviction is totally based on conjectures and surmises, thus, liable to be set
contra, Shri Sunil Kumar Singh, learned counsel appearing for the State of
Uttarakhand has vehemently opposed the appeal contending that appellant had
been found guilty of committing murder of 3 members of his own family and
injuring 3 other family members.
The informant Ajit
Singh (PW.1) and Baljit Singh (PW.2) have admitted that they were present at
the place of occurrence. They suffered injuries but denied the involvement of
the appellant in the crime altogether. The other eye-witnesses even denied
their presence at the place of occurrence itself. In such a fact-situation,
where all the witnesses had been won over by the appellant, as the family had
pardoned the appellant, the case otherwise stood proved by circumstantial
evidence. The courts below have rightly convicted the appellant. All relevant
questions had been put to the appellant under Section 313 Cr.P.C., and the
appellant could not explain his whereabouts at the time of occurrence of the
incident. The case of the prosecution has duly been supported by the medical
evidence as well as the other material collected by the Investigating Officer
during the investigation. The appeal lacks merit and is liable to be dismissed.
have considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel for the
parties and perused the record.
The case is to be
decided keeping in mind that as all the seven eye-witnesses turned hostile and
none of them involved the appellant in the crime, it remained a case of
Legal Issues Standard
criminal trial is not a fairy tale wherein one is free to give flight to one's
imagination and fantasy. Crime is an event in real life and is the product of
an interplay between different human emotions.
In arriving at a
conclusion about the guilt of the accused charged with the commission of a
crime, the court has to judge the evidence by the yardstick of probabilities,
its intrinsic worth and the animus of witnesses. Every case, in the final
analysis, would have to depend upon its own facts. The court must bear in mind
that "human nature is too willing, when faced with brutal crimes, to spin
stories out of strong suspicions." Though an offence may be gruesome and
revolt the human conscience, an accused can be convicted only on legal evidence
and not on surmises and conjecture. The law does not permit the court to punish
the accused on the basis of a moral conviction or suspicion alone. "The
burden of proof in a criminal trial never shifts and it is always the burden of
the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt on the basis of
acceptable evidence." In fact, it is a settled principle of criminal
jurisprudence that the more serious the offence, the stricter the degree of
proof required, since a higher degree of assurance is required to convict the
accused. The fact that the offence was committed in a very cruel and revolting
manner may in itself be a reason for scrutinizing the evidence more closely,
lest the shocking nature of the crime induce an instinctive reaction against
dispassionate judicial scrutiny of the facts and law. (Vide : Kashmira Singh v.
State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1952 SC 159; State of Punjab v. Jagir Singh Baljit
Singh & Anr., AIR 1973 SC 2407;
Dixit v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1981 SC 765; Mousam Singha Roy & Ors. v.
State of West Bengal, (2003) 12 SCC 377; and Aloke Nath Dutta & Ors. v.
State of West Bengal, (2007) 12 SCC 230).
Sarwan Singh Rattan Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1957 SC 637, this Court
"Considered as a
whole the prosecution story may be true; but between `may be true' and `must be
true' there is inevitably a long distance to travel and the whole of this
distance must be covered by legal, reliable and unimpeachable evidence [before
an accused can be convicted]."
the law on the point may be summarised to the effect that in a criminal trial
involving a serious offence of a brutal nature, the court should be wary of the
fact that it is human instinct to react adversely to the commission of the
offence and make an effort to see that such an instinctive reaction does not
prejudice the accused in any way. In a case where the offence alleged to have
been committed is a serious one, the prosecution must provide greater assurance
to the court that its case has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
a conviction may be based solely on circumstantial evidence, this is something
that the court must bear in mind while deciding a case involving the commission
of a serious offence in a gruesome manner. In Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State
of Maharashtra, AIR 1984 SC 1622, this Court observed that it is well settled
that the prosecution's case must stand or fall on its own legs and cannot
derive any strength from the weakness of the defence put up by the accused.
However, a false defence may be called into aid only to lend assurance to the
court where various links in the chain of circumstantial evidence are in
themselves complete. This Court also discussed the nature, character and
essential proof required in a criminal case which rests on circumstantial
evidence alone and held as under:
10 (1) The
circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully
(2) The facts so established
should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that
is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that
the accused is guilty;
(3) The circumstances
should be of a conclusive nature and tendency;
(4) They should
exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved; and (5) There
must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground
for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show
that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.
similar view has been reiterated by this Court in State of Uttar Pradesh v.
Satish, (2005) 3 SCC 114; Krishnan v. State represented by Inspector of Police,
(2008) 15 SCC 430; Ramesh Bhai & Anr. v. State of Rajasthan, (2009) 12 SCC
Subramaniam v. State
of Tamil Nadu & Anr., (2009) 14 SCC 415;
and Babu v. State of
Kerala, JT 2010 (8) SC 560, observing that the evidence produced by the
prosecution should be of such a nature that it makes the conviction of the
State of Gujarat v. Anirudhsing, (1997) 6 SCC 514, this Court observed as under
trial is a voyage in quest of truth for public justice to punish the guilty and
restore peace, stability and order in the society.
Every citizen who has
knowledge of the commission of cognizable offence has a duty to lay information
before the police and cooperate with the investigating officer who is enjoined
to collect the evidence and if necessary summon the witnesses to give evidence.
He is further enjoined to adopt scientific and all fair means to unearth the
real offender, lay the charge-sheet before the court competent to take
cognizance of the offence.
needs to contain the facts constituting the offence/s charged. The accused is
entitled to a fair trial. Every citizen who assists the investigation is
further duty-bound to appear before the Court of Session or competent criminal
court, tender his ocular evidence as a dutiful and truthful citizen to unfold
the prosecution case as given in his statement. Any betrayal in that behalf is
a step to destabilise social peace, order and progress."
fact that the witness was declared hostile at the instance of the public
prosecutor and he was allowed to cross examine the witness furnishes no
justification for rejecting en bloc the evidence of the witness. However, the
court has to be very careful, as prima facie, a witness who makes different statements
at different times, has no regard for the truth. His evidence has to be read
and considered as a whole with a view to find out whether any weight should be
attached to it. The court should be slow to act on the testimony of such a
witness; normally, it should look for corroboration to his testimony.
(Vide : State of
Rajasthan v. Bhawani & Anr., (2003) 7 SCC 291)
Court while deciding with the issue in Radha Mohan Singh @ Lal Saheb & Ors.
v. State of U.P., (2006) 2 SCC 450, observed as under:
".....It is well
settled that the evidence of a prosecution witness cannot be rejected in toto
merely because the prosecution chose to treat him as hostile and cross-examined
him. The evidence of such witness cannot be treated as effaced or washed off the
record altogether but the same can be accepted to the extent his version is
found to be dependable on a careful scrutiny thereof..."
Mahesh v. State of Maharashtra, (2008) 13 SCC 271, this Court considered the
value of the deposition of a hostile witness and held as under:
".....If PW 1,
the maker of the complaint has chosen not to corroborate his earlier statement
made in the complaint and recorded during investigation, the conduct of such a
witness for no plausible and tenable reasons pointed out on record, will give
rise to doubt the testimony of the investigating officer who had sincerely and
honestly conducted the entire investigation of the case. In these
circumstances, we are of the view that PW.1 has tried to conceal the material
truth from the Court with the sole purpose of shielding and protecting the
appellant for reasons best known to the witness and therefore, no benefit could
be given to the appellant for unfavourable conduct of this witness to the
Rajendra & Anr. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2009) 13 SCC 480, this Court
observed that merely because a witness deviates from his statement made in the
FIR, his evidence cannot be held to be totally unreliable.
Court reiterated a similar view in Govindappa & Ors. v. State of Karnataka,
(2010) 6 SCC 533, observing that the deposition of a hostile witness can be
relied upon at least upto the extent he supported the case of the prosecution.
view of the above, it is evident that the evidence of a person does not become
effaced from the record merely because he has turned hostile and his deposition
must be examined more cautiously to find out as to what extent he has supported
the case of the prosecution.
Section 313 Cr.P.C.:
accused can be questioned under Section 313 Cr.P.C. only for the purpose of
enabling him personally to explain any circumstance appearing in the evidence
against him. No matter how weak or scanty the prosecution evidence is in regard
to certain incriminating material, it is the duty of the Court to examine the
accused and seek his explanation on incriminating material which has surfaced
against him. Section 313 Cr.P.C. is based on the fundamental principle of
fairness. The attention of the accused must specifically be brought to
inculpatory pieces of evidence to give him an opportunity to offer an
explanation if he chooses to do so. Therefore, the court is under a legal
obligation to put the incriminating circumstances before the accused and
solicit his response. This provision is mandatory in nature and casts an
imperative duty on the court and confers a corresponding right on the accused
to have an opportunity to offer an explanation for such incriminatory material
appearing against him.
were not put to the accused in his examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. cannot
be used against him and have to be excluded from consideration. (Vide Sharad
and State of
Maharashtra v. Sukhdev Singh & Anr., AIR 1992 SC 2100).
S. Harnam Singh v. State (Delhi Admn.), AIR 1976 SC 2140, this Court held that
non-indication of inculpatory material and its relevant facts by the trial
court to the accused adds to the vulnerability of the prosecution case. The
recording of the statement of the accused under Section 313 Cr.P.C. is not a
any appellate Court or revisional court comes across the fact that the trial
Court had not put any question to an accused, even if it is of a vital nature,
such an omission alone should not result in the setting aside of the conviction
and sentence as an inevitable consequence. An inadequate examination cannot be
presumed to have caused prejudice. Every error or omission in compliance of the
provisions of Section 313 Cr.P.C., does not necessarily vitiate trial.
Such errors fall
within category of curable irregularities and the question as to whether the
trial is vitiated, in each case depends upon the degree of error and upon
whether prejudice has been or is likely to have been caused to accused. Efforts
should be made to undo or correct the lapse. (Vide: Wasim Khan v. State of
Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1956 SC 400; Bhoor Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab, AIR
1974 SC 1256; Labhchand Dhanpat Singh Jain v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1975 SC
182; State of Punjab v. Naib Din, AIR 2001 SC 3955; and Parsuram Pandey &
Ors. v. State of Bihar, (2004) 13 SCC 189).
Asraf Ali v. State of Assam, (2008) 16 SCC 328, this Court observed:
"Section 313 of
the Code casts a duty on the court to put in an enquiry or trial questions to
the accused for the purpose of enabling him to explain any of the circumstances
appearing in the evidence against him. It follows as a necessary corollary therefrom
that each material circumstance appearing in the evidence against the accused
is required to be put to him specifically, distinctly and separately and
failure to do so amounts to a serious irregularity vitiating trial, if it is
shown that the accused was prejudiced."
Shivaji Sahebrao Bobade & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1973 SC 2622,
this Court observed as under :
"It is trite
law, nevertheless fundamental, that the prisoner's attention should be drawn to
every inculpatory material so as to enable him to explain it. This is the basic
fairness of a criminal trial and failures in this area may gravely imperil the
validity of the trial itself, if consequential miscarriage of justice has
flowed. However, where such an omission has occurred it does not ipso facto
vitiate the proceedings and prejudice occasioned by such defect must be
established by the accused. In the event of evidentiary material not being put
to the accused, the court must ordinarily eschew such material from consideration.
It is also open to the appellate court to call upon the counsel for the accused
to show what explanation the accused has as regards the circumstances
established against him but not put to him and if the accused is unable to
offer the appellate court any plausible or reasonable explanation of such
circumstances, the court may assume that no acceptable answer exists and that
even if the accused had been questioned at the proper time in the trial court
he would not have been able to furnish any good ground to get out of the
circumstances on which the trial court had relied for its conviction."
Ganesh Gogoi v. State of Assam, (2009) 7 SCC 404, this Court relying upon its
earlier decision in Basavaraj R. Patil & Ors.v. State of Karnataka, (2000)
8 SCC 740, held that the provisions of Section 313 Cr.P.C. are not meant to
nail the accused to his disadvantage but are meant for his benefit. The
provisions are based on the salutary principles of natural justice and the
maxim "audi alteram partem" has been enshrined in them. Therefore, an
examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. has to be of utmost fairness.
Shaikh Maqsood v. State of Maharashtra, (2009) 6 SCC 583; and Ranvir Yadav v.
State of Bihar (2009) 6 SCC 595, this Court held that it is the duty of the
trial court to indicate incriminating material to the accused. Section 313
Cr.P.C. is not an empty formality. An improper examination/inadequate
questioning under Section 313 Cr.P.C. amounts to a serious lapse on the part of
the trial Court and is a ground for interference with the conviction.
Suresh Chandra Bahri v. State of Bihar, AIR 1994 SC 2420, this Court rejected
the submission that as no question had been put to the accused on motive, no
motive for the commission of the crime could be attributed to the accused, nor
the same could be reckoned as circumstance against him observing that it could
not be pointed out as to what in fact was the real prejudice caused to the
accused by omission to question the accused on the motive for the crime. No
material was placed before the court to show as to what and in what manner the
prejudice, if any, was caused to the accused.
More so, the
accused/appellant was aware of accusation and charge against him.
it is evident from the above that the provisions of Section 313 Cr.P.C make it
obligatory for the court to question the accused on the evidence and
circumstances against him so as to offer the accused an opportunity to explain
the same. But, it would not be enough for the accused to show that he has not
been questioned or examined on a particular circumstance, instead he must show
that such non- examination has actually and materially prejudiced him and has
resulted in the failure of justice. In other words, in the event of an
inadvertent omission on the part of the court to question the accused on any
incriminating circumstance cannot ipso facto vitiate the trial unless it is
shown that some material prejudice was caused to the accused by the omission of
Matru @ Girish Chandra v. The State of U.P., AIR 1971 SC 1050, this Court
repelled the submissions made by the State that as after commission of the
offence the accused had been absconding, therefore, the inference can be drawn
that he was a guilty person, observing as under:
conduct in absconding was also relied upon. Now, mere absconding by itself does
not necessarily lead to a firm conclusion of guilty mind. Even an innocent man
may feel panicky and try to evade arrest when wrongly suspected of a grave
crime such is the instinct of self- preservation. The act of absconding is no
doubt relevant piece of evidence to be considered along with other evidence but
its value would always depend on the circumstances of each case.
Normally the courts
are disinclined to attach much importance to the act of absconding, treating it
as a very small item in the evidence for sustaining conviction. It can scarcely
be held as a determining link in completing the chain of circumstantial
evidence which must admit of no other reasonable hypothesis than that of the
guilt of the accused. In the present case the appellant was with Ram Chandra
till the FIR was lodged. If thereafter he felt that he was being wrongly
suspected and he tried to keep out of the way we do not think this circumstance
can be considered to be necessarily evidence of a guilty mind attempting to
evade justice. It is not inconsistent with his innocence."
similar view has been reiterated by this Court in Rahman v. State of U.P., AIR
1972 SC 110; State of M.P. v. Paltan Mallah & Ors., AIR 2005 SC 733; and
Bipin Kumar Mondal v. State of West Bengal, JT 2010 (7) SC 379.
by a person against whom FIR has been lodged, having an apprehension of being
apprehended by the police, cannot be said to be unnatural. Thus, mere
abscondance by the appellant after commission of the crime and remaining
untraceable for a period of six days itself cannot establish his guilt.
Absconding by itself is not conclusive proof of either of guilt or of a guilty
present case requires to be examined in light of the aforesaid certain legal
The offence as
alleged, has been committed by the appellant, killing three persons and
injuring three other persons who were members of his own family. The alleged
motive had been annoyance because of the denial of his share in the immovable
property by his father, Hardayal Singh. An earlier incident had occurred in the
morning in the office of the Sub-Registrar at Kichcha and the offence was
allegedly committed by the appellant on the same day in the evening at about
5.45 P.M. An FIR had been lodged promptly at 6.40 P.M. at Police Station:
Rudrapur, which is located at 14 kms. away from the place of occurrence.
Complainant Ajit Singh (PW.1) in his deposition, admitted his presence at the
place of occurrence and also that he had suffered injuries in the same
incident, however, he had denied the participation of the appellant in the
crime. He had also admitted that FIR (Ex. K-1) was lodged by him and the same
had been in his handwriting. He also admitted that in the document Ex. K-1, he
had stated that the appellant had committed the offence. On being
cross-examined by the public prosecutor, he furnished the explanation for
changing his stand, stating that he had named the appellant for the killing of
Inderjit Singh, Surender Singh and Saranjit Singh and causing injuries to three
others including the complainant at the behest of the members of the crowd
present there, whereas he had not seen the appellant firing at the spot. He
denied the suggestion that there was a compromise in the family and because of that
he had been falsely deposing to save the appellant. However, he had admitted
that he was medically examined. His version in the FIR stands corroborated by
the medical evidence. The statement recorded by the Investigating Officer under
Section 161 Cr.P.C. has been in consonance with his version made in the FIR.
Singh (PW.2) was also an injured witness, and was also medically examined. The
medical report corroborated the case of the prosecution. He named the appellant
responsible for the crime while making a statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C.,
which was recorded by the Investigating Officer, Rajan Tyagi(PW.8). However, he
did not support the case of the prosecution when he was examined in the court.
He admitted his presence on the spot and admitted that he had suffered
injuries. He also admitted that he was medically examined.
He admitted that
there was a dispute in the family on the issue of sharing the immovable
property, but he deposed that the appellant did not cause three deaths or injuries
to three others. In his cross- examination, he was confronted with his
statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C., wherein he had named the
appellant as the person who had committed the crime. He had also denied the
suggestion that he was deposing falsely because of the compromise in the
other witnesses Gurmit Singh (PW.3), Satwant Singh (PW.4), Rajinder Kumar
(PW.5), Harpal Singh (PW.6) and Hira Lal (PW.7) had even denied their presence
on the spot. Harpal Singh (PW.6) deposed that he had reached the place of
occurrence after the commission of the offence. None of the said eye-witnesses
supported the case of the prosecution in spite of the fact that all of them had
named the appellant as an assailant in their respective statements made under
Section 161 Cr.P.C.
Rajan Tyagi, Investigating Officer (PW.8), had proved the statements of all the
witnesses recorded by him under Section 161 Cr.P.C. and deposed that it was the
complainant, Ajit Singh (PW.1), who had stated that the appellant had caused
three deaths and injuries to 3 other family members. He had admitted his
signatures on the said statements. He had further stated that Ajit Singh (PW.1)
had pointed towards the place of occurrence and on the basis of the same he prepared
the site plan, Ex. K-36. The said witness admitted that he had recovered empty
cartridges and other materials from the place of occurrence including the piece
of cloth, blood soiled earth and ordinary soil. He had supported the postmortem
report, that postmortems of the dead bodies were conducted on 27th April, 2000,
which was recorded in the case diary. He has further deposed that at 1.30 P.M.
on 4th May, 2000 at the instance of a secret informer, the appellant, Paramjeet
Singh, was arrested and the appellant had confessed his crime and had told him
that the appellant had deposited his licensed gun with M/s J.B. Sales Arms
& Ammunition Dealer, Railway Station, Rampur. The Investigating Officer
(PW.8) went alongwith the appellant and other police personnel to Rampur
railway station for the recovery of the gun used in the offence. The appellant,
Paramjeet Singh, had pointed out, from the distance of about 90 paces, the
agency of the arms dealer. They alighted from the jeep and the appellant walked
towards it and got recovered the gun which was lying in an almirah of the said
shop and identified the same. So, it was the appellant at whose behest the gun
was recovered. In spite of the extensive cross examination of Shri Rajan Tyagi,
Investigating Officer (PW.8), the defence could not make out anything which may
discredit his deposition.
case should be examined from another angle also. The postmortem reports of 3
persons, who died in the incident, are part of the record and speak for
Postmortem Reports :
I. The postmortem
report of Sharanjeet Singh (Ex.Ka.27) reads as under:
1) Lacerated wound 1
cm x 1 cm circular, Margins inverted over forehead in between eyebrows.
2) Lacerated wound 1
cm x 1 cm right side chest, 6 cm above right nipple.
3) Lacerated wound 1
cm x 1 cm right side of lower abdomen 6 cm lateral to umbilicus, circular,
4) Lacerated wound 1
cm x 1 cm over right shoulder, margins inverted, circular.
5) Multiple firearm
injuries measuring 1 cm x 1 cm in an area of 12 cm x 16 cm over middle of back,
margins inverted, cavity deep, pellets and plastic cork recovered (wound of
II. The postmortem
report of Surender Singh (Ex. Ka. 28) reads as under:
1) Lacerated would 12
cm x 14 cm right side abdomen 6 cm above and lateral to umbilicus and 10 cm
below right nipple, margins crushed and multiple firearm injuries measuring 1
cm x 1 cm around the lacerated wound, margins inverted, muscle deep.
2) Multiple lacerated
wounds measuring 1 cm x 1 cm over left chest around nipple some are cavity deep
and some skin deep.
3) Lacerated wound 10
cm x 6 cm left abdomen lateral side.
III. The postmortem
report of Inderjeet Singh (Ex.Ka. 29) reads as under:
1) Lacerated wound 1
cm x 1.5 cm left side chest oval in shape, margins inverted 6 cm above left
nipple, cavity deep.
2) Two circular
lacerated wound right side chest 6 cm below right nipple, skin deep, margins
3) Three lacerated
wound in an area of 8 cm x 6 cm over right shoulder joint, skin deep, margins
4) Three lacerated
wound 1 cm x 1 cm circular in shape over right lower abdomen 6 cm lateral to
5) Lacerated wound 3
cm x 3.5 cm oval in shape margins averted and irregular over back of chest,
left side, track corresponding to injury No. 1, injury No. 5 is wound of exit.
R.M. present both upper and lower limbs.
I. Ajit Singh (PW.1)
was medically examined and his injuries' report (Ex.Ka.37) reads as under:
i) Lacerated wound of
.3cm x .3cm on the back side of right hand, skin deep. Oozing of blood present.
ii) Multiple firearm
wound of entry size .3 x .3cm in the area of 18cm x 9 cm on middle part of the
left thigh on the outer side. Black coloured. Jean pant is also torn on the
same places. Margins are charred and indication is present around them. Advised
X-ray of left thigh.
iii) Multiple firearm
wound of entry on the medial and anterior aspect of right thigh, some part of
the Jeans is also torn on the same places over the injuries. Margins are
charred and indication is present around them. Oozing of blood also present
size 13cm x .3cm. Advised X-ray of the right thigh.
II. The injuries'
report of Baljit Singh, (PW.2) (Ex.Ka.38) reads as under:
i) Lacerated wound
over the right side of face and neck involving the lower jaw and right angle of
lip and tongue.
bleeding through the wound.
iii) Irregular margin
defect in the chin cut being received on mandible.
iv) Right lower
palpable throughout the wound.
Opinion : The above
injuries were caused by fire arm. Fresh.
III. The medical
examination report of Shri Hardayal Singh (Ex.Ka.36) is as under:
i) Punctured wound 4
mn x 4 round in the left side of temporal area 3 cm above the left extended
ear. Bleeding. X- ray advised.
ii) Punctured wound =
cm x = cm round with level of 1st thoracic vertebra. Bleeding. X-ray advised.
iii) Punctured wound
= cm x = cm on left scapula.
It is evident from
the above that the appellant had caused a very large number of injuries.
witnesses i.e. Ajit Singh (PW.1) and Baljit Singh (PW.2) in their respective
depositions have admitted their presence at the place of incident and admitted
to suffering those injuries. In their statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C. they
have also admitted that they suffered the aforesaid injuries at the hands of
the appellant. It was at a later stage that they have denied any role of the
Their statements to
that effect are not trustworthy for the simple reason that they failed to offer
any explanation for why they assigned the said role to the appellant in their
statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C. and why the appellant had been named by
Ajit Singh (PW.1) while lodging the FIR. It is relevant to note that the
witnesses, namely, Ajit Singh (PW.1) and Baljit Singh (PW.2) have also deposed
that after the incident, a Panchayat was convened and it pardoned the
appellant. The version of convening the Panchayat and grant of pardon to the
appellant has duly been supported by Gurmit Singh (PW.3) and Satwant Singh
Gurmit Singh (PW.3)
correct that accused is my cousin. The matter had been compromised in the
Satwant Singh (PW.4)
been compromised in the Panchayat. Panchayat had pardoned Pamma accused".
It is pertinent to
mention here that injured Hardayal Singh could not be examined as he died of
cancer during the trial.
is evident from the above that the view taken by the courts below, that the
eye-witnesses turned hostile because of the decision taken in the Panchayat,
pardoning the appellant, does not require any interference.
It is also evident
from the above that the said eye-witnesses have no regard for the truth and
concealed the material facts from the court only in order to protect the
appellant, for the reasons best known to them. Such an unwarranted attitude on
the part of the witnesses disentitles any benefit to the appellant, who has
committed a heinous crime. The crime had been committed against the
society/State and not only against the family and therefore, the pardon
accorded by the family and Panchayat has no significance in such a heinous
has been canvassed on behalf of the appellant that the trial Court committed an
error relying upon various factors/incriminating materials which were not
pointed out to the appellant while recording his statement under Section 313
Cr.P.C. Such material had been in respect of (i) recovery of gun from arms
dealer at Rampur; (ii) motive;
(iii) abscondance of
the appellant; and (iv) compromise in Panchayat which pardoned the appellant.
far as the circumstance of recovery of gun from the arms dealer at Rampur is
concerned, the trial court had put a question to the appellant and he has
answered the same. The question and answer read as under:
"Q. It has come
in evidence that the Investigating Officer prepared a site plan of the place of
occurrence which is Exh.K-26. Your licenced gun 17466/96 was recovered at your
instance from Rampur and the Recovery Memo was prepared which is K-39, the site
plan of the place of recovery is Exh.K-45. The forensic science laboratory
report in respect of the case property is Exh. K-44, what have you to say? Ans.
The gun was not recovered at my instance. This number 17466/96 is the number of
my licenced gun. I had deposited this gun with a dealer at Rampur. The police
has concocted the story of recovery."
It appears that the
number of one of the exhibits had wrongly been pointed out as K-44, though it
was Exh. K-46. But it is not a case where no question was put to the accused on
the said circumstance.
far as the issue of motive is concerned, the case is squarely covered by the
judgment of this court in Suresh Chandra Bahri (supra). Therefore, it does not
require any further elaborate discussion.
More so, if motive is
proved that would supply a link in the chain of circumstantial evidence but the
absence thereof cannot be a ground to reject the prosecution case. (Vide: State
of Gujarat v. Anirudhsing [supra])
third circumstance i.e. the abscondance of the appellant has also been taken
into consideration by the courts below. We have clarified that it cannot be a
circumstance against the appellant. Thus, not putting a question on this
particular circumstance to the appellant remained inconsequential. The courts
below had considered that the appellant could not furnish any explanation for his
absence for about six days. Appellant failed to raise any positive defence and
answered all the questions put to him in an evasive manner. Such a view is
permissible being in consonance with the law laid down by this Court in Raj
Kumar Prasad Tamarkar v. State of Bihar, (2007) 10 SCC 433; and Amarsingh
Munnasingh Suryawanshi v. State of Maharashtra, (2007) 15 SCC 455.
far as the fourth circumstance i.e. the compromise in Panchayat and the
pardoning of the appellant is concerned, it cannot be labelled as a
circumstance charging the appellant with a crime. By no stretch of the
imagination can it be held that the said circumstance involved any accusation
towards the appellant. In fact, in cannot be termed as incriminating material,
proving the offence against the appellant, rather it had been a circumstance
due to which all the seven eye-witnesses turned hostile.
Be that as it may, we
are of the considered opinion that not putting questions regarding anyone of
the aforesaid circumstances can not be held to be a serious irregularity
inasmuch as the same may vitiate the conviction. More so, in the present case,
it has not materially prejudiced the appellant nor has it resulted in a
miscarriage of justice.
the case is considered in the totality of the circumstances, also taking into
consideration the gravity of the charges, the appellant had killed his real
brother, Inderjit Singh and his nephews, Surender Singh and Saranjit Singh and
injured his father Hardayal Singh and nephews Ajit Singh (PW.1) and Baljit
Singh (PW.2) in broad day light. The FIR had been lodged promptly, naming the
appellant as the person who committed the offence. All the eye-witnesses,
including the injured witnesses, attributed the commission of the offence only
to the appellant in their statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C. It is difficult
to imagine that the complainant and the eye- witnesses had all falsely named
the appellant as being the person responsible for the offence at the initial
Thus, we do not see
any cogent reasons to interfere with the concurrent findings of fact by the
courts below. The appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.