Kuljeet Singh @ Ranga Vs. Union of
India & ANR  INSC 96 (21 April 1981)
CHANDRACHUD, Y.V. ((CJ) CHANDRACHUD, Y.V.
((CJ) SEN, A.P. (J) ISLAM, BAHARUL (J)
CITATION: 1981 AIR 1572 1981 SCR (3) 512 1981
SCC (3) 324 1981 SCALE (1)676
CITATOR INFO :
R 1982 SC 774 (1)
Constitution of India, Article 32-No material
furnished for justifying the reduction of the death sentence- Dismissed.
The petitioner, along with another accused
was convicted by the Additional Session Judge for the murder of two young
children and sentenced to death. Their conviction and sentence were confirmed
by the High Court. The Special Leave Petitions filed by them against their
conviction and sentence were dismissed by this Court. By this Writ Petition the
petitioner asked for re-appraisal of his case and reconsideration of the death
sentence imposed upon him.
Dismissing the Writ Petition and upholding
the death sentence imposed upon the petitioner once again,
HELD: 1. the answers given by the petitioner
furnished no material a all for justifying the reduction of the death sentence
to imprisonment for life. [515 E-F]
2. The Sessions Court and the High Court were
right in coming to the conclusion that the two accused were guilty of the
offence of which they were charged. There is voluminous evidence of
unimpeachable character which establishes his complicity in the murder. The
evidence regarding the theft of the Fiat Car, the blood group of the accused,
the manner of the arrest and the recovery of incriminating weapons at their
instance leave not even the slightest doubt that it was they who committed the
murders. [514 D, 515 D-E]
3. It is true that the murder of the two
particular children was not pre-planned. But that was because the accused did
not know that they would hit upon those particular children that evening. What
is important is that the accused had made all the preparations for committing
the murder. The plan was that they would offer a lift to some young children,
try to extort ransom from their parents by kidnapping them and do the children
to death in the event of any impediment arising in the execution of their plan.
The impediments here were the uncommon courage of the brave little children who
did not make an abject surrender to their destiny and the fact which emerged
during their molestation that their father was a mere government servant whose
salary was too small to permit the payment of a handsome ransom. [515 G-H, 516
A-C] 4. The accused trapped the children like helpless mice.
The children got into the car but could not
get out of it.
In the boot of the car were kept formidable
weapons which were ultimately used for committing the murder. In addition, the
accused carried sharp weapons with them. The author of the injury on the boy
was clearly the petitioner since his hands were freer than those of his
co-accused who was at the wheel. The strategy to which they 513 adhered to the
last without contrition of any kink was so deep laid. Their inhumanity defies
all belief and description. [516E-F]
5. The case of the petitioner cannot be
separated from that of his co-accused. The petitioner was an active
participator in the whole episode and but for his willing cooperation, his
co-accused could never have succeeded in his design. Many atrocities were
committed, many falsehood uttered, many escapades achieved and many an evidence
concealed or destroyed by them. The petitioner's part in carrying out the
nefarious plan is no less significant than that of his co-accused and he is no
less guilty than him.
There is no room for treating the one
differently from the other. [517 A-C]
6. The survival of an orderly society demands
the extinction of persons like the accused who are a menace to social order and
security. They are professional murderers and deserve no sympathy even in terms
of the evolving standards of decency of a maturing society. [516 G-H]
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petition No. 539
(Under Article 32 of the Constitution of
India) R.K. Garg, D.K. Garg and R.C. Kaushik for the Petitioner.
M.K. Banarjee, Addl.. Sol. Genl. and A.
Subhashini for Respondent No. 1.
N.C. Talukdar and R.N. Poddar for Respondent
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
CHANDRACHUD, C. J. Kuljeet Singh alias Ranga Khus, the petitioner herein, was
convicted along with one Jasbir Singh alias Billa, by the learned Additional
Sessions Judge, Delhi for various offences in connection with the murder of two
young children, Geeta Chopra and her brother Sanjay. The two accused were
sentenced to death for the offence under section 302 read with section 34 of
the Penal Code and to varying terms of imprisonment under sections 363, 365,366
and 376 read with section 34 of the Code. The order of conviction and sentence,
including the sentence of death, was confirmed by the Delhi High Court by its
judgment dated November 16, 1979 where- upon the two accused filed Special
Leave Petitions 562 and 1739 of 1980 in this Court, challenging their
conviction and sentence. Those Special Leave Petitions were dismissed on December
8, 1980 by a Bench of this Court consisting of Justice O. Chinappa Reddy,
Justice Baharul Islam and one of us the Chief Justice. By this writ Petition,
the petitioner virtually asks for the re-appraisal of his case and a
reconsideration of the dismissal of his Special Leave Petition.
514 The thrust of the petition is against the
sentence of death imposed on the petitioner.
By an order dated February 24, 1981 the
learned Chamber Judge, Justice A.C. Gupta, had stayed the execution of the
death sentence pending disposal of the Writ Petition. By an order dated March
23, 1981 we had directed that the petitioner should be produced on March 30 in
the Chief Justice's Chamber and that the execution of the death sentence should
be stayed until further orders. The petitioner was accordingly produced before
us in the presence of his counsel, Shri R.K. Garg. Counsel for the Union of
India and the Delhi Administration were also present. We questioned the
petitioner on matters bearing, as we thought, on the question of sentence. We
will refer to the result of that somewhat unusual exercise a little later.
First, regarding the conviction itself. There
is voluminous evidence of unimpeachable character which establishes
conclusively the complicity of the petitioner in the murder of Geeta and
Sanjay. Dr. M.S. Nanda (PW 56) gave a lift to Geeta and Sanjay from Dhaula Kuan
to Gol DakKhana.
Bhagwan Das (PW 6), who was going along on a
scooter, rang up the Police Control Room at 6.44 p.m. saying that a woman was
shouting "Bachao, Bachao" in a Fiat Car and that he saw a scuffle
going on between the woman and the driver on one hand and between the boy and
the person sitting next to the driver on the other. The man sitting next to the
driver was the petitioner himself. The information given by Bhagwan Das was
reduced into writing by the police officer, the report being ex. PW 61A.
Bhagwan Das had mentioned over the telephone that the number of the car was HRK
8930 but it was wrongly taken down as MRK 8930.
Inderjeet Singh (PW 9), another
public-spirited citizen like Bhagwan Das, who works in the Delhi Development
Authority as a Junior Engineer, chased the Fiat Car on his scooter, since he
heard the shrieks of a girl coming from the Fiat Car and saw the boy and the
girl coming with the two men who were sitting on the front seat. As he was
chasing the car, the boy was showing to him his bleeding shoulder through the
back wind screen of the car. Inderjeet Singh chased the car over some distance,
but whereas he was bound by the traffic rules and had to stop at the red
traffic signal, the Fiat car had the liberty to jump the signal and speed away.
After the light turned green, Inderjeet Singh resumed his chase but could not
find the car. He therefore went straight to the Rajinder Nagar Police Station
and lodged his report, Ex. PW-9A. He told 515 the police that he saw a scuffle
between the boy and the girl who were seated on the back seat on one hand and
the two men who were seated on the front seat in a Fiat car, HRK 8930. The police
felt obsessed by their notorious difficulty that the offence was non-cognizable
and that the incident had taken place in an area which was not within the
"territorial jurisdiction" of the Police Station. Inderjeet Singh had
to persuade the Police do the needful by impressing upon them that he had come
to lodge the report purely on humanitarian grounds. Inderjeet Singh lodged his
report at 6.45 P.M and strangely, the Rajinder Nagar Police Station slept over
the report for more than an hour.
At 10.15 P.M. the petitioner and his
companion Billa visited the Willingdon Hospital because Billa had a cut injury
on his head. The features of the skiagrams taken by Sadhu Ram (PW 21) of
Billa's skull are indentical with those of the skiagrams taken by Satish
Aggarwal (PW 19) of his skull after his arrest. The fingerprints on the X-ray
slip, which were taken on the night of the incident when the accused went to
the Willingdon Hospital, are also proved to be of Billa's. In addition to these
tell-tale pieces of evidence for collecting which due credit must be given to
the police, the evidence, regarding the theft of the Fiat car, the blood-group
of the accused, the manner of their arrest and the recovery of incriminating
weapons at their instance leave not the slightest doubt that it is they who
committed the murder of Sanjay and Geeta. The Sessions Court and the High Court
were therefore right in coming to the conclusion that the two accused are
guilty of the offences of which they are charged.
On the question of sentence, the answers
given by the petitioner when we questioned him on the 30th March, furnish no
material at all for justifying the reduction of the death sentence to
imprisonment for life. The petitioner is an unmarried man and appears to have
no dependents. His father is gainfully employed and his mother, according to
him, used to work as a nurse in a hospital. The petitioner has submitted to us
a written application saying that he bears an unblemished past and is not a
We have given our anxious consideration to
the question as to whether the imposition of the death sentence should be
reviewed, but we are unable to find any reason for doing so.
It is true that the murder of the two
particular children was not pre-planned. But that was because the accused did
not know that they would hit 516 upon those particular children that evening.
What is important is that the accused had made all the preparations for
committing the murder of a person or persons whom they would apparently oblige
by offering a lift. The plan which they had hatched was that they would offer a
lift to some children, try to extort reason from their parents by kidnapping
them and do the children to death in the event of any impediments arising in
the execution of their plan. The impediments here were the uncommon courage of
the brave little children who did not make an abject surrender to their Destiny
and the stark fact which emerged during their molestation that their father was
a mere government servant whose salary was too small to permit the payment of a
We have not the slightest doubt that the
death of the Chopra children was caused by the petitioner and his companion
Billa after a savage planning which bears a professional stamp. The murder was
most certainly not committed on the spur of the moment as a result of some
irresistible impulse which can be said to have overtaken the accused at the
crucial moment. In other words, there was a planned motivation behind the crime
though the accused had no personal motive to commit the murder of these two
children. Any two children would have been good enough for them. The accused
had loosened the handles of the doors of the car so that they should fall down
when the children, after getting into the car, close the doors behind them. By
this process it was ensured that the children would get into a trap like
helpless mice. They got into the car but could not get out of it. In the boot
of the car were kept formidable weapons which were ultimately used for committing
the murder of the children. In addition, the accused carried sharp weapons with
them which explains the injury caused to Sanjay in the car itself. The author
of that injury was clearly the petitioner since his hands were more free than
those of Billa who was on the wheel. The injured children were taken to a park
in order apparently to lull them into a false sense of security. The true
purpose of doing so was to let the dusk fall so that the most dastardly act
could be committed under the cover of darkness. So deep-laid was the strategy
to which they adhered to the last without contrition of any kind. Their
inhumanity defies all belief and description.
The survival of an orderly society demands
the extinction of the life of persons like Ranga and Billa who are a menace to
social order and security. They are professional murderers and deserve no
sympathy even in terms of the evolving standards of decency of a maturing
517 The case of the petitioner cannot be
separated from that of Billa. The two sail in the same boat and must stand or
fall together. The petitioner was an active participator in the whole expisode
and but for his willing cooperation, Billa could never have succeeded in his
design. In fact, the petitioner was in the company of Billa right from the
moment that the children entered their car until they themselves, Ranga and
Billa, entered the military compartment and were arrested. In between many
atrocities were committed, many falsehoods uttered, many escapades achieved and
many an evidence concealed or destroyed. The petitioner's part in carrying out
the nefarious plan is no less significant than that of Billa and he is no less
guilty than him. There is no room for treating the one differently from the
other. They were hand in glove with each other.
We, therefore, vacate the stay orders in
regard to the execution of the death sentence imposed on the petitioner and
once again uphold the death sentence imposed upon him.
We hope that the President will dispose of
the mercy petition stated to have been filed by the petitioner as expeditiously
as he finds his convenience.
The writ is accordingly dismissed.
N.K.A. Petition dismissed.