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Ballam Singh Vs. State of Harayana [1993] INSC 326 (26 August 1993)

Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J) Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J) Ray, G.N. (J)

CITATION: 1994 AIR 955 1994 SCC Supl. (1) 92 JT 1993 (5) 251 1993 SCALE (3)579



The Judgment of the Court was delivered by K.JAYACHANDRA REDDY, J.- This appeal is filed under Section 379 CrPC read with Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Act. The appellant Ballam Singh was tried along with his father Karnail Singh under Sections 302/34 IPC and 27 of the Arms Act. The trial court acquitted both of them. The State preferred an appeal and the High Court reversed the order of acquittal and convicted Ballam Singh under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 in default of payment of which to further undergo RI for one year. Since no significant role was attributed to Karnail Singh, his acquittal was, however, confirmed. Hence the present appeal by accused Ballam Singh.

2.The deceased Ram Singh had four brothers. They owned agricultural lands in villages Pilchhian, Mehmadki and Kalotha. About a year back they mortgaged their land situated in village Kalotha for a consideration of Rs 40,000 with Karnail Singh and the same was redeemed a few days earlier to the occurrence. Karnail Singh did not relish the same and insisted that he should be permitted to remain in possession of land for one more year. Because of this there was a quarrel and exchange of hot words. On May 19, 1981 the deceased Ram Singh along with his brothers, who are all residents of village Mehmadki, went to Gurcharan Singh, PW 10 who was in the neighboring village and asked that he should accompany them for irrigating the land as it was their turn of water in village Mehmadki. At about 7 or 7.30 p.m. when all of them were going to the fields and reached near the house of one Hakim Singh, Karnail Singh, the acquitted accused who was holding a barcha and his son Ballam Singh, the present appellant, who was holding a double barrel gun, abruptly emerged out of their house and came in the lane. Karnail Singh raised a lalkara that the complainant party should be taught a lesson for getting the land redeemed whereupon Ballam Singh fired a shot from the gun which hit on the chest of Ram Singh who was going a little ahead. The remaining brothers including Gurcharan Singh, out of fear, jumped into their own house over a wall after entering the house of Hakim Singh. Ram Singh who received the gunshot injuries while attempting to enter the house fell down near the munger and within the view of these witnesses, Karnail Singh and Ballam Singh bodily lifted Ram Singh and by crossing over the wall they took the injured Ram Singh to 94 their house. Smt Jangir Kaur wife of Hakim Singh also witnessed this part of the occurrence. Gurcharan Singh PW 10 went to the police station and gave a report to Sub- Inspector, PW 16, who registered the crime and went to the spot. He found the dead body of Ram Singh lying in the house of Karnail Singh. He prepared the inquest and sent the dead body for postmortem. The doctor, who conducted the postmortem, found gunshot injuries on the deceased and opined that the death was due to these injuries. After completion of the investigation, the charge-sheet was laid.

3.The prosecution examined in support of its case PWs 10, 11, 12 and 14, the real brothers of the deceased as eyewitnesses to the occurrence. They have given a consistent version of the occurrence giving all the above- mentioned details. The accused when examined under Section 313 CrPC denied all the allegations. However, Ballam Singh put forward a counter-version stating that he was getting his crop thrashed in his land in village Mehmadki and he went to village Pilchhian to take meals for his servant and when he was alone at his house, the deceased accompanied by three/four of his relations from Punjab armed with barchas and lathis entered his house and assaulted him and in order to defend himself he fired at Ram Singh with his gun and that Ram Singh tried to escape towards the house of Hakim Singh but could not scale over the wall and fell down in his courtyard. Ballam Singh further stated that he with his gun went to the police station and reported the matter there but the police without recording any report visited the spot and saw the dead body and put up a false case against him and his father Karnail Singh. The defence of Karnail Singh was identical. The trial Judge ignored the evidence of the four eyewitnesses holding that they were got-up witnesses and that they in fact did not witness the occurrence. The trial court discarded the testimony of Smt Jangir Kaur, PW 13, an independent witness, branding her also to be a got-up witness. The trial court observed that the version that all the four brothers went to Gurcharan Singh who was residing at village Pilchhian for taking him along with them to their fields in village Mehmadki for irrigating the fields as it was their turn of water, is artificial and that if all the brothers were present, still they did not make any attempt to save Ram Singh and that the prosecution has not examined any of the inhabitants of the village and PW 13 also is not an independent witness since she was their aunt. These are some of the main reasons for discarding their evidence. It is needless to say that the trial court has rejected their testimony on surmises. Having discarded their evidence the trial court held that there is no other evidence to connect the accused with the crime. The High Court, on the other hand, believed the evidence of these witnesses and further held that the defence put forward that Ballam Singh, accused acted in self-defence, cannot be accepted.

4.Since this is a regular appeal, we have gone through the evidence of all the eyewitnesses. We do not find any artificiality in their version. Despite lengthy cross- examination of Gurcharan Singh, PW 10, the main eyewitness who gave the report as well as the other eyewitnesses, the defence could not bring out any discrepancy which affects their veracity. Likewise PW 13 deposed that she saw the deceased Ram Singh falling near the main gate and that both the accused lifted him bodily and took him to their courtyard.

95 5.There is nothing unusual if all the brothers who are agriculturists had gone together to prepare the fields. Be that as it may, since the accused himself has come forward with a plea of self-defence, it should at least appear probable. The accused need not prove the same beyond all reasonable doubt but when he invokes the exception of benefit of right of private defence, the circumstances should at least probablise the same. Ballam Singh stated that the deceased and his three/four relations came to his house and assaulted him. But there was not even a single injury found on his body. As to how the body of the deceased happened to be in his courtyard, has been clearly stated by the eyewitnesses and that is the version given by PW 10 in the earliest report. The High Court has rightly held that the version given by Ballam Singh is not at all plausible. The only inference that can be drawn is that he shot at the deceased intentionally. The High Court has rightly held that the appellant was responsible for causing the death of the deceased.

6. There are absolutely no merits in this appeal. It is accordingly dismissed.


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