Singh Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 57 (4 February 1993)
K. Jayachandra (J) Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J) Singh N.P. (J)
1994 SCC Supl. (1) 320
There are four appellants, namely, Amrik Singh (A-1), Ajaib Singh (A2), Jit
Singh (A-4) and Kewal Singh (A-6).
along with four others were tried for offences punishable under Sections 148,
302, 325, 324, 352 read with Section 149 IPC. The trial court convicted all of
trial court acquitted them of the murder charge but convicted Amrik Singh (A-1)
under Section 325 IPC and sentenced him to undergo RI for two years and to pay
a fine of Rs 500. Ajaib Singh (A-2) is convicted under Section 324 IPC and
sentenced to undergo RI for one year and to pay a fine of Rs 250. Jit Singh
(A-4) is convicted under Section 325 IPC and sentenced to undergo RI for two
years and to pay a fine of Rs 500. Kewal Singh (A-6) is convicted under Section
326 IPC and sentenced to undergo RI for 7 years and to pay a fine of Rs 1000.
The appeal preferred by them was dismissed by the High Court. Hence this
appeal. The case relates to an occurrence which took place on June 2, 1979 at about 8 p.m. in Village Kotla in Faridkot District. The accused, the
material witnesses and the deceased, Amarjit Singh, belonged to the same
village. According to the prosecution, there was 321 enmity between the
prosecution party and the accused party.
day of occurrence at about 8 p.m. Mukhtiar
Singh (PW 11) and his brother Pritam Singh (PW 12) were present in their house
situated on the circular path of Village Kotla.
Singh, Ajaib Singh and Amrik Singh accused came there armed with gandasas and
dang and started abusing PW II and PW 12. Pritam Singh armed with a sela and Mukhtiar
Singh armed with a dang came out and protested as to why the accused were
abusing them. Then a quarrel ensued and it is stated that in the meantime the
other accused also joined them armed with various weapons and Ajaib Singh
exhorted his companions to attack the deceased. So saying, he opened the attack
and dealt a gandasa blow from the reverse side on the head of Mukhtiar Singh. Amrik
Singh gave a gandasa blow from the sharp side on the left shoulder of Pritam
Singh (PW 12). Jit Singh inflicted a gandasa blow from its sharp side on the
left shoulder of Pritam Singh and Kewal Singh struck a gandasa blow from its
sharp side on the head of Amarjit Singh, deceased. During the same occurrence,
it is alleged that Madan Singh (A-5) dealt a blow on PW 13 and Kewal Singh (A-6)
gave a gandasa blow from its sharp side on his head.
Singh and Jit Singh gave one gandasa blow each to Sadhu Singh (PW 15) and the
accused are alleged to have dealt some more blows on these witnesses. The
further case is that during the course of the same occurrence, PW 11 and PW 12,
by way of self-defence caused injuries to Ajaib Singh, Darshan Singh and Amrik
Singh. The accused after causing the injuries left the place with their
weapons. PW 11 and PW 12 along with other injured persons including deceased Amarjit
Singh were shifted to Civil Dispensary, Baghapurana. They were examined by the
doctor. As the condition of the deceased and others was serious, they were
referred to C.M.C. & Hospital, Ludhiana. The deceased Amarjit Singh was examined by PW 18 and was treated but
he died on June 5, 1979 at 10.30 p.m. The other injured persons were also treated and X-rayed.
The injured accused were also examined by the doctor and on Amrik Singh (A-1)
there were 12 injuries including some incised wounds. Ajaib Singh had 7
injuries including incised wounds and Darshan Singh accused also had 7
injuries. Inquest was held on the dead body of Amarjit Singh and the same was
sent for postmortem.
Dr Parmodh Kumar, who conducted the postmortem found a lacerated wound on the
scalp and incised wounds on the front area of the head. He also found that the
blood was clotted. He opined that the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary
course of nature to cause death. After completion of the investigation, the
charge-sheet was filed. The plea of the accused has been that the deceased and
his companions were aggressors and inflicted injuries on the accused persons
and they in exercise of their right of self-defence inflicted injuries on the
deceased as well as the PWs. The trial court after due consideration of the
evidence held that the time and place of the occurrence and the participation
of both sides in the occurrence is not in dispute and that the circumstances
would indicate that it was a case of free fight and therefore each of the
appellants would be liable for his individual acts.
far as the attack on the deceased is concerned, the trial court held that the
doctor could not give a satisfactory answer whether the two injuries on his
head individually were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause
death and, when the lacerated injury which proved to be fatal was not
attributed to any one of the appellants and, therefore, the other injury which
were attributed to Kewal Singh cannot by itself be sufficient in the ordinary
course of nature to 322 cause death and in that view of the matter convicted Kewal
Singh under Section 326 IPC and sentenced him to undergo RI for 7 years.
far as the other three appellants are concerned, they are convicted for their
individual acts for causing injuries to Pritam Singh and Sadhu Singh. The
remaining four accused were also convicted under Section 323 IPC but they were
released on probation of good conduct. The High Court, however, confirmed the
convictions and sentences.
this appeal Mr U.R. Lalit, learned senior counsel, submits that this is a clear
case where the accused were entitled to right of self-defence and the evidence
sufficiently indicates that the prosecution party was the aggressor and at any rate
the version put forward by the defence looks more probable and in these
circumstances of the case, all the accused should have been given benefit of
doubt. He also submits that Kewal Singh (A-6) is alleged to have inflicted only
one incised injury whereas the evidence is that apart from him Amrik Singh
(A-1) is said to have inflicted an incised injury but the medical evidence says
that there is only one incised injury and in such a situation Kewal Singh alone
cannot be held responsible for the said incised injury and consequently he
cannot be convicted for inflicting that injury. We see no force in this
submission. The evidence of Mukhtiar Singh (PW-11) is corroborated by the first
information report given by him in which he categorically mentioned that it is
only Kewal Singh who inflicted the incised injury and there is no mention of
participation by Amrik Singh. It is only during the trial that the witness has
improved but that by itself is not a ground to hold that Kewal Singh had not
inflicted the incised injury. The other submission is that Jit Singh (A- 4) was
not in the company of other accused but he only joined them later, therefore,
he cannot be held to have participated in the free fight and it could be that
in exercise of right of private defence, namely, to save the co-accused from
being attacked by the deceased party, he inflicted injuries. So far as his case
is concerned that he must be given the benefit of right of self-defence, we are
unable to accept this contention. The whole occurrence started at the spur of
moment and all the accused joined and there was a verbal quarrel which resulted
in fighting and all of them participated. Therefore, the case of Jit Singh
cannot be separated.
Both the courts have rightly held that the time and place of occurrence and the
presence of all the accused as well as the PWs and the deceased are not in
dispute. It was contended before both the courts below that the accused were
entitled to right of self-defence. This submission was examined by the courts
below and having regard to the facts and circumstances particularly, that the
occurrence took place near the house of the accused, this plea has been
rejected and we see no ground to come to a different conclusion. The High Court,
further held that this is a case of free fight. In coming to such a conclusion,
the High Court has taken into consideration the fact that the accused as well
as the deceased and PWs appeared at the place of occurrence armed with weapons
and the quarrel took place immediately. This is a question of fact which does
not warrant any interference. The question as to who commenced it first may not
be much relevant and it has also been held in a number of cases that the
participants should be liable for their individual acts. In this view of the
matter, we have to examine the plea of each of the accused.
may, however, mention that in a case of free fight, the question of unlawful
assembly is not ruled out.
But in arriving at the common object of the unlawful assembly in a free fight
it cannot be held with certainty that if one of the individuals inflicts a
serious injury then it would be a common object of all members of the unlawful
assembly. Mere formation of an assembly with a view to fight will be unlawful
assembly but in the instant case having regard to the convictions that have
been awarded we do not want to express any opinion whether there was an
unlawful assembly as such. We also do not have any material as to what happened
to the case which was filed by the accused by way of complaint. In this view of
the matter, we would examine only the individual acts in respect of which
convictions are recorded. Kewal Singh (A-6) attacked the deceased and inflicted
an injury with a sharp-edged weapon.
High Court has held that he could not be held responsible for the other injury
which was inflicted by a blunt weapon and which proved to be fatal. In this
view of the matter, Kewal Singh was convicted under Section 326 IPC.
regard to the circumstances under which free fight is said to have taken place,
we think the sentence of seven years RI is rather severe. Coming to the other
appellants, namely, Amrik Singh, Ajaib Singh and Jit Singh, they are convicted
under Sections 325 and 324 IPC. Amrik Singh and Ajaib Singh accused also
received a number of injuries.
their sentences are to be reduced. In the result, we confirm the conviction of Amrik
Singh (A-1) under Section 325 IPC but reduce the sentence to one year RI but
the sentence of fine with default clause is confirmed.
Singh (A-2) is convicted under Section 324 IPC which is confirmed but sentence
is reduced to six months' RI but the sentence of fine with default clause is
confirmed. The conviction of Jit Singh (A-4) under Section 325 IPC is confirmed
but the sentence is reduced to one year RI but the sentence of fine with
default clause is confirmed. Now coming to the case of Kewal Singh (A-6), his
conviction under Section 326 IPC is confirmed but his sentence of seven years'
RI is reduced to three years RI but the fine of Rs 1000 with default clause is
confirmed. Subject to the above modifications, this appeal is dismissed.