Singh Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 369 (21 September 1993)
K. Jayachandra (J) Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J) Ray, G.N. (J)
1994 SCC Supl. (1) 183 JT 1993 (5) 343 1993 SCALE (3)812
Judgment of the Court was delivered by K. JAYACHANDRA REDDY, J.- On September
9, 1979 at about 4 p.m., an occurrence took place at bus-stand, Vijay Nagar, Amritsar
during the course of + which one Jamail Singh was attacked by some assailants.
He was shot at by a firearm by some of the assailants and others are alleged to
have inflicted injuries with some cutting weapons. Karnail Singh, PW 2, the
brother of the deceased, Jamail Singh gave a report before the Assistant
Sub-Inspector, police post Verka at about 5 p.m. on the same day. In that
version it was mentioned that Santokh Singh, accused armed with a rifle, Hardip
Singh (appellant herein) and Balkar Singh, accused armed with gandasis and Jagdish
Singh, another accused were coming in a bus of Janta Transport Company from Batala
and the bus stopped at the bus-stop. The deceased, his brother Karnail Singh,
PW 2 and their nephew Chhinda, PW 3 were standing there waiting for the bus.
When the deceased was trying to board the bus, Jagdish Singh accused raised a lalkara.
Thereupon the deceased tried to run but Santokh Singh, accused fired the first
shot which hit on the shoulder of the deceased who fell on the ground. Then Hardip
Singh, the appellant and Balkar Singh are alleged to have given gandasi blows
and Jagdish Singh after snatching the rifle from Santokh Singh, fired a second
shot hitting in the abdomen of the deceased, who died.
appears that Jagdish Singh and Santokh Singh, accused appeared before the
Superintendent of Police in the morning of September 10, 1979 and pleaded that they were falsely
implicated. The Superintendent of Police directed a police officer, Puran Singh
to go to Batala and verify the version given by those accused. The
investigation was carried on and ultimately Santokh Singh, Jagdish Singh and Balkar
Singh were not arrested and challaned. Instead Balraj Singh, Khajan Singh and Ranjit
Singh were challaned as accused along with Hardip Singh, the appellant. The
driver of the bus Ram Lubhaya and the conductor Lakhwinder Singh were examined
and according to them the occurrence took place in the bus-stand but it was Hardip
Singh, the appellant + From the Judgment and Order dated December 23, 1981 of
the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Crl. Appeal No. 475 D.B. of 1981 184 armed
with a rifle, Balraj Singh and Khajan Singh armed with gandasis and Ranjit
Singh armed with a dang, who caused the death of the deceased Jarnail Singh.
Dissatisfied with this police investigation, Kamail Singh filed a complaint in
which he repeated the allegations made in the FIR. Therefore there were two
cases and the learned Magistrate committed both the cases to the Court of
Session and they were numbered as Sessions Case No. 51 of 1980 arising out of
police challan and Sessions Case No. 56 of 1980 arising out of the complaint.
The learned trial Judge consolidated the complainant's case with the challan
case and with the consent of the parties recorded the evidence in the latter
case and the witnesses were examined.
there appeared to be two sets of eyewitnesses.
Karnail Singh, PW 2 and Chhinda, PW 3 appeared as witnesses and gave their own
ocular account in accordance with the FIR and the complaint given by PW 2. Ram Lubhaya,
the driver and Lakhwinder Singh, the conductor, PWs 6 and 7 also figured as
witnesses. They gave their own version of the occurrence as found in the police
challan. According to PWs 2 and 3, Santokh Singh fired a shot at the deceased
and Hardip Singh and Balkar Singh inflicted gandasi blows and thereafter Jagdish
Singh took over the rifle from Santokh Singh and fired again at the stomach of
the deceased. But according to PWs 6 and 7, Hardip Singh, the appellant was the
first person who fired a shot with the rifle and thereafter the deceased was
attacked by Balraj Singh, Khajan Singh and Ranjit Singh, It is also their
version that Hardip Singh fired another shot in the abdomen of Jarnail Singh.
medical evidence, however, shows that there were two gunshot injuries on the
deceased and some incised injuries. From the above narration, it can be seen
that Santokh Singh, Jagdish Singh and Balkar Singh, who figured as accused in
the FIR, do not figure as accused in the challan and in their place three other
persons figured as accused but those three do not figure as accused in the
complaint. The learned Sessions Judge held that the prosecution version in the challan
case is not proved and the version given in the complaint was proved but only
against Santokh Singh and Hardip Singh and convicted them under Sections 302/34
IPC. They preferred an appeal to the High Court. The State did not prefer any
appeal. The High Court, on the other hand, taking the two versions into
consideration and mainly relying on the evidence of PWs 6 and 7, the driver and
the conductor of the bus, accepted the version given in the challan only
against the appellant and convicted him under Section 302 IPC simpliciter and
sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life. Santokh Singh was, however,
acquitted. This virtually amounts to reversal of the order of the Sessions Judge.
The appeal before us is filed by Hardip Singh.
can be seen that there are some strange features in this case. The Sessions
Judge accepted the version given by PWs 2 and 3, the brothers of the deceased
and according to them, it was Santokh Singh and Jagdish Singh, who fired at the
deceased. Hardip Singh only gave a gandasi blow along with others mentioned in
the complaint. The Sessions Judge gave a categorical finding that he was not
prepared to believe the version given in the police challan. The High Court, on
the other hand, took a quite contrary view and held that the challan version
was proved and the version in the complaint was not proved. The High Court also
held that Hardip Singh, the appellant shot at the deceased twice. It has to be
noted that it was PW 2, the complainant who gave the first information 185 to
the police and it was only on that basis that the investigation commenced. PWs
6 and 7 were examined at a later stage. It appears that they were not even
examined during the inquest but on the other hand PWs 2 and 3 were examined
during the inquest. We have gone through the evidence of PWs 2 and 3 as well as
PWs 6 and 7 and the two versions given by them are completely at variance with
each other. Likewise both the trial court and the High Court have taken two
conflicting views. As a matter of fact, the State did not prefer any appeal to
the High Court against the judgment of the Sessions Court acquitting the
accused in the challan case which was prosecuted by the State. The two convicted
accused in the sessions case that arose out of the private complaint only
preferred an appeal to the High Court and the High Court did not accept the
evidence in the complainant's case which was accepted by the trial court and
reversed the order of the trial court and as a matter of fact acquitted Santokh
Singh but in the same breath, accepted the evidence in the challan case and
applied the same against the appellant. Thus there are many incongruities in
this case. At any rate the two sets of eyewitnesses contradicted each other.
Therefore the benefit of the same should go to the appellant.
the appeal is allowed and the conviction of the appellant under Section 302 IPC
and sentence of imprisonment of life awarded thereunder are set aside. If he is
on bail, his bail bonds stand cancelled.