Singh Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 9 (4 January 1995)
A.S. (J) Anand, A.S. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J)
1995 AIR 686 1995 SCC (1) 760 JT 1995 (1) 531 1995 SCALE (1)56
Judgment of the Court was delivered by DR ANAND, J.- These two appeals under
Section 14 of the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Court) Act, 1984 arise out of a common judgment of the Special Court, Ferozepur dated 19-4-1985. While Criminal Appeal No. 434 of 1985 has been
filed by Mukhtiar Singh and Jasbir Singh challenging their conviction and
sentence, Criminal Appeal No. 489 of 1985 has been filed by the complainant Sohan
Lal and is directed against the acquittal of the acquitted co-accused of Mukhtiar
accused persons were put up for trial before the learned Judge of the Special Court, Ferozepur for offences under
Sections 148, 302/149, 120-B, 397, 460 IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act. The
trial court convicted Mukhtiar Singh, son of Kartar Singh, for offences under
Sections 302/34, 397/34, 460 IPC and Section 25, Arms Act and Jasbir Singh for
offences under Sections 302/34, 337/34 and 460 IPC. Hazara Singh was convicted
for an offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act while Jagrup Singh for offences
under Section 411 IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act. The remaining accused
were acquitted of all the charges.
to the prosecution case, on 10-6-1984 when Sohan Lal, PW 5 father of the
deceased Jajpal Singh was watching television along with his other family
members, on hearing the firing of 8 or 9 shots, he came out into the courtyard
and saw two persons standing near his son, Jajpal Singh deceased. One of them
was armed with a gandasa while the other had a pistol in his hand. The person
who was armed with a gandasa in the presence of PW 5, inflicted some injuries
on Jajpal Singh while the other person took away the .12 bore DBBL gun
belonging to Sohan Lal, PW 5 which was lying near the cot in the courtyard
where Jajpal Singh was sitting. Sohan Lal, PW 5 also noticed some 8 or 10
persons standing at a distance in the darkness. On hearing noise, the
assailants as well as the other 8/10 persons ran away.
Jajpal Singh in a seriously injured condition, Sohan Lal PW 5 removed him to
the Mission Hospital, Ferozepur. Dr A.S. Mann, Emergency Medical Officer sent
information to the police regarding the arrival of Jajpal Singh in an injured
condition at the hospital. On receipt of telephonic information, Ratan Singh
SHO, Police Station Mallanwala proceeded to the hospital. In the meanwhile, it
appears Jajpal Singh succumbed to his injuries. Statement of PW 5 Sohan Lal was
recorded by Ratan Singh PW 9 on reaching the hospital and that statement Ex.
P-9, forms the basis of the FIR Ex. P-9/B. After conducting the inquest
proceedings and preparing the inquest report, Ex. P-2, the dead body of Jajpal
Singh was sent for postmortem examination by SHO Ratan Singh PW 9. Further
investigation was taken in hand and the place of occurrence was inspected and
its rough site plan prepared. During inspection of the place of occurrence some
empties which were found lying in the courtyard of the house of PW 5 were
collected besides the bloodstained earth.
parcels were prepared of the empties and the bloodstained earth and the same
were deposited in the 763 police Malkhana and later sent to Forensic Science
Laboratory and Chemical Examiner respectively.
Singh, Emergency Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Ferozepur performed autopsy
on the dead body of Jajpal Singh on 11-6-1984 at 10.00 a.m. He found the
Incised wound 20 cms x 3 cms x 3 cms at the middle of the frontal region
oblique in direction near the hairline with clotted blood present. On
dissection the underlying bone was found cut completely. Extradural and subdural
haematoma was present and the brain matter visible.
wound 14 cms x 2 cms just 2 cms below injury I with clotted blood and
underlying bone cut completely. Extradural and subdural haematoma was present.
The brain matter was visible.
punctured wound with inverted and contused margins, dimensions being 0.75 cm x
0.5 cm at the right side of the abdomen in middle with clotted blood present.
punctured wound with averted margins 3 cms x 2 1/2 cms on the left side of the
chest middle with clotted blood. On dissection under injuries 3 and 4 the track
was after performing the intestine going upward and towards left side entering
the thorax and impairing the left lung lower part.
3 and 4 communicating with each other. The abdominal cavity was full of clotted
blood. The ribs under injury 4 were fractured. Injury 3 was the wound of
entrance and injury 4 the wound of exit. There was clotted blood along the
Terminal 1/4 parts of the index, middle and ring finger of the right hand were
found amputated with the margins of the wound incised. Level was in one line.
Clotted blood was present.
Lacerated punctured wound with inverted and contused margins 0.75cm x 0.5 cm on
the outer surface of the right ankle. On dissection the underlying bone was
found fractured. A bullet was taken out from the wound which was seized.
Clotted blood was present.
punctured wound with inverted and contused margins, dimensions being 0.75 cm x
0.5 cm on the outer and the middle of the left upper arm with clotted blood
present. On dissection the underlying bone was found fractured. A bullet was
extracted from the wound which was seized.
lacerated wound in the form of furrow 10 cms x 1 1/2 cms superficial on the
outer and middle of the left forearm, oblique in direction.
the opinion of the doctor, death was caused due to shock and haemorrhage as a
result of multiple injuries which were sufficient in the ordinary course of
nature to cause death. Dr Jaspal Singh also opined that 764 injuries 3 and 4
were the result of one shot while injuries 6 and 7 were the result of two
shots. During the postmortem examination two bullets Exs. MO-1 and MO-2, were
taken out from the dead body and the same were taken into possession by the
police vide Memo Ex. P-32. Various recoveries were effected from the accused
persons after their arrest on different dates by the police.
prosecution examined Dr Jaspal Singh PW 1, Dr A.S. Mann PW 2, Shri Bhupinder
Singh PW 3, Shri Sunder Singh PW 4, Sohan Lai PW 5, Kashmiri Lai PW 6, Shri Jamail
Singh PW 7, Shri Harcharan Singh PW 8 and Shri Ratan Singh PW 9. Some
affidavits of police officials whose evidence was of a formal character were
admitted into evidence and placed on record. After close of the prosecution
evidence, the accused were examined under Section 313 CrPC. They denied the
prosecution allegations against them and alleged false implication. They,
however, did not lead any evidence in defence.
trial court acquitted Surjit Singh observing in paragraph 28: "The learned
Public Prosecutor in fairness to the Court and the defence frankly conceded at
the bar that there was no evidence on the record to connect Surjit Singh with
charge against Surjit Singh accused was that he had conspired with his
witness in that connection was Dwarka Dass who had refused to support the
such the case of the prosecution fails against Surjit Singh accused for want of
evidence. Surjit Singh accused is acquitted." 8.The trial court also
acquitted Satnam Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Sucha Singh, Kulwant Singh and Jagir
29 deals with their acquittal:
Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Sucha Singh, Kulwant Singh and Jagir Singh accused were
arrested in this case. The statement of Kashmiri Lai (PW 6) brother of Sohan
Lai (PW 5) is that he had seen the aforesaid accused proceeding towards the
there were reports of firing and he saw them running away from the village abadi
towards the fields but from this circumstance alone I cannot spell out their
I acquit Satnam Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Sucha Singh, Kulwant Singh and Jagir
conviction of Jagrup Singh and Hazara Singh for the various offences as noticed
above, was recorded, in paragraph 30 thus:
Lai (PW 5) at the trial on oath stated that Jasbir Singh accused had given gandasa
blows and Mukhtiar Singh had taken away the gun. The gun was subsequently
recovered from Jagrup Singh accused in pursuance of his disclosure statement
Ex. P-23. The gun is Ex. MO-3 which is the licensed gun of Sohan Lai (PW 5).
Inasmuch as the gun was taken away from the spot by Mukhtiar Singh. Jagrup
Singh would be liable criminally under Section 411 of the Penal Code and under
Section 25 of the Arms Act. The only evidence against Hazara Singh accused is
that he was arrested by Shri Harcharan Singh, Assistant Sub- Inspector 765 and
his search brought out a pistol of .315 bore Ex. MO-4 and two cartridges Exs. MO-5
and MO-6 for which he had no licence. Hazara Singh accused has to be convicted
under Section 25 of the Arms Act." The learned Judge of the Special Court then proceeded to consider the case
of the prosecution against Mukhtiar Singh and Jasbir Singh, appellants. The
discussion in that behalf is found in paras 31 and 32 of the judgment which
two empties recovered from the spot were found to have been fired from the
pistol of Jasbir Singh and two from the revolver of Mukhtiar Singh accused. The
Supreme Court in the case of Bhura1 in similar circumstances had held the
accused guilty setting aside their acquittal by the High Court.
Singh and Mukhtiar Singh accused at the time of their arrest were directed to
keep their faces muffled and they refused to participate in the identification
parade on the ground that they had been shown to the witnesses of the
prosecution for which there is not an iota of evidence. Both the accused had
committed a trespass and there were firearm injuries on the body of Jajpal.
Their act of taking away the gun would make them criminal liable under Section
397 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code and they would also be liable under
the Arms Act." After recording these findings, both Mukhtiar Singh and Jasbir
Singh were convicted for various offences as noticed above and sentenced.
have gone through the judgment of the learned trial Judge and find that the
same is far from satisfactory.
the order of acquittal as well as the order of conviction, have been made by
the trial court in a most perfunctory manner without even noticing much less,
considering and discussing the evidence led by the prosecution or the arguments
raised at the bar. The trial court noticed the prosecution case, the medical
evidence and the material collected during the investigation of the case
besides the arrest of different accused persons on different dates in paras 1
to 23 of the judgment. In paragraph 24 it noticed the names of the prosecution
witnesses and in paragraphs 25 and 26 it noticed the fact that the accused had
been examined under Section 313 CrPC. It was in paragraphs 28 to 32, noticed
above, that the orders of acquittal and conviction were made. The trial court
was dealing with a serious case of murder. It was expected of it to notice and scrutinise
the evidence and after considering the submissions raised at the bar arrive at
appropriate findings. In vain have we searched through the cryptic judgment of
the trial court, the reasons which prevailed with it to acquit the respondents
in Criminal Appeal No. 489 of 1985 or convict the appellants in Criminal Appeal
No. 434 of 1985. On the plainest requirement of justice and fair trial the
least that was expected of the trial court was to notice, consider and discuss,
howsoever briefly, the evidence of various witnesses as well as the arguments
addressed at the bar. The trial court has not done so. The trial court
apparently failed in the discharge of its essential 1 State of Punjab v. Bhura Singh, (1985) 1 SCC 37 :
1985 SCC (Cri) 33 766 duties. There is no mention in the judgment as to what
various witnesses deposed at the trial, except for the evidence of the medical
witness. The judgment does not disclose as to what was argued before it on
behalf of the prosecution and the defence. The judgment is so infirm that we
are unable to appreciate as to how the findings were arrived at. The judgment
of the trial court is truly speaking not a judgment in the eyes of law. The
trial court appears to have been blissfully ignorant of the requirements of
Section 354(1)(b) CrPC. Since, the first appeal lay to this Court, the trial
court should have reproduced and discussed at least the essential parts of the
evidence of the witnesses besides recording the submissions made at the bar to
enable the appellate court to know the basis on which the 'decision' is based.
A 'decision' does not merely mean the 'conclusion' it embraces within its fold
the reasons which form the basis for arriving at the 'conclusions'. The
judgment of the trial court contains only the 'conclusions' and nothing more.
The judgment of the trial court cannot, therefore, be sustained. The case needs
to be remanded to the trial court for its fresh disposal by writing a fresh judgment
in accordance with law.
are conscious of the fact that the occurrence took place more than a decade ago
and the conviction was recorded almost 9 years ago. But, looking to the manner
in which the judgment has been rendered by the trial court, it appears
appropriate to us to remand the case to the trial court for writing a fresh
judgment, after providing opportunities of hearing to both the parties, on the
basis of the material which is already on the record. We could have undertaken
the exercise ourselves and analysed the evidence to determine the guilt or
otherwise of the accused persons but we are of the opinion that our doing so
may prejudice one or the other party as it would deprive the party concerned of
its right of first appeal to this Court. We have, therefore, considered it
proper, after setting aside the judgment under appeal, to remand the case to
the trial court for its fresh disposal in the light of the observations made by
appellants Mukhtiar Singh and Jasbir Singh were directed to be released on ball
during the pendency of the appeal in this Court by an order of the learned
Judge in chambers dated 19-7-1990. We do not consider it appropriate
to cancel their bail during the fresh hearing of the case by the trial court
but we direct that they shall remain present before the trial court during the
hearing of the case and in the event of their being found guilty, they shall be
remanded to custody. In case they or either of them does not appear before the
trial court during the hearing, their/his bail shall stand cancelled and they
shall be taken into custody till the conclusion of the hearing by the trial
court. The respondents in Criminal Appeal No. 489 of 1985 shall also remain
present during hearing of the case before the trial court and continue to
remain on bail till the hearing of the case. The absence of either of the
respondents in the trial court shall result in the cancellation of his/their
bail and he/they shall be taken into custody till the conclusion of the hearing
by the trial court. In case of conviction of any of the accused persons, the
sentence already undergone by them as well as the period of 767 detention
before and during the trial shall be set off against the period of sentence.
it is an old case, we direct the trial court [Judge, Special Court, (Sessions Judge) Ferozepur] to fix
an early date for the hearing of the case and dispose it of on merits
expeditiously preferably within a period of three months from the date of the
communication of this order.
we are remanding the case for writing a fresh judgment by the trial court after
hearing the parties in the light of the observations made by us, we clarify
that we have not expressed any opinion regarding the merits of the case and
nothing said by us hereinabove shall be construed expressly or impliedly as any
opinion on the merits of the case.