Singh Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 341 (27 July 1995)
G.T. (J) Nanavati G.T. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) M.K. Mukherjee. J.
1995 SCC Supl. (3) 390 JT 1995 (5) 529 1995 SCALE (4)555
appeal under Section 14 of the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Act,
1984 is directed against the Judgment and order dated March 26, 1985 rendered
by the Additional Judge, Special Court, Hoshiarpur convicting the appellant
under Section 302 of the Indian Fenal Code for committing the murder of his
grand-father Mehar Singh on March 6, 1984 and sentencing him to imprisonment
prosecution case is that the deceased Mehar Singh owned 22.1/2 willss of land
in village Swal' and 10.1/2 killas of land in village Alfuke. About four years
before his death Mehar Singh had divided his land in village Swal in three
equal shares and given one share to his son Mangat Singh, another to his son Kirpal
Singh, father of the appellant, and retained the balance. While Mangat Singh,
with whom Mehar Singh used to live cultivated his share of that land and also
that of Mehar Singh, the appellant cultivated the land given to his father.
Being apprehensive that Mehar Singh might give his share of land in village Swal
as also his land in village Alfuke to Mangat Singh the appellant was putting
pressure upon him for a moiety share in the land retained by him in village Swal
and also the land in village Alfuke. Since Mehar Singh was not yielding to such
demand the latter was very much annoyed with him.
On March 6, 1984, at or about 8 A.M. when Mangat Singh, his brother-in-law Hazara Singh and Mehar
Singh were returning from the tubewell in their village the appellant came from
the opposite direction on a bicycle armed with a Kirpan. He stopped Mehar
Singh, barked his bicycle by the side of the pathway and told him that as he
had decided to transfer his share of land to Mangat Singh and did not accede to
his demand he would not leave him alive. With these words he started infliciting
repeated Kirpan blows upon Mehar Singh as a result of which he fall down dead.
however Mangat Singh and Hazare Singh, who were little behind Mehar Singh,
could reach there the appellant fled away with the Kirpan through the fields
leaving behind his bicycle, shoes and turban. Mangat Singh immediately left for
the police station asking Hazara Singh to guard the dead body. On the way he
met ABI Avtar Singh near village Mewa Singh Wala and narrated the incident to
him. ABI Avtar Singh recorded the statement of Mangat Singh (EX.P.F) and sent
it to the police station with his endorsement thereon (EX.P.F(17) to register a
case. Accompanied by Mangat Singh, Avtar Singh then went to the spot, held
inquest upon the dead body of Mehar Singh and forwarded it for post-mortem
examination. From the spot he seized some blood stained earth, cair of shoes.
Bicycle and guroan and then prepared a rough sketch plan.
course of the investigation he arrested the appellant on March 11, 1984 and pursuant to his statement
recovered a blood stained Kirpan (EX.P.1). Avtar Singh sent all the blood
stained seized articies for chemical examination and on receipt of report of
such examination submitted charge-sheet against the appellant.
appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges levellen against him and contended
that Mehar Singh used to live with him as his father was insane and his brother
was panalytic. He further contended that it was he - and not Mangat Singh - who
was cultivating the share of Mehar Singh and that it was Mangat Singh who
pressing the deceased to give half share out of the land retained by him out
the latter did not agree. As regards the incident the appellant s version was
that as usual Mehar Singh had gone to the tubewell in the morning but he was in
his house. While in the house, he learnt through the chowkidar that Mehar Singh
had been killed. On getting that information he went to the spot and found a
number of persons present. According to him it was Mangat Singh who registered
a false case against him.
further defence was that Hazara Singh was also enimical towards him as his wife
(daughter of Mehar Singh) did not get any share out of the property of Mehar
Singh and, therefore, he was siding with Mangat Singh.
Singh met with a homicidal death on the fateful day stands conclusively proved
by the overwhelming evidence on record. In fact, this part of the prosecution
case was not challenged by the appellant. Apart from the evidence of Mangat
Singh (P.W.4) and Hazara Singh (P.W.5) there is the evidence of Investigating
Officer ASI Avtar Singh (P.W.7), who deposed that he found the dead body on the
wheat field, and that of Dr. Jasbin Singh (P.W.3) who held postmortem
examination on the dead body and found as many as 24 injuries on his person.
According to P.W.3 all the injuries were ante mortem and were sufficient to
cause death in ordinary course.
next and the most crucial question that falls for consideration is whether the
prosecution has succeeded in conclusively proving that the appellant was
responsible for the homicidal death of Mehar Singh. To prove this part of its
case the prosecution relied, needless to say, principally upon the evidence of Mangat
Singh (P.W.4) and Hazara Singh (P.W.5). Both these witnesses testified that
while they were coming back from the tubewell after their morning ablutions
along with Mehar Singh, who was a little ahead of them, they saw the appellant
coming from the opposite direction on a bicycle with a Kirpan in his hand.
next testified that the appellant accosted Mehar Singh and said that as he had
not yielded to his demand he will not allow him to live. With these words, he
inflicted a number of blows with his Kirpan upon Mehar Singh resulting in his
instantaneous death. P.W.4 also testified about the genesis of the trouble,
regard to the fact that Mangat Singh (P.W.4) and Hazara Singh (P.W.5) were
closely related to the deceased we have considered and assessed their evidence
with more than ordinary care and caution. Having done so we do not find any
reason for disbelieving them more particularly when nothing could be elicited
in cross-examination to discredit them. On the contrary, we find, that the
evidence of Mangat Singh (P.W.4) stands fully corroborated by the First information
Report which was lodged by him within two hours of the incident and contains
the substratum of the entire prosecution case. The next corroboration of the
evidence of P.W.4 and P.W.5 is furnished by the evidence of Dr. Jasbir Singh
(P.W.3) when he said that all the injuries found by him on the person of the
deceased could be caused by a sharp edged weapon like a Kirpan or any other
heavy weapon with sharp edges. When the Kirpan (EX.P.1) seized during the
investigation was shown to him, the doctor opined that it could cause the
injuries found on the person of the deceased.
circumstance, on which the prosecution relied in support of its case was that
the blood stained Kirpan (EX.P.1) was discovered pursuant to the statement made
by the appellant to the effect that he has concealed it. We have carefully
considered the evidence adduced by the prosecution in this regard, particularly
that of P.W.7. and have found the same convincing and reliable. Coupled with
the above evidence is the report of the Serologist which shows that human blood
was found on the Kirpan.
evidence of P.W.4 and P.W.5 that after the appellant fled away his turban,
shoes and bicycle were found there gets support from the seizure of these
articles from the spot by P.W.7. From the chemical analysis report we further
get that human blood was found on the turban but the origin of the blood found
on the shoes could not be determined as it was disintegrated. It was however,
contended on behalf of the appellant that the story of the prosecution that the
appellant left behind his turban, shoes and bicycle was a purely concocted one
for it was absurd to believe that the appellant would leave behind those
articles to implicate himself. According to the learned counsel for the
appellant, if the incident took place in the manner alleged by the prosecution
the appellant would have certainly fled away on the bicycle - rather than on
foot - to ensure a speedier escape. We are not at all impressed by this
contention. Considering the manner in which the appellant gave repeated blows
upon the deceased and the resistence the latter but by trying to ward off the
blows - which is evident from the fact that both his hands were chopped off -
the droping down of the turban was not unlikely. As regards the shoes and the
bicycle, the appellant had left those behind obviously because he made the
wheat fields his escape route: and the best and convenient way to make good an
escape through such a route would be to run barefooted.
also contended on behalf of the appellant that the learned court below should
not have discarded the evidence of Smt. Inder Kaur (D.W.1) who fully supported
the appellant s version and accepted that of her brother P.W.4 as relationshipwise
they stood on the same footing. To appreciate this contention we have carefully
considered her evidence as also the reasons which weighed with the trial Court
in disbelieving her. The trial Court observed that if the appellant had been
cultivating the lands of Mehar Singh all along, as testified by her, the
appellant's name must have been appearing as the cultivator in the record of
rights and that document would have been the best evidence.
trial Court further observed that according to her evidence the police had gone
to the village at 6 or 7
fateful day but it was nobody's case that the incident had occurred by then.
The trial Court fastly held that if really D.W.1 felt that the appellant had
been falsely implicated, it was expected of her to approach the Investigating
Officer, who according to her was present in the village, and testify about the
same. All the above considerations, in our view, are germane to discredit the defence
witness. While on this point it will be pertinent to mention that even if us
proceed on the assumption that the motive ascribed by the prosecution for the
incident in not true and that the defence version as given out by D.W.1 in this
regard is acceptable still then we will not be justified in discarding the
prosecution case altogether, for law is now well settled that where the
positive evidence against the accused is clear, cogent and reliable the
question of motive and, for that matter, proof thereof pale into
the foregoing discussion we do not find any merit in this appeal and dismiss
the same. The appellant who is on pail will now surrender to his ball bond to
serve out the sentence.