Pal & Ors Vs. State of Punjab 
INSC 578 (20 October
M.K. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) Paripoornan, K.S.(J) M.K. Mukherjee. J.
1995 SCC Supl. (4) 1 1995 SCALE (6)86
@ Neelu, his two sons Satpal @ Sattu and Bir Bhan, and Gulzar Singh were
arraigned before the Sessions Judge, Bhatinda for the murder of Janta Singh.
The trial ended in an acquittal of Sat Pal and conviction of the other three
under section 302 read with Section 34 I.P.C. with a sentence of imprisonment
for life and a fine of Rs.1,000/- each. While the three convicts filed appeals
against their convictions, the State of Punjab filed an appeal against the acquittal of Sat Pal, and Bant Singh, the
brother of the deceased, filed a revision petition seeking compensation. In
disposing of the appeals and the revision petition by a common judgment the
High Court affirmed the conviction and sentence recorded by the trial Court,
reversed the acquittal of Sat Pal by convicting and sentencing him to
imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs. 1,000/- under Section 302/34 I.P.C. and
directed that the fine if realised shall be paid to the heirs of Janta Singh.
Hence these appeals at the instance of the four convicts.
prosecution case is that on December 5, 1981
at or about 11.45 A.M. Janta Singh (the deceased) was
going to his outer house followed by his brothers Bant Singh and Mukhtiar Singh
to guard their cattle. When they had almost reached Bahamanwali Gali (lane) in
their village the four appellants suddenly emerged from that qali armed with
different weapons. Om Parkash had a dang, Sat Pal a kulhari and Bir Bhan and Gulzar
Singh had a gandasa each. Om Parkash raised a lalkara exhorting his companions
that Janta Singh should not be allowed to escape. Immediately thereupon Bir Bhan
and Gulzar Singh gave successive gandasa blows on the head of Janta Singh as a
result of which he fell down. While he was lying on the ground both Sat Pal and
Om Parkash gave blows on his neck with their respective weapons. On alarms
being raised by Bant Singh and Mukhtiar Singh they fled away from the spot
along with their respective weapons. Janta Singh had in the meantime died at
the spot. The motive ascribed for the murderous assault was that a few days
prior to the incident Om Parkash had been arrested for having been found in
possession of opium and intoxicating drugs and he suspected that it was Janta
Singh who had given information to the police.
the further prosecution case that Bant Singh then went and informed Zoravar
Singh and Jang Singh, the Sarpanch and Chowkidar of the village respectively
about the incident. On receiving the information, Jang Singh went to guard the
dead body of Janta Singh along with Mukhtiar Singh while Bant Singh accompanied
by Zoravar Singh went to Budhlada Police Station to lodge an information. ASI Gurmit
Singh recorded the statement of Bant Singh and registered a case. After making
arraignment to send a special report to the local Judicial Magistrate, ASI Gurmit
Singh went to the spot accompanied by Bant Singh and Zoravar Singh. He held
inquest upon the dead body of Janta Singh and forwarded it for post-mortem
examination. He prepared a rough site plan, seized some blood stained earth
from near the spot and recorded the statements of Zoravar Singh, Mukhtiar Singh
and Jang Singh. In course of investigation he arrested the appellants and
pursuant to their statements discovered some lathis, kulharis and gandasas. On
completion of investigation he submitted a charge-sheet against the four
appellants pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them and tendered
written statements in support of their claim that they had been falsely
the prosecution examined as many as eleven witnesses including Zoravar Singh
(PW 7) and ASI Gurmit Singh (PW 11) to prove its case its success depended
primarily upon the acceptance of the ocular version of the incident as given
out by Bant Singh (P.W. 2) and Mukhtiar Singh (P.W. 6) and of Dr. A.K. Garg
(P.W. 1), who held post mortem examination on the dead body of Janta Singh and
found the following injures on his person:
Incised wound 2" x 0.3" on the head just right to the mid line,
6" above occipital protuberance, placed vertically.
incised wound 1" x 1/3" present on head, 2. 1/2" to the left of
Abrasion 1/2" x 1/2" on the medial side of right elbow.
abrasion 1" x 1/2" behind left elbow.
Abrasion 1/2" x 1/2" on the other side of left elbow.
Abrasion 1/2" x 1/2" on the poster medial side of left elbow.
bluish bruise 4" x 1" on the right side of chest 3" from
midline, against 2nd, 3rd and 4th ribs.
bruise of bluish colour 6" x 3.1/2" against left clavicle 2nd &
3rd ribs in the shape like.
bruise 4.1/2" x 1/4" was transfersely placed on the neck between
lower jaw and thyroid protuberance.
One bruise 4" x 1/4" on the neck obliquelly to right side against
One bruise 1/2' x 1/4" on the right side of the neck."
trial Court found that the evidence of P.Ws. 2 and 6 could be safely relied
upon to sustain the charges levelled against the appellants Om Parkash, Bir Bhan
and Gulzar Singh, more so, as it was corroborated by the first information
report which was promptly lodge by P.W. 2 and the injuries found by P.W. 1 on
the person of the deceased.
acquitting the other appellant, namely, Sat Pal the trial Court recorded the
Janta Singh had fallen on the ground, Sat Pal accused gave two kulhari blows, one
on the neck and the other on the left side of the chest of the deceased. The
medical evidence on the record shows that injuries on the neck and on the chest
are not incised injuries. Faced with this situation the two eye-witnesses in
the instant the changed their stance and instant case changed their stance and
tried to explain said injuries that the first kulhari blow, was given from upard-downward
while holding the handle of the kulhari and the second blow was given from flat
portion of the blade of the kulhari. This aspect of the case is conspicuous by
its absence from the earliest version given by the two eye-witnesses before the
police, before the post mortem had been conducted. In these circumstances, it
will not be safe to place imllicit reliance on the testimony of Bant Singh Mukhtiar
Singh P.Ws. as far as the infliction of the aforesaid two injuries attributed
to Sat Pal accused, is concerned." The High Court concurred with all the
findings recorded by the trial Court for convicting the three appellants and in
reversing the acquittal of Sat Pal the High Court had this to say:
far as Sat Pal is concerned, according to the prosecution when Janta Singh had
fallen on the ground Sat Pal gave two kulhari blows, one on the neck and the
other on the left side of the chest of the deceased.
to the medical evidence, the injuries on the nect and in the chest are not
incised injuries and the prosecution witnesses have explained this that the
first kulhari blow was give from upward-downward while holding the hendle of
the kulhari and the second blow was given from flat portion of the blade of the
kulhari. although this aspect of the case is not in the earliest version, but
the minutest photographic details cannot be expected to be given by the eye-witnesses.
The learned trial court acquitted Sat Pal respondent on this ground that these
injuries were not explained at the earliest were not explained at the earliest
version and go counter to the medical evidence. In all 11 injuries were caused
and out of them for were abrasions on the elbows. It may be that the said
abrasions were caused as a result of fall and not due to direct blows. the
appellants and Sat Pal respondent inflicted blows in quick succession and it
was not possible for the eye-witnesses to give an exact account, as observed
earlier. Thus, we are of the view that the acquittal of Sat Pal was not
justified by the learned trial Court on this ground." Mr. Sushil Kumar the
learned counsel appearing for the appellants took us through the evidence of
the prosecution witnesses to contend that the High Court was not a all
justified in setting aside the order of acquittal or Sat Pal as the findings
recorded by the trial Court for his acquittal could not be said to be perverse.
considered the impugned judgments in the light of the evidence on record we are
in complete agreement with the High Court that the trial Court was not at all
justified in recording the acquittal of Sat Pal on the basis of the findings
quoted earlier. In the F.I.R. that was lodged by Bant Singh within two hours of
the incident he categorically sated that while Janta Singh was lying on the
ground Sat Pal gave axe blows on his neck as also on the left side of his
chest. In course of the trial also Bant Singh stuck to his above version and
gave further details regarding the mode of user of the axe. It was not expected
of Bant Singh nor was it necessary to give minute details in the F.I.R.. The
finding of the trial Court as earlier quoted, for brushing aside the evidence
of P.W. 2 as against Sat Pal must therefore be held to be perverse. For the
self same reason the finding of the trial Court for discarding the evidence of
P.W. 6, in view of his omission to detail the manner of user of the axe by Sat
Pal in his statement recorded under Section 161 Cr. P.C. cannot be sustained
for it was not a material omission amounting to contradiction. Having carefully
gone through the evidence of Bant Singh (P.W. 2) and Mukhtiar Singh (P.W. 6) we
are satisfied that their evidence as against Sat Pal is also cogent and
consistent and the High Court was fully justified in relying upon the same. So
far as the other three appellants are concerned both the learned courts below,
who were entrusted with the duty of investigating into questions of fact have,
on a proper discussion and appraisal of the evidence, recorded their findings
against them and sitting in this jurisdiction under Article 136 of the
Constitution of India we do not find any reason to interfere with the same.
sought to be argued on behalf of the appellants that the learned Courts below
failed to notice that the prosecution signally failed to prove the motive
ascribed for the alleged murder, thereby making its case suspect. Since both
the learned Courts below found the evidence of the eye witnesses regarding the
actual murder acceptable, the motive and for that matter proof therefor, paled
conclusions as above we dismiss the appeal and direct the appellants, who are
on bail, to their respective bail bonds to serve out the sentence.