Singh Vs. State of Punjab  INSC 984 (20 August 1996)
Mukherjee, S.P. Kurdukar S.P. Kurdukar, J.
20TH DAY OF AUGUST, 1996 Present:
Mr. Justice M.K. Mukherjee Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.P. Kurdurkar U.R. Lalit, Sr.Adv.,
Rajiv K.Garg, Ajay Bansal, (Ms. Indu Sharma) (NP) N.D.Garg, S.B. Upadhyay, Laxmi
Raman Singh, (H.M. Singh,) Adv. for R.S. Suri, Advs. with him for the appearing
following judgment of the Court was delivered:
Pritam Singh V. State of Punjab
APPEAL NO. 63 of 1988 Balbir Singh V. Nachhatar Singh & Ors.
appeal No. 157 of 1985 is filed by the appellant-original accused no. 1 under
section 14 (1) of the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Act, Against
the judgment and order dated 9th January, 1985 passed by the learned Judge,
Special Court, Ferozepur in case No. 36 of 1984. The learned Special Judge
found the appellant guilty of committing the murder of Naib Singh and
accordingly sentenced him to suffer imprisonment for life under Section 302 of
the Indian Penal Code and also sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment
for nine months for an offence punishable under Section 324 of the Indian Penal
Code for causing simple hurt to Balvinder Singh (PW 5).
Criminal Appeal NO 63 of 1988 is filed by Balbir Singh - the complainant
against the very same judgment challenging the acquittal of Nachhatar Singh and
Sukhpal Singh under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code. Since both these
appeals arise out of the common judgment, they are being disposed of by this
appellant is brother of Nachhatar Singh (A-2) and Sukhpal Singh is son of the
appellant (A-3). They were put up for trial for committing the murder of Naib
Singh and causing grievous injuries to the prosecution witnesses.
Singh was convicted by the Trial Court under Section 323 of the Indian Penal
Code but Nachhatar singh was acquitted.
is also not in dispute that Naib Singh (since deceased ) was the first cousin
of appellant. On February
14, 1984, in the
morning hours, Balbir Singh (PW 4) alongwith his son Naib Singh was going to
the fields. When they reached the point from where the passage bifurcates to
the field of Pritam Singh, Pritam Singh, Nachhatar Singh and Sukhpal singh (A-1
to A-3) who were armed with gandasas, came there and raised a lalkara that Balbir
Singh (PW 4) be not spared. The appellant immediately attacked and gave gandasa
blow on the head of Naib Singh. Naib Singh sustained a bleeding injury and fell
down. The other two accused caused injuries to Balbir singh (PW 4) with the gandasas..
Singh (PW 5) on hearing the alarm reached the place of occurrence. The
appellant gave gandasa blow on his head also. Nachhatar Singh (A-2) gave two gandasa
blows to Balvinder Singh (PW 5) from the blunt side. Balvinder Singh (PW 5) at
the relevant time was having kasauli and in self defence used the same causing
injuries to Pritam Singh-the appellant and Nachhatar Singh (A-2). This incident
was witnessed by Thana Singh (PW 6). Thana Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5) to the Civil Hospital at Gidderbaha.
N.G. Garg (PW 2) declared Naib Singh dead. Dr. N.C. Garg (PW 2) examined Balbir
Singh (PW 4) and issued the injury certificate. Dr. N.C. Garg (PW 2) also
examined Balvinder Singh (PW 5) and found two injuries on his person. Paras Ram
(PW 8) Station House Officer, Police Station, Gidderbaha, On receipt of the
Information went to the Hospital and recorded the statement of injured Balbir
Singh (Ex. P12) and treated the same as formal P.I.R. The crime came to be
registered against three persons under Sections 302, 323 and 324 read with
Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. After completing the necessary
investigation, the accused were put up for trial for the aforesaid offences.
Singh (A-2) had also sustained injuries went to the Civil Hospital. Gidderbaha
for medical treatment. His statement was also recorded by Paras Ram (PW 8) SHO,
Police Station, Gidderbaha.
defence of the accused is that they have not committed any offence and pleaded
that the members of complaint partly were aggressors and infact Balvinder Singh
(PW 5) who was armed with kasauli assaulted and caused injuries to Pritam Singh
(A-1) and Nachhatar Singh (A-2). In exercise of their right of private defence
they were compelled to retaliate the assault. They have committed no offence.
They are innocent and they be acquitted.
prosecution in support of its case examined eight witnesses. Balbir Singh (PW
4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5) are the eye witnesses. PW2 is Dr. N.C. Garg who
performed the autopsy on the dead body of Naib Singh and also issued injury
certificates to the injured prosecution witnesses and to Nachhatar Singh (A-2).
learned Trial Judge after considering the evidence led by the prosecution and
the defence taken up by the accused held the appellant guilty of an offence of
murder of Naib Singh punishable under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to
suffer imprisonment for life. The appellant was also found guilty of an offence
punishable under Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code for causing simple hurt
to Balvinder Singh and sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for nine
months, It may be stated that we are not concerned with the other two accused
in this appeal.
U.R. Lalit, the learned counsel appearing in support of this appeal urged that
the evidence of Balbir Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder singh (PW 5) is totally
unreliable being close relations of deceased Naib Singh.
these witnesses had suppressed the true facts from the Court relating to the
incident. He then urged that infact the members of the complainant party were
the aggressors and initially they opened up the assault on Nachhatar singh who
had sustained as many as seven injuries out of which two were incised wounds
and one was lecerated wound. Learned counsel urged that the trial court has
totally misread the evidence of Balbir Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5)
and wrongly convicted the appellant for the aforesaid offences.
Mr. H.M. Singh, learned advocate appearing for the State of Punjab supported
the impugned judgment.
the outset, it may be stated that there is no serious challenge before us to
the fact that Naib Singh met with a homicidal death.
The next question that falls for our consideration is as to which party was the
aggressor and whether appellant and his associate had any right of private defence.
prosecution story mainly rests on the evidence of Balbir Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder
Singh (PW 5) who claimed to be the eye witnesses. Balbir Singh is the father of
Naib Singh (since deceased). Balvinder Singh (PW 5) is the son of PW4. P.W.4
has stated that field of appellant is adjoining to their field. On February 14,
1984 at about 10.15 a.m.,he alongwith his son Naib Singh were going to the
fields and at the relevant time A-1 to A-3 were in their field. When they
reached the spot which bifurcates the passage, on going to the field of
appellant and other going to his field, suddenly, the appellant Nachhatar Singh
(A-2), Sukhpal Singh (A-3) came to that junction, they were armed with gandasas
and said that he (PW 4) would not be spared. the appellant thereafter opened
the attack and gave gandasa blows on the head of Naib Singh. Nachhatar Singh
(A-2) and Sukhpal Singh (A-3) gave gandasa blows on his head by the blunt side.
Singh (A-3) again tried to gave gandasa blow to him, however, he warded off the
same but sustained an injury on his left arm. He then fell down. nachhatar singh
(A-2) gave two more blows with gandasa on his head. He then gave an alarm and
thereafter his son Balvinder Singh (PW 5) came there. The appellant suddenly
gave the gandasa blow on the head of Balvinder Singh (PW 5). Other accused
persons also assaulted Balvinder Singh (PW 5 ) then wielded kasauli in his self
defence and in that process Nachhatar Singh had sustained injuries. When again
an alarm was given, the accused fled away. Balbir Singh (PW 4) has been cross-
examined at great length but, however, he stood firmly and asserted that
initially the appellant and his associates opened up the assault and the
appellant first gave a gandasa blow on the head of Naib Singh. He also further
asserted that the appellant and other accused assaulted him (PW 4) and Balwinder
Singh (PW 5).
The evidence of Balvinder Singh (PW 5) is almost identical in material
particulars and he stated that when he heard the alarm given by his father Balbir
Singh (PW 4), he come to the spot and noticed that the appellant and other
accused were assaulting his father Balbir Singh (PW 4) and Naib Singh. He was
also assaulted by Nachhatar Singh (A-2) and other accused persons. Apprehending
danger to his life and his father and brother, in self defence, he wielded the kasauli
in which Nachhatar had sustained the injuries. There is nothing in the
cross-examination which would make us to disbelieve the evidence of these two
Mr. U.R. Lalit, however, urged that there is total artificiality in the
evidence of Balbir Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5) when they tried to
split the incident into two parts. According to learned counsel, infact
complainant party was the aggressor and they had assaulted the appellant and Nachhatar
Singh and caused incised and lacerated injuries to them. In support of this
submission, he drew out attention to the injury certificates of Nachhater Singh
(A-2). It is true that Nachhatar Singh had sustained two incised and one
lacerated wound but, however, having regard to the evidence of Balbir Singh (PW
4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5) which is totally free from any
contradiction/omission, it is difficult to accept that the complainant party
was the aggressor. Once the evidence of Balbir Singh (PW 4) Balvinder Singh (PW
5) is accepted being truthful as regards the initial start of assault by the
appellant and his associates, it must follow that the appellant and his
associates were the aggressors and when they were assaulting Naib Singh, Balbir
Singh (PW 4) and Balvinder Singh (PW 5) with the deadly weapons like gandasas, Balvinder
Singh (PW 5) was totally justified in retaliating the attack in self defence.
It may be stated that even in the First Information Report lodged by the complainant,
the injuries sustained by Nachhatar Singh (A-2) were also mentioned. During the
trial, PW 4 and PW 5 also explained the injuries sustained by the appellant as
well as Nachhatar Singh (A-2).
After careful consideration of the evidence on record, we are satisfied that
the impugned judgment suffers from no error of law or fact and does not call
for any interference.
to stand dismissed. Appellant, who is on bail, to surrender to his baibond
forthwith to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
Coming to the criminal Appeal No. 63 of 1988 field by the complainant, we are
of the considered opinion that no interference is called for. Accordingly, the
appeal is dismissed.
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