Prem Vs. Daula & Ors  INSC 44 (16 January 1997)
MUKHERJEE, S.P. KURDKAR
16TH DAY OF JANUARY, 1996 Present:
Mr. Justice M. K. Mukherjee Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.P. Kurdukar R.C. Kohli, Adv.
for the appellant R.S. Bhatia, B.S. Gupta (Ajay, Siwach) Adv. for Prem Malhotra,
Advs. for the Respondents.
following Judgments of the Court was delivered:
criminal appeal is at the behest of the complainant-appellant challenging the
legality and correctness of the judgment and order dated October 29, 1986,
passed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, acquitting the
respondents Nos. 1 to 4 (accused) of all the charges. The Addl. Sessions Judge
II, Rohtak, by his judgment and order dated October 24/26, 1985, convicted the
first respondent (A-1) under Section 302 IPC and respondents Nos. 2 to 4 (A-2
to A-4) under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code for committing the murder
of Ishwar son of Budh Ram and each one of them was sentenced to suffer imprisonment
for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- or in default to undergo further RI
for six months.
Briefly stated the prosecution case as unfolded at the trial is as under:- The
marriage of the daughter of Malha, pot maker, was to be celebrated on December 9, 1984, and in that connection, Halwais
from Rohtak were engaged for preparing the sweets on December 8, 1984. The sweets were being prepared in
the house of Giani which is situated in Silara Mohalla, Rohtak. Ishwar (since
deceased) and Rajinder (PW 14) were present at the place of Giani. At about 6.00 p.m., Daula (A-1) and Jai Singh (A-2) came there and
picked up a quarrel with Rajinder over money. A-2 gave a lathi blow on Rajinder
(PW 14) and Prem (PW 9). Ishwar intervened and saved his colleagues from
further assault. Ishwar then pushed out A-1 and A-2 from the house of Giani.
The quarrel then ended and they left to their respective houses. Prem and Ishwar
thereafter came to the house of the latter.
and Ude were sitting on the cot outside the house.
all of them are talking, Daula (A-1), Jai Singh (A-2), Balraj (A-3) and Baljit
(A-4) came there at about 6.30 p.m.
was carrying Ranpi (sharp edged cutting weapon used by cobblers) whereas A-2
and A-4 were armed with lathis. A-3 was however not having any weapon. All the
four accused forcibly entered into the house of Ishwar whereupon A-1 shouted at
Ishwar and challenged as to why he had pushed him out of the house of Giani. It
was alleged by the prosecution that Baljit (A-4) and Balraj (A-3) caught hold
of Ishwar whereupon Daula (A-1) assaulted him with Ranipi on his back.
Singh (A-2) gave a lathi blow on the left hand of Ishwar. Daula again struck a Ranpi
blow on the right hand of Ishwar. Dhan Kaur (PW 11) mother of Ishwar tried to intervene
during the assault but she was also given a lathi blow by Jai Singh (A-2). Krishan,
Ude and Prem (PW 9) intervened in the quarrel and saved Ishwar from the
meantime, all the accused fled away. Since Ishwar had sustained bleeding injuries,
he was taken to the Medical College, Rohtak, in a rickshaw but before any medical help could be
given to him, he succumbed to his injuries.
doctor on duty sent a ruqqa to the Incharge, police post attached to the Medical College at about 8.20 p.m. and
also informed police station, City Rohtak on telephone regarding the arrival of
the dead body. S.I. Ram Chander (PW 17) after making an entry in the daily
diary proceeded to the Medical College where he recorded the statement (Ex.
of Prem Singh (PW 9) which was treated as the FIR. SI Ram Chander held the
inquest on the dead body of Ishwar (Ex.PF). The dead body was then sent for
post mortem examination. Dr. Rohtas Yadav (PW 3) carried out the post mortem
examination and his report is at Ex.PD. SI Ram Chander then recorded the
statements of various witnesses including that of Rajinder Singh (PW 14) and Dhan
Kaur (PW 11) who were injured during the assault and were sent to the Medical College for necessary treatment. All the four accused were arrested
during the investigation. After completing the necessary investigation, a
charge sheet came to be submitted against all the four accused for offences
punishable under Sections 302, 302/34 and 449 of the Indian Penal Code.
accused denied the allegations levelled against them and pleaded that they are
innocent and they have committed no offence. They have been falsely implicated
in the present crime. They prayed that they be acquitted.
prosecution in order to bring home the quilt against the accused examined Prem
Singh (PW 9), Krishan (PW 10), Dhan Kaur (PW 11) and Rajinder (PW 14) as the
witnesses of fact and also to prove motive. The prosecution also examined
formal witnesses including three doctors, panch witnesses and the investigating
officer. The accused did not lead any evidence.
learned trial judge after careful scrutiny of the oral and documentary evidence
on record by his detailed and well reasoned judgment found A-1 guilty of
committing murder of Ishwar whereas A-2 to A-4 were held guilty with the aid of
Section 34 PIC for the substantive offence of murder. A-1 was accordingly
convicted under Section 302 IPC and was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment
and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- in default to undergo further RI for six
A-4 were convicted under Section 302/34 IPC and were sentenced to suffer
imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- each or in default to
undergo further RI for six months.
respondents Nos. 1 to 4 accused aggrieved by the order of conviction and
sentence preferred a criminal appeal to the High Court and the High Court
reversed the well reasoned judgment of the trial court and acquitted all the
accused. It is against this order of acquittal, the complainant has filed the present
Criminal Appeal to this Court.
R.C.Kohli, learned Advocate appearing for the appellants assailed the impugned
judgment firstly on the ground that the High Court had committed a grave error
while rejecting the evidence of eye witnesses on the premise that the medical
evidence did not support their evidence. He then urged that the High Court had
also committed a grave error while doubting the credibility of the eye
witnesses solely on the ground that they are close relatives of the deceased.
then urged that the High Court erroneously assumed that the injuries to Ishwar
(since deceased) could not have been caused by Ranpi having regard to its
measurement and size.
therefore, urged that each reason given by the High Court in support of its order
of acquittal is unsustainable and prayed that the impugned order be set aside
and the order passed by the trial court be restored.
R.S.Bhatia, learned Advocate appearing for the accused supported the impugned
order and tried to demonstrate how the order of acquittal is sustainable. He
urged that no case for interference is made out by the appellant and,
therefore, the appeal being devoid of merits, be dismissed.
have gone through the judgments of the courts below as well as the relevant materials
on record. Before we deal with the rival contentions raised before us, we deem
it proper to first find out as to whether impugned order is based on cogent and
satisfactory objective assessment of the evidence on record. In our considered
view, the High court has dealt with the criminal appeal in a very causal manner
and the reasons recorded for acquittal are contrary to the evidence on record.
We may hasten to reproduce some of the reasons in the impugned order which read
as under:- "It was conceded by PW 3 Dr. Yadav, during the course of his
cross- examination that the blade of Ranpi Ex.P6, is 4 c.m. wide and 11.5 c.m.
length. We have checked up these measurements in court and find them to be
correct. In the light of this what is not explained by the prosecution is as to
how this Ranpi could cause the fatal injury (no.1), which is 14 c.m. deep.
what is further unexplainable is that the maximum width of the blade of this Ranpi
is 4 c.m. but against this, the width of the above noted injury is only
It is thus patent that the depth and width of this fatal injury (No.1) found on
the body of the deceased Ishwar could not possibly be caused by Ranpi
Ex.P6." While entertaining the doubt as mentioned above, the High Court
went on to observe:_ "This, to our mind, completely knocks out the bottom
of the prosecution case."
The High Court then observed that having come to the conclusion that Ranpi
Ex.P6 could not have caused the injury No.1 to Ishwar, its recovery is
meaningless. The High Court then observed:- "It has repeatedly been held
that if the version of the prosecution is inherently improbable and
intrinsically incredible in material and intrinsically incredible in material
particulars then it has essentially to be discredited as a whole."
The High court then set out the pedigree to show how the prosecution witnesses
are closely related to Ishwar and held that since the prosecution has not
examined by independent witness, it was not possible to sustain the conviction
on the basis of such evidence of interested witnesses. As regards the injury
sustained by Dhan Kaur (PW 11), the mother of Ishwar, the High Court observed:-
"She appears to have been brought in later as an eye witness. Even the two
simple injuries found on her person do not authenticate her presence at the
time of occurrence.
is again by itself, to our mind, good enough to discredit the prosecution
against this, we find that the judgment of the learned Addl. Sessions Judge
(II), Rohtak, was based on a very correct objective assessment of the evidence
on record and had rightly held that the accused persons were guilty of murder
far as the first incident at the place of Giani was concerned, the evidence of Rajinder
(PW 14) is quite clear that A-1 and A-2 had come to that place where there was
some quarrel when Ishwar pushed out both these accused. It was this incident
which motivated the accused persons to assault Ishwar in the same evening at
about 8.30 p.m. Rajinder (PW 14) had himself
sustained a lathi blow given by Jai Singh (A-2) and the injury certificate (Ex.PA)
issued by Dr. Ravinder Kumar (PW 2) clearly borne out the said fact.
to the actual assault on Ishwar, the evidence of Prem Singh (PW 9), Krishan (PW
10) and Dhan Kaur (PW 11) is absolutely unimpeachable and each one of them had
testified how all the four accused came to the house of Ishwar and assaulted
him with weapons in their hands. All these three witnesses were searchingly
cross-examined on behalf of the defence but hardly any material could be
brought out during their cross-examination to discredit their evidence. It is
true that Dr. Rohtas Yadav (PW 3) who conducted the post mortem examination on
the dead body of Ishwar while referring to injury No.1 during the
cross-examination admitted that such an injury may not be possible by Ranpi
(Ex.6). The measurements of the said Ranpi (Ex.6) which were referred to by the
High Court in its impugned judgment could not persuade us to disbelieve the
evidence of three ye witnesses as regards the assault on Ishwar by A-1 with Ranpi
(Ex.6). We have no hesitation in saying that Dr. Rohtas Yadav (PW 3) has given
the evidence in a very causal manner.
evidence being the opinion evidence in the facts and circumstances of this case
cannot nullify the evidence of Prem Singh (PW 9), Krishan (PW 10) and Dhan Kaur
(PW 11) who have testified that A-2 and !-3 were holding Ishwar and when he
bent a little, A-1 gave Ranpi blow on his back. One has to only visualise the
assault and if one does so, it is quite apparent that Ishwar was made to bend a
little as his hands were caught by A-2 and A-3 whereupon A-1 gave a powerful
blow with that Ranpi on his back. The depth of the injury was 14 cms which was
no doubt more than the length of the blade of the weapon but since it was a
forceful blow, we see no improbability of such a deep injury having been caused
by the said weapon. It is also relevant to note that the incident in question
had taken place at the house of Ishwar where the presence of these three eye
witnesses was proved. Apart from this, Dhan Kuar (PW 11) had also sustained an
injury which was proved by Dr. Mohar Singh (PW 4) who issued the injury
certificate (Ex.PG). We prefer to believe the evidence of these eye witnesses notwithstanding
the fact that Dr. Rohtas Yadav (PW 3) had expressed some doubt as regards the
injury No.1 having been caused by Ranpi (Ex.6). We accept the evidence of these
three eye witnesses and hold that the Ranpi (Ex.P6) was the weapon of assault
used by A-1 and had caused the injuries on the person of Ishwar which were
proved to be fatal. The trial court was also right in convicting accused Nos. 2
to 4 with the aid of Section 34 PIC as it is quite clear from the evidence on
record that all the four accused came together and were armed with weapons
except A-4; trespassed into the house of Ishwar and thereafter assaulted him.
This evidence, in our opinion, is quite sufficient to prove the complicity of
accused Nos. 2 to 4 with the aid of Section 34 IPC for the substantive offence
of committing murder of Ishwar.
the result, criminal appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment and order dated
October 29, 1986, passed by the High Court acquitting respondents Nos. 1 to 4
(A-1 to A-4) is quashed and set aside and the judgment and order of conviction
dated October 24/26, 985, passed by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge (II), Rohtak,
is restored, If A-1 to A- 4 are on bail, they shall surrender to their bailbonds
forthwith to serve out the remaining part of their respective sentences.