Singh & Ors Vs. The State of Haryana  INSC 203 (2 April 1998)
Nanavati, V.N. Khare
appeal is directed against the judgment and order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Criminal
Appeal No.242 DB/88. The High Court confirmed the conviction of the appellants
under Section 148 and Sections 324, 325 and 302 I.P.C. all read with Section
149 I.P.C. recorded by the Sessions Court. Ambala in Sessions Case No. 22/87.
appellants on the one hand and the two deceased - Bachittar Singh and Bachan
Singh on the other hand were distant collaterals and they had `baras' situated
side by side on the outskirts of their village near the common boundary of two
`baras' there was a `kikar' tree and a dispute was going on between them since
long as regards ownership of that tree. On June 5, 1987, at about 6.00 p.m., appellant No.5 - Swaran Kaur was seen by Bachittar singh
and Bachan singh standing near that kikar tree. they also saw Avtar Singh -
appellant No. 4 cutting branches of that tree.
Singh and Bachan Singh went to that `bara' and protested against Avtar Singh
cutting the branches. That led to an exchange of hot words and abuses followed
by an assault on Bachittar Singh and Bachan Singh. According to the prosecution
case, seeing this assault on Bachittar singh and Bachan Singh, Labh Singh - PW
17 and Pala Singh - PW 18 went to their rescue but they were also assaulted by Avtar
Singh, Ram Singh - appellant No. 1, Didar singh - appellant No. 2 and Piara
Singh - appellant No. 3 who had also by that time reached that place armed with
weapons. As a result of that assault, Bachittar Singh and Bachan Singh lost
their lives and Labh Singh and Bachan Sing received some injuries.
order to prove its case, the prosecution had examined three eye-witnesses, Labh
Singh - pw 17, Pala Singh - PW 18 and Kirpal Singh - 19. The trial court
believed their evidence and convicted all the five appellants. The High Court
accepting evidence of those eye-witnesses confirmed the conviction of all the
learned senior counsel for the appellants, submitted that the High Court has
failed to consider that the eye-witnesses have not correctly stated the manner
in which the incident had started and also failed to appreciate that Didar
Singh - appellant No. 4 was falsely implicated.
also submitted that the defence version that appellant No. 1, 4 and 5 had acted
in self-defence while causing injuries to Bachittar Singh, Bachan Singh, Labh singh
and Pala singh, was more probable than the version given by the eye witnesses.
On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent - State submitted that
looking to the large number of injuries received by Bachittar Singh and Bachan
Singh, the plea of self-defenceurged by the appellants cannot be believed and
was, therefore, rightly rejected by the High Court. He also submitted that the
evidence of Labh Singh and Pala Singh is also corroborated by the evidence of
an independent-witnesse PW 19, Kirpal singh and therefore the High Court was
right in accepting their evidence and confirming the conviction of appellants.
have carefully gone through the evidence of the three eye-witnesses. All of
them have stated that seeing appellant No. 5 - Swaran Kaur standing near the Kikar
tree and Avtar Singh - appellant No. 4 cutting branches of that tree. Bachittar
Singh and Bachan Singh had gone to the `bara' and seeing an assault on them Labh
Singh and Pala Singh had rushed to that place. Though their evidence is
consistent, it is quite vague as regards the assault on Bachittar Singh and Bachan
singh. There were nine injuries on the body of Bachittar singh but the
eye-witnesses have not explained how those nine injuries were caused to him.
have only vaguely stated that Piara Singh and Ram Singh assaulted their father
with `sotis' and therefore he had fallen down. Both Labh Singh and Pala Singh
stand contradicted by their police statements, wherein they had stated that
they had not seen Avtar Singh cutting branches of the tree. Their version
before the court was that they had heard noise of cutting branches of a tree.
This improvement made by the witnesses was not without any purpose. No cut
branches were noticed at the place of occurrence. There is neither mention of
it in the site plan nor any cut wood was seized by the police. Both these
infirmities in their evidence create a serious doubt regarding the reason why
and the manner in which they had gone to that `bara'. The evidence also
discloses that during this very incident Avtar Singh had received three
injuries and Swaran kaur had also received two blows. According to the
eye-witnesses, none from their side had carried any weapon. An attempt was made
by Labh singh before the court to explain the injury on the hand of Swaran Kaur
by stating that Avtar Singh had aimed a blow at him, but he had retreated with
the result that it fell on Swaran Kaur. He then stated that by that hands of
Ram singh and then had given some blows to Avtar Singh. This was again an
improvement made by him as he had not so stated in his police statement. We
fine that the eye-witnesses have neither given the correct account regarding
how the incident started nor explained satisfactorily injuries caused to
appellant Nos. 4 and 5.
also find that appellant No. 2 Didar Singh was in all probability falsely
involved by the eye-witnesses.
to them. Didar Singh had run to that `bara' with a `Gandasa' in his hand and
given one blow with it to Bachan Singh. `Gandasa' is a sharp edged weapon. No.
injury possible by a sharp edged weapon was found on the person of Bachan
these infirmities in the evidence create a serious doubt regarding the manner
in which the incident had happened. Appellant Nos.1,4 and 5 have admitted their
persence at the seen of the offence. They have explained why Swaran kaur had
gone to their `bara' and how and under what circumstances they had gone there
and caused injuries to the other side. What they have said appears to be more
all these reasons, conviction of the appellants cannot be sustained.
therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the judgment and order of the High
Court and acquit the appellants of all the charges levelled against them. Their
bail bonds are ordered to be cancelled.