Ram Vs. State (Delhi Administration) & Ors 
INSC12 (8 January 1998)
Nanavati, G.B. Pattanaik Nanavati,J.
two appeals arise out of the common judgment of the High Court of Delhi in
Criminal Appeal Nos. 116/84 and 131/84. Criminal Appeal No. 116/84 was filed by
convicted accused La's Ram and Om Prakash. Criminal Appeal No. 131/84 was filed
by accused Thakur Singh. The three accused were tried and convicted for the
offence of murder, by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge in Sessions Case
prosecution case was that a few days prior to the date of the incident, wherein
Padam Singh lost his life, a quarrel had taken place between Padam Singh and
the father and brother of Padam Singh intervened and pacified them. On
19.2.1982 at about 4.15
p.m. when Padam Singh
was passing through Gali No.4, the three accused caught him and told him that
he was saved earlier by his father and brother but they would not leave him on
held Padam Singh from behind and the other two accused, namely, Thakur Singh
and Lala Ram inflicted injuries on the front and back of Padam Singh with
Ram, father of Padam Singh, who was following Padam Sing, saw this incident and
raised cries for saving his son and catching the accused. Hearing his cries
many people, including Prabhu Dayal, Pyare Lal, Sua Lal and others, came there.
Babu Ram himself was able to catch hold of accused Lala Ram. Prabhu Dayal ran
after Om Prakash and caught him.
Singh was caught while running away by Pyare Lal and Sua Lal. Meanwhile the
police party headed by sub-inspector Dharam Pal, which was on patrolling duty,
reached that spot and came to know about the incident. The three accused who
were caught by that time were handed over to the police. On these allegations
all the three accused were tried for committing the offence punishable under
Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and under Section 27 of the Arms Act.
prosecution examined Babu Ram (PW-3), Pyare Lal (PW-4), Prabhu Dayal (PW-6) and
Sua Lal (PW-7) as eye witnesses. It also lead other supporting and
corroborative evidence. The trial court rejected the contention of the accused
that there was delay in recording the FIR and that the delay was because till
the next day morning names of the assailants were not known. It believed the
evidence of the eye witnesses and held all the three accuse guilty.
High Court, mainly relying upon the substance of information noted in Ex. DW
2/A based upon D.D entry No. 16A, recorded in Rojnamcha, maintained at the
Patel Nagar Police Station, which did not contain names of the accused, names
of the eye witnesses, the place of occurrence and the weapons used and also the
circumstance that copy of the FIR had reached the Ilaka Magistrate at 10.00
a.m. on 20.2.1982, held that in all probability the FIR was not recorded till
next day morning. The High Court also held that the circumstance, that the dead
body was not removed from the spit till 1.10 a.m. and that the formal arrest of the accused was shown at about 1.30 a.m., also created a doubt regarding the genuineness of
the version given in the FIR.
High Court rejected the evidence of eye witnesses on the ground that injury No.8,
could not have been caused if the deceased was held by accused Om Prakash in
the manner stated by them. Another reason given by the High Court for
discarding their evidence is that they were appearing as witnesses and
supporting each other in numerous criminal cases. Taking this view the High Court
set aside the conviction and acquitted the accused.
by the acquittal of the accused Babu Ram, father of the deceased and a
prosecution witness, has filed these appeals after obtaining special leave.
What is contended by the learned counsel for the appellant is that the reasons
given by the High Court for holding that there was delay in recording the FIR
are not at all sustainable.
also submitted that the two main reasons given by the High Court for discarding
the evidence of the eye witnesses are also not sustainable as the evidence of
the eye witnesses is really not inconsistent with the medical evidence and is
also not correct to say that the eye witnesses had appeared as witnesses in
numerous criminal cases and had supported each other. The learned counsel for
the respondents-accused tried to support the findings recorded by the High
Court on the same grounds as are given by the High Court.
now not in dispute that the incident took place at about 4.15 p.m. in Gali No.
4 of Than Singh Nagar, falling within Anand Parbat Police Post, situated at a
distance of about 2.5 Kms. from Patel Nagar Police Station.
FIR (Ex. PW-8/B) shows that it was recorded at about 5.35 p.m. It refers to D.D. entry No. 16A (Ex. DW-2A), which
has been heavily relied upon by the High Court for doubting the correctness of
the entries made in the FIR regarding time and names of the accused. The said
entry was proved by Head Constable Om Prakash (DW-2), and reads as under :-
"Copy of report No. 16/A dated 19.2.82 of the roznamcha maintained at
Police Station Patel Nagar.
Intimation for the registration of case (FIR) No. 110 for an offence punishable
us/s 302/34 IPC .Time 5.35
this time a writing in hindi, prepared and sent by S.I. Dharam Pal I/c P.P. Anand
Parbat, Delhi on the basis of statement made by Shri
Babu Ram s/o Shri Prem Singh r/o H.No. 187A, Gali No. 7, Than Singh Nagar, Anand
Parbat New Delhi has been received at the police station for registering a case
punishable u/s 302/34 IPC through Const. Ram Pal No. 569/C. On the basis of
which a case (FIR) No. 110 u/s.302/34 IPC was prepared.
by ASI/DO" The High Court, after referring to this entry and the evidence
of Jai Pal Singh (PW-8), held that what was sent by S.I.Dharam Pal (PW-15) was only
an intimation to register an offence and as names of accused, witnesses were
not known till than the formal FIR was no prepared at that time. What the High
Court had overlooked is the object of making that entry. As an intimation was
received form an officer in charge of a police post, that fact was noted in the
daily diary. The said entry refers to the writing in Hindi, prepared by
Sub-inspector Dharam Pal on the basis of the statement made by Babu Ram. That
report was also produced and marked Ex. PW-8/A. It appear below the statement
of Babu Ram, which is marked as Ex. PW-3/A. The report contains the names of
the accused and the witnesses and also the substance of the information
received by him. The statement of Babu Ram also contained all those details.
This report was dispatched at 5.00 p.m. as
stated in the report itself.
High Court really misunderstood the D.D. entry No. 16A and overlooked the other
evidence in that behalf. Therefore, its finding based upon such improper
appreciation stands vitiated.
High Court also failed to take into consideration the extracts produced from
the register of malkhana maintained at Patel Nagar Police Station (Ex.
PW-14/A), which also show that by 1.30 a.m. the blood stained cloths of accused
Om Prakash, Lala Ram and Thakur Singh were already deposited in the malkhana.
It is also in evidence that the letter of request written by sub-inspector Dharam
Pal to the C.M.O. Police Hospital for conducting post-mortem on the
dead body of Padam Singh was received in the hospital at night. All these
pieces of evidence clearly establish that all the details regarding the
incident has reached the police station by about 5.30 p.m. We Therefore, hold that there was no delay in recording the
FIR and that it was truly recorded.
if it is believed that the special report, which was sent to the Metropolitan
Magistrate, was received by him on 20.2.1982 at 10.00 a.m. that circumstance in the facts of this case cannot be
regarded as sufficient to create a doubt regarding genuineness of the time and
other details contained in the First Information Report. As stated earlier many
other documents, which had already come into existence b y 1.30 a.m. and
genuineness of which could not have been doubted, contain names of the accused
and description of the weapons with which they had attacked the deceased.
close scrutiny of the evidence of the two eye witnesses, we find that High
Court was not right in discarding their evidence on the ground that their
evidence is not consistent with the medical evidence and that the eye witnesses
had appeared as witnesses in numerous criminal cases. The evidence on record
does not show that they had appeared as witnesses in number of criminal cases
together or separately. What the defence has been able to establish is that
only in one case under Section 324 IPC Babu Ram, Pyare La and Sua Lal were the
witnesses. Pyare Lal and Prabhu Dayal are co-accused in one criminal case. But
that was an election case and the offence was regarding fixing of posters. That
case was filed against as many as 73 persons.
Dayal was a witness in one case filed by the mother of Babu Ram. From this
evidence it was not proper to record a finding that es Babu Ram, Pyare Lal and Prabhu
Dayal were often appearing as witnesses in criminal cases and were supporting
each other. They were residing in the same locality and Babu Ram being a social
worker it was quite natural that he knew some of the eye-witnesses and was
either a co-accused or a co-witness in some court cases.
the cases referred to above Babu Ram, Pyare Lal and Prabhu Dayal did not appear
as witnesses together in any other case. It was, therefore, not proper to
reject their evidence on the ground that they were not reliable witnesses.
also of the view that their evidence ought not to have been discarded on the
ground that the same was inconsistence with the medical evidence. Injury No 8
was on the back of the deceased. No doubt the eye-witnesses have stated that
accuse Om Prakash had caught Padam Singh from behind by putting his hands
around the waist of Padam Singh.
hands of Padam Singh were free as they were above the grip of Om Prakash. That
would indicate that the movement on the part of Padam Singh was possible and
the whole of his back was not covered by the body of Om Prakash. Therefore,
merely because the prosecution witnesses had stated that deceased Padam Singh
was held by Om Prakash from behind it cannot be said that no blow with a knife
could have been given by the other accused on the back of the deceased.
High Court also committed a grave error in doubting the prosecution evidence on
the ground that no independent witnesses were examined. Though the incident had
happened during the day time there is nothing on record to show that other
persons had witnessed the same. Nothing has been brought out in the evidence of
the Investigation Officer on the basis of which it can be said that the
investigation had disclosed that there were other eye witnesses. In absence of
any material it was not at all proper to reject the prosecution evidence on the
ground that independent witnesses from the locality were not examined as eye
find that the High Court has rejected the evidence of the three eye-witnesses
on grounds which are not sustainable the order of acquittal passed by it will
have to be set aside. That is not a case where on appreciation of evidence a
different view has been taken. As pointed out above the findings of the High
Court are based upon incorrect reading of the evidence and grounds which are
not tenable. We, therefore, allow these appeals, set aside the judgment and
order of acquittal passed by the High Court and restore the judgment of the
trial court whereby the accused respondents were convicted under Section 302 read
with Section 34 IPC and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life. As the
accused have been released on bail during the pendency of these appeals, they
are ordered to surrender to custody immediately so as to serve out he remaining
part of their sentence.