Singh Vs. State of Punjab  Insc 558 (19 October 2001)
Lahoti & P. Venkatarama Reddi R.C. Lahoti, J.
Singh and his three sons Kulwant Singh, Gurmit Singh and Mangal Singh were
tried on charges under Sections 302, 326, 324 read with Section 34 and Section
452 IPC. On trial, Ajit Singh and Mangal Singh have been acquitted. Kulwant
Singh was held guilty under Sections 302, 326/34, 324 and 452 IPC and sentenced
to various terms of imprisonment. He has chosen not to file an appeal against his
conviction and sentences passed and, therefore, to that extent, the matter has
achieved a finality. Gurmit Singh, accused- appellant before us, has been held
guilty under Section 302/34, 326, 324 and 452 IPC. He has been sentenced to
life imprisonment with a fine of Rs.1000/-, in default to further undergo R.I.
for six months, under Section 302/34 IPC, to R.I. for three years and pay a
fine of Rs.500/-, in default to further undergo R.I. for a period of three
months, under Section 326 IPC, to R.I. for a period of two years and a fine of
Rs.200/-, in default to further undergo R.I. for one month, under Section 452
IPC, and to R.I. for a period of one year under Section 324 IPC. All the
sentences have been directed to run concurrently.
Singh and Gurmit Singh, both filed a common appeal in the High Court which has
been dismissed. Accused Gurmit Singh alone has filed this appeal by special
leave. Briefly stated, the prosecution case is that on 24.5.1989, Kashmir Singh
and his son Nishan Singh were sitting in their house while Jagir Kaur, wife of
Kashmir Singh and his daughter Veero were cooking chapattis on tandoor. Accused
Kulwant Singh came and stood outside their house.
was objected to by Jagir Kaur who asked Kulwant Singh not to stand in front of
her house. Kulwant Singh went away. After sometime Kulwant Singh armed with a kirpan,
Gurmit Singh armed with a gandasi, Mangal Singh armed with a takua and Ajit
Singh armed with a dang came to the house of Kashmir Singh and entered in the
house. Ajit Singh gave an exhortation that Jagir Kaur had objected to Kulwant
Singh standing in front of the house and so she should be taught a lesson.
Kashmir Singh intervened. On this, accused Kulwant Singh gave a kirpan blow on
the head and neck of Kashmir Singh. Nishan Singh tried to rescue his father on
which Gurmit Singh gave a gandasi blow which hit on his right arm.
Singh accused gave another kirpan blow which hit Nishan Singh on the right side
of his head. Jagir Kaur and Veero raised an alarm shouting Mar Ditta, Mar Ditta
whereupon the accused left the place of occurrence alongwith their weapons.
Kashmir Singh and Nishan Singh were taken to Civil Hospital, Patti wherefrom they were referred
to Amritsar Hospital. A message was given from Amritsar Hospital to the police whereupon S.I. Charan
Singh alongwith other police officials reached the hospital and enquired if
Kashmir Singh was in a position to make any statement. On being opined that the
injured Kashmir Singh was fit to make a statement, S.I. Charan Singh recorded
the statement of Kashmir Singh which was sent to police station on the basis of
which an FIR was registered. Thereafter investigation followed and on being
charge-sheeted, the accused were put up for trial. Kashmir Singh died on
3.6.1989. The factum of his death was brought to the notice of the police
whereupon cognizance under Section 302 IPC was also taken. Post-mortem on the
dead body of Kashmir Singh was performed.
N.K. Aggarwal, PW9 had medically examined Kashmir Singh on 25.5.1989. He was
found to have sustained the following injuries:-
incised wound 6 cms x 1 cm present on the dorsum and lower third of the left
fore-arm 3 cms above the left wrist joint.
on examination. Depth not probed. Semi-lunar in shape.
incised wound 22 cms x 1 cm, semi-lunar in shape, starting from the right side
of neck extending upto the occipital region of the head. Bleeds on examination.
Depth not probed.
the injuries were caused by sharp edged weapon. The duration of the injuries was
opined to be at about 12 hours before the time of examination.
post mortem examination conducted on the dead body of Kashmir Singh by Dr. Jagdish
Gargi on 4.6.1989 at 11
a.m., the abovesaid
two injuries were confirmed. On internal examination it was found that a sub-dural
haematoma was present in the occipital region. Injuries were ante-mortem. Dr. Gargi
opined that the cause of death was intra-cranial haemorrhage leading to
asphyxia as a result of injury no.1 which was sufficient in the ordinary course
of nature to cause death.
N.K. Aggarwal, PW9 also examined Nishan Singh on 25.5.1989 and found the
following injuries on his person:-
incised wound 7 cms x 1 cm present on the medial aspect of the right fore-arm,
in its lower third, 4 cms above the wrist joint bleeds on examination.
Underlying bone is fractured and peeping out through the wound.
incised wound 6 cms x 1 cm on the dorsum of the right hand in between the web
space between the index finger and thumb. Bleeds on examination. Depth not
incised wound 12 cms x 1 cm present on the right parietal region of the head. 8
cms above the right ear. Bleeds on examination. Depth not probed.
the injuries to Nishan Singh were caused by sharp edged weapon.
No.1 was grievous in nature.
25.5.1989, Gurmit Singh reached government hospital at Patti, where he was
examined by Dr. Vinay Kumar Azad, PW11. He was found to have sustained the
following injuries on his person:-
Incised wound 10 cms x 1.5 cms on the antero-lateral aspect of right leg, lower
one third. Skin muscles were incised. Tibia was partially cut of. Soft clotted
blood was present.
Incised wound on left little finger 2 cms x 0.5 cms on terminal phalanx was
partially cut. Soft clotted blood was present on the dorsum aspect.
Incised wound on left ring finger in its middle phalanx. Wound is muscle deep.
Soft clotted blood was present. Wound was 1.5 cms x 0.25 cms on the dorsum
Incised wound on the left middle finger in its terminal phalanx on the dorsum
aspect 1.5 cms x 0.25 cm.
no. 2, 3 and 4 were corresponding to each other.
Incised wound 6 cms x .25 cm on the dorsum aspect of right fore-arm, 3 cms
below the elbow joint. Soft clotted blood was present. Wound was muscle deep only.
Incised wound 5 cms x .25 cm on the dorsum aspect of right forearm in the lower
one third of the forearm. Wound was muscle deep only. Clotted blood was
Reddish contusion 4 cms x 1 cm surrounded by diffused swelling on the right
back elbow joint.
Reddish contusion with diffused swelling on the dorsum of right hand 4 cms x 3 cms.
Nos. 1 and 2 were grievous while other injuries were simple.
duration of the injuries was opined to be six to twenty four hours before the time
of examination. All the injuries were on non- vital part of the body. All the
injuries of Gurmit Singh, except injuries no. 2, 3 and 4, could be caused by a
friendly hand, stated Dr. Vinay Kumar.
side of the accused there is no report of the occurrence lodged with the
police. During his statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C., the accused took a plea
which in his own words translated into english is as under :- I am innocent. I
was falsely involved in this case.
fact Nishan Singh, PW1 altercated with me a day prior to the occurrence when he
was under the influence of liquor. On the day of occurrence I was returning
from my field after work and was having a kassi with me. On seeing me, Nishan
Singh came out of his house armed with a dang and start abusing me. I returned
the abuse and he assaulted me with a dang causing me injuries. I raised alarm. Nishan
Singh appears to be under the influence of liquor and drank. When he gave me
dang blows, I wielded my kassi causing injuries to Nishan Singh. In the
meanwhile Kashmir Singh came with kirpan and started causing me injuries. I was
raising shouts of Mar Ditta, Mar Ditta. My kassi fell on the ground.
Singh came running from the house with a kirpan after hearing an alarm. When he
reached near me, Kashmir Singh was in the process of causing me injuries and I
was defending blows with my arms and hands. In order to defend me Kulwant Singh
caused injuries to Kashmir Singh.
medically examined in the next day. As no vehicle was available during night, I
remained admitted in Patti Hospital. I gave my version before the police but the police was
helping the other side.
similar plea was taken by the accused Kulwant Singh in his statement. The
accused persons did not adduce any evidence in defence. The trial Court and the
High Court have believed the testimony of Nishan Singh, Veero and Jagir Kaur.
The place of the incident is inside the house of the accused persons. All the
three eye witnesses were naturally present there. Nishan Singh, PW1 has himself
sustained injuries in the incident. All the three witnesses are consistent and
corroborate each other in narrating the assault by Kulwant Singh and Gurmit
Singh on the deceased Kashmir Singh and the injured Nishan Singh. We have
independently, with the assistance of the learned amicus appearing for the
appellant, gone through the evidence and we find no reason to take a view
different from the one taken by the High Court and the trial Court, insofar as
reliability of the three witnesses as eye witnesses to the incident is
with the two courts, we uphold the finding that the injuries were caused by Kulwant
Singh and Gurmit Singh appellant in the manner as alleged by the prosecution
and as the role is attributed to them.
pleas were advanced by the learned amicus appearing on behalf of the appellant.
It was submitted that the FIR was lodged belatedly and the injuries on the
person of the appellant Gurmit Singh have not been explained by the
prosecution. The benefit of the two circumstances must be extended to the
accused appellant which in her submission would be enough to demolish the case
for the prosecution.
as delay in lodging the FIR is concerned, we agree with the High Court that
there has been no unexplained delay in lodging the FIR. Immediately on
occurrence the first anxiety on the part of the family members of the deceased
was to take the injured to the hospital for treatment. Then the complainant
party was approached by brother of Ajit Singh for compromise. Jagir Kaur, PW-3
has stated that respectable persons of the village had tried to settle the
dispute and effect compromise between the parties so that the matter was not
reported to police. The compromise failed because the condition of Kashmir
Singh was serious. We have no reason to disbelieve this explanation which has
been also accepted by the Trial Court and the High Court.
Singh did have injuries on his person. The plea taken by him in his statement
under Section 313 Cr.P.C. is that of self- defence. According to him he was
assaulted by Nishan Singh with a dang and in order to save himself he wielded
his kassi which resulted in injuries to Nishan Singh. When he had fallen down
then also Kashmir Singh persisted in causing injuries to him and he was
defending himself. To defend him Kulwant Singh caused injuries to Kashmir
Singh. It was submitted that for failure of prosecution to explain injuries
caused to Gurmit Singh, an adverse inference should be drawn against
prosecution and prosecution case discarded.
law as to failure of prosecution to explain injuries sustained by accused has
been so stated in a recent decision by this Court in 6 SCC 145.
cannot be held as a matter of law or invariably a rule that whenever the
accused sustained an injury in the same occurrence, the prosecution is obliged
to explain the injury and on the failure of the prosecution to do so the
prosecution case should be disbelieved. Before non-explanation of the injuries
on the persons of the accused persons by the prosecution witnesses may affect
the prosecution case, the court has to be satisfied of the existence of two
the injury on the person of the accused was of a serious nature; and
such injuries must have been caused at the time of the occurrence in question.
Non-explanation of injuries assumes greater significance when the evidence
consists of interested or partisan witnesses or where the defence gives a
version which competes in probability with that of the prosecution. Where the
evidence is clear, cogent and creditworthy and where the court can distinguish
the truth from falsehood the mere fact that the injuries on the side of the
accused persons are not explained by the prosecution cannot by itself be a sole
basis to reject the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and consequently the
whole of the prosecution case.
is no material brought on record to hold that the injuries sustained by Gurmit
Singh were so sustained at the same time and place at which Nishan Singh and
Kashmir Singh sustained injuries, that is to say, to hold that the injuries to
both the sides were caused during the course of the same incident. There is no
report of the incident lodged by Gurmit Singh or anyone on the side of the defence.
Investigating Officer has stated that during investigation it did not come to
his knowledge that Gurmit Singh had sustained injuries in the course of the
same incident. The question of investigating the injuries on the person of Gurmit
Singh did not, therefore, arise. Secondly, the injuries caused on the person of
Gurmit Singh are of a minor nature excepting two injuries Injury No.1 and 2.
Even these two injuries (Injury No.1 & 2) are on non-vital parts of the
body. The doctor who examined Gurmit Singh stated that three of his injuries were
corresponding to each other, that is, could have been result of a single blow,
and five of his injuries could be caused by a friendly hand, that is, could be
self-inflicted. Under section 105 of Evidence Act burden of proving that the
act of the accused was protected as being one done in exercise of right of
private defence lay on the accused. It is not necessary for the accused to have
adduced any positive defence evidence to substantiate his plea if the same is
highly probablised by prosecution evidence itself or by other material brought
on record. In the present case excepting the statement of accused himself there
is no other evidence or material available on record to hold the availability
of right of private defence to the accused-appellant and his having caused
injuries to Kashmir Singh and Nishan Singh in exercise of such right. The
prosecution witnesses, were no confronted with the injuries caused to Gurmit
Singh and called upon to explain the same.
totality of these circumstances, we are of the opinion, that no dent is caused
to the prosecution case by the factum of there being injuries on the person of
accused Gurmit Singh.
other hand we find the prosecution case consistent and convincing. The
testimony of Nishan Singh, Jagir Kaur and Veero has been believed by the Trial
Court and by the High Court. We too have found nothing to disbelieve or doubt
their testimony. The place of the incident is inside the house of the victims
where the accused persons had reached armed with weapons. The genesis of the
incident is known. The standing of Kulwant Singh outside their house was
objected by Jagir Kaur and feeling enraged thereby the accused persons came
armed with lethal weapons to teach the lady a lesson.
cogent and reliable evidence coming from the mouth of three eye witnesses, the
two accused were aggressors. They reached and trespassed into the house of
complainant and opened assault. They cannot claim any right of self-defence.
They simultaneously assaulted the victim and in that process caused injuries.
On a hue and cry being raised, they ran away together. Their coming together to
the place of the incident, fleeing away together therefrom, being armed and
simultaneously dealing blows spell out their common intention. No fault can,
therefore, be found with the findings arrived at by the Trial Court and
maintained by the High Court.
appeal is held devoid of any merit and is dismissed.
place on record our appreciation of Ms. Revathy Raghavan, Advocate, the learned
amicus, for her able assistance to the Court.
. . .
. . . .J.
LAHOTI ) . . . . . . .J.