State of Punjab Vs.
Gurdev Singh & Ors.  INSC 1771 (17 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs.349-350 OF 2002
State of Punjab ....Appellant Versus Gurdev Singh & Ors. ....Respondents
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in these appeals is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Punjab and
Haryana High Court directing acquittal of the respondents.
It is to be noted
that four out of six respondents were found guilty of offence punishable under
Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the
`IPC') and sentence of imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.500/- with default
stipulation. It was awarded by learned Additional Sessions Judge, Sangrur.
version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
Gursewak Singh on
24.5.1994 reported to the police that he is the resident of village Gurdaspura
and they are five brothers and he is eldest to all. Bhupinder Singh
(hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') is younger to him and Raj Kanwar
Singh is younger to Bhupinder Singh and Chitranjan Singh is youngest to all.
Being the eldest to all brothers, the complainant is the head of the family and
is responsible for looking after the entire land belonging to them, situated in
village Gurdaspura. They took possession of 400 Bighas of land at village
Gurdaspura through the orders of the Court on 22.3.1994. The said land was
previously being cultivated by Mewa Singh son of Geja Singh adopted son of
Keeru Singh, now resident of village Kalaudi and by others. On 23.5.1994, he
along with his brother Raj Kanwar Singh were going towards their village in
Maruti Car bearing registration No .PB 138/5659, whereas his brother Bhupinder
Singh was also going towards village Gurdaspura after doing his domestic work
on his scooter No.Hl A-870. Bhupinder Singh was going ahead of the complainant,
while he and Raj Kanwar Singh were following Bhupinder Singh on the car.
When they reached
near the passage going towards village Nai Wala, within the area of village
Khurana, at about 2.00 p.m. a Jeep bearing registration No.PYG351 came from the
side of Sangrur, which was being driven by accused Mewa Singh son of Geja
Singh. Accused Mewa Singh overtook the Car of the complainant and knowingly hit
the scooter of Bhupinder Singh with an intention to kill him, as a result of
which Bhupinder Singh fell down on the road and then accused Mewa Singh stopped
his jeep. Accused Mewa Singh had a rod in his hand. Accused Geja Singh son of
Kartar Singh Jat, Resident of Village Kalaudi was armed with rod and accused
Gurdev Singh son of Geja Singh was armed with hockey stick, accused Ram Singh
son of Surjit Singh was armed with hockey stick, Jagtar Singh accused son of
Chhaju Singh Ghumar, resident of Gurdaspura was armed with soti and accused
Gurmit Singh alias Gala, son of Bachan Singh, Ghumar resident of Gurdaspura was
armed with rod. They got down from the jeep and at once started causing
injuries to Bhupinder Singh. Accused Mewa Singh gave Rod blow on the head of
Bhupinder Singh. Accused Geja Singh also gave Rod blow on the forehead of
Bhupinder Singh. Thereafter, accused Gurdev Singh gave hockey stick blow to
Bhupinder Singh, which hit on his chin.
Accused Ram Singh
then gave Hockey stick blow which hit on the nose of Bhupinder Singh.
Thereafter accused Jagtar Singh gave soti blow to Bhupinder Singh, which hit on
the right side of his temple and then accused Gurmal Singh alias Gela,
abovesaid, gave Rod blow, which hit in the left side of chest of Bhupinder
Singh. Accused Geja Singh, raised Lalkara that Bhupinder Singh should not be
left alive and he be killed and be taught a lesson. Thereafter all the accused
again caused injuries to Bhupinder Singh with their respective weapons, which
hit him on his legs, arms, hands, chest, abdomen also on the abdomen, the
complainant and his brother Raj Kanwar Singh raised alarm, which attracted
Charanpal Singh son of Har Narain, resident of village Nai wala and he also
raised alarm "NA MARO NA MARO". On this all the accused ran away from
the spot with their respective weapons towards Bhawani Garh side in their jeep.
Being afraid the complainant and his brother Raj Kanwar Singh stood at a
distance and watched the occurrence. Due to the injuries received by Bhupinder
Singh, he became unconscious and he was taken to Civil Hospital, Sangrur by the
complainant and his brother Raj Kanwar Singh and Charan Pal Singh in the car of
the complainant for treatment, but due to his serious condition, Bhupinder Singh
was referred to Rajindera Hospital, Patiala, but he was taken to D.M.C.
Ludhiana for better treatment by the complainant and his brother Raj Kanwar
Singh and Charan Pal Singh. They stayed to D.M.C. Ludhiana as the condition of
Bhupinder Singh was very serious and they were to look after him. On 24.5.1994
the complainant was going to give information to the police when S.I. Ashok
Mohan, S.M.O of Police Station, Sadar Sangrur met him and he got recorded his
aforesaid statement. Further stated by the complainant that in this connection
security proceedings are also pending in the Court of S.D.M. Sangrur. The
motive behind the occurrence is that the complainant party had taken possession
of their land from the accused in pursuance to the orders of the Court in
village Gurdaspura on 22.2.1994. After recording the above statement (Ex. PE)
of complainant Gursewak Singh, S.I. Ashok Mohan made his endorsement (Ex. PE/1)
and sent the same to the Police Station through Om Parkash, on the basis of
which formed F.I.R. (Ex. PE/2) was registered by MMC Swaran Singh under
Sections 307/323/148/149 IPC. Thereafter, S.I. Ashok Mohan along with the
complainant went to the place of occurrence, inspected the spot and prepared
rough site plan (Ex.PJ) with correct marginal notes. From the place of
occurrence, scooter bearing registration number HI A-870 with madguard having
dents and broken back lights, was taken into possession through recovery memo
(Ex. PF), which was attested by ASI Lachhman Dass(P29) and Gursewak Singh (PW6).
Thereafter, the Investigating officer went to C.M.L. Ludhiana, where the
injured was declared unfit to make statement. On this, the investigating
officer recorded the statement of Raj Kanwar Singh (PW6). He requested for
opinion of the Doctor vide his application (Ex. PW12). On 25.5.1994, another
application (Ex. PW12/B) was given before the doctor and the Doctor declared
injured Bhupinder Singh unfit to make statement. On 5.6.1994 accused Geja
Singh, Mewa Singh, Gurmal Singh and Jagtar Singh were arrested in the area of
village Kalwarh Kalan when they were going in Jeep No.HYG-351. The personal
search memo (Ex. PW9) was prepared and two rods were recovered from the jeep.
The said jeep along with its registration certificate and the rods (Ex.P1 and
P2) were taken into possession through recovery memo (Ex. PW9/A) attested by
the aforesaid PWs. Statements of the recovery witnesses were recorded by the
Further, the case of
the prosecution is that Bhupinder Singh died in C.M.C Ludhiana, on 17.7.1994.
ASI Kulwant Singh went to C.M.C. Ludhiana and prepared inquest report (Ex. PG)
and the offence was changed to under Sections 302/148/149 I.P.C. The dead body
of Bhupinder Singh was postmortemed in Civil Hospital, Sangrur.
Statements of P.W.s were
recorded. Rough site plan was prepared.
Accused Gurdev Singh,
Sh. Ram Singh surrendered themselves in the Court of Shri S.M.S. Mahial, Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur on 18.8.1994 and they were formally arrested by
ASI Kulwant Singh. After completion of the investigation and other formalities,
the report u/s 173 Cr.P.C. was prepared by S.I. Ranjit Singh on 21.8.1994 and
was submitted in the Court on 1.9.1994.
Since the trial court
had accepted the prosecution version and had convicted the accused persons,
appeals were filed by them before the High Court. Primary stand before the High
Court was that the evidence on record does not show that the deceased lost his
life on account of any homicidal attack, on the contrary the evidence on record
clearly establish that he died as a result of vehicular accident. The High
Court found the defence version to be acceptable and directed acquittal.
support of the appeal learned counsel for the appellant-State submitted that
the High Court has attached unnecessary importance to certain notings made in
the medical record at the time of admission of the deceased. It is stated that
the medical opinion did not rule out homicidal attack.
counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that the deceased lost
his life after about 55 days of the alleged occurrence on account of
Septicemia. It is pointed out that the High Court has referred to the evidence
on record and found that the prosecution has tried to project a death on
account of vehicular accident to be homicidal death. It is to be noted that the
High Court took note of several factors which have considerable significance.
Firstly it was noted that there was delayed lodging of the First information
report. PW 5 who is an advocate even did not choose to make a statement either
to the police or to the medical officer about the alleged homicidal attacks. He
actually appeared on the scene very late and tried to change the factual
Kunwar Singh PW 8 stated that about 15 to 20 injuries were inflicted by each of
the accused persons on the person of the deceased. The High Court found it to
be totally out of context and unusual conduct of PWs 5&8 was also
was pointed out that the accused persons and the deceased PWs. 5&6 were in
inimical terms and some of the litigation have been travelled upto this Court.
background facts highlighted by the defence to indicate false implication on
the background facts was accepted by the High Court. It is to be noted that one
of the factors was the following entry:
"In the entry in
the Medico Legal Report Ex.PW6/A, it is mentioned that it was a road side
accident case when the deceased was taken to the hospital first of all. So
according to the learned counsel for the appellants, the occurrence right from
the beginning was described as a case of accident. He has read over the portion
of the bed head ticket Ex.PD which is reproduced hereunder:
"40 years old
male came with closed head injury, blunt trauma chest and abdomen following RTA
at about 2.30 PM near Sangrur. Details of accident not known but he was going
on a scooter.
He was taken to Civil
hospital, Sangrur by labourers from where he is referred here."
Investigating Officer (PW 12) clearly stated that he did not find any blood on
the scene of occurrence and also found no sign of the homicidal attack as
projected. Even the scooter number was wrongly mentioned. The High Court
further noticed that the scene of occurrence was shifted. With reference to the
evidence on record the High Court concluded that this was a case where injuries
were received in a motor accident and it was given the colour of homicidal
death. The High Court has analysed the evidence and, as noted above, came to
the conclusion that the prosecution has tried to make a vehicular accident's
case into a case of homicidal death.
highlighted by the High Court are germane and relevant. That being so we find
no scope for interference in these appeals, which are accordingly dismissed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
(Dr. MUKUNDAKAM SHARMA)