Ganpat Vs. State of
Haryana & Ors.  INSC 779 (27 September 2010)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 279-281 OF 2002
Ganpat .... Appellant(s) Versus State of Haryana & Ors. .... Respondent(s)
P. Sathasivam, J.
appeals are directed against the common judgment and final order dated
01.05.2001 passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh in
Criminal Appeal Nos. 647 and 657 of 2000 and Criminal Revision Petition No. 475
of 2000 whereby the High Court allowed the appeals and acquitted all the eleven
accused persons of the charges framed against them and dismissed the Criminal
Revision filed by the appellant herein.
case of the prosecution is as under:
(a) Four-five days
prior to the date of occurrence i.e. 25.10.1992, there was a dispute between
Mohinder Singh PW- 13, who is the son of Shambhu (the deceased) and Madan Lal
and Sat Pal, the accused, who used to run Kiryana shop in the village, over
payment of price of crackers. But, later on, the dispute was settled between
them with the intervention of villagers and Mohinder Singh paid an amount to
the accused as the price of the crackers.
(b) On 25.10.1992, at
about 9.00 p.m., when Mohinder Singh, after having meals, was going to his
Garhi (outer house), he found eight persons, namely, Sat Pal, Pala Ram, Madan
Lal, Jai Kumar, Ram Prakash, Rajesh, Ram Bhaj and Jai Singh standing there and
they were armed with gandasis and lathis. Sat Pal raised a lalkara that Mohinder
Singh should be taught a lesson for making less payment for crackers and he
gave a gandasi blow on his right leg.
shouted for help and on hearing the same, Ishwar - his brother came there. Pala
Ram gave gandasi blows repeatedly from its reverse side on Ishwar's chin and
jaw and Madan Lal gave two lathi blows on his face and Jai Kumar gave lathi
blows on his hands and chest. On hearing the calls for help, Shambhu-the
deceased came to the spot.
Rajesh and Ram Bhaj,
who were standing in front of the house of Chandan came there with lathis and
Ram Bhaj gave a lathi blow on the head of Shambhu and Rajesh gave a lathi blow
on his legs. In the meantime, Ishwar's wife - Murti Devi also came there and
Naresh and Jai Singh gave lathi blow on Murti Devi.
(PW-12)-the complainant (appellant herein), who was standing at a distance of
10 yards from the place of occurrence, shouted "Naa Maro Naa Maro".
Thereafter, Ganpat brought a tractor from his house with the help of his son
Shri Pal for taking the injured to the hospital. When they were lifting the
injured persons, Mohan Lal gave one gandasi blow on his right arm and Rajesh
gave a lathi blow on the back of his right hand palm and Ram Prakash gave a
lathi blow on his left shoulder. Thereafter, Shri Pal, Chappa and Satta and
other persons came there and rescued them and all the injured persons were
taken to Primary Health Centre, Nissing. Dr. Sanjiv Grover, PW-3 examined the
injured persons. Ishwar and Shambhu were referred to General Hospital, Karnal.
Thereafter, Mohinder Singh and Murti Devi were also referred to the same
hospital. Dr. Sanjiv Grover sent the ruqa to the in-charge, Police Station,
Nissing on 26.10.1992 at 00:10 a.m. but due to inadvertence he mentioned the
time as 12:10 a.m. On receipt of ruqa, ASI Ram Karan - PW-14 went to Primary
Health Centre to inquire about the condition of the injured and came to know
that the injured persons have been referred to General Hospital, Karnal. Then,
on 26.10.1992, at 01:15 p.m., the ASI recorded the statement of Ganpat-the
appellant herein in General Hospital, Karnal and a case was registered and a
formal FIR was recorded at 2:30 p.m. under Sections 148, 149, 323, 324, 325
Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as `IPC'). He could not record the
statement of Shambhu as he was not fit for making statement. After taking the
clothes of the injured persons into possession, he went to the scene of
occurrence and prepared rough site plan and lifted blood stained earth.
Thereafter, the accused
were arrested and the weapons were also recovered.
(d) On 09.11.1992,
Shambhu died and the case was converted to that under Sections 148, 302, 323,
324, 325 read with Section 34 Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as
"IPC"). On 12.03.1993, challan was filed by the police in the Court,
mentioning only the names of four accused out of the 11 accused, whose names
were mentioned in the FIR. On 09.04.1993, Ganpat (PW-12), the appellant herein
filed an application under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code
(hereinafter referred to as "Cr.P.C.") for summoning the other seven
accused. The trial Court, vide order dated 12.05.1993, allowed the application
and summoned the other seven accused persons to face trial along with the four
Vide order dated
22.03.1994, the trial Court ordered for framing of charges against all the 11
accused persons for offences under Sections 148, 302, 325, 324, 323 read with
Section 149 IPC.
(e) The prosecution
examined 15 witnesses. After recording the evidence, the trial Judge convicted
Pala Ram, Sat Pal Madan Lal, Ram Prakash, Rajesh, Ram Bhaj and Jai Kumar for
the offence under Section 148 IPC and sentenced them to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/- each, in default of
payment of fine, each of them was ordered to undergo further rigorous
imprisonment for three months. They were further convicted under Section 302
read with Section 149 IPC and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for
life. They were also convicted under Section 325 read with Section 149 IPC and
were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine
of Rs.1000/- each. In default of payment of fine, each of them was ordered to
undergo further rigorous imprisonment for three months. All of them were
further convicted under Section 324 read with Section 149 IPC and sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months and further they were convicted
under Section 323 read with Section 149 IPC and each of them was sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for four months. Mohan Lal was convicted under
Section 324 IPC and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months,
Naresh, Ramesh Chand and Jai Singh were convicted under Section 323 IPC and
were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four months.
sentences of imprisonment were ordered to run concurrently.
(f) Against the
abovesaid order, Jai Singh, Ramesh, Naresh and Mohan Lal filed Criminal Appeal
No. 647 of 2000 and Pala Ram, Sat Pal, Madan Lal, Ram Prakash, Rajesh, Ram Bhaj
and Jai Kumar filed Criminal Appeal No. 657 of 2000 and Ganpat- the complainant
and the appellant herein filed Criminal Revision Petition No. 475 of 2001
before the High Court of Punjab & Haryana for not holding guilty four of
the eleven accused, namely, Jai Singh, Ramesh, Naresh and Mohan Lal under
Sections 302/149 IPC. Vide judgment dated 01.05.2001, the High Court allowed
the appeals and acquitted all the eleven accused persons and dismissed the
criminal revision petition filed by the appellant herein. Challenging the
judgment of the High Court, the appellant/complainant has preferred these
appeals by way of special leave petitions.
learned counsel for the appellant as well as the respondents.
only point for consideration in these appeals is whether there is any ground
for interference against the order of acquittal by the High Court. This Court
has repeatedly laid down that the first appellate court and the High Court
while dealing with an appeal is entitled and obliged as well to scan through
and if need be re-appreciate the entire evidence and arrive a conclusion one
way or the other.
following principles have to be kept in mind by the appellate court while
dealing with appeals, particularly, against an order of acquittal:
(i) There is no
limitation on the part of the appellate court to review the evidence upon which
the order of acquittal is founded and to come to its own conclusion.
(ii) The appellate
court can also review the trial court's conclusion with respect to both facts
(iii) While dealing
with the appeal preferred by the State, it is the duty of the appellate court
to marshal the entire evidence on record and by giving cogent and adequate
reasons may set aside the judgment of acquittal.
(iv) An order of
acquittal is to be interfered with only when there are "compelling and
substantial reasons" for doing so. If the order is "clearly
unreasonable", it is a compelling reason for interference.
(v) When the trial
court has ignored the evidence or misread the material evidence or has ignored
material documents like dying declaration/report of ballistic experts, etc. the
appellate court is competent to reverse the decision of the trial court depending
on the materials placed. [Vide Madan Lal vs. State of J & K, (1997) 7 SCC
677, Ghurey Lal vs. State of U.P., (2008) 10 SCC 450, Chandra Mohan Tiwari vs.
State of M.P., (1992) 2 SCC 105, Jaswant Singh vs. State of Haryana, (2000) 4
With these principles, let us examine whether interference is required in the
impugned order of the High Court acquitting all the eleven accused. It is not
in dispute that the incident occurred on the night of 25.10.1992. Among several
witnesses examined on the side of the prosecution, material witnesses relied on
by the trial court and the High Court are:
PW-12/complainant/appellant herein, Mohinder Singh PW-13, Investigation Officer
PW-14 and Dr. Sanjiv Grover PW-3, who treated injured witnesses/accused.
the trial court as well as the High Court, the accused took up the plea that
they were innocent and there was danger to their life and the complainant party
was the aggressor. We have already adverted to the relevant fact that there was
dispute between the accused and the complainant party regarding the payment of
price of crackers. A Panchayat was convened and the amount of the price of
crackers was fixed by the Panchayat and still Mohinder Singh was demanding the
price and he himself used force and caused harm to the accused party. We
perused the evidence of PWs 12 and 13. It is true that both of them sustained
injuries in the clash. According to them, the accused had inflicted injuries on
them and blamed them for being the aggressor and having caused the death of
Shambhu and for inflicting injuries to others. A perusal of the oral testimony
of Ganpat PW-12 who was confronted with his statement made before the police
wherein he had not mentioned the names of seven persons who is said to have
participated in the commission of the crime. The only explanation for omission
of those names was that of nervousness. It is useful to refer that the very
same person who made a complaint to the police mentioned all the names of the
accused persons assigned specific role for each one of them.
also verified the statement of Mohinder Singh PW-13 wherein he claimed that
Ganpat PW-12 reached the spot when he and Ishwar had already received the
injuries. This also makes the presence of PW-12 at the spot to be doubtful.
Though PW-13 has
denied the suggestion that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of
occurrence the same was falsified by the version of Dr. Sanjiv Grover PW-3. In
his statement, he has noted that the injured Mohinder Singh was under the
influence of alcohol at the time of first arrival.
is also clear from the evidence of prosecution witnesses as well as the defence
that Satpal A2, Madan Lal A-3, Jai Kumar A-11 also sustained injuries. Among
these persons, A- 2 sustained grievous injuries by the use of ghandasa. There
is no proper explanation by the prosecution about the injuries sustained by the
accused. Further, there is no definite evidence as to the place of occurrence.
It is also relevant to note the statement of accused Satpal A-2 recorded under
Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. After denying several questions, as regard to the
last question about the alleged incident as set out by the prosecution, he
explained before the Addl. Sessions Judge on 15.07.2000. The relevant question
and answer is as follows:- "Q.20. Have you to say anything else? Ans. The
facts of this case are that on the day of occurrence Mohinder PW came at the
house of Jai Kumar in drunken condition and started abusing him. I and Madan
were also present there being his nephew and also on account of Diwali
festival. Jai Kumar and his wife stopped them from abusing and thereafter
Mohinder PW went back and after sometime he came along with Shambu deceased,
Ganpat and Ishwar Singh. Mohinder PW gave a gandasi blow on my head and I fell
down on the ground. Thereafter Jai Kumar and his wife Kitabo Devi came forward
to save me and then all of them started causing injuries to them as well as to
Madan Lal and me. Jai Kumar etc. also caused injuries to the complainant in
their self defence. Initially I, Pala Ram, Madan Lal and Jai Kumar were
challaned and remaining accused were found to be innocent because all the eye
witnesses including the complainant Ganpat and injured witnesses related to
deceased, had stated in their statement under section 161 Cr.P.C. that only
four persons i.e. myself, Pala Ram, Madan and Jai Kumar were responsible for
the death of Shambu and remaining accused were not named by them at all. The
matter was placed before Panchayat also in which the complainant party had
admitted that seven persons have been wrongly named. In fact the complainant
party was aggressor and they entered the house of Jai Kumar and caused injuries
to me, Madan, Jai Kumar and Kitabo Devi."
we consider the above assertion by A-2 and the evidence of PWs 12, 13 as well
as Dr. Sanjiv Grover PW-3 about the injuries sustained by the persons belonging
to the complainant's and accused party, the conclusion of the High Court that
the complainant party was the aggressor cannot be ignored.
is also relevant to note the evidence of I.O. PW-14. His evidence shows that
after the occurrence when he visited the hospital, he noticed not only the
injured witnesses but also the injured accused. He admitted that Madan Lal A-3
and Satpal A-2 have sustained injuries and he also admitted that he had not
recorded their statement as to in what manner they sustained injuries. Though
he answered that they refused to make statement, admittedly he had not taken
any action against them for refusing to make statements.
the analysis of the statement of prosecution witnesses PWs 12, 13, various
details about the injuries sustained by the prosecution witnesses as well as
the accused spoken to by Dr. PW-3, categorical assertion of Satpal A-2 in
respect of question No. 20 under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C., conduct of I.O.
PW-14 in not recording statement of the injured accused who were also present
in the same hospital when he visited to record the statement of injured
complainant party, it is clear that two groups of people clashed inter se with
weapons causing injuries to each other, we hold that the complainant party was
the aggressor and in the absence of definite material and explanation from the
prosecution side, the High Court is right in acquitting all of them.
the light of the above discussion, we find no merit in the appeals. On the
other hand, we are in entire agreement with the conclusion arrived at by the
Consequently, all the
appeals are dismissed.