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Acquittal – one of the accused – Apex court held that While considering the involvement of Satbir Singh in the occurrence, we find some difficulty. The eye witnesses PW4 Rekha and PW5 Sudha have testified Satish @ Shakti gave a gandasa blow on the neck of Bani Singh and thereafter Satbir Singh gave a gandasa blow on the neck of Bani Singh. PW14 Dr. N.K. Chaudhary who conducted autopsy on the body of Bani Singh found a single injury on the neck of Bani Singh. Hence the overt act attributed to Satbir Singh, namely, attack on neck of Bani Singh with gandasa, becomes doubtful and his presence cannot be said to be established and the benefit of doubt has to be given to him. But so far as the other appellants are concerned, the prosecution version is consistent, namely, that they were armed with the lethal weapons and attacked the deceased and others and the conviction and sentences recorded by the Courts below are correct and does not call for any interference. In the result the appeal preferred by the appellant Satbir Singh in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6674 of 2012 is allowed and the conviction and sentences imposed on him is set aside and he is acquitted of the charges. = CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1842 OF 2014 [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6673 of 2012] Balwan & Ors. … Appellant(s) versus State of Haryana … Respondent(s) = 2014 – Aug.Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41844

Acquittal – one of the accused – Apex court held that  While considering the involvement of Satbir Singh in  the  occurrence, we find some difficulty.  -The eye witnesses PW4 Rekha  and  PW5  Sudha  have testified  Satish @ Shakti gave a gandasa blow on the  neck  of  Bani  Singh

and thereafter Satbir Singh gave a gandasa blow on the neck of  Bani  Singh. PW14 Dr. N.K. Chaudhary who conducted autopsy on  the  body  of  Bani  Singh found a single injury on the  neck  of  Bani  Singh.  Hence  the  overt  act attributed to Satbir Singh, namely,  attack  on  neck  of  Bani  Singh  with gandasa, becomes doubtful and his presence cannot be said to be  established and the benefit of doubt has to be given to him.  But so far  as  the  other appellants are concerned, the prosecution  version  is  consistent,  namely, that they were armed with the lethal weapons and attacked the  deceased  and others and the conviction and sentences recorded by  the  Courts  below  are correct and does not call for any interference. In the result the appeal preferred by the  appellant  Satbir  Singh in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6674 of  2012  is  allowed  and  the conviction and sentences imposed on him is set aside and he is acquitted  of

the charges.  =

 It is trite law that the  evidence  of  injured  witness,  being  a  stamped

witness, is accorded a special status in law.  

This is as a  consequence  of

the fact that injury to the witness is an inbuilt guarantee of his  presence

at the scene of the crime and because the witness  would  not  want  to  let

actual assailant go unpunished.

17.   The contradictions and variations in the testimonies of the  aforesaid

witnesses, in our considered view do not go to the root of the case and  the

substratum of the prosecution version remains  undisturbed.   

It  is  to  be

borne in mind that both of them are rustic women and not tutored witnesses.

18.   The occurrence had taken place in the midnight at  1.30  a.m.  leaving

one person dead on the spot and four others injured.  

Two of the  grievously

injured persons were immediately taken to hospital  and  the  remaining  two

remained near the body in the house.  

The distance  between  the  occurrence

place and the police station is about  10  kilometers.   

PW18  Sub-Inspector

Balwan Singh recorded the statement  of  PW4  Rekha  at  9.00  a.m.  in  the

occurrence place and the FIR came to be registered at  10.10  a.m.  and  the

special report was delivered in the Court at about 11.30 a.m.  

In the  facts

of the case, we are unable to appreciate the contention  of  the  appellants

that FIR came into being after deliberation and there is nothing to  suspect

in the prosecution  case.   

The  Investigation  Officer  PW18  Sub-Inspector

Balwan Singh has seized blood stained earth from the  occurrence  place  and

that clinches the situs of the crime.   

The  contention  of  the  appellants

that the occurrence had not taken place  in  the  house  of  Bani  Singh  is

devoid of merit.  In fact, Bani Singh immediately succumbed to the  injuries

and the homicidal death is established by the medical evidence.

19.   There was also motive for the occurrence.  

The appellants  nurtured  a

grudge against the victims on account of murder of  Yudhvir,  son  of  Gugan

Singh, belonging to their party  and  one  of  the  family  members  of  the

complainant side was involved in the said murder and that has culminated  in

the occurrence.

20.   While considering the involvement of Satbir Singh in  the  occurrence,

we find some difficulty.  

The eye witnesses PW4 Rekha  and  PW5  Sudha  have

testified  Satish @ Shakti gave a gandasa blow on the  neck  of  Bani  Singh

and thereafter Satbir Singh gave a gandasa blow on the neck of  Bani  Singh.

PW14 Dr. N.K. Chaudhary who conducted autopsy on  the  body  of  Bani  Singh

found a single injury on the  neck  of  Bani  Singh.  

Hence  the  overt  act

attributed to Satbir Singh, namely,  attack  on  neck  of  Bani  Singh  with

gandasa, becomes doubtful and his presence cannot be said to be  established

and the benefit of doubt has to be given to him.  

But so far  as  the  other

appellants are concerned, the prosecution  version  is  consistent,  namely,

that they were armed with the lethal weapons and attacked the  deceased  and

others and the conviction and sentences recorded by  the  Courts  below  are

correct and does not call for any interference.

21.      In the result the appeal preferred by the  appellant  Satbir  Singh

in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6674 of  2012  is  allowed  and  the

conviction and sentences imposed on him is set aside and he is acquitted  of

the charges.  

The other two appeals in  Special  Leave  Petition  (Criminal)

no.6673 of 2012 and Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6384 of  2012,  are

dismissed.

 

2014 – Aug.Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41844

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1842 OF 2014
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6673 of 2012]

Balwan & Ors. … Appellant(s)

versus

State of Haryana … Respondent(s)

With

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1844 OF 2014
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6384 of 2012)
And

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1843 OF 2014
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6674 of 2012)

J U D G M E N T

C. NAGAPPAN, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. These three appeals are preferred against the common judgment dated
27.01.2012 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in
Criminal Appeal no.486-DB of 2004 and Criminal Appeal no.547-DB of 2004.

3. The appellants herein are six in numbers and were tried along with
others for the charges under Sections 148, 149, 302, 307, 449, 323 and 216
of Indian Penal Code and in addition under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959
against appellant Naresh and the Trial Court found them guilty of the
offence under Section 302 read with Section 149 IPC and sentenced them each
to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay fine of Rs.10,000/- each with
default sentence; further found them guilty for the offence under Section
307 read with Section 149 IPC and sentenced them each to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for 8 years and to pay fine of Rs.5000/- each with default
sentence; further found them guilty for the offence under Section 449 read
with Section 149 IPC and sentenced them each to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for 5 years and to pay fine of Rs.3000/- each with default
sentence; further found them guilty for the offence under Section 148 IPC
and sentenced them each to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years each
and found them guilty for the offence under Section 323 read with Section
149 IPC and sentenced them each to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 9
months. In addition appellant Naresh was found guilty for the offence
under Section 25 of the Arms Act and was sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for 2 years and to pay fine of Rs.2000/- with default
sentence. The Trial Court directed the substantive sentences to run
concurrently. Challenging the conviction and sentence the accused
preferred appeals in Criminal Appeal no.486-DB of 2004 and Criminal Appeal
no.547-DB of 2004 and the High Court allowed the appeal preferred by
accused Subhash and acquitted him of the charges. The appeals preferred by
the other accused were dismissed. Aggrieved by the confirmation of their
conviction and sentence six accused have preferred the present appeals.

4. The prosecution case in brief is stated thus : PW4 Smt. Rekha is the
daughter-in-law of deceased Bani Singh. PW5 Smt. Sudha is the married
daughter of the deceased. Accused Naresh and Naseeb are sons of accused
Dharambir. Accused Satish @ Shakti and accused Satbir are real brothers.
On 26.5.2001 at about 1.30 a.m. PW4 Smt. Rekha and her husband Rishikesh
were sleeping in the upstairs room of their house. Her father-in-law Bani
Singh, her mother-in-law Smt. Phulla and her sister-in-law PW5 Smt. Sudha
were sleeping in the ground floor of the house. At that time accused
persons Dharambir carrying gandasa, Naresh armed with country made pistol,
Satbir, Satish @ Shakti and Dhillu all armed with gandasa, Balwan carrying
jelly, Ram Mehar armed with gandasa and Dhaula armed with darant, all
entered their house after scaling the boundary wall. The
appellants/accused went upstairs and brought PW4 Smt. Rekha and her husband
Rishikesh to the ground floor and exhorted that they should be killed to
take revenge for the murder of Yudhvir. Thereafter, Satish @ Shakti
inflicted a gandasa blow on the neck of Bani Singh, Satbir caused gandasa
blow at the very same place on the neck of Bani Singh, as a result of
which, Bani Singh fell down and Dharambir inflicted gandasa blow on his
right wrist and Dhillu gave gandasa blow which hit him in between his
little and ring finger of the right hand. Dhaula inflicted a darant blow
on the right leg of Rishikesh. Ram Mehar gave two gandasa blows on the
left side of PW4 Smt. Rekha’s back and one gandasa blow on the head of PW5
Smt. Sudha. Naresh fired shots from the pistol which he was carrying.
Balwan gave a jelly blow causing an injury on the right hand of Smt.
Phulla. Hearing the cries raised by the injured persons, Umed Singh and
Ram Kumar rushed to the spot and the appellants/accused ran away with their
weapons. Bani Singh succumbed to the injuries on the spot. The injured
Rishikesh and PW5 Smt. Sudha were taken to the General Hospital, Bhiwani
for treatment.

5. At 9.00 a.m. on the same day, PW18 Sub-Inspector Balwan Singh reached
the occurrence place and recorded Ex.PE the statement of PW4 Smt. Rekha and
the Ex.PR, FIR was registered at 10.10 a.m. on the same day. PW 18 Balwan
Singh conducted inquest and prepared Ex.PCC inquest report. Ex.PHH is the
rough site plan prepared by him. He sent the body of Bani Singh to General
Hospital, Bhiwani for conducting post-mortem.

6. PW14 Dr. N.K. Chaudhary conducted autopsy on the body of Bani Singh
on 26.5.2001 and found the following injuries :

1. An eleptical wound left side of neck starting from midline reaching
up to mastoid process measuring 5.5” x 4” involving the left pinna
partially amputated. The lower lateral lobule of pinna, muscles, carotid
vessels were exposed and there was subcutaneous echymosis present under the
skin, carotid vessels ruptured. Clotted blood present.

2. Incised wound 1 x .5 inch on the right hand at lower one third
laterally placed. Muscle exposed.

3. Incised wound cutting through the centre of little finger and ring
finger at right hand reaching up to middle of palm, Muscle deep fracture of
second metacarpal present.

He expressed opinion that death has occurred on account of shock and
haemorrhage due to injuries to major vessels and nerves.

7. PW8 Dr. Vasundhara Gupta examined Rishikesh on 26.5.2001 at 03.25
a.m. and found following injuries :

1. Lacerated wound of 8 cm x 6 cm over the anterior surface of right leg
middle 1/3rd region. Fresh bleeding was present. Advised x-ray and ortho
surgeon’s opinion.

2. A lacerated wound of 12 x 4 cm over the left side of face extending
from the cheek to left frontal region of scalp. Fresh bleeding was
present. Advised x-ray band surgeon’s opinion.

8. On the same day PW8 Dr. Vasundhara Gupta examined PW5 Smt. Sudha and
found the following injury :

Lacerated wound of 8 cm x 4 cm x 1 cm over the left side of frontal region
of scalp. Swelling was present. Profuse bleeding was present. Advised x-
ray and surgeon’s opinion. The patient was kept under observation and
subjected to x-ray and opinion for nature of injuries. Duration of injury
was within 24 hours. Kind of weapon was to be given after x-ray report.
Copy of MLR is Ex.PM which bears my signature.

9. PW15 Dr. Mahender Kumar examined PW4 Smt. Rekha on 26.5.2001 and
found the following injuries :

1. A lacerated wound triangular shape having 4 cm length of each arm on
left lower back, superficial, redish in colour at the level of L4 and L5.
Advised x-ray lumbar area AP and lateral also opined for General Surgeon’s
opinion. Injury was kept under observation.

2. A lacerated wound present at upper back on the left lateral side
measuring 6 cm x .5 cm x .5 cm and another just above it measuring 3 cm x
.5 cm x .5 cm. Advised x-ray thorasic AP and lateral and opined for
surgeon opinion.

10. PW15 Dr. Mahender Kumar also examined Smt. Phulla and found the
following injuries :

1. Swelling, tenderness the right forearm. Advised x-ray. AP and
lateral and opined for ortho surgeon opinion.

2. Complaint of pain in the left foot.

11. PW18 Sub-Inspector Balwan Singh seized blood stained earth, one khol
of cartridge and one sikka from the occurrence place by preparing a Memo
and recorded the statements of witnesses. He arrested the accused and
recovered the weapons on the information furnished by them in their
disclosure statements. On completion of investigation final report came to
be filed in the case.

12. During the trial the prosecution examined PWs 1 to 27 and marked
documents. The accused persons were examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C. and
their statements were recorded. Thereafter, two witnesses were examined in
defence. The Trial Court acquitted accused Balbir Singh and found the
remaining nine accused guilty. Out of them accused Naseeb was released on
probation since he was found to be a juvenile. The remaining eight accused
were convicted and sentenced as stated earlier.

13. On appeal to the High Court the appeal preferred by accused Subhash
was allowed and he was acquitted of the charges and at the same time, the
appeals preferred by the other appellants/accused were dismissed.
Challenging their conviction and sentence six accused have preferred the
present appeals.

14. Shri Sushil Kumar, learned senior counsel appearing for the
appellants, contended that there was inordinate delay in registering the
FIR and it has come into existence after due deliberations to falsely
implicate the appellants and the prosecution case should be discarded. He
also contended that as per the testimonies of the eye witnesses accused
Satish @ Shakti and Satbir Singh gave individual gandasa blows on the neck
of Bani Singh, whereas the post-mortem doctor has noticed single injury
only on the neck of Bani Singh and hence the overt act attributed to Satbir
Singh is doubtful and his presence itself is not established. It is his
further contention that out of four persons alleged to have been injured
during the occurrence, two alone were examined as witnesses and the non-
examination of other two injured witnesses affects the prosecution case and
makes it doubtful. Lastly, he contended that the occurrence had not taken
place inside the house of Bani Singh and the appellants are falsely
implicated due to party faction in the village.

15. Per contra, Shri Manjit Singh, learned Additional Advocate General
appearing for the respondent-State, contended that it is midnight
occurrence and the parties are known to each other, being residents of the
same village and PW4 Rekha and PW5 Sudha have not only witnessed the
occurrence but sustained injuries in the attack made by the assailants on
them and their testimonies have rightly been relied upon and after the
occurrence immediate attention was given to take the injured to the
hospital and thereafter the police were informed and it cannot be said that
there was undue delay in this regard and the conviction and sentences
imposed on the appellants are sustainable.

16. The prosecution case is based on the ocular testimony of PW4 Rekha
and PW5 Sudha. They are the daughter-in-law and daughter, respectively, of
deceased Bani Singh. They have categorically testified about the brutal
attack made by the appellants on victims by describing their overt acts
during the occurrence. Both of them in their statements recorded during
the investigation, as well as, in their testimonies have stated that
electricity lights were on in the house, at the time of occurrence. Their
presence in the house cannot be doubted and they had no difficulty in
identifying the assailants. Both of them sustained injuries and the
grievously injured PW5 Sudha was admitted in the hospital at 3.25 a.m.
itself. The medical evidence is available on record. Rishikesh and Smt.
Phulla were also injured during the occurrence but were not examined. The
testimonies of injured witnesses PW4 Rekha and PW5 Sudha are natural,
cogent and trustworthy and non-examination of the other two injured
witnesses does not, in any way, affect the prosecution case. In a similar
fact situation this Court in the decision in Mano Dutt vs. State of U.P.
(2012) 4 SCC 79, held thus :

“29. As per PW5, Dr. Surya Bhan Singh, he had examined Salik Ram Yadav as
well as Nankoo on 22.10.1977 itself and noticed as many as five injuries on
Salik Ram and four injuries upon the person of Nankoo. He stated that the
deceased was the son of Nankoo, while Salik Ram was his brother. These
injuries were suffered by them from a blunt object.

30. Salik Ram was examined as PW2 and his statement is cogent, coherent,
reliable and fully supports the case of the prosecution. However, the
other injured witness, Nankoo, was not examined. In our view non-
examination of Nankoo, to which the accused raised the objection, would not
materially affect the case of the prosecution. Normally, an injured
witness would enjoy greater credibility because he is the sufferer himself
and thus, there will be no occasion for such a person to state an incorrect
version of the occurrence, or to involve anybody falsely and in the bargain
protect the real culprit.”……………….

It is trite law that the evidence of injured witness, being a stamped
witness, is accorded a special status in law. This is as a consequence of
the fact that injury to the witness is an inbuilt guarantee of his presence
at the scene of the crime and because the witness would not want to let
actual assailant go unpunished.

17. The contradictions and variations in the testimonies of the aforesaid
witnesses, in our considered view do not go to the root of the case and the
substratum of the prosecution version remains undisturbed. It is to be
borne in mind that both of them are rustic women and not tutored witnesses.

18. The occurrence had taken place in the midnight at 1.30 a.m. leaving
one person dead on the spot and four others injured. Two of the grievously
injured persons were immediately taken to hospital and the remaining two
remained near the body in the house. The distance between the occurrence
place and the police station is about 10 kilometers. PW18 Sub-Inspector
Balwan Singh recorded the statement of PW4 Rekha at 9.00 a.m. in the
occurrence place and the FIR came to be registered at 10.10 a.m. and the
special report was delivered in the Court at about 11.30 a.m. In the facts
of the case, we are unable to appreciate the contention of the appellants
that FIR came into being after deliberation and there is nothing to suspect
in the prosecution case. The Investigation Officer PW18 Sub-Inspector
Balwan Singh has seized blood stained earth from the occurrence place and
that clinches the situs of the crime. The contention of the appellants
that the occurrence had not taken place in the house of Bani Singh is
devoid of merit. In fact, Bani Singh immediately succumbed to the injuries
and the homicidal death is established by the medical evidence.

19. There was also motive for the occurrence. The appellants nurtured a
grudge against the victims on account of murder of Yudhvir, son of Gugan
Singh, belonging to their party and one of the family members of the
complainant side was involved in the said murder and that has culminated in
the occurrence.

20. While considering the involvement of Satbir Singh in the occurrence,
we find some difficulty. The eye witnesses PW4 Rekha and PW5 Sudha have
testified Satish @ Shakti gave a gandasa blow on the neck of Bani Singh
and thereafter Satbir Singh gave a gandasa blow on the neck of Bani Singh.
PW14 Dr. N.K. Chaudhary who conducted autopsy on the body of Bani Singh
found a single injury on the neck of Bani Singh. Hence the overt act
attributed to Satbir Singh, namely, attack on neck of Bani Singh with
gandasa, becomes doubtful and his presence cannot be said to be established
and the benefit of doubt has to be given to him. But so far as the other
appellants are concerned, the prosecution version is consistent, namely,
that they were armed with the lethal weapons and attacked the deceased and
others and the conviction and sentences recorded by the Courts below are
correct and does not call for any interference.

21. In the result the appeal preferred by the appellant Satbir Singh
in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6674 of 2012 is allowed and the
conviction and sentences imposed on him is set aside and he is acquitted of
the charges. The other two appeals in Special Leave Petition (Criminal)
no.6673 of 2012 and Special Leave Petition (Criminal) no.6384 of 2012, are
dismissed.

…….……………………J.
(T.S. Thakur)

.…………………………J.
(C. Nagappan)

……..……………………J.
(Adarsh Kumar Goel)

New Delhi;
August 26, 2014.

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