High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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State of Punjab v. Pargat Singh - CRA-D-633-DBA-1996  RD-P&H 11161 (23 November 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA, CHANDIGARH.
Crl.Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996
Date of Decision: 13.11.2006
State of Punjab ..Appellant
Pargat Singh ..Respondent
CORAM:- HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE VINEY MITTAL
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE H.S.BHALLA
Present:- Mr. S.S.Brar, Additional Advocate General, Punjab for the appellant.
None for the respondent.
This appeal is directed against the judgment dated 19.10.1995 passed by Sessions Judge, Amritsar, vide which he acquitted accused-respondent Pargat Singh of the charge framed under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
The prosecution story, as unfolded by Joginder Singh (complainant) before Puran Singh, Inspector/Station House Officer, Police Station Jhabal, who along with other police officials was present at S. P.O.
Post Jeobala on 19.4.1994 at 5.50 A.M. in connection with checking, is that he is the resident of village Jeobala and employed as a Helper at Sub Tehsil Jhabal. He comes back daily to his house after discharging his duties. His brother Sucha Singh also resides in the same house. His brother Sucha Singh ( since deceased ) was a truck driver in Mumbai. He had come to the village about a month earlier to the present occurrence, which took place on 19.4.1994. The children of the family of Joginder Singh were suffering from Measles and on that account, they wake up early in the morning for the purpose of visiting the temple to pay obeisance before the Goddess "Mata Rani". Joginder Singh (complainant) along his two Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 2
sons, namely, Nishan Singh and Kuldip Singh went to the fields to answer the call of nature and returned to their home. The electric bulbs were on in the courtyard of their house and also in front of the house of Sucha Singh.
Sucha Singh was sleeping in the courtyard of his house. On 19.4.1994 at about 4.30 A.M. , Pargat Singh alias Pagga son of Mukhtiar Singh, caste Jat, resident of Jandiala, who was armed with a spade, came there and he inflicted two blows of the spade on the left side of the face and head of Sucha Singh, while he was sleeping. On raising their noise, "Mar Ditta, Mar Ditta,", Pargat Singh @ Pagga left the house, leaving the spade at the spot. They went near Sucha Singh and found him dead. The motive behind the crime was that Pargat Singh @ Pagga had illicit relations with Surjit Kaur, the wife of Sucha Singh and on this account, there was an altercation between the accused and Sucha Singh (deceased). Pargat Singh had killed Sucha Singh. The matter was reported to the police and after completion of investigation, the accused was challaned for having committed the offence.
Accused was charge sheeted under Sections 302 and 450 of the Indian penal Code vide order dated 14.9.1994 passed by the then Sessions Judge, Amritsar, to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed a trial.
The prosecution, in order to prove its case, examined nine witnesses and closed the prosecution evidence.
In his statement recorded under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the accused denied the allegations of the prosecution and pleaded that he is innocent.
After analysing the evidence on the record and after hearing both the parties, the Sessions Judge acquitted the accused of the charges framed against him. Feeling aggrieved against the judgment, the State of Punjab has preferred the present appeal.
Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 3
We have heard the learned counsel appearing for the appellant-State and have also gone through the record of the trial court carefully.
Learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the State of Punjab has assailed the judgment of acquittal dated 14.9.1994 passed by the then Sessions Judge, Patiala, on three counts. Firstly, the prosecution case is fully supported by the testimony of Joginder Singh (PW-6) and Nishan Singh (PW-7), the two eye witnesses, who were present at the scene of the occurrence when Pargat Singh inflicted two blows of the spade (kahi) on the left side of the face and head of Sucha Singh resulting in his death, but the learned Sessions Judge did not believe their depositions by observing that they were found discrepant on material particulars. Secondly, the injuries inflicted by the accused on the left side of the face and head of the deceased are fully corroborated by medical evidence, but strangely enough, they were not taken into consideration by the learned trial Judge. Thirdly, there was promptness in lodging the First information Report by the complainant, but this aspect of the matter was also not taken into consideration by the learned trial Judge and as such, the judgment passed by the learned Sessions Judge is liable to be set aside as the prosecution case stands fully proved beyond reasonable doubt and the accused was liable to be convicted and sentenced under sections 302 and 450 of the Indian Penal Code.
We have considered the submissions of the learned Additional Advocate General and for the reasons to be recorded by us hereinafter, we find that no interference is called for and there is nothing to be set right.
At the very outset, we would like to observe that it is well settled law that order of acquittal can be interfered with only if there is an absolute assurance of the guilt of the accused upon the evidence on record and the High Court would not be justified in interfering with the order of Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 4
acquittal unless the same is found to be perverse and the order of acquittal can be set aside if the view taken by the trial Court is perverse. We would also like to observe that if an over-all appreciation of evidence available on record, two views are possible and when on appreciation of evidence, a particular view has been preferred by the learned Sessions Judge and when the findings cannot be said to be perverse merely because another view is possible, the High Court would not be justified in interfering with the acquittal order recorded by the learned trial Judge. The entire case of the prosecution has to be scrutinised in the light of evidence available on record and keeping in view the observations made above.
After having gone through the record, it is crystal clear that the FIR in this case has been lodged after a great delay and it is proved on the record that an attempt has been made by the complainant party at all stages to cover up the delay with a view to make it appear as if it was a prompt version of the entire episode. The record spells out that the occurrence took place on 19.4.1994 at 4.30 A.M. in village Jeobala. Matter was reported to the Police Station Jhabal at 6.15 A.M., the same day. FIR was recorded on 19.4.2004 at 6.45 A.M. Special Report was received by Judicial Magistrate I Class on 19.4.1994 at 11.00 A.M. The distance of the place of occurrence, i.e., village Jeobala from the Police Station Jhabal, as mentioned in Ex. PW-6/C, is only 7 Kms. The distance of Taran Taran from the Police Station Jhabal is admittedly about 15 Kms. It has also come in the testimony of Joginder Singh (PW-6) that there is a Police Post at Jeobala, which is at a distance of two or three killas from the house of the complainant Joginder Singh. All this clearly shows that had the FIR been recorded at 6.45 A.M. on 19.4.1994, it must have reached the Judicial Magistrate less than one hour, whereas the endorsement of the Magistrate shows that it received at 11.00 A.M. on 19.4.1994. In such like circumstances, it can easily be inferred that the FIR was not recorded at Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 5
6.45 A.M. as alleged. I do not find any error or irregularity in the finding recorded by the learned Sessions Judge by observing this aspect of the matter that the statement of the complainant and subsequent FIR were not written at the time mentioned therein and thus, these were recorded after day break, after due consultations and confabulations. No explanation has come forward regarding the delay of lodging the FIR and then sending the special report, as per the prosecution, to the Ilaqa Magistrate after a delay of more than four hours.
One of the essential requisites to ensure a fair trial is that the First Information Report in respect of a cognizable offence should be lodged as soon as possible and then sent to the Ilaqa Magistrate without any delay. Where the sending of special report is delayed, it not only gets bereft of its spontaneity, danger also creeps in of the introduction of the coloured version, thought out stories and twists to actual facts. The interested parties can then be sounded and some of them shown as false witnesses. Likewise, some innocent persons can be roped in and named culprits as a result of much thought, consultation and discussion. To avoid these dangers, the Courts have always insisted upon the prompt lodging of the report to the police. In murder cases because of the enormity of the stakes involved certain additional safeguards are provided to ensure that the version of the occurrence is disclosed as soon as possible thereafter and then a safeguard have again been provided under the law so that the Investigating Agency may not change the scene of occurrence and other facts. In murder cases a copy of the FIR is to be sent to the Ilaqa Magistrate immediately after the report is made. We find that there is a delay in lodging the FIR with the police and then there is delay of more than four hours in sending the special report to the Ilaqa Magistrate and the prosecution has miserably failed to explain this delay.
In view of the circumstances narrated above and the well Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 6
settled law, we are of the opinion that if there is a delay in registering the First Information Report or in sending the First Information Report forthwith to the Ilaqa Magistrate or not sent at all, then it leads to a suspicion that the First Information Report was prepared subsequently to fit in with the case which the prosecution wants to make out. The First Information Report serves only the purpose of the contracting or supporting its author or to show his conduct. That object will be defeated if it is embellished and prepared subsequently. Its prompt despatch to the Magistrate ensures that it cannot be manipulated after it has landed in the hands of Magistrate.
Delay in lodging the First Information Report or in sending to the Magistrate may cast a doubt on its pristine purity or that it is a false document. If it is a fabricated, then the defence is deprived of a valuable and genuine document to the testimony of its author. It may further show that the investigation has not been fair and was not carried out in accordance with the provisions of the law. Now reverting back to the facts of the case in hand, no explanation has been put forward as to why there was a delay in lodging the First Information Report and sending it to the Ilaqa Magistrate creating a doubt in the mind of the Court as to the credentiality of the prosecution version.
Now we would like to examine the case of the prosecution from another angle. It is the case of the defence before the learned trial Court that the presence of Joginder Singh complainant (PW-6) and Nishan Singh (PW-7) the son of the complainant at the time of occurrence was doubtful, which fact clearly falsifies from the prosecution version itself that the family of the complainant had got up early in the morning on 19.4.1994 inasmuch as they have to pay obeisance in the temple before the goddess "Mata Rani" and when they returned to their home at 4.30 A.M., after answering the call of nature, they saw accused respondent Pargat Singh holding a kahi (spade) in his hand, inflicting two or three blows on Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 7
the left hand side of the face and head of deceased Sucha Singh, while he was sleeping in the courtyard of his house, where an electric bulb was on, and then leaving the spade at the spot, but they did not try to catch hold of him at the spot. It is difficult to believe this version of the prosecution that complainant Joginder Singh along with his two well grown up sons did not intervene and try to save the life of Sucha Singh, who was the real brother of the complainant, especially when they were having a licensed gun with them, but in spite of that, they allowed the accused in fleeing from the spot without any intervention from their side, creating a suspicion in the mind of the court. Another factor which will add to the coffin of the prosecution version is that the Investigating Officer did not refer the existence of the Kahi (spade) in any of the column of the Inquest report prepared by him.
He also did not record the statement of Surjit Kaur wife of Sucha Singh (deceased) and mother of the deceased, who were present at the spot and were living with the deceased with him, which fact has been established in the testimony of Joginder Singh (PW-6) and Nishan Singh (PW-7). The best evidence was withheld by the prosecution by not recording or citing Surijit Kaur, wife of the deceased and his children as witnesses to the occurrence, especially when they were present at the spot, which casts a dent on the prosecution version. It was also the duty of the Investigating Officer to go deep into the motive part and to investigate the same by recording independent witnesses. In such like circumstances, we hold that the investigation in the present case has not been conducted fairly and an attempt has been made to suppress the real circumstances. The motive part also does not seem to be proved strongly enough especially when the age of the deceased's wife is stated to be 60 years with whom the prosecution alleges that the accused respondent was having illicit relations with her. In such like circumstances, the case of the prosecution to connect the accused with the crime does not prove beyond reasonable doubt.
Criminal Appeal No. 633-DBA of 1996 8
After analysing the testimony of Dr. Tejwant Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Taran Taran, who conducted the post mortem examination on the dead body of Sucha Singh at 3.45 P.M. on 19.4.1994, we have come to the conclusion that the case of the prosecution does not find corroboration from medical evidence, inasmuch as the doctor has deposed that injuries No. 1 to 3 could not be caused with Kahi, Ex. P-1, as the shape of the blade was somewhat denated, creating a suspicion in the mind of the court. He furnished his explanation that if there had been no dent, the injuries would be caused with Kahi. This statement of the doctor further finds support to the plea of the defence that the weapon of offence alleged to have been recovered at the spot has also been implanted on the accused-respondent with a view to give strength to the case of the prosecution.
The above discussion would show that the false witnesses to the occurrence had been introduced to the case and there was an attempt to implicate innocent person in the case. When the investigation is found to be tainted, the whole of the prosecution case becomes open to serious doubt and challenges. The learned Sessions Judge has rightly appreciated the evidence available on the record and acquitted the accused respondent of the charges framed against him giving him the benefit of doubt and as such, we find no ground to interfere with the same in any manner. In the final analysis, we find no merit in the instant appeal and the same, being devoid of any merit, is dismissed.
( H.S.BHALLA )
( VINEY MITTAL )
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