High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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STATE OF PUNJAB v. SATPAL SINGH. - CRM-MA-67-2005  RD-P&H 106 (11 January 2006)
Present: Dr.U.S.Dhaliwal, Deputy Advocate General, Punjab Mr.J.S.Chahal, Advocate for the respondent.
Amar Dutt, J.
The State of Punjab has filed the present Criminal Misc. seeking leave to appeal against the judgment dated 13.9.2004 passed by the Sessions Judge, Ropar by which respondent Satpal Singh was acquitted of the charge framed against him under Section 302 read with 34 IPC and his co-accused Kuldip Singh @ Keepa, who during the trial had absented himself on 19.4.2001 and was declared a proclaimed offender by the trail Court on 19.2.2002.
Briefly stated, the facts of the prosecution case as brought out in the testimony of its witnesses are that after receipt of a QST from the In- charge, Police Station, Morinda to the effect that one Dalbara Singh had been admitted in the P.G.I., Chandigarh on account of injuries, ASI Ram Sarup went to Chandigarh and sought the opinion of the Doctor in relation to whether the injured was fit to make a statement, to which the Doctor answered in the negative. Thereafter, the Investigating Officer went to the place of occurrence near Samrala Chowk, Morinda and recorded the statement of Surinder Pal Singh, according to whom, at about 7.30 A.M.
on 24.11.1999 he had gone to village Boothgarh to the house of Dalbara singh and from there both these persons after sometime had started for Morinda on their respective scooters. At that time Satpal Singh, appellant had been seen urinating on one side of his house and soon thereafter he came in front of the scooter and started abusing Dalbara Singh and told the complainant about his helping Dalbara Singh. Satpal Singh had also hurled threat against the complainant Surinder Pal Singh. After making Dalbara Singh to understand the situation, both of them left towards Morinda and on the way Dalbara Singh stopped at Dashmesh Filling Station where he narrated the entire episode to the owner of the pump Rajinder Singh. Rajinder Singh had told Dalbara Singh that he would talk with them on the point later on as on that day he was busy with the death anniversary of his father. At about 2.00 P.M., Satpal Singh and the deceased had again met near the office of the Truck Union and there Satpal Singh had informed Dalbara Singh that they were to go to Dashmesh Filling Station. After this Satpal Singh and the deceased started towards the petrol pump, which is situated on the Ludhiana Road on separate scooters. When they reached near old Radha Swami Bhawan, the complainant had gone ahead about 15-20 yards from Dalbara Singh and all of a sudden the complainant heard a noise of bang and on stopping he found that scooter of Satpal Singh had been struck with Truck No.DL-IG/3325. This truck was being driven by Satpal Singh alias Pala son of Karnail Singh and Kuldip Singh @ Keepa was also sitting in the truck. Satpal Singh and Kuldip Singh opened the windows of the truck and started raising lalkaras. Kuldip Singh had also stated that Dalbara Singh had been killed and their work had been finished. The complainant had identified both the accused and had taken his scooter towards the eucalyptus trees. In the meantime, Balbir Singh son of Ujagar Singh brother of Dalbara Singh came there and had witnessed the occurrence.
Then Satpal Singh and Kuldip Singh had run away from the spot towards Ludhiana. The injured was removed to Kakar Hospital, Morinda from where Dalbara Singh had been referred to P.G.I. where he died. The witness having indicated in the First Information Report that Satpal Singh and Kuldip Singh had conspired with one and other to engineer the accident, a photographer was called for. The place of occurrence was photographed. SI Prem Singh, Additional S.H.O., Police Station, Morinda took from the spot blood stained earth and crushed stones and converted the same into a sealed parcel and taken the same into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PF. He also took pieces of glass of head light of scooter and pieces of Raxion of scooter, which were also converted into a sealed parcel and taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex. PG. The scooter bearing registration No.PB-12-C/0211 was also taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PH and case property was deposited with the Moharrir Head Constable. On receipt of information on 25.11.1999 that Dalbara Singh had died, SI Prem Singh had gone to P.G.I., Chandigarh and inspected the dead body of Dalbara Singh and prepared the inquest papers and got the post-mortem examination conducted on the dead body. On completion of the investigation, during the course whereof both Satpal Singh and Kuldip Singh @ Keepa were arrested, a challan was put up in the Court of Illaqa Magistrate against both of them, who committed the case to the Court of Sessions being exclusively triable by it. The Sessions Judge, Ropar had framed the charges under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC to which appellant pleaded not guilty.
On completion of the evidence and after hearing the arguments, the trial Court relied upon the failure of informant Surinder Pal Singh PW 5 to disclose the name of the person, who was driving the truck as well as its number before the Doctor of the P.G.I. on 24.11.1999 and confined the information given to the scooter having been hit by a truck at 2.05 P.M. at Morinda, to discard the version brought out in the FIR, which was recorded after the delay of 8 hours. To strengthen this view, the learned Sessions Judge further referred to the fact that the family of the deceased while filling up the L.I.C. claim too did not make any mention of the truck, which was involved in the accident. It also discarded the recoveries that were alleged to have been made by the police pursuant to the disclosure statement made by the accused of four tyres and came to the conclusion that the case against the respondent was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Dr.U.S.Dhaliwal, learned Deputy Advocate General, Punjab appearing on behalf of the State has not been able to point out any compelling circumstances which would impell us to take a contrary view that the conclusion of the trial Court is perverse and therefore, warrants re- appraisal at our hands.
The witnesses for the prosecution have been trying to improve upon the original version, which was given by them before the Doctor in the P.G.I. In an appeal against acquittal, the scope of interference is very limited. Reliance in this respect can be placed on the judgment of the Apex Court in Allarakha K.Mansuri vs. State of Gujarat, 2002 S.C.C.(Cri.) 519, wherein it was observed as under:-
"Though the High Court has full powers to review the evidence upon which an order of acquittal is based, it will not interfere with an order of acquittal because with the passing of an order of acquittal the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused is reinforced. The High Court should be slow in disturbing the finding of the fact arrived at by the trial court.
The golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice in criminal case is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should be adopted.
The paramount consideration of the court should be to avoid miscarriage of justice. A miscarriage of justice which may arise from the acquittal of guilty is no less than from the conviction of an innocent. In a case where the trial Court has taken a view based upon conjectures and hypothesis and not on the legal evidence, a duty is cast upon the High Court to reappreciate the evidence in acquittal appeal for the purposes of ascertaining as to whether the accused has committed any offence or not. Probable view taken by the trial Court which may not be disturbed in the appeal is such a view which is based upon legal and admissible evidence. Only because the accused has been acquitted by the trial Court, cannot be made a basis to urge that the High Court under all circumstances should not disturb such a finding."
Reliance can also be placed on the observations of the Apex Court in Dwarka Das & Ors. vs. State of Haryana, 2002(4)R.C.R.
(Criminal) 794, wherein it was observed as under:- "While there cannot be any denial of the factum that the power and authority to appraise the evidence in an appeal, either against acquittal or conviction stands out to be very comprehensive and wide, but if two views are reasonably possible, on the state of evidence; one supporting the acquittal and the other indicating conviction, then and in that event, the High Court would not be justified in interfering with an order of acquittal, merely because it feels that it, sitting as a trial Court, would have taken the other view. While reappreciating the evidence, the rule of prudence requires that the High Court should give proper weight and consideration to the views of the trial Judge. But if the judgment of the Session Judge was absolutely perverse, legally erroneous and based on a wrong appreciation of the evidence, then it would be just and proper for the High Court to reverse the judgment of acquittal, recorded by the Session Judge, as otherwise, there would be gross miscarriage of justice so said Patanaik J. in Hariram & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan, 2000(3) R.C.R.(Crl.)414 (SC) : [2000(9)S.C.C.136]."
For the reasons mentioned above, we decline leave to the applicant to appeal against the judgment dated 13.9..2004 passed by learned Sessions Judge, Ropar. Consequently, Criminal Misc. Application is dismissed.
August 19,2005 (Kiran Anand Lall)
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