High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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RAJ SINGH & Ors v. STATE OF HARYANA - CRA-D-234-2003  RD-P&H 80 (10 January 2006)
Criminal Appeal No.234-DB of 2003
Date of decision: 19.12.2005
1.Raj Singh and others ..Appellants
State of Haryana ...Respondent
Criminal Revision No.1408 of 2003
2.Ramesh Kumar Malik ...Petitioner
Hukam Singh ...Respondent
Criminal Revision No.1409 of 2003
3. Ramesh Kumar Malik ....Petitioner Versus
Raj Singh and others ....Respondents
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE AMAR DUTT
HON'BLE MS.JUSTICE KIRAN ANAND LALL
Present: Mr.R.S.Cheema, Senior Advocate assisted by Mr.M.J.S.Waraich and Ms.Tanu Bedi, Advocates for the appellants Mr.B.S.Rana, Senior Deputy Advocate General, Haryana Mr.K.K.Aggarwal, Senior Advocate assisted by Mr.Kapil Aggarwal, Advocate and
Mr.V.K.Jain, Senior Advocate assisted by Ms.Divya Sharma, Advocate for the complainant.
Amar Dutt, J.
Raj Singh and five others have filed Criminal Appeal No.234-DB of 2003 to challenge the conviction and sentence recorded against them under Sections 498-A and 304-B, IPC read with Section 34, IPC vide judgment dated 22/24.2.2003 by the ****
Additional Sessions Judge (Adhoc) Fast Track Court, Sonepat, while Criminal Revision Nos.1408 and 1409 of 2003 have been filed by Ramesh Kumar Malik complainant to challenge the aforesaid judgment .
The circumstances in which two sisters, namely, Babita and Pinki were married to Rakesh and Jitender sons of Raj Singh need not be detailed by us at this stage because after taking us through the trial Court record, the learned counsel for the appellants had pointed out that there were substantial variations between the English version and the vernacular record, which forced us to pass the following order on 1.9.2005:- "During the course of arguments, it has come to our notice that there are substantial variations in the Devnagari record and English version thereof of the Trial Court in relation to statements of PW3, PW4 and PW6. It is also not disputed that the language of the Court in Hindi region is Devnagari script and in the Punjabi region is Gurmukhi script. Since the case admittedly belongs to area situated in the Hindi region, it would be but appropriate to require the Translators attached to this Court to translate the Devnagari version of the statements of PW3, PW4 and PW6 into English version.
The needful be done before the next date of hearing.
Adjourned to 15.9.2005.
English translated version should be placed on record and copies thereof be handed over to all the learned counsel for the parties."
Thereafter, the Translators of this Court had done a fresh translation of the vernacular record prepared by the trial Court and the case was re-listed for hearing.
There is a difference between vernacular record, which is the language of the Court, to which sanctity is to be attached, and the English record which the Sessions Judge is required to maintain as per Rule 5 of Chapter I, Part-E, Volume 3 of the Rules and Orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The variances are glaring and there are many omissions also of material aspects which had invited a unanimous protest by the litigating parties. Not only the appellants are aggrieved by the short-comings but even the complainant is protesting against certain omissions, which according to him have prejudiced his case. The State is not able to justify in any manner the failure of the Public Prosecutor to assist the Court in the maintenance of the record by pointing out the mistakes. The result is that no one is satisfied with the base material provided to this Court for re- appraisal of the view taken by the trial Court. Every one is crying hoarse from the house top and demanding re-trial of the case.
We have scrutinised the lapses highlighted by Mr.R.S.Cheema, learned senior counsel and have gone through the write up prepared by his instructing counsel, a copy whereof had been handed over in advance to Mr.
Kapil Aggarwal, instructing counsel of Sh.K.K.Aggarwal, learned senior counsel for the complainant and Mr.B.S.Rana, learned Senior Deputy Advocate General,Haryana. None of the opposing counsel is able to controvert the discrepancies highlighted therein and then have conceded the default in recording of the evidence.
Faced with this situation, we are left with hardly any material on the basis of which we can justifiably re-appraise the conclusions arrived at by the trial Court without causing some prejudice to one or the other party. In V.M.Abdul Rahman Vs. King-Emperor, A.I.R. 1927 Privy Council 144, their Lordships have observed as under:- "To sum up, in the view which their Lordships take of the several sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the bare fact of such an omission or irregularity as occurred in the case under appeal, unaccompanied by any probable suggestion of any failure of justice having been thereby occasioned, is not enough to warrant the quashing of a conviction, which in their Lordships' view, may be supported by the curative provisions of Ss.535 and 537. Their Lordships will humbly advise His Majesty that this appeal should be dismissed." In view of the conclusion arrived at by us as it is not possible for us to ascertain which version, viz. vernacular or English, of the statements of PW3 Ramesh, PW4 Pinki and PW6 Naresh is correct, the possibility of one of the parties being prejudiced, in case we proceed to decide the case on the evidence so recorded, cannot be ruled out. Since no one is certain about the correctness of the record which had been prepared by the trial Court, we are left with no other alternative but to quash the proceedings of the trial conducted by the Court below and direct that, in the interest of justice, the same be held de-novo from the stage of framing of the charge. For sustaining this view of ours, it would not be out of place of mention that the High Court of Rangoon in E.E.Mayeth Vs. Emperor, ****
A.I.R. 1926 Rangoon 78 had taken a similar view where accuracy of the record could not be vouched for.
For the reasons recorded above, the conviction and sentence recorded by the Court below are set aside and the case remanded back for de novo trial in accordance with law. It would be appreciated if the Sessions Judge takes the case on his own board and proceed to decide the same within six months. While doing so, he would necessarily take precautions to ensure that the lapses earlier committed by the trial Court are not repeated.
In view of the above,Criminal Revision Nos.1408 and 1409 of 2003 are dismissed as infructuous as it would always be open to the petitioner to approach this Court again once the case is finally disposed of by the trial Court.
The parties through their counsel are directed to appear before the trial Court on 6.1.2006.
Since it is possible that some other Courts might be falling into the same trap, the Office is directed to circulate this judgment to all the Courts in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory, Chandigarh, in order to make them aware of the pit falls so as to enable them to avoid the same.
December 19,2005 (Kiran Anand Lall)
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