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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FAILURE OF INVESTIGATION OFFICER , DOES NOT HAMPER THE CONVICTION, IF IT IS OTHERWISE SOUND - unless lapses made on the part of Investigating authorities are such, so as to cast a reasonable doubt on the case of the prosecution, or seriously prejudice the defence of the accused, the court would not set aside the conviction of the accused merely on the ground of tainted investigation. = “It is well established on record that SI Rajesh Kumar had not conducted the investigation properly and he was favourably inclined to the appellant and therefore, spoiled the case. - Investigating Officer did not care to get the same photographed nor mentioned the same anywhere in the investigation proceedings. Therefore, the complainant cannot be made to suffer for the lapse of the Investigating Officer…….= The complainant named the appellant and his co-accused Kalia in the FIR itself. However, distorted version was recorded in the FIR and when the complainant party received copy of FIR on 26.1.2005 (as stated by Birma Devi PW.4), they learnt of the same= The appellant had been named in the FIR on 7.1.2005, but still SI Rajesh Kumar did not even join him in investigation and did not interrogate him, what to talk of arresting him. The statements of Maya Devi and Birma Devi, therefore, cannot be discarded in view of the manner in which SI Rajesh Kumar was conducting the investigation from the very beginning.”= (i) There is no reason for the false implication of the appellant, who being the Sarpanch of the village was an influential person. (ii) Omkar Singh (PW.8) was an independent witness and there was no ground to disregard his testimony. (iii) Abadi was at some distance from the place of occurrence. Therefore, the hue and cry raised by Raj-deceased, and subsequently by Maya Devi (PW.3), could not have attracted the attention of any person. (iv) No attempt was made by the defence to falsify the allegation of the non payment of the sum of Rs.47,000/-, as consideration for the sale of a buffalo by the deceased to the appellant. = In view of the above, we do not find any force in the appeal, which lacks merit and is accordingly, dismissed. 19. Before parting with the case, we feel it necessary to bring the matter to the notice of the administration of the State of Haryana that in spite of the fact that certain serious findings have been recorded by the Trial Court, as well as by the High Court regarding the unfair investigation conducted by Shri Rajesh Kumar, who was the SHO of the Police Station, Sadar Dadri on 7.1.2005, but for the reasons best known to the administration, no action was taken against him. We have no words to express our anguish, and fail to understand under what circumstances the State authorities have adopted such an indifferent attitude where a helpless divorcee has been murdered, and her widowed mother has been crying and running from pillar to post to secure justice, but the administration did not feel it necessary to wake up from its deep slumber. We request the learned Chief Secretary of the State of Haryana to examine the case, and proceed in accordance with law. A copy of the judgment be sent by the registry directly to the Chief Secretary, Haryana.

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1474 of 2010
Karan Singh …Appellant
Versus
State of Haryana & Anr. …Respondents
J U D G M E N T
Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.
1. This appeal has been preferred against the impugned judgment
and order dated 6.2.2009 in Criminal Appeal No.226-DB of 2007,
passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh, by way
of which the High Court has affirmed the judgment and order dated
8.2.2007, passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Bhiwani in
Sessions Trial No.110 of 8.9.2005, by way of which and whereunder
the Trial Court has convicted the appellant under Section 302 of the
Indian Penal Code 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘IPC’), andPage 2
sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of
Rs.25,000/-. In default of payment of such fine, he would further
suffer RI for a period of 3 years.
2. Facts and circumstances giving rise to this appeal as per the
prosecution are that:-
A. In the intervening night between 6-7.1.2005, Maya Devi
(PW.3), mother of Raj, deceased was irrigating her agricultural fields
alongwith her daughter Birma (PW.4). On hearing the cries of her
daughter Raj, Maya Devi and Birma reached the spot and saw that one
Kalia had caught hold of Raj and Karan Singh, the appellant had put a
rope around her neck and was dragging her deeper into the fields.
Maya Devi (PW.3) raised considerable hue and cry but attracted no
help, and Raj died on the spot as a result of the throttling. In the
morning, Maya Devi (PW.3) went to the place of occurrence
alongwith her son Hariom (a simpleton). There were marks of
dragging in the wheat field. A contusion mark on the neck of deceased
was also clearly visible.
B. Maya Devi (PW.3) went to the police station to file a report.
On her way there, she met some police officials and she informed
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them about the incident, based on which, an FIR was registered on
7.1.2005, under Sections 302/34 IPC at the Police Station, Sadar
Charkhi Dadri.
C. The dead body of Raj was sent for post-mortem. Dr. U.S.
Dasodia (PW.7), conducted the post-mortem on the body of the
deceased and found a ligature mark on her neck. He has opined that
she died due to asphyxia, caused by strangulation which was
sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. The time
gap between her injuries and death was only a few minutes, and
between her death and post-mortem, less than 24 hours.
D. The police recorded the statements of various persons including
Maya Devi (PW.3), Birma (PW.4) anlongwith other people. After
completing the investigation, a chargesheet was filed against the
appellant. The co-accused Kalia, could not be apprehended and was
declared as a proclaimed offender.
E. The case of the prosecution is that Karan Singh, the appellant,
had a certain dispute with deceased Raj regarding the non-payment of
dues to her to the extent of Rs.47,000/-, as consideration for the sale
of a buffalo by the deceased Raj. Since the appellant had not paid the
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said money, there was a quarrel between them on 3-4.1.2005 as
regards the same, wherein appellant had threatened to kill her. In
furtherance thereof, Raj was murdered by the appellant.
F. The prosecution examined several witnesses including Maya
Devi (PW.3), Birma (PW.4) and Omkar Singh (PW.8). The statement
of the accused-appellant was recorded under Section 313 of Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Cr.P.C.’)
After the conclusion of the trial, the learned Sessions Judge, Bhiwani,
convicted and sentenced the appellant, as has been referred to
hereinabove.
Hence, this appeal.
3. Shri Neeraj Kumar Jain, learned senior counsel appearing for
the appellant has submitted, that the investigation in the instant case,
was tainted. The statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C. had been
recorded after several months of the incident. Raj, deceased was a
woman who had gotten separated from her husband for the reason that
she had been a woman of easy virtue, and had also been living
separately from her mother and sister. The specific case of Maya
Devi (PW.3), mother of deceased was, that she had gone alongwith
4Page 5
her daughter to irrigate the fields, though in her cross-examination she
has admitted that the agricultural land had been given to one Khazan,
upon sharing of the agricultural produce (Batai). Birma (PW.4), the
sister of the deceased has deposed that they did not cultivate the land
themselves.
The Trial Court did not believe the version of events as
provided by Maya Devi (PW.3) and Birma (PW.4), but treated the
case as one of circumstantial evidence. The entire case of the
prosecution is improbable. Thus, the appeal deserves to be allowed.
4. On the contrary, Shri Manjit Singh, AAG, appearing for the
State of Haryana, has opposed the appeal contending that the courts
below have recorded concurrent findings of fact. The defence had not
put any question in the cross-examination either to Maya Devi (PW.3)
or Birma (PW.4), regarding the non-payment of the sum of
Rs.47,000/- as consideration for the sale of a buffalo by the deceased
Raj to Karan Singh, appellant, despite the fact that there was ample
evidence on record to show that there had been an altercation
regarding the non-payment of the said amount on 3.1.2005, between
the deceased and the appellant. The appellant had threatened to kill
her. Moreover, this statement stood corroborated by the deposition of
5Page 6
Omkar Singh (PW.8). In the event that there had been some
impropriety in the course of the investigation, the same had been only
at the behest of the appellant and that too, entirely in his favour and
certainly not in the favour of the prosecution. The appellant has
made a disclosure statement about concealing the rope that had been
used in the crime, but the Investigating Officer has not made any
effort to recover the same. Thus, the appeal is liable to be rejected.
5. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned
counsel for the parties and perused the record.
6. Consistent versions have been provided by the material
witnesses regarding the non-payment of the sum of Rs.47,000/- as sale
consideration for the sale of a buffalo, by the appellant. This version
of events also fully stands established by the evidence provided by
Maya Devi (PW.3) and Birma (PW.4). In his statement under Section
313 Cr.P.C., the defence did not ask any question to test the veracity
of the said statement, either to Maya Devi (PW.3) or to Birma (PW.4).
Mere denial stating that the same is incorrect by the appellant, is not
sufficient and there is no reason to disbelieve the said portion of the
case of the prosecution. It also stands established from the material
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on record, that there had been an altercation between the appellant and
the deceased 2-3 days before the incident, and the appellant had
threatened the deceased with dire consequences. Such version of
events stands further fortified, by the evidence of Omkar Singh
(PW.8).
7. Omkar Singh (PW.8) is an independent witness who has
deposed that on the fateful day, he had gone to bring some vegetables
from a shop. The accused-appellant had then come there from the side
of the Harijan Basti, asking where Raj (prostitute) had gone, and had
stated that he would kill her within 2-3 days. The accused-appellant
had been having illicit relations with the deceased, and at the said
time, the accused had been under the influence of alcohol.
8. None of these witnesses have been properly cross-examined by the
defence. Both the courts though have expressed their anguish
regarding the manner in which the investigation was conducted, they
have convicted the appellant for the offence punishable under Section
302 IPC, and have awarded appropriate sentences. A large number of
other theories were introduced by the defence stating that the deceased
had been a woman of easy virtue, and that it was for this reason that
7Page 8
her husband had divorced her, she had settled in the village and had
been living in a separate house, away from her mother’s house, and
that even here, she had been having illicit relationships with a large
number of persons, etc. In relation to the same, a Panchayat was also
conducted, and Maya Devi (PW.3) etc. had been humiliated. Be that
as it may, this kind of theory could not adversely affect the case of the
prosecution.
9. So far as the issue of cultivating the said land is concerned, the
defence had not asked PWs.3 and 4 to furnish any further details
regarding the cultivation of the land, in relation to the terms and
conditions of the Batai, and also regarding who’s duty it was to
irrigate the land, and what the source and means of irrigation were, as
they have claimed to be in the agriculture fields at mid night for
purpose of irrigating the same. Their presence cannot be doubted, as
it is usual for every agriculturist to carry out the task of irrigation,
whenever his/her turn for irrigation arises.
10. As the defence has not put any further question in the course of
the cross-examination of Maya Devi (PW.3) and Birma (PW.4) in this
regard, we are not in a position to grant the benefit of any of these
8Page 9
issues to the appellant. The theory of political rivalry between certain
persons and the appellant, at whose behest Maya Devi (PW.3) and
Birma (PW.4) had levelled the allegation of such a heinous crime, do
not inspire confidence. The same are thus liable to be rejected.
11. There is adequate evidence on record to show that Rajesh
Kumar, SI (PW.9), who had conducted the investigation at its initial
stage, had not acted in accordance with law and had favoured the
appellant. It was for this reason that the police authorities upon a
complaint made, changed the Investigating Officer, who then
conducted the investigation properly.
12. The investigation into a criminal offence must be free from any
objectionable features or infirmities which may give rise to an
apprehension in the mind of the complainant or the accused, that
investigation was not fair and may have been carried out with some
ulterior motive. The Investigating Officer must not indulge in any
kind of mischief, or cause harassment either to the complainant or to
the accused. His conduct must be entirely impartial and must dispel
any suspicion regarding the genuineness of the investigation. The
Investigating Officer, “is not merely present to strengthen the case of
9Page 10
the prosecution with evidence that will enable the court to record a
conviction, but to bring out the real unvarnished version of the truth.”
Ethical conduct on the part of the investigating agency is absolutely
essential, and there must be no scope for any allegation of mala fides
or bias. Words like ‘personal liberty’ contained in Article 21 of the
Constitution of India provide for the widest amplitude, covering all
kinds of rights particularly, the right to personal liberty of the citizens
of India, and a person cannot be deprived of the same without
following the procedure prescribed by law. In this way, the
investigating agencies are the guardians of the liberty of innocent
citizens. Therefore, a duty is cast upon the Investigating Officer to
ensure that an innocent person should not suffer from unnecessarily
harassment of false implication, however, at the same time, an
accused person must not be given undue leverage. An investigation
cannot be interfered with or influenced even by the courts. Therefore,
the investigating agency must avoid entirely any kind of extraneous
influence, and investigation must be carried out with equal alacrity
and fairness irrespective of the status of the accused or the
complainant, as a tainted investigation definitely leads to the
miscarriage of criminal justice, and thus deprives a man of his
10Page 11
fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Thus, every investigation must be judicious, fair, transparent and
expeditious to ensure compliance with the rules of law, as is required
under Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution. (Vide: Babubhai v.
State of Gujarat & Ors., (2010) 12 SCC 254).
13. In Ram Bihari Yadav v. State of Bihar & Ors., AIR 1998 SC
1850, this Court observed, that if primacy is given to a designed or
negligent investigation, or to the omissions or lapses created as a
result of a faulty investigation, the faith and confidence of the people
would be shaken not only in the law enforcing agency, but also in the
administration of justice.
A similar view has been re-iterated by this Court in Amar
Singh v. Balwinder Singh & Ors., AIR 2003 SC 1164.
Furthermore, in Ram Bali v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR
2004 SC 2329, it was held by this Court that the court must ensure
that the defective investigation purposely carried out by the
Investigating Officer, does not affect the credibility of the version of
events given by the prosecution.
11Page 12
14. Omissions made on the part of the Investigating Officer, where
the prosecution succeeds in proving its case beyond any reasonable
doubt by way of adducing evidence, particularly that of eye-witnesses
and other witnesses, would not be fatal to the case of the prosecution,
for the reason that every discrepancy present in the investigation does
not weigh upon the court to the extent that it necessarily results in the
acquittal of accused, unless it is proved that the investigation was held
in such manner that it is dubbed as “a dishonest or guided
investigation”, which will exonerate the accused. (See: Sonali
Mukherjee v. Union of India, (2010) 15 SCC 25; Mohd. Imran
Khan v. State Government (NCT of Delhi), (2011) 10 SCC 192;
Sheo Shankar Singh v. State of Jharkhand & Anr., AIR 2011 SC
1403; Gajoo v. State of Uttarakhand, (2012) 9 SCC 532; Shyamal
Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, AIR 2012 SC 3539; and Hiralal
Pandey & Ors. v. State of U.P., AIR 2012 SC 2541).
Thus, unless lapses made on the part of Investigating authorities
are such, so as to cast a reasonable doubt on the case of the
prosecution, or seriously prejudice the defence of the accused, the
court would not set aside the conviction of the accused merely on the ground of tainted investigation. 
12Page 13
15. This Court in Dayal Singh & Ors. v. State of Uttaranchal,
(2012) 8 SCC 263, has laid down certain norms for taking stern action
against an Investigating Officer, guilty of dereliction of duty or
misconduct in conducting investigation, and held that the State is
bound to initiate disciplinary proceedings against such officers even
ignoring the law of limitation, and even if such officer has retired. 
16. In the instant case, the Trial Court and the High Court have
elaborately examined the grievances raised by the complainant
regarding the tainted investigation carried on by the first Investigating
Officer, Shri Rajesh Kumar, and the High Court has commented on
the same as under:
“It is well established on record that SI Rajesh Kumar
had not conducted the investigation properly and he was
favourably inclined to the appellant and therefore,
spoiled the case. Detailed reasons have been recorded by
learned trial court in paragraph 19 of its judgment
manifesting that the appellant had influence over the
police. We agree with the said reasoning of the trial
court which is also apparent from the contentions
advanced by learned State counsel, as noticed
hereinabove. There were marks of dragging the deceased
as mentioned in the inquest report, but still SI Rajesh
Kumar did not depict the said marks in the rough site
plan Ex.P-25 prepared by him. He also did not avail of
the services of dog squad or crime team of the Forensic
Science Laboratory. Shutter of shop, where the deceased
used to reside, had also been broken, but the
13Page 14
Investigating Officer did not care to get the same
photographed nor mentioned the same anywhere in the
investigation proceedings. Therefore, the complainant
cannot be made to suffer for the lapse of the
Investigating Officer…….The complainant is a widow
having seven daughters and only one son, who is also
simpleton. The deceased was also a divorcee and was
living alone in the house (shop) in the fields in her
parental village…….The complainant Maya Devi, who is
mother of the deceased, is a widow and illiterate rustic
villager, whereas the deceased was divorcee. On the
other hand, the appellant is an influential person and
was Sarpanch at the time of occurrence.
The
complainant named the appellant and his co-accused
Kalia in the FIR itself. However, distorted version was
recorded in the FIR and when the complainant party
received copy of FIR on 26.1.2005 (as stated by Birma
Devi PW.4), they learnt of the same and then they
approached the Superintendent of Police (SP), who also
did not take any action because the appellant, along with
Member Legislative Assembly, had met the SP.
Thereafter, with change of SP, the complainant party
again approached the new SP and it was only thereafter
that on 18.2.2005, correct statements of Maya Devi and
Birma Devi were recorded. 
The appellant was so much
influential that even thereafter, he was not arrested for
more than four months and in fact, SI Rajesh Kumar did
not arrest him and the next Investigating Officer ASI
Raghbir Singh arrested the appellant on 24.6.2005.
The
appellant had been named in the FIR on 7.1.2005, but
still SI Rajesh Kumar did not even join him in
investigation and did not interrogate him, what to talk of
arresting him. 
The statements of Maya Devi and Birma
Devi, therefore, cannot be discarded in view of the
manner in which SI Rajesh Kumar was conducting the
investigation from the very beginning.”
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17. After considering the entire evidence on record, the High Court
has concurred with the findings recorded by the Trial Court as under:
(i) There is no reason for the false implication of the
appellant, who being the Sarpanch of the village was an
influential person.
(ii) Omkar Singh (PW.8) was an independent witness and
there was no ground to disregard his testimony.
(iii) Abadi was at some distance from the place of occurrence.
Therefore, the hue and cry raised by Raj-deceased, and
subsequently by Maya Devi (PW.3), could not have attracted
the attention of any person.
(iv) No attempt was made by the defence to falsify the
allegation of the non payment of the sum of Rs.47,000/-, as
consideration for the sale of a buffalo by the deceased to the
appellant. 
18.In view of the above, we do not find any force in the appeal, which
lacks merit and is accordingly, dismissed.
19. Before parting with the case, we feel it necessary to bring the
matter to the notice of the administration of the State of Haryana that
15Page 16
in spite of the fact that certain serious findings have been recorded by
the Trial Court, as well as by the High Court regarding the unfair
investigation conducted by Shri Rajesh Kumar, who was the SHO of
the Police Station, Sadar Dadri on 7.1.2005, but for the reasons best
known to the administration, no action was taken against him. 
We
have no words to express our anguish, and fail to understand under
what circumstances the State authorities have adopted such an
indifferent attitude where a helpless divorcee has been murdered, and
her widowed mother has been crying and running from pillar to post
to secure justice, but the administration did not feel it necessary to
wake up from its deep slumber. We request the learned Chief
Secretary of the State of Haryana to examine the case, and proceed in
accordance with law. A copy of the judgment be sent by the registry
directly to the Chief Secretary, Haryana.
………………………………J.
(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)
………………………………J.
(DIPAK MISRA)
New Delhi,
May 28, 2013
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