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Saturday, October 3, 2015

the lodging of the FIR in the present case cannot be called to have been delayed unnecessarily We have gone through the record and considered the rival submissions. The distance between the place where Kulbir Singh was assaulted and the first hospital where he was taken, was about 11 KM. There he was given medical attention and then referred to Military Hospital, Jalandhar. Considering these facts, the lodging of the FIR in the present case cannot be called to have been delayed unnecessarily. In our view, the reporting was without any delay or deliberation and sets out true account of the incident. The assertions in the reporting are well supported and corroborated by the post-mortem conducted the next day. The injuries so found in the post-mortem are possible by the weapons recovered pursuant to the disclosure statements of the accused. The eyewitness account on record through the depositions of PW 2 Surinder Kaur and PW 3 Gurpreet Kaur is cogent, consistent and trustworthy. Though DW1 Varinder Sharma stated that Appellant No.2 was attached to him as a gunman, nothing was placed on record whether at the relevant time Appellant No.2 was on duty. Furthermore neither the doctor who had put the stitches on the palm of Appellant No.1 was examined, nor was there any other medical evidence on record suggesting that it was impossible for Appellant No.2 to even hold the dagger as alleged. In any case out of three blows suffered by the deceased Kulbir Singh only one was attributed to Appellant No.1 while the other two were dealt by Appellant No.2. The non-examination of Gurdial Singh and Devinder Singh also does not fatally affect the case of the prosecution, as they were not eye-witnesses but had merely helped Surinder Kaur in taking her husband to the hospitals. 12. We do not find any infirmity in the view taken by the High Court. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction and sentence as recorded against the appellants and dismiss the present appeal. The appellants shall serve out the sentence as awarded to them.

                                                              Non-reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1178 of 2008

Gurmit Singh and another                             …. Appellants

                                   Versus

State of Punjab                                            … Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T

Uday Umesh Lalit, J.


This appeal by special leave arises out of the  judgment   and  order  dated
08.01.2007 passed by the High  Court  of  Punjab  and  Haryana  in  Criminal
Appeal No.503-DB of 1997  affirming  the  conviction  and  sentence  of  the
appellants under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC.

Appellant No.1 Gurmit Singh was married to Charanjit Kaur.  However  because
of some differences, she was staying with her father Kulbir Singh,  who  was
running a shop for sale of marble and chips at  village  Loharan  in  Distt.
Jalandhar.  On 06.02.1996 at about 4.00 pm, Appellant  No.1  accompanied  by
his brother Harjinder  Singh,  i.e.  Appellant  No.2  allegedly  came  on  a
scooter to the shop of Kulbir Singh and asked him to permit  Charanjit  Kaur
to stay with Appellant No.1. According  to  the  prosecution,  Kulbir  Singh
asked both the appellants to sit with  him  so  that  the  matter  could  be
settled.  However Appellant No.1 took out a dagger and inflicted a  blow  on
the left side of Kulbir Singh, followed by Appellant No.2  inflicting  knife
blows on the right side and the neck of Kulbir Singh.   Surinder  Kaur  wife
of Kulbir Singh raised hue  and  cry  but  both  the  appellants  fled  away
towards Nakodar.  The incident was witnessed by Surinder Kaur and her  other
daughter Gurpreet Kaur.  With the help of Gurdial Singh and Devinder  Singh,
Surinder Kaur managed  to  shift  Kulbir  Singh  to  Satnam  Singh  Memorial
Charitable Hospital at Malko Tarar, where he was given first  aid  and  then
referred to Military Hospital, Jalandhar.

3.     S.I.  Joginder  Singh,  went  to  Satnam  Singh  Memorial  Charitable
Hospital upon coming to know about Kulbir Singh  having  sustained  injuries
but by that time he  was  referred  to  Military  Hospital,  Jalandhar.   He
therefore  reached  Military  Hospital  and  found  Surinder  Kaur  weeping.
Kulbir Singh succumbed to his injuries at  9.22  pm  and  the  statement  of
Surinder Kaur was recorded at 10.50 pm, pursuant to which vide DDR  No.25/26
at 11.40 pm  crime  was  registered  with  Police  Station,  Lambra,  Distt.
Jalandhar against the appellants under  Sections  302/34  IPC.   As  regards
actual incident, her reporting was as  under:
“……. My husband asked Gurmit Singh to sit there  and  to  have  a  talk  (to
settle the matter) but my son-in-law at once whipped out a dagger  from  the
dub (fold) of his pant worn by him and gave blow with the same on  the  left
flank of my husband.  His brother Harjinder  Singh  gave  a  blow  with  the
knife held by him to my husband which hit him on his right flank,  Harjinder
Singh gave the third blow with the knife held by him  to  my  husband  which
hit on the left side of  his  neck.   I  raised  an  alarm  of  “Mar  Ditta,
Marditta.” (Killed, Killed) in order to save my husband.  In  the  meantime,
my younger daughter Gurpreet Kaur also came to the shop.  Both Gurmit  Singh
and Harjinder Singh left the spot on their scooter  towards  Nakodar  taking
their sharp-edged weapons along with them.   The  whole  incident  was  also
witnessed by my daughter Gurpreet Kuar.”

4.    After sending ruqa to the police station, Sub-Inspector  Joginder  Pal
prepared  the  inquest  report  on  the  dead  body  of  the  deceased.   On
07.02.1996, he prepared rough site plan and also lifted earth  smeared  with
blood  from  the  spot.   The  post  mortem  examination  was  conducted  on
07.02.1996 at 12.40 pm by Dr. Pushpinder Kaur who found  following  injuries
on the body of Kulbir Singh:
“1.   A stab wound 2 cms x ½ cm, 9  cms  above  and  lateral  to  the  inner
border of the left clavicle.  The probe went upto 7 cm.

2     A stab wound 2.5 cm x 1 cm; 23 cms lateral to  the  umbilicus  on  the
right side.  Blood was oozing out.

3.    A stab wound 2.5 cms x 1 cm on the left side 20 cms below and  lateral
to the left nipple and 29 cms from  mid-line.   Blood  was  oozing  out  the
wound.”

      The chest cavity was found full of blood.  Left lung and  pleura  were
injured.  The abdominal cavity was  full  of  blood.   The  peritornium  and
right side of liver were  injured.    The  cause  of  death  was  shock  and
hemorrhage due to injuries which were  sufficient  to  cause  death  in  the
ordinary course of nature.  All the injuries were ante-mortem in nature.

5.    Sub-Inspector Joginder Pal arrested both  the  accused  on  08.02.1996
and  got  recovered  blood-stained  dagger  and  knife  on  10.02.1996,   in
pursuance of their statements Exhibit PQ and PR  under  Section  27  of  the
Evidence Act and took the same into possession vide memo  Exhibit  PQ/2  and
Exhibit PR/2.    After  obtaining  necessary  sanction  for  prosecution  of
accused Harjinder  Singh,  a  Constable  in  the  Punjab  Police  and  after
completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was submitted against them.

6.    During the  trial,  the  prosecution  examined  nine  witnesses.   Dr.
Pushpinder Kaur was examined as PW1, while eye-witness account was  unfolded
through Surinder Kaur and Gurpreet  Kaur,  examined  as  PW  Nos.  2  and  3
respectively.  Constable Sukhdev Singh (PW4)  and  Avtar  Singh  (PW8)  were
formal  witnesses  who  deposed  by  way  of  affidavits  Ext.   PG  and  PT
respectively.  Capt. Miss Minu Sabharwal (PW5) proved the  death  report  of
deceased Kulbir Singh.  Sub-Inspector Joginder Pal (PW6) and Assistant  Sub-
Inspector Hans Raj (PW7) were  the  investigating  officers.   Milkha  Singh
Pardesi (PW9) identified the signature of M.S. Chahal,  the  then  Principal
Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab on the  sanction  letter.  After
tendering in evidence the affidavits of head constables Gian Singh Ext.  PH,
constable Nasib Chand Ext.  PJ  and  the  report  of  the  Forensic  Science
Laboratory Ext. PX, the prosecution closed its case.

7.     The  defence  of  both  the  appellants  was  of  false  implication.
Appellant Gurmit Singh in his statement under Section 313  of  the  Code  of
Criminal Procedure stated that the family of the complainant wanted  him  to
stay as Ghar Jamaai which he had refused and the same led to a grudge  being
nursed against him.  Appellant Harjinder Singh submitted that he was  posted
as a gunman with one Varinder Sharma, Councillor and that he was on duty  at
the relevant time.  In support of their  defence,  the  appellants  examined
Varinder  Sharma,  Councillor,  Municipal  Corporation,   Jalandhar   (DW1),
Constable Atma Singh (DW2), MHC Kailash Chander (DW3), Dr. Gur  Iqbal  Singh
(DW4) and Additional MHC Sukhdev Singh  (DW5).   By  examining  DW4  it  was
sought to be established that the left arm of Appellant No.1 was in  plaster
while his right palm was having stitches; the injuries being  at  least  ten
days old on the date of the incident.

8.    After considering the material on  record,  the  trial  court  by  its
judgment  and order dated 28.05.1997 found that the case of the  prosecution
was fully established.  Relying on the  eye-witness  account,  as  supported
and corroborated  by  the  medical  evidence  on  record,  as  well  as  the
recoveries of the weapons in question, the trial court found the  appellants
guilty under Section 302 read with Section 34  IPC  and  sentenced  them  to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and to pay fine  of  Rs.1000/-  each,
in default whereof  to  undergo  further  rigorous  imprisonment  for  three
months.  Both the appellants carried the matter further by  filing  Criminal
Appeal No.503-DB of 1997 in the High Court.   The High Court  did  not  find
any merit and dismissed the appeal.   The  High  Court  also  dismissed  the
Criminal Revision No.862 of 1997 which was preferred by  Surinder  Kaur  for
enhancement of sentence.

9.    In this appeal by special leave challenging  the  correctness  of  the
decision of the High  Court,  Mr.  K.T.S.  Tulsi,  learned  Senior  Advocate
appearing for the appellants submitted inter alia:
(i) The incident in question allegedly happened around 4.00 pm but  the  FIR
was registered at 11.40 pm and  reached  the  Magistrate  next  day  in  the
morning at 6.00 am.  The delay on both counts was completely unexplained.
(ii)  The Hospital record of Military  Hospital,  Jalandhar  disclosed  that
Kulbir Singh was not  admitted  by  Surinder  Kaur.   This  established  the
absence of Surinder Kaur at the time the incident had happened.
(iii)  The presence of both the eye-witnesses was extremely doubtful.
(iv)  Apart from these two eye-witnesses, nobody else  was  examined  though
Gurdial Singh and Devinder Singh had allegedly removed Kulbir Singh  to  the
hospital.
(v)  The left arm of Appellant No.1 was in plaster while the other palm  was
having stitches as found by the jail doctor, soon after their  arrest.  Both
these injuries being at least 8 to 10 days  old,  it  was  impossible   that
Appellant No.1 could have dealt the blow as alleged.
(vi)  The other appellant was on duty as stated by DW1 Varinder Sharma.

10.   Mr. Jayant K. Sud, learned Additional Advocate General  appearing  for
the State submitted that the reporting by Surinder Kaur  was  quite  prompt.
In  his  submission,  the  physical  condition  of  Kulbir  Singh   required
immediate medical attention and as such Surinder Kaur could not be  expected
to leave her husband and go  to  police  station  to  lodge  a  report.   He
further submitted that the eye-witness account was  completely  corroborated
by the medical evidence on record as  well  as  recoveries  of  the  weapons
pursuant to disclosure statements made by both the accused.

11.   We have gone through the record and considered the rival  submissions.
 The distance between the place where Kulbir Singh  was  assaulted  and  the
first hospital where he was taken, was about 11  KM.   There  he  was  given
medical  attention  and  then  referred  to  Military  Hospital,  Jalandhar.
Considering these facts, the lodging of the FIR in the present  case  cannot
be called to have been delayed unnecessarily.  In our  view,  the  reporting
was without any delay or deliberation and  sets  out  true  account  of  the
incident.   The  assertions  in  the  reporting  are  well   supported   and
corroborated by the post-mortem conducted the next  day.   The  injuries  so
found in the post-mortem are possible by the weapons recovered  pursuant  to
the disclosure statements of the accused.  The eyewitness account on  record
through the depositions of PW 2 Surinder Kaur and  PW  3  Gurpreet  Kaur  is
cogent, consistent and trustworthy. Though DW1 Varinder Sharma  stated  that
Appellant No.2 was attached to him  as  a  gunman,  nothing  was  placed  on
record  whether  at  the  relevant  time  Appellant  No.2   was   on   duty.
Furthermore neither the doctor who had put  the  stitches  on  the  palm  of
Appellant No.1 was examined, nor was there any  other  medical  evidence  on
record suggesting that it was impossible for Appellant  No.2  to  even  hold
the dagger as alleged.  In any case out  of  three  blows  suffered  by  the
deceased Kulbir Singh only one was attributed to Appellant  No.1  while  the
other two were dealt by Appellant  No.2.   The  non-examination  of  Gurdial
Singh and Devinder Singh also does  not  fatally  affect  the  case  of  the
prosecution, as they were not eye-witnesses but had merely  helped  Surinder
Kaur in taking her husband to the hospitals.

12.   We do not find any infirmity in the view  taken  by  the  High  Court.
We, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction and  sentence  as  recorded
against the appellants and  dismiss  the  present  appeal.   The  appellants
shall serve out the sentence as awarded to them.


            ……..…..…………………………….J.
                              (Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla)



                              ……..…..…………………………….J.
                               (Uday Umesh Lalit)

 New Delhi,
 September 30, 2015

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