Criminal Appeal No. 2042 of 2010 With Criminal Appeal Nos. 2276-2278 of 2010. Case: 1. Manjit Singh & Anr., 2. Amarjot Singh Vs 1. State of Punjab & Anr., 2. Manjit Singh and others etc.. Supreme Court

Case Number:Criminal Appeal No. 2042 of 2010 With Criminal Appeal Nos. 2276-2278 of 2010
Party Name:1. Manjit Singh & Anr., 2. Amarjot Singh Vs 1. State of Punjab & Anr., 2. Manjit Singh and others etc.
Judges:Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen, JJ.
Issue:Indian Penal Code - Sections 34, 148, 302, 307; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 - Sections 313, 319
Judgement Date:September 13, 2013
Court:Supreme Court


Dipak Misra, J.

  1. The two appellants, namely, Manjit Singh and Paramjit Singh, were tried along with three others in ST No. 54 of 2001 before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Kapurthala for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 307 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

  2. The facts which are essential to be stated are that on 8.11.1998 about 12:00 noon Amarjot Singh, the complainant, PW-1, along with his younger brother, Jagmohan Singh, the deceased, was going on a tractor towards Bholath for some domestic work. Jagmohan Singh was driving the tractor, whereas Amarjot Singh was sitting on the left mudguard of the tractor. After they reached village Pandori Arayiyan, they were stopped by a Maruti car bearing registration no. PB-10-X 7079, driven by Accused No. 1, Manjit Singh, who parked it on the road in front of the tractor. On seeing the car, Jagmohan Singh, stopped the tractor in the middle of the road. Manjit Singh, armed with a.315 bore rifle, Paramjit Singh, father-in-law of Manjit Singh, armed with.12 bore gun, Jaswinder kaur, sister of Manjit Singh, and two unknown persons alighted from the car. One of the unknown persons was also armed with a.12 bore gun. After alighting from the car, Jaswinder Kaur raised "lalkara" to eliminate both the sons of Rajinderpal Singh, PW-2, father of the deceased, so that they would understand the consequences of contesting the election of Sarpanch against them. Jagmohan Singh tried to turn the tractor towards the left side and at that juncture Manjit Singh fired a gunshot which hit him on the right cheek as a result of which he fell down from the tractor in the fields. Paramjit Singh armed with a.12 bore gun had also fired at the two brothers. Amarjot Singh jumped from the tractor and received an injury on his right elbow. He saved himself by taking shelter behind the back wheel of the tractor. In the meantime, Rajinderpal Singh, PW-2, who was present at his tube-well motor situate nearby and Didar Singh s/o Joginder Singh, who was present in his field near the place of occurrence reached the spot and witnessed the incident. All the accused fled away from the scene of crime along with their respective weapons. Jagmohan Singh and Amarjot Singh were shifted to Civil Hospital, Bholath, in a car and in the hospital Jagmohan Singh was declared dead.

  3. As the prosecution story further unfurls, the hospital authorities intimated about the death of Jagmohan Singh to the concerned police station whereafter the police party headed by SI, Swaran Singh, PW-5, arrived at the hospital and the SI recorded the Statement of Amarjot Singh on the basis of which a formal FIR was registered. The investigating agency got the post mortem done, prepared the site plan, collected the blood stained earth, the blood stained clothes of the deceased, three empty cartridges of.315 bore rifle and two empty cartridges of.12 bore from the spot and each item was put in separate sealed parcels on the basis of separate memorandum prepared and attested by the witnesses. After taking appropriate steps, accused persons were apprehended and the Maruti car, used in the commission of crime, was seized. A-1, Manjit Singh, while in custody led to recovery of his licenced rifle.315 bore along with the cartridges and the licence in the iron box in the residential house of Jasbir Singh of Village Umarpura, one of his relatives. Similarly Paramjit Singh, A-2, made a disclosure that.12 bore licenced gun used by him had been taken by Sukhpal Singh of Kaki Pind. As per his statement a bag containing the remaining cartridges were kept concealed in the iron box under the clothes in his residential house. On the basis of the said statement, recovery of the iron box, the lock, the cartridges and the licence were recovered. On the basis of disclosure statement of Sukhpal Singh, A-3, who had taken.12 bore gun from Paramjit Singh, A- 2, led to the place of discovery of the weapon hidden underneath the heap of chaff in the Haveli of Manjit Singh, A-1. The seized articles were sent to the FSL at Chandigarh. The investigating agency, after examining the witnesses and completing the other formalities, placed the charge-sheet before the learned Magistrate, who, in turn, committed the matter to the Court of Session.

  4. The accused persons pleaded innocence and false implication due to animosity and on that basis claimed to be tried.

  5. Be it noted, during the trial an application was moved under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short "the CrPC") to summon Jaswinder Kaur as an accused which was allowed, and during trial she availed the same plea and claimed to be tried.

  6. The prosecution, in order to bring home the charges against the accused persons, examined 13 witnesses and got marked number of documents. The principal witnesses are Amarjot Singh, PW-1, the informant, Rajinderpal Singh, PW-2, father of the deceased, who was cited as an eye-witness, Dr. J.N. Dutta, PW-3, who had conducted the post mortem, Swaran Singh, PW-5, the Investigating Officer, and Dr. Narinderpal Singh, PW-7, who had examined Amarjot Singh. The rest of the witnesses are formal witnesses.

  7. In their statements under Section 313 of the CrPC the plea of the accused Manjit Singh and Paramjit Singh was that they were arrested from their house on 9.11.1998 and the rifle and gun were also taken into police possession. In essence, they pleaded innocence and false implication. As far as Sukhpal Singh, A-3, is concerned, his version was that he had filed a writ petition against S.S.P. Dinkar Gupta, D.S.P Harmail Singh and S.I. Surjit Singh because he was illegally detained by the police earlier and, therefore, the police had conducted a raid in his house and falsely implicated him in the case. He had also stated that Manjit Singh and other were not known to him. The plea of Jaswinder Kaur was to the effect that after the death of her husband in 1990, she was residing at Jalandhar with her daughter and was suffering from heart ailments and had also suffered a brain haemorrhage. She also took the plea that on the date of occurrence she was away at Harnamdasspur to attend the cremation of a relative. Her further plea was that she had been falsely implicated on account of dispute relating to Panchayat election which was contested by her sister-in-law, wife of Manjit Singh.

  8. On the basis of the ocular and documentary evidence brought on record the trial court found that the prosecution had been able to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt against Manjit Singh, A-1, Paramjit Singh, A-2, and Sukhpal Singh, A-3, for committing the murder of Jagmohan Singh on 8.11.1998. He also found them guilty of firing at Amarjot Singh with the intention of committing murder and, accordingly, recorded conviction under Section 302/307 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced each of them to undergo rigorous life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.5000/- with a default clause under Section 302 IPC and for one year under Section 307 IPC and to pay a fine of Rs.2000/- with the default clause. It may be noted that Sukhpal Singh was also separately convicted under Section 307 IPC. The trial court acquitted all the accused persons of the charges under Section 148 IPC. As far as Kamal Kumar, A-4 and Jaswinder Kaur, A-5, are concerned, he recorded an acquittal in respect of all the charges on the ground that the prosecution had not been able to bring home the charges against them.

  9. Assailing the aforesaid judgment of conviction and order of sentence Manjit Singh, Paramjit Singh and Sukhpal Singh preferred Criminal Appeal No. 628-DB of 2001 and Sukhpal Singh challenged his individual conviction under Section 307 IPC in Criminal Appeal No. 621-DB of 2001. The acquittal of the accused persons was challenged by the informant Amarjot Singh in Criminal Revision No. 680 of 2002.

  10. The High Court, by a common judgment and order dated 12.5.2009 which is impugned herein, affirmed the conviction of Manjit Singh and Paramjit Singh. However, as far as Sukhpal Singh is concerned, taking note of the material brought on record, doubted his presence at the scene of occurrence and, accordingly gave him the benefit of doubt. As he was acquitted in the main appeal, the appeal preferred by him assailing the conviction under Section 307 IPC was treated to have been rendered infructuous. In view of the decisions rendered in the appeal the criminal revision, preferred by Amarjot Singh, the brother of the deceased, stood dismissed.

  11. Questioning the legal propriety of the said judgment and order Manjit Singh and Paramjit Singh have preferred Criminal Appeal...

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