Criminal Appeal Nos. 1535-1538, 1539, 1540 and 1541 of 2004. Case: Balbir Vs Vazir. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberCriminal Appeal Nos. 1535-1538, 1539, 1540 and 1541 of 2004
JudgesRanjana Prakash Desai and Madan B. Lokur, JJ.
IssueArms Act - Sections 3, 25, 30; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 34, 120B, 148, 149, 302, 307, 308; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Sections 161, 313, 366
Judgement DateJuly 01, 2014
CourtSupreme Court (India)


Ranjana Prakash Desai, J.

  1. These appeals arise out of a common judgment and order dated 23/1/2004 passed by the Rajasthan High Court in D.B. Murder Reference No. 1 of 2002, D.B. Criminal Appeal No. 781 of 2002, D.B. Criminal Appeal No. 718 of 2002 and D.B. Criminal Appeal No. 105 of 2003. Criminal Appeals No. 1535-1538 of 2004 are filed by PW-4 Balbir and Criminal Appeal Nos. 1539, 1540 and 1541 of 2004 are filed by the State of Rajasthan against the acquittal of the accused. Since these appeals arise out of the same judgment they are being disposed of by this common judgment.

    Gist of the prosecution case:

  2. Deceased Krishna Gir (also referred to as 'Krishna Gir') was the Head Priest of 'Balakdera Ashram' situated at Hissar in Haryana. Krishna Gir was also having ultimate supervision and control over other Ashrams associated with this Ashram. Baba Lal Gir Ashram at village Rampura in Rajasthan where the incident occurred was also one of such Ashrams which was under the supervision and control of 'Balakdera Ashram'. Amongst others, one Pokhar-Khedi Ashram situated at village Pokhar-Khedi in Jind District of Haryana and its Priest were also under the control and supervision of 'Balakdera Ashram'. Pokhar-Khedi Ashram had about 100 acres of land. In the past, it was managed by its Priest Mangeram. Priest Mangeram transferred that land in the names of his nephew Joragir and other members of his family. He also executed a Will in respect of the said land. When this fact came to the knowledge of Krishna Gir through the villagers of Pokhar-Khedi, he filed a civil suit for cancellation of the transfer of said land made by Priest Mangeram. The civil suit was decreed in favour of Krishna Gir. The decree was maintained by the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as by the Supreme Court. During the pendency of the said litigation, Priest Mangeram died. Joragir, the nephew of Priest Mangeram, claimed to be his successor but he was not allowed to take charge. Subsequently, Krishna Gir was appointed as Priest of Pokhar-Khedi Ashram. Krishna Gir recovered the possession of the land of Pokhar-Khedi Ashram in execution of the decree. Because of this dispute there was enmity between Krishna Gir and the accused. An attempt was made on the life of Krishna Gir in Jind Court premises. The accused party tried to regain possession of the land. In that dispute one child died. Thereafter, Krishna Gir was assaulted with knife at Balakdera. Cases in relation to all these incidents are stated to be pending in different courts in Haryana State. It is the prosecution case that on 12.7.2000 a conspiracy was hatched in the house of accused Hoshiyar Singh at Pokhar Khedi whereby Hoshiyar Singh, Rajmal, Jage Gir, Joragir, Vazir, Sohan Gir and Lichman conspired to kill Krishna Gir. In pursuance of the said conspiracy Krishna Gir and his disciple Sewanand Gir were shot dead on 23.7.2000 at 11.05 A.M. at Baba Lalgiri Ashram in village Rampura.

  3. FIR relating to the incident:

    On 23/07/2000 at 11.05 a.m. PW-23 Lakhma Ram Rathore, Station House Officer of RPS, Hamirvas, Rajasthan received an intimation from Police Station In-charge, Rajgarh, District Churu, Rajasthan that there was firing at the Ashram of Baba Lal Giri in Rampura Village. On the basis of this information, PW-23 Lakhma Ram Rathore along with one ASI and police force reached the site of occurrence where PW-1 Puranmal submitted a written report. According to this report, Baba Lalgiri Ashram is situated in village Rampura, Tehsil Rajgarh, District Churu, Rajasthan and there is a 'Samadhi' of Baba Lalgiri. The Ashram was under the supervision of Priest Mangal Gir. Every year, at the Samadhi, on the occasion of death anniversary of Baba Lalgiri, a 'Yagya' was being performed. Following the said tradition, on 17/7/2000, a 'Yagya' was arranged at the Baba Lalgiri Ashram. The 'Yagya' was scheduled to culminate on 23/7/2000. On 23/7/2000, a community lunch was in progress. Number of Saints and community people had gathered to take part in this 'Yagya'. Priest Krishna Gir was supervising the 'Yagya'. Priest Krishna Gir was sitting alone on a wooden bench in the Satsang Hall of Baba Lalgiri Ashram. Disciple Sewanand was sitting on a mat at a distance of 2 feet from the wooden bench. Some other villagers including PW-4 Balbir Singh and PW-5 Pratap Singh were sitting at a distance of 10 feet from the wooden bench. The Priest Mangal Gir was sitting near the gate of the Ashram. PW-1 Puranmal (informant) was sitting in the store room of the Ashram. PW-10 Ummed Singh of Beri village was also sitting in the Ashram. People were moving around for paying their respect to Krishna Gir. All of a sudden, between 10.30 a.m. to 10.45 a.m., two persons armed with fire arms entered the Satsang Hall from the rear gate of the Ashram. One of them was wearing pant and bush shirt and another was in kurta pyjama. The man wearing pant and bush shirt fired at Krishna Gir. Resultantly, Krishna Gir started bleeding profusely. Sewanand tried to grab the person who fired at Krishna Gir. Then the man wearing kurta payjama fired at Sewanand with intention to kill him. Consequently, Sewanand also became unconscious and fell down. Seeing this, PW-1 Puranmal, PW-10 Ummed Singh and Priest Mangal Gir raised cries and ran after the assailants. They noticed one more person standing at the rear gate armed with a double-barrel gun. This was also witnessed by PW-12 Jagdish Prasad, Prajapat of village Rampura and Baba Samundra Gir of Bhiwani. All these three persons ran towards the car which was parked on the road. One person was standing near the parked car. The man armed with double-barrel gun fired in the air after reaching near the car. Those four persons sat in the car and escaped towards railway station. This was witnessed by PW-9 Veer Singh and Krishan Singh. Manish Singh noted the number of car parked on the road as HR-26-G-8928 which was of Ceilo make and of Grey colour. Krishna Gir and Sewanand were taken to 'Bedwal Nursing Home' at Pilani in injured state by two different vehicles. Sewanand ('deceased Sewanand') died on the way. PW-2 Dr. Tarun Bedwal of 'Bedwal Nursing Home' after giving first aid to Krishna Gir advised to take Krishna Gir either to Hissar or Delhi for further treatment. Krishna Gir was taken to CMC Hospital, Hissar where he succumbed to the injuries.

  4. At 12.30 p.m. report was forwarded to Police Station, Hameervas by PW-23 Lakhma Ram Rathore through Constable PW-18 Kunad Ram, which was recorded by PW-19 Sugan Singh at 2.00 p.m. as Case No. 130/2000 Under Section 302, 307, 120B read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code and Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Arms Act.

  5. On completion of investigation, the case was committed to the Sessions Court, Rajgarh for trial and charges were framed against 11 accused persons namely: Vazir (A1), Joragir (A2), Hoshiyar Singh (A3), Rajmal (A4), Jage Gir (A5), Balraj (A6), Lichman (A7), Sohan Gir (A8), Kulveer (A9), Ramniwas (A10) and Lila @ Jogendra (A11). A1 and A2 were charged for the offences punishable Under Sections 148 and 302, 308 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Under Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Arms Act for committing the murder of deceased Krishna Gir and deceased Sewanand. A3, A4, A5, A6, A8 and A9 were charged for the offences punishable Under Sections 148 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. In addition to charge Under Sections 148 and 120B, A4 was also charged Under Section 3 read with Section 30 of the Arms Act and A9 was charged Under Section 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code. A7, A10 and A11 were charged Under Sections 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code. The prosecution, in support of its case, examined as many as 31 witnesses (PW-1 to PW-31). No defence evidence was adduced. In their statements recorded Under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, (for short, "the Code of Criminal Procedure"), the Appellants stated that they were innocent.

  6. The trial court convicted A1 and A2 Under Sections 120B, 148 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code for committing the murder of Krishna Gir and Sewanand. They were sentenced to death for offence punishable Under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. They were further sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment for offence...

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